The Kwek Society

End period poverty

ARLINGTON, VA   |  www.kweksociety.org

Mission

We at The Kwek Society are focused on supplying Native students and communities the period products they need to maintain their dignity and celebrate their strength and their moon times. We collaborate with schools and Native programs across North America, in rural areas, suburbs and cities, to eliminate period poverty among Native Americans. We educate about moon time as a time for celebration and we work to support the dignity and strength of all we serve.

Notes from the nonprofit

Please see comments from those we support -- and our supporters and donors-- at https://greatnonprofits.org/org/the-kwek-society

Ruling year info

2018

Founder - Operator - President

Ms. Eva Marie Carney

Main address

PO Box 5595

ARLINGTON, VA 22205 USA

Show more contact info

EIN

82-4369803

NTEE code info

Human Services - Multipurpose and Other N.E.C. (P99)

Nonmonetary Support N.E.C. (B19)

Health - General and Rehabilitative N.E.C. (E99)

IRS filing requirement

This organization is required to file an IRS Form 990 or 990-EZ.

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Communication

Programs and results

What we aim to solve

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Many Native American students, particularly those living in the rural US, do not have access to a sufficient number of pads and tampons when they have their periods. As a result they may skip school altogether, suffer embarrassment or ridicule during the school day, or impact their health by using supplies for longer than intended or by making do with makeshift supplies like wadded up toilet paper. To protect their dignity and health, The Kwek Society provides pads, tampons, moon time bags, puberty/period education materials, and underwear to Native American students through our school and community partners. As our funds have increased, we have expanded our work by providing these supplies to Native communities and nonprofit organizations beyond the schools. Kwe'k means "women" in the Potawatomi language.

Our programs

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

What are the organization's current programs, how do they measure success, and who do the programs serve?

Distribution of pads, tampons and other period supplies to schools serving Native students

The Kwek Society supplies period products to schools and students across North America so that students can stay in school and maintain their dignity, health, and confidence while on their moon times.

In 2019 our program became international when we added a school of Anishnabe students and their peers in Ontario, Canada. At the end of 2020 we welcomed a First Nations board member living in Ontario province and expect to grow our presence among First Nations schools and communities in 2021. We have continued to grow exponentially, pandemic notwithstanding -- by August 2022 we had 89 school partners and community organization partners , including Haskell Indian Nations University in Kansas, across 13 states and Canada's Ontario province.

We restock partner schools as needed throughout the year. We are committed to serving as many indigenous students with period-supply-access issues as we possibly can.

Population(s) Served
Indigenous peoples
At-risk youth

Our work with Native students has introduced us to others doing vital work outside the school context in support of Native youth, families and communities. We have seized the opportunity to partner with some of these persons and programs to help ensure that those they serve do not have to miss activities of daily life when they are on their periods, or the indignity of stained clothing, or use period supplies for longer than intended and risk their health due to insufficient supplies. As of August 2022 our partners include First Nations-run community health organizations in Ontario, the Native Village of Marshall in Alaska, a Lakota youth project operated on the Cheyenne River Sioux reservation in South Dakota, community-renewing friendship houses operated in Oklahoma, a research group working with Dine (Navajo) families in New Mexico, and a street medicine program that also serves Navajo relatives in New Mexico.

Population(s) Served
Indigenous peoples
Economically disadvantaged people

Through personal contact and outreach, as well as through our website, social media and journalists publishing in print and online, we draw attention to the inequities facing Native American youth and communities, including menstrual inequity, and also highlight the successes of Native Americans throughout North America. In May 2022, for example, Global Citizen published 'Moon Time Bags' Fight Period Poverty While Honoring Sacred Native Traditions," after interviewing our founder. See https://www.globalcitizen.org/en/content/period-poverty-native-americans-kwek-society/.

Population(s) Served
Indigenous peoples
Economically disadvantaged people

Where we work

Awards

Power, Together 2019

Women Political Leaders

Affiliations & memberships

Alliance for Period Supplies 2020

Our results

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

How does this organization measure their results? It's a hard question but an important one.

Number of moon time bags and puberty/period education books distributed

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Indigenous peoples, At-risk youth, Economically disadvantaged people

Related Program

Distribution of pads, tampons and other period supplies to schools serving Native students

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Our supporters sew moon time bags which we stuff with pads and liners and a celebration message. We get libraries and clinics puberty education books for both sexes.

Number of tampons, pads, liners, and undergarments distributed

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

At-risk youth, Economically disadvantaged people, Indigenous peoples

Related Program

Distribution of pads, tampons and other period supplies to schools serving Native students

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

Providing these is the heart of our mission. This number spiked in 2020, and spiked again in 2021. As of August 2022 we have distributed almost 1.3 million supplies in total.

Number of schools and Native programs whose students and members we serve

This metric is no longer tracked.
Totals By Year
Population(s) Served

Indigenous peoples, At-risk youth, Economically disadvantaged people

Related Program

Distribution of pads, tampons and other period supplies to schools serving Native students

Type of Metric

Output - describing our activities and reach

Direction of Success

Increasing

Context Notes

We continue to grow -- we are committed to addressing the need for period supplies across Native North America. As of August 2022 we were active in 13 U.S. states and the Ontario province of Canada.

Our Sustainable Development Goals

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn more about Sustainable Development Goals.

Goals & Strategy

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Learn about the organization's key goals, strategies, capabilities, and progress.

Charting impact

Four powerful questions that require reflection about what really matters - results.

1. Near-term goals: grow exponentially the number of period products we donate and extend our reach to at least 90 school and program partners in North America (US and Canada) through 2021. Note: At the close of 2021 we had 72 partners in 8 states. We want to grow our partner numbers and operate throughout North America, while continuing to serve in a robust way all of our existing partners. As of August 2022 we have 89 partners in 12 states and in the Ontario province of Canada.

2. Ultimate goal: eliminate period poverty in Native communities.

3. Operate with respect for those we serve.

4. Strive to lift up those we serve. Through social media, press coverage and personal engagement, educate North Americans about the accomplishments of Native American youth, families and community members while shining light on the inequities experienced by those we help.

4. Thrive as a respected and well-run non-profit performing with transparency and excellence.

1. Obtain donations of menstrual supplies and related items, through local, volunteer-led product drives and manufacturer, supplier , and allied nonprofit organizations' donations. Secure cash donations to purchase and mail supplies to meet the monthly menstrual supply needs of the Native American students and communities we serve. In February 2020 we were invited to become an Allied Program of the Alliance for Period Supplies, which is providing us with technical assistance and offers us free or reduced cost product from time to time.

2. Interact with leaders of schools and governments and community-based organizations in Native American communities in the US and Canada to meet the specific period product needs of each community. Our objective is to support the dignity of each person we serve and to meet individual preferences for period supplies whenever possible.

3. Engage others with respect to the strength, resilience and beauty of Native people through personal and public interactions, through our website, www.kweksociety.org, Facebook and LinkedIn pages and Instagram account (thekweksociety) and Twitter feed, @KwekSociety, and through coverage by interested journalists.

4. Through these same avenues, raise awareness of the issue of "period poverty" -- that (1) needed period supplies are expensive, especially in rural areas without discount stores; (2) budgets often cannot be stretched to purchase sufficient monthly supplies, and (3) menstruators' health and dignity suffer as a result. Work to contribute to solutions that put an end to this scourge.

5. Share our performance and financial data through this platform and others.

1. We are all volunteers (except that we pay an intern who performs data entry and pay an accountant and a web designer for their expertise), with a passion for this important work.

2. Eighty percent of our board is indigenous. We believe that our respect for tribal traditions and our commitment to supporting the dignity of each person we serve has been integral to our growth to date. Many of our newer partners have been introduced to us by partners to whom we made early commitments to provide support.

3. In late 2020 we added an indigenous board member living in Ontario, Canada. She has strong connections among First Nations communities. We anticipate that she will bring us more First Nations and US-centric partnerships in 2022.

1. At the start of 2018 we were providing supplies to students in one school, Wounded Knee District School in Manderson, SD. By the end of 2019 we were serving students and communities in 4 states -- New Mexico, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Wyoming -- and Ontario, Canada: a total of 37 schools and school programs. In 2020 we expanded our reach beyond schools to team with programs serving Native persons and communities. We now count community health centers, youth groups and a street medicine program and a research program among our partners. By the end of 2021, we had expanded to both US coasts.

Here is our partner count in August 2022: Alaska -2, Arizona-3, Colorado-3, Iowa-3, Kansas-1,Maine-4, Nevada-1, New Mexico-26, Oregon-2, Oklahoma-22, South Dakota-6, Vermont-1,Wyoming-5, Canada (Ont.)-10, a total of 89 partners.

2. Through social media (Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn) and press interest we have educated the public to the need to take action in response to the national disgrace that Native Americans are skipping school and work when they have their periods because they cannot afford menstrual supplies. Our supporters are becoming active contributors to our work: during 2019, supporters held seven community pad drives and 4 Native American women and a dozen other supporters sewed moon time bags for those we support. During the 2020 pandemic the need for COVID masks became acute and a dozen supporters helped us supply more than 10,500 masks to schools and communities across the United States. During 2021, 21 donors sewed moon time bags for us.

We were recognized for our work to end period poverty in Native communities by a Brussels-based group, Women Political Leaders, when we accepted the 2019 POWER, TOGETHER Award, along with other period poverty-focused organizations working around the globe, at the Women Leaders Global Forum on November 2019. We received our first public grant in December 2019 from MissionBox, which financed our supplying students in 17 of the schools and programs we serve period supplies (pads, liners, underwear) over during Winter Break. During spring 2020 we secured our first commitment of monthly support from a foundation; during summer 2020 we were awarded another sizeable grant and in December 2020 we received our first sizeable grant from a family foundation. The Harvard Project on American Indian Economic Development wrote about us in mid-June 2020 as one of a number of indigenous women-run groups doing “critical and courageous work” to assist Native communities and Native nations during the pandemic. Rural Yonder featured our work in January 2022, raising our profile in the Western United States. Our partnership with Bras for Girls -- through which the students we support receive sports bras -- raised our profile in mid-2022.

In October 2020 we launched a quarterly newsletter and debuted a new brand, logo and website. We are energized and plan to push ahead as far as funds and time permit!

How we listen

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

Seeking feedback from people served makes programs more responsive and effective. Here’s how this organization is listening.

done We demonstrated a willingness to learn more by reviewing resources about feedback practice.
done We shared information about our current feedback practices.
  • Who are the people you serve with your mission?

    We serve Native American students and community members and others who attend school or community programs side-by-side with them.

  • How is your organization collecting feedback from the people you serve?

    Suggestion box/email,

  • How is your organization using feedback from the people you serve?

    To identify bright spots and enhance positive service experiences, To inform the development of new programs/projects, To strengthen relationships with the people we serve, To understand people's needs and how we can help them achieve their goals,

  • With whom is the organization sharing feedback?

    The people we serve, Our board, Our funders, Our community partners,

  • Which of the following feedback practices does your organization routinely carry out?

    We aim to collect feedback from as many people we serve as possible, We take steps to ensure people feel comfortable being honest with us, We engage the people who provide feedback in looking for ways we can improve in response,

  • What challenges does the organization face when collecting feedback?

    We don't have any major challenges to collecting feedback,

Financials

The Kwek Society
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Operations

The people, governance practices, and partners that make the organization tick.

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Connect with nonprofit leaders

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Build relationships with key people who manage and lead nonprofit organizations with GuideStar Pro. Try a low commitment monthly plan today.

  • Analyze a variety of pre-calculated financial metrics
  • Access beautifully interactive analysis and comparison tools
  • Compare nonprofit financials to similar organizations

Want to see how you can enhance your nonprofit research and unlock more insights? Learn More about GuideStar Pro.

The Kwek Society

Board of directors
as of 08/09/2022
SOURCE: Self-reported by organization
Board chair

Ms. Eva Marie Carney

Barbara Hannigan

Kimberly Pratt

Lisa Witt

Kathy Webb

Tesia Zientek

Winona Elliott

Susannah Howard

Paige Willett

Eva Marie Carney

Board leadership practices

SOURCE: Self-reported by organization

GuideStar worked with BoardSource, the national leader in nonprofit board leadership and governance, to create this section.

  • Board orientation and education
    Does the board conduct a formal orientation for new board members and require all board members to sign a written agreement regarding their roles, responsibilities, and expectations? No
  • CEO oversight
    Has the board conducted a formal, written assessment of the chief executive within the past year ? Not applicable
  • Ethics and transparency
    Have the board and senior staff reviewed the conflict-of-interest policy and completed and signed disclosure statements in the past year? Not applicable
  • Board composition
    Does the board ensure an inclusive board member recruitment process that results in diversity of thought and leadership? Not applicable
  • Board performance
    Has the board conducted a formal, written self-assessment of its performance within the past three years? Not applicable

Organizational demographics

SOURCE: Self-reported; last updated 6/5/2022

Who works and leads organizations that serve our diverse communities? GuideStar partnered on this section with CHANGE Philanthropy and Equity in the Center.

Leadership

The organization's leader identifies as:

Race & ethnicity
Native American/American Indian/Indigenous
Gender identity
Female, Not transgender (cisgender)
Sexual orientation
Heterosexual or Straight
Disability status
Person without a disability

Race & ethnicity

Gender identity

 

Sexual orientation

No data

Disability

No data