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First Fund in Country Established to Engage Girls in Solving Climate Change

Community leader and activist establishes first fund in the country to engage girls and young women in solving climate change.

When national expert on rural health care and local community leader and activist Alison Hughes sees a problem, she is never shy to take action. Through her personal generosity and her fundraising efforts, Alison Hughes established the Climate Change and Adaptation Fund at the Women’s Foundation of Southern Arizona—the first donor advised fund in the country to engage girls and young women in solving climate change.

We sat down with Alison recently to learn more.

WFSA: Why did you start this fund and what are your goals?

AH: I’ve been following the issue of global warming and its potential impact on the planet and on local communities for a number of years, and I really felt that women need to be more deeply involved because I have confidence that when women take on an issue, we can make it happen. I didn’t see much happening to engage young women and girls in this issue, so I thought it would be a good idea to get future and current generations engaged in tackling this major challenge of saving both the community and the planet. I have a lot of faith in people, in the smarts and capacities of young people to take on a major challenge and make it work. The goal is to reduce the ecological footprint our humans have created.

WFSA: What are some of the most pressing issues you hope girls and young women can address?

AH: Issues like loss of green spaces, food insecurity, loss of trees, animal habitat, water replacement options, energy sources … many things are impacted by global warming. While it’s important for nations to take action at the global level together, I think the ultimate responsibility falls at the local level. Do you know that 1/3 of the humans on today’s planet are children? They need to inherit a planet that’s environmentally sustainable.

WFSA: What are the fund’s areas of focus?

AH: This is an opportunity for young Tucsonans to offer innovative solutions and practice putting them into effect. We need bold initiatives. The fund will support activities that combine feminist activism with environmental justice. I want future generations to be able to look back and know that they saved the planet, due to their work.

Ways to Get Involved:

Do you have some time to volunteer as a member of the Climate Change & Adaptation Fund Advisory Committee? All ages are welcome for this diverse, short-term volunteer Advisory Committee. As a member of the Advisory Committee, you can help conceptualize an innovative program that challenges young women to tackle this issue of global warming. Be a local leader on this issue and inspire others to get engaged.

Email communications@womengiving.org to get involved and learn more.

The Climate Change and Adaptation Fund at the Women’s Foundation of Southern Arizona was established by Alison Hughes. We are so grateful for her generosity and her leadership.

Alison Hughes, MPA, retired from the University of Arizona in 2011, where she was founding faculty of the College of Public Health, serving in many roles over her 25-year career. For her expertise in rural health, Alison has been recognized nationally through prestigious appointments to boards and commissions. Locally, Alison is the former chair of the Pima County-Tucson Women’s Commission and has served on numerous boards, including the Women’s Foundation of Southern Arizona.