2020 Impact Report
Thank you. 2020 was an unprecedented year. From wildfires that swept across Australia and our Pacific Northwest to a pandemic that affected daily living across the globe, this year has taught us all resilience and the ability to adjust to ever-changing circumstances. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation reported that in just 25 weeks, progress in everything from poverty alleviation to women’s equality had been “set back 25 years.” That regression hit hardest for our overseas partners who saw the social and economic toll of the pandemic expose dramatic spikes in domestic violence, teen pregnancy, and reductions in health services for women and girls. How do you move forward with optimism in the wake of challenging current events? You keep to your mission to change lives for the better and adapt. We started 2020 with plans to fund events and projects around the globe and travel to support international partners. Those plans quickly shifted to respond to the most urgent needs, from funding wildfire containment and advocates for racial justice, to donating period care to active duty military members and veterans, menstruating firefighters, and health care providers working tirelessly to save homes and lives. We donated over 12,000 menstrual cups to organizations in 34 countries, moved reproductive health classes online, and funded over 11,000 days of school for girls in need. We used our supply chain to create high-quality antibacterial masks for partners with urgent hygiene needs who helped distribute them to marginalized populations often at the highest risk because of the lack of economic resources for both PPE and healthcare. Each success was enabled and magnified by you, our Saalt community, who reached out to help identify needs and support our efforts to help underserved communities around the world.
Contents 2020 Impact Overview 5 Our Purpose 6
Where We Work 8
Donation to Australia 34 Donations to Firefighters 35
Donations to Healthcare Workers
Black Lives Matter
Back to School
Teen Cups: by Teens for Teens
Danielle Burden Corporate Responsibility Manager
Donations to Veterans 46
Reusable Mask Donation
Our deepest thanks,
Cherie Hoeger CEO & Impact Director
Cover photograh by Payton McGriff. Photography contributed by Julie Gascon, Payton McGriff, DROTY, Jjumba Martin, Wiser, Mwangi A Kirubi. Design contribution by Adelle Cron.
2020 IMPACT OVERVIEW
Waste Products Diverted
3,740 Pounds of Cleanup Funded
11,340 Days of School Funded
We believe that people empowered and equipped to live their element can change the world. As a certified B Corp, we commit 2% of our revenue to donate period care to regions with the most need, and help fund initiatives in menstrual health, education and empowerment, and sustainability.
Empower and equip. These are ambitious words to encapsulate a holistic strategy to improve menstrual health on a greater level than just donating products. We do this by training in-country staff to ensure classes and mentoring are offered with every product donation, and by hiring full-time educators, like Pressa in rural Nepal, to teach about menstrual and reproductive health to both those receiving our products and their communities.
EDUCATION & EMPOWERMENT
Everyone should have the right to a safe and dignified period. We empower individuals with the knowledge and long-term solutions to improve their menstrual health, which increases gender equality and opens conversations that bring awareness and break down social stigmas.
Access to period care keeps girls in school, breaking the cycle of poverty for generations. We’re fueled by the power educated women have to lift their families and invest back into their local economy, bringing change to entire communities.
Every consumer who chooses reusables saves thousands of single use period products from our landfills and oceans. We provide consumers with sustainable solutions to decrease waste through product design that is healthy for both body and planet, and by funding direct cleanup efforts.
“Empowerment starts with educating people to know their bodies and flow, and that menstruation is not a sign of illness, but of health and vitality.” —Cherie Hoeger, Saalt Co-founder Equipping starts with donating products to address urgent needs, then continuing to tackle barriers to improve the period experience. In Uganda, for example, 88% of people lack access to quality period care and 60% lack facilities to care for their periods. That means when we heard of students in Uganda emptying their cups in the tall grass because they lacked access to private latrines, we worked with our partners to build three new latrines for rural schools. Through our impact pillars, we seek to use our funds in the most mindful way to create lasting change. 7
Where We Work
ENGLAND CANADA ITALY
Period.org Baby Steps Every Mother Counts
NICARAGUA COSTA RICA FIRMC
Lahaie Luna Lezama Foundation
SIERRA LEONE TOGO
Style Her Empowered
Outreach to the World WISER International
NEPAL Her International
UGANDA DROTY FIRMC
TANZANIA Peace Corps Maji Safi
ZAMBIA African Education Program
Style Her Empowered Since 2018, Saalt has supported SHE with menstrual cup donations and scholarship funds for schoolgirls in the small town of Notse, Togo. At the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, SHE leaders knew they had a choice: play it safe and slide under the radar, or show up in a big way for their community. With a quick about-face, SHE seamstresses began sewing masks rather than the adaptable uniforms that the organization is well known for. After-school programs adjusted to become educational support for students who were no longer attending daily classes, and special emphasis was given to students who were still expected to take the annual end-of-year national exams. Those students were able to complete exams with a 97% pass rate. SHE also expanded their school scholarships to include more services to a greater number of students. In 2020, Saalt funded a grant proposal from SHE to support those efforts, providing scholarships, uniforms, and menstrual kits to schoolgirls in adjacent regions around Notse. In a year of incredible difficulty and growth, SHE was also able to expand to a US-based program by contracting Boise local seamstresses to make masks. Their goals included committing to responsible, sustainable manufacturing, using resettlement agencies to help refugee women find more reliable and uplifting work, and helping homeless women and those displaced by pandemic-related difficulties.
“I thought I was being hired as a seamstress at S H E, but I realize now that my job is as a full-time civil servant.” —S H E Seamstress
Her International Her International’s holistic approach to empower women and girls through education starts by providing scholarships to individual girls and then helping their mothers through safe meeting spaces and mother’s groups where women have access to educational programs, business and empowerment training, and microfinance loans. This year, Saalt continued to partner with Her to provide long-term menstrual care for students and funded 20 scholarships as part of our Back to School September campaign. Saalt also funded a grant proposal from Her that would allow them to create an incredible curriculum of menstrual education and women’s empowerment. This curriculum will be used in both Nepal and Canada in women’s groups that meet regularly.
From the outset of the COVID-19 pandemic and the ensuing closures, Her international approached the challenges with their characteristic ingenuity. “With schools closed, our onthe-ground partner staff has practiced innovative solutions to continue girls’ education. Since most families do not have internet access, online schooling has not been an option. To support the student’s individual learning at home, we hired community teachers to meet with students in small, sociallydistanced groups.
“As traditional modes of serving have had to change in 2020, we leaned heavily into these practices and will continue to allow us to weather any storm.” —Her International Team
Dreams of the Tropical Youth The beginning of 2020 felt hopeful as DROTY and Saalt collaborated to organize a fun run in honor of International Women’s Day. Co-Director, Timothy Arnold, shared how DROTY has pivoted with the COVID-19 crisis: “We have had to diversify our strategies to meet the challenges exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Priorities have been rethought and quarterly year plans adjusted to suit the constraints. Our organization has embarked on transformation towards digital services for communication, administration and outreach, and continuous engagement with stakeholders. During the second and third quarters, we had to stay home while keeping in close contact with the District Probation office and Uganda Police Kyotera to keep up to date with especially cases of sexual and gender-based violence against girls and women. On the other hand, while moving away from the traditional mode of work, which was mainly physical engagements, we have been leveraging on technology i.e internet, radio talk shows, and SMS to provide community support and stay in contact with the network of passionate individual well-wishers and development partners who continuously uphold their commitment towards our mission.”
“In response to the food insecurity during this period, we successfully came up with a Covid-19 Food Relief Program helping 200 poor families.” —Timothy Arnold, Program Director at DROTY 18
FIMRC As a menstrual care company, Saalt looks to nonprofits who are addressing menstrual health needs in underserved communities around the world. Through FIMRC, Saalt has been able to expand our donation reach to populations in Africa and Central America. In a typical year, FIMRC project sites are staffed and funded by volunteers. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, FIMRC has adjusted by offering virtual programs that allow volunteers to contribute to FIMRC’s operations through a remote project. With onsite staff, local community members still have access to needed care at a time when healthcare is limited. It is through these staff that Saalt is continuing to donate menstrual cups, and now reusable masks, to the participants in FIMRC’s local health programs. FIMRC operates in 8 different countries at a total of 10 sites around the world. Each project site is specifically designed to 22
care for the needs of each local community. FIMRC sites offer health programs, education programs, maternity support, clinical outreach, and more. As our partnership continues to grow, Saalt looks forward to supporting more of these programs that beautifully align with our common goals.
“2020 was a year full of unique and unexpected circumstances...and with that obstacle came a time to search for new opportunities.” —FIMRC Team
COSTA RICA & UGANDA
Outreach to the World Outreach to the World has been a staple in the rural community of Kiminini, Kenya since 2004. Their work supporting the health and education of the women and girls in their community is what drew Saalt to support their efforts. When COVID-19 hit Kenya in March of 2020, like many other nations, schools closed and social interactions were limited or even restricted. “What it meant to our poor widows and orphans was easily sinking into isolation, hunger, and fear. Most of our guardians live in very modest, small dwellings on casual labor, entirely dependent on small cash wages to live on without savings of any kind, no bank accounts, nor government subsidies. Now, their opportunities to work were curtailed and fear on how to survive set in,” stated Marjaana Seilonen, founder of OWI. OWI quickly saw the need to pivot from a focus on providing funds to send area orphans to school to basic necessities: food, basic healthcare, masks, and handwashing capabilities. Saalt had the opportunity to help OWI address some of those immediate needs by sending funds early in the summer of 2020. This funding was used to provide food kits for families supported by the OWI program.
“People never forget how you made them feel; OWI children and guardians WILL NEVER forget the compassion you have shown to them and OWI at large.” —Naomi, Lead Social Worker 24
Wiser International The Wiser Girl Secondary School takes a holistic approach to the boarding school environment by providing everything a girl needs to be successful including clothes, books, safe housing, menstrual cups provided by Saalt, pads, healthy food, mosquito nets, and essential medicine, as well as access to female role models, leadership training, and HIV education.
In March of 2020, Wiser Girls Secondary School, along with all Kenyan schools, was forced to close its doors. In order to continue to care for its students, Wiser support staff under the leadership of Principal Dorcas, distributed relief packages containing food and sanitation items on a monthly basis. This distribution process was done with great care, making sure to follow all COVID-19 safety protocols. The distribution not only cared for the physical needs of the students, but it also gave Wiser an opportunity to offer psychosocial support to its students. After returning to in-person learning, Saalt funded a grant proposal that Wiser had submitted that invested in the ongoing holistic educational support of the students attending their program. This funding allowed Wiser to continue to provide medical care, mosquito nets, school supplies, clean water, and menstrual supplies for their students.
“It is because of the preparation, dedication, and holistic nature of WISER that we are able to respond to this crisis with truly effective girlfocused programs.” —Zack Fowler, Wiser Executive Director 26
Maji Safi Group Saalt partnered with Maji Safi late in 2019. When we learned of the incredible programs offered by the organization, we couldn’t be more excited to include our cups as an addition to the education and curriculum currently being offered. “Maji Safi” means “clean water” in Swahili. Maji Safi operates in the Mara Region of rural Tanzania where 99 percent of the water is contaminated. The Maji Safi Group works by training community health educators to teach their communities about safe drinking water, handwashing practices, and other WASH principles. By using song and dance, youth learn principles in memorable ways. To respond to the pandemic, Max Perel-Slater, Tanzania Executive Director and Co-Founder, shared that Maji Safi was able to implement a large-scale, three-pronged campaign across Tanzania and East Africa. First, they trained first responders and medical professionals. They also promoted community-based education through public service announcements, radio shows, a health hotline, and educational pamphlets. They also used their strong social media presence to provide widespread health education. Through these outlets, Maji Safi was able to continue their work around Menstrual Hygiene Management by sharing good hygienic practices around menstruating during a pandemic.
“MSG was in a unique position to help battle COVID-19, as they have 8 years of experience promoting disease prevention.” —Maji Safi Team
Project Stree Saalt partnered with Project Stree in the fall of 2020 to help raise awareness for menstrual hygiene in India. Saalt Cups and reusable masks were sent to remote villages in Himmatnagar, Gujarat in the fall of 2020. Workshops were held to provide education on the menstrual cycle and female health while also addressing some of the social stigmas and taboos surrounding periods. Project Stree also provides participants with eco-friendly sanitary products, including cups, at the end of the workshop. Normally they conduct workshops for girls in schools, but because of the pandemic, they’ve had to switch gears. At the start of the pandemic, they started holding socially-distanced workshops outside for menstruating people of all ages in villages that were particularly hard hit by the virus in India. However, once cases started to rise in the country, they limited the workshops
and instead focused on staying in touch with the villages they had previously done work in to make sure they had all the menstrual resources they needed.
“There are millions of women that, when empowered and given the right resources and opportunities, have the ability to generate economic and social independence for themselves and ultimately help resolve other issues in India regarding poverty, education, and even gender-based violence.” —Project Stree
Lahaie Luna Lezama Foundation In celebration of Giving Tuesday 2019, the Saalt team offered the opportunity to several of our long-term partners to submit a grant proposal for $10,000 toward an existing or upcoming project or program. The Impact team was blown away (but not surprised) by the high caliber of proposals received. “When we received Saalt’s Giving Tuesday grant last year, we were beyond excited to begin our work and immediately jumped into planning and executing our field project in Venezuela. When the news of the pandemic began circulating, we made the difficult but necessary decision to postpone the in-person aspect of our project. Nevertheless, these changes in circumstance forced us to find alternative methods of continuing our project and we decided to create an online survey to collect preliminary data. Moreover, once international travel is safe again, we will be 34
able to go to these communities and donate Saalt Cups. All projects come with its set of challenges—some which we expected and some (such as a global pandemic!) which took us completely by surprise. Nevertheless, we were able to find a productive and safe way to continue our work with the help of the incredible team over at the Laboratorio de Reproducción Humana at the University of Carabobo. We are so grateful to Saalt for funding and believing in our research project, and although it may take longer than expected to complete we are determined to help Venezuelan women in need menstruate with dignity.” —Marianne and Véro Lahaie Luna, Founders of Lahaie Luna Lezama
2 0 2 0 S U P P O R T & I N I T I AT I V E S
Donations to Firefighters Later in the fall, fires ravished the Pacific Northwest USA. Tens of thousands of people lost their businesses and were uprooted from their homes. At Saalt, these fires hit especially close to home as several members of our families fought the flames. On October 9th, Saalt donated 100% of website profits to the Pacific Northwest Relief & Recovery Fund to help displaced families in need of food, shelter, healthcare, and critical services. Nearly 40% of menstruating firefighters fear their periods will impact their job. Menstrual cups are more comfortable and stay put for 12 hours, making them an ideal option for emergency personnel. Through October, we offered all active menstruating firefighters a free Saalt Cup. This was our call to all menstruating firefighters who work tirelessly to contain the flames and keep our families and homes safe.
Australian Bushfires At the beginning of this year, Australia’s bushfires took an unprecedented turn. They consumed over 15 million acres of land eliminating homes, ecosystems, livelihoods, and so much more. These events stirred the hearts of the world and countries across the globe rallied to support the Australian people. At our core, we believe in using our brand and platform to leave a positive mark on the world, and there are times when the world rallies together to pitch in where help is needed. On January 13th, Saalt responded by donating 100% of our website profits to the New South Wales Rural Fire Service to help their tireless efforts to mitigate the fires and alleviate those affected by them.
Donations to Healthcare Workers To show support for healthcare workers who were thrown into the front lines of the COVID-19crisis, Saalt donated menstrual cups to any hospital staff in need of period care. This donation was part of the launch for the Saalt Soft Desert Blush cup. For every cup sold during the cup’s presale, one cup was donated. In addition to the hundreds of donations made to healthcare workers who reached out to Saalt, cups were also donated to the United Way of the Treasure Valley in Boise, ID. 40
“We are so grateful for healthcare workers and all those who are on the front lines of fighting COVID-19. We wanted to donate our Saalt Cups in an effort to relieve them of any period-related worries while they work tirelessly to serve others.” —Cherie Hoeger, Saalt Co-Founder
Black Lives Matter x Saalt At Saalt, our mission is to empower and equip people to live their element and change lives. Core to that mission is the conviction that all people are intrinsically connected by the life-giving cycles of menstruation without partiality to race, faith, color, or nationality. That means whether we’re promoting menstrual or racial equity, we are committed to using our platform as a brand to amplify underserved voices and using our resources to fight social stigmas and injustice in all its forms. As a B Corp, our team is fundamentally driven to use our business as a force for good and support a diverse and inclusive economy. Anthea Kelsick, Co-CEO of B Lab U.S. & Canada said, “We cannot credibly build an inclusive economic system without addressing the fundamental injustice, inequity, and violence that disproportionately impacts Black people and other People of Color.” In order to truly change systemic racism and have equal representation, workplaces must take a leading role in pushing the conversation forward. Here’s where we decided to start. Using Our Dollars to Take a Stand To do more to support the Black community on our home soil, Saalt decided to match donations dollar for dollar up to $20,000 to three Black-founded American organizations: Code2College, Loveland Foundation, and Color of Change. We invited our Saalt community to stand, speak, and act with us to amplify those funds. Educating Our Team Employees at Saalt then took part in a workplace webinar called Whiteness At Work By Desiree Adaway, followed by an implicit bias training hosted that weeks later. Saalt staff incorporated key takeaways into our onboarding process for new employees to encourage open, honest conversations surrounding race that equip us to carry out our commitment to diversity. 43
Sending Girls Back to School The back to school season looked very different in 2020. Schools in the U.S. implemented remote learning and smaller class sizes to accommodate physical distancing, and schools around the world worked to pivot and find a new normal. But our commitment to support girls education, even amid times of extraordinary change and adjustment, remained the same. To continue our annual initiative to support girls going back to school this September, we worked with partners to donate 30 scholarships and 900 cups to students around the world while mindfully supporting additional needs that arose during the pandemic. In Kenya, Saalt funding for annual scholarships also covered food staples alongside school supplies, and reusable masks were donated to partners with urgent need. Menstrual cups, now requested more than ever, were sent to partners with educational programs, including Wiser International and OWI in Kenya, Her International in Nepal, DROTY in Uganda, and USbased organization, Simply the Basics, a non-profit hygiene bank based out of San Francisco, CA.
“By keeping students tethered to a curriculum, girls would be reminded on a daily basis that their education had not ended and that it is critical they keep their study skills and passion for school sharp, because they will be returning before long.” —Zach Fowler, WISER 46
Cleaning Up Coastlines in Hawaii Single-use period products are among the most common waste plastics found within our oceans and washed up on beaches. This year, Saalt partnered with Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii, a grassroots local nonprofit that aims to inspire local communities to care for coastlines through large-scale beach clean-ups. For every Seafoam Green Saalt Cup sold from September 19–24, 2020, Saalt funded 10 pounds of waste removal resulting in 3,790 pounds of coastline cleanups.
“With this partnership, we are hoping to make a positive impact on the world by empowering those who menstruate to take a small step in turning off the tap on plastic pollution. We are always stoked to work with B-Corps that have the planet’s best interest etched into their bottom line.” —Sustainable Coastlines Hawaii
Teen Cups: by Teens for Teens As Saalt prepared to develop and introduce a Teen Cup to the market, we wanted local teens to be an integral part of the product innovation process. Enter One Stone High School, a private, student-directed, tuition-free school that believes that students can make a difference if empowered to follow their passions. Students who joined Saalt’s teen focus group provided feedback and user testing during the development of the new teen cup and took part in marketing and branding strategies. It was an incredible community-building experience for Saalt and the One Stone students who enjoyed learning about menstrual cups from design to completion. Saalt also wanted to work directly with a teen-founded and led nonprofit organization focused on providing menstrual supplies to students in need. Women in Training, Inc. (WIT) is a youth empowerment organization that advocates for menstrual equity, menstrual education, and engages girls and nonbinary youth in community service and social justice. WITKITS® is the organization’s signature program for supporting people in need. Teenage twins, Brooke and Breanna Bennett, have worked together from a young age to help alleviate period poverty in the community around them.
“Having their voices heard and respected is such a valuable moment of ‘I matter’ in their lives, and we are so grateful for your partnership in helping them grow into their best selves.” —Mariel Zupsic, Assistant Chief of Staff & Can-Do Captain at OneStone 53
Veteran’s Day Donation We talked to active duty and former service members about their periods, and many reported feeling like they had to hide their periods from male service members and did not feel comfortable asking their chain-of-command about anything relating to menstruation. Remote military bases are often poorly stocked with feminine hygiene products, or have none at all. Service members who menstruate either wear a disposable product for multiple days or face bleeding through their uniforms. Serving in the field is stressful enough. Nobody should have to worry about not having essential hygiene products. This Veteran’s Day, Saalt offered a free cup to any active duty service member who participated. A Saalt Cup can last through multiple tours and requires only minimal water for cleaning. Saalt Cups are also small and lightweight, making it the perfect period product for active duty members on the go. We were happy to provide cups to military members to empower them to live their element as they grant us the freedom to live ours. 56
Donating Reusable Masks Masks are everywhere, except where they’re needed most. Saalt wanted to change that. As a B Corp, our mission is to empower and equip people to improve lives everywhere. When our impact partners shared with us stories of how the pandemic was affecting the people they served in marginalized communities, we felt we could do more to help. How? Use our supply chain to get high-quality masks into the hands of more people of those in need. Introducing Saalt Equality Masks. With every ethically-made mask purchased, we have donated a second mask to one of our partner organizations that serve marginalized communities around the world and here in the United States to offer needed protection to all members of our Saalt community. Masks will continue to be donated to Women in Training, I Support the Girls, FIMRC, Every Mother Counts, the Women and Children’s Alliance and Project Stree.
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