Skoll Foundation


Skoll Foundation Advances Global Goal to Eliminate Pediatric AIDS with $2.5 Million Award to mothers2mothers

July 19, 2012 by

mothers2mothers to Use Grant to Expand its Mentor Mother Model and Protect the Health of Mothers and their Babies

Palo Alto, California – July 19, 2012 – The Skoll Foundation announced today a grant of $2.5 million to mothers2mothers (m2m), an organization that uses a simple and effective model to eliminate transmission of HIV from mothers to babies and sustain the health of women and children.

Approximately one baby is born with HIV every day in the United States.  More than 1,000 babies are born with HIV every day worldwide, almost all of them in sub-Saharan Africa.  As the world prepares to gather for the International AIDS Society’s Conference (AIDS 2012) in Washington D.C., Skoll is joining the global effort to push that number to zero by supporting m2m’s work.

m2m’s innovative model of care pairs an HIV-positive woman who is pregnant with a Mentor Mother.  Mentor Mothers are mothers living with HIV who are trained and employed to guide and support other women as they navigate pregnancy, child birth and rearing.  The women Mentor Mothers serve are more likely to disclose their HIV status, to pursue HIV treatment and testing, and to deliver their babies in health care facilities than mothers who do not have a Mentor Mother.

Because of their expertise and employment, Mentor Mothers are respected role models in their community, challenging HIV stigma and discrimination.  Mentor Mothers also alleviate over-burdened health centers.

“Social entrepreneurs like mothers2mothers can transform health systems in pivotal and lasting ways,” says Kristin Gilliss, Skoll Foundation principal who works with m2m.  “mothers2mothers’ founders, for example, realized that effective treatments and methods to prevent transmission of HIV from mothers to their babies are meaningless if the mothers who most need this care cannot access it.  This is the kind of inspired social entrepreneurship – identifying gaps and creating unique systems to address them – that the Skoll Foundation seeks to encourage and support.”

The United Nations’ Global Plan towards the Elimination of New HIV Infections among Children by 2015 and Keeping their Mothers Alive highlights the Mentor Mother model as an effective concept for under-resourced health systems.  The Skoll Foundation grant will help mothers2mothers work with African governments to embed the Mentor Mother model within their national health systems.

“The Skoll Foundation’s generous support in a difficult funding environment will provide vital support to our program and our goal to serve as many women and children as we can,” said Robin Smalley, co-founder of mothers2mothers.  “We are thrilled to partner with Skoll as we continue to put mothers at the heart of our efforts to eliminate pediatric AIDS.”

Next week, 40,000 delegates, scientists, policy makers, donors and people living with HIV from more than 100 countries will gather in Washington D.C. to attend AIDS 2012. The conference, which will take place in the U.S. the first time in 20 years, will include discussion about the Global Plan and progress toward an HIV-free generation.

About the Skoll Foundation

Jeff Skoll created The Skoll Foundation in 1999 to pursue his vision of a sustainable world of peace and prosperity. Led by CEO Sally Osberg since 2001, our mission is to drive large-scale change by investing in, connecting and celebrating social entrepreneurs and the innovators who help them solve the world’s most pressing problems. Social entrepreneurs are society’s change agents, creators of innovations that disrupt the status quo and transform our world for the better. By identifying the people and programs already bringing positive change around the world, we empower them to extend their reach, deepen their impact and fundamentally improve society. Learn  more at for follow us at @skollfoundation.

About mothers2mothers

mothers2mothers (m2m) is eliminating transmission of HIV from mothers to babies and sustaining the health of women and children with its proven Mentor Mother model.  Since its inception, m2m has reached more than one million mothers in nine countries.  Founded in Cape Town in 2001, m2m is a partner in the United Nations’ Global Plan towards the Elimination of New HIV Infections among Children by 2015 and Keeping their Mothers Alive.  Learn more at or follow mothers2mothers @m2mtweets.


Kristin Gilliss, Skoll Foundation

David Torres, mothers2mothers



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