(The Kwek Society of supplies delivered to partner school | Photo courtesy of Kwek Society)
Nonprofit Uses Funds to Continue Providing Menstrual Supplies to Schools Throughout the West
The Roundhouse Foundation, which supports innovative programs in Oregon’s rural communities with a key focus on Indigenous populations, has provided funding to The Kwek Society (kwe’k means “women” in Potawatomi). The Kwek Society provides menstrual supplies to Native American students and communities that do not have ready access to these costly products. According to several recent studies, one in four girls and women across America are experiencing this type of “period poverty.”
“Receiving Roundhouse Foundation’s support earlier this year has allowed us to continue to expand our partnerships with schools and organizations,” said The Kwek Society founder Eva Marie Carney, a dual citizen of the United States and the Citizen Potawatomi Nation. “The funding allows us to supply additional products across more schools and youth agencies, and our relationship with The Roundhouse Foundation has allowed us to connect with a variety of other programs across the Tribal Nations in Oregon.”
In addition, the funding allowed the Arlington, Virginia-based nonprofit to deliver needed period supplies to students at Oregon’s Chemawa Indian School in Salem, plus Pyramid Lake Junior and Senior High Schools in Nixon, Nevada, in early March. Virtually all of the Pyramid Lake students are Indigenous, and include members of the Native Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe, the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony, the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California and the Walker River Paiute Tribe. The Kwek Society also added a new school partner, Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary School in Sitka, Alaska.
“This important work represents exactly the kind of creative solutions we seek to support in collaboration with rural and Native communities,” said Erin Borla, executive director and trustee of The Roundhouse Foundation. “Access to period products should not be keeping students and adults from school, work and pursuing their goals in 21st-century America. The Kwek Society is playing a crucial role in addressing this challenge by supplying products, as well as information for young people that’s culturally responsive and helps them better connect with their bodies and communities.”
In total, the organization partners with nearly 80 schools and community-based organizations in Oregon and throughout the U.S. and Canada, in places with significant Indigenous populations. The Kwek Society sends menstrual supplies and puberty education materials so that no one has to miss school or work, or risk their health or dignity due to insufficient supplies. In addition, the group works to shed light on menstrual and other inequities in Native communities.
About The Kwek Society
Kwe’k means ‘women’ in the Potawatomi language. The Kwek Society provides moon time bags, educational materials, pads, tampons, liners and underwear to Native American students and communities without ready access to these expensive menstrual supplies. The organization collaborates with schools and Native programs across North America, in rural areas, suburbs and cities, to eliminate period poverty among Native Americans. The Kwek Society is guided by the needs of the individual communities it supports, and also works to support the dignity and strength of everyone they serve.
About The Roundhouse Foundation
The Roundhouse Foundation is a private, family foundation, based in Sisters, Oregon since 2002. The Foundation believes that solutions to the unique challenges of Oregon’s rural communities can be found through creative thinking and problem-solving, innovation and collaboration. We partner with community organizations to develop, implement and sustain creative, place-based approaches and programs that strengthen and celebrate rural Oregon.
In addition to providing grant services to rural communities and tribal regions throughout Oregon, The Roundhouse Foundation operates Pine Meadow Ranch Center for Arts and Agriculture in Sisters.