Investing in Women to Change the World

By Giving List Women   |   May 20, 2024
Friendship Bridge “Health for Life” Program.

In 2005, Dorothy Largay received a monetary windfall and asked herself how she could use the funds in the most efficient way to generate social change. She always had a passion for empowering women around the world. “Since women are the essential change agents as the health and economic decision-makers for their families, investing in women was a compelling choice,” says Largay.

Many philanthropists create private foundations that are designed to stay fiscally active forever, but some philanthropic thought leaders have recently challenged this traditional model. Largay is one of those who chose to forge a different path. She created Linked Foundation and set a 20-year fixed time frame, opting to spend down the foundation’s allocated funds in her lifetime so that she could tackle pressing challenges today.

“The structure of a fixed-life organization created an urgency and a focus that enabled the foundation to take risks and to find opportunities where small amounts of capital and technical support could make a significant and measurable difference,” says Largay.

For the past 18 years, Linked Foundation has promoted solutions that improve the health and economic independence of women and their families in Latin America by investing in direct health services that have a path to sustainability and that generate maximum impact. 

“Linked Foundation works very closely with our partners on the ground and uses a range of financing mechanisms as well as technical assistance to address our partners’ needs. Listening and problem-solving with our partners is key and has brought about very gratifying results,” says Nancy Swanson-Roberts, Linked Foundation’s executive director.

For example, since 2015, Linked Foundation has worked in Monterrey, Mexico, with Clínicas del Azúcar (Sugar Clinics), a Mexican social enterprise that operates “one-stop shops” for much-needed affordable and comprehensive diabetes care. Linked brought in another financing organization to provide Clínicas with their first impact loan, and Linked provided a grant to implement a women-staffed call center, which has significantly improved adherence and outcomes for their most vulnerable patients. Clínicas has grown to 39 clinics throughout Mexico, treating over 300,000 patients, the majority of whom are low-income.

Another example of a Linked Foundation partner is Friendship Bridge, a nonprofit social enterprise in Guatemala that creates economic opportunities for low-income women through financial services and education. Linked provided start-up funding to pilot and scale health services for Friendship Bridge’s clients.

Mexican partner organization Reina Madre provides affordable, patient-centered maternal and reproductive health services to low-income women in and around Mexico City. Linked Foundation worked with a partner financing organization to provide a low-cost loan to scale Reina Madre’s clinics, and grant funding for a program to train medical students in colposcopy and to provide free exams to low-income women.

Largay and Swanson-Roberts say that for 2024, Linked Foundation remains committed to solving critical ongoing problems with long-lasting solutions. After intensive learning from employing different models with partners on the ground, Linked Foundation decided its ongoing impact could be better scaled by working with a social impact investment firm. Linked has partnered with New Ventures Mexico to develop Empodera Impact Capital – the first gender lens health fund in Latin America. The $30 million fund addresses the financing gap for impact-led women’s healthcare companies in Latin America and will continue long beyond the foundation’s lifetime.

Both Largay and Swanson-Roberts agree: “For us, a fixed-life foundation gave us a focus to tackle health inequities for women in Latin America. Not only has the work been gratifying, it introduced us to such inspiring and talented social entrepreneurs that are deeply committed to improving the lives of women and their families.”


Linked Foundation

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(805) 895-4927
Executive Director: Nancy Swanson-Roberts


Our mission is to promote and invest in solutions that improve the health and economic self-reliance of women and their families in Latin America and the US.

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