Spring is a time for new beginnings, and I’m excited to begin my new role as President & CEO of Project Concern International (PCI). It’s the perfect time to start as over the next few weeks we’re talking about a subject very dear to me – investing in women.  Because we know that talent, intellect, and motivation are equally distributed throughout the world but opportunity is not.

I first discovered my passion for maternal and child health while serving as a Peace Corps volunteer in Western Samoa. My host mother, Losa, became pregnant with her ninth child shortly after I arrived in country. She had never received any kind of prenatal care and had delivered all of her babies at home, even though there was a well-stocked health facility just a mile down the road.  Working with a very talented midwife, I was able to help Losa access the safe labor and delivery care that she needed — care which ultimately saved her life when she experienced post-parturition hemorrhage.  Beautiful baby Makarita was born that day… and so was my career in public health.

Since then, I’ve seen time and again the power women have to transform their lives, their families, and their communities when they are given access to education, health services and economic resources. PCI has empowered millions of women through our programs for more than 50 years, and we’ve seen entire communities lifted out of poverty when investments are made in women and girls.

Mother’s Day is just around the corner, and it’s a great time to think about all of the strong women in our lives. We’ll be sharing the stories of three extraordinary women who we’ve seen grow and achieve so much through our programs. You’ll hear how Marce in San Diego benefits from PCI’s US programming for mothers; how PCI programs in Bangladesh keep Sultana’s family healthy; and how our Women’s Empowerment Initiative helps Lemmy, a widow in Tanzania, to support her family with a business and send her children to school.

Your support has allowed us to empower these women and millions more to enhance health, end hunger and overcome hardship. When we invest in women, they can change the world.

If you’re looking for a Mother’s Day gift that lasts longer than flowers and is worth more than jewelry, consider donating to our Invest in Women campaign. Your gift can help us reach more women in more communities and will amplify our impact.