A network of microphilanthropy that supports Middlebury students.

The International Jewelry Fund (IJF) will be working with female artisans on the Kewa Pueblo in New Mexico. This is the expansion market building on the successful launch established in Istanbul, Turkey. By reaching out to women who might otherwise not have a chance to earn an income due to lack of education, ethnic or gender stigmas, the IJF facilitates financial independence and provides a platform for women to participate within the global economy. The IJF is not about developed countries aiding developing countries, but rather about collaborating to forge creative solutions that address social inequalities across the globe.

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Dollars Raised: 8%

Funding Details

Deadline: Aug 31, 2012
Total needed: $2,000


Sydney Alfonso '12, Geography and German, Estancia NM

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In October 2011, I founded the International Jewelry Fund to import bracelets to the US from Turkish women who had worked as vendors on the street where I lived in Istanbul while studying abroad. Initially, my goal was to assist women in developing countries assuming that women are often the last to reap the benefits of an emerging economy. However, as the business evolves, I have identified the urgent need to address market inequalities that are ignored in underdeveloped areas of developed countries. Growing up in rural New Mexico, I witnessed the gross social injustices faced by Native American women and recognized a potential to join forces with the IJF. By working with women within the U.S. it emphasizes that the IJF is not about developed countries aiding developing countries, but rather about collaborating to forge creative solutions in order to address social inequalities that exist across the globe. The bracelets from the International Jewelry Fund will serve as a wearable reminder of the importance of venture philanthropy in today’s globalizing economy.

The IJF is not just an outlet for artisans to sell their products. It is a brand that creates awareness about the social injustices women face. By featuring their photos and videos on our website, we will be able to fuse jewelry with their stories and the IJF mission.

The demographic of the IJF is 18-25, which is not a demographic reached by traditional Native American jewelry designers. By targeting younger girls we hope to help develop a generation of conscious consumers that proves you don’t have to sacrifice fashion for ethics.

Thus far, I’ve sold over 650 bracelets at two gallery shows in Middlebury, a sample sale at GWU and this week I’ve had two orders placed by a boutique in Dartmouth and have appointments with three interested boutiques in Burlington.

This summer, cinematographers will record informational videos for the IJF featuring stories of our women in Turkey and New Mexico. Because such interactive marketing techniques are important for engaging the customers with its mission, funds from MiddSTART would allow the further development of our website as well as buy artisan sample products that will help the IJF to significantly scale and enhance its distribution pilot program.

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