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Edith Calder贸n: 2015 HIPGiver

Edith Calder贸n Photo 200Edith Calder贸n, Semillas鈥 Advisory Committee President
Edith Calder贸n studied hard and worked even harder on her way to a successful career as a foundation philanthropist. But, it was the rich textile tradition of the indigenous women in her native Mexico that inspired her to help them weave a better life for themselves through her work as Board President of Semillas, Mexico鈥檚 pre-eminent women鈥檚 fund. She recalled that, as a youngster in Michoacan state, she shared her mother鈥檚 deep appreciation for indigenous textiles. 鈥淪he taught me to value them, and that permitted me to appreciate the artisans鈥 work as an art,鈥 she said. She didn鈥檛 forget as she pursued her education. Calder贸n holds an MBA and a master鈥檚 in human rights from the Universidad Iberoamericana, a specialization in finance from the Instituto Tecnol贸gico Aut贸nomo de M茅xico and a degree in executive management from the Colegio de Graduados en Alta Direcci贸n. She worked for the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation for six years, at Mexico鈥檚 Ministry of Finance for seven years, and for 10 years she was the Financial Director for a conglomerate of companies focused on recycling initiatives.
In 1988, Calder贸n was able to transform her appreciation for the textile work and her commitment for gender equity and women鈥檚 rights into a project that economically empowered indigenous artisans in the state of Michoac谩n. Through capacity-building workshops in design and technique, the artisans improved the quality of their textiles, earned more income and were able to improve their quality of life. 鈥淎ccompanying indigenous women during this process allowed them to recognize their own abilities and strengths as protagonists in the development of their communities,鈥 she said. In 2004, she joined La Sociedad Mexicana Pro Derechos de la Mujer (Semillas), the only women鈥檚 fund in Mexico. It was founded in 1990 to provide resources to women鈥檚 organizations in Mexico. It provides capacity-building programs and grants in the areas of women and work, sexual and reproductive rights, reduction of gender-based violence, and human rights. Ten years after Calder贸n鈥檚 first project with indigenous artisans, the Semillas Board President is working on a similar initiative to market and sell high quality textiles. The profits are returned directly to the artisans and reinforce the notion that their work improves their lives and that of their families and communities. 鈥淚鈥檝e seen that, when a woman is inspired and works with other women from her community, they can achieve important changes in a short period of time,鈥 she said. 鈥淐hange isn鈥檛 easy, it isn鈥檛 fast, but it is possible,鈥 she added.
The 31 HIPGivers recognized in 2015 are collectively altering the landscape for our country. They are pushing the envelope by asking for more 鈥 more consideration, more awareness, more compassion, more action, more giving. Be there when the next 32 leaders are honored at our 2016 HIPGiver Gala.