What is the Stephen Lewis Foundation?

The Stephen Lewis Foundation is a non profit charitable organization supporting community-level organizations that are turning the tide of HIV/AIDS in Africa. They provide care and support to women, orphans, grandmothers and people living with HIV and AIDS.  Since 2003, they have committed and distributed $130.7 million to 1800 initiatives, and partnered with over 325 community-based organizations in 15 African countries. To find out more  click here

Why have we decided to support the Stephen Lewis Foundation?
We are connecting with the Foundation because we feel confident that our help reaches the grandmothers and children most in need. For example, the Foundation helps grandmothers provide school fees for their grandchildren, secure food, provide opportunities to earn a living and assist them with counseling and much needed social and health care support.  To learn more about specific projects and how the money  is used to help community-based organizations click here.

Calculating Administrative Costs
Many have asked how much of the money raised for the Foundation goes toward administrative costs. The Stephen Lewis Foundation is one of very few charitable organizations that is able to keep their administrative costs as low "as humanly possible".  Their costs have been broken down into three categories: core administration, fundraising or funds development, and program funding. Click here for a view of their financials. 


The Grassroot Grannies, launched in 2006, is part of the grandmother movement sweeping Canada. There are currently over 240 similar granny groups across Canada involving more than 10,000 people. To date close to $39M has been raised through the Grandmothers Campaign 

Did You Know?

In 2017, there were 36.9 million people living with HIV worldwide.  Since the start of the global AIDS epidemic an estimated 78 million have been infected and 35 million have died of AIDS-related illnesses. 

Sub-Saharan Africa is home to roughly 70% of all people living with HIV, but only 15% of the global population.

To read the most recent (2016) UN AIDS Fact Sheets
click here 

  Ottawa-Gatineau Region Grandmothers Network (O-GRGN)

The O-GRGN is a a loosely formed network of 19 granny groups in the Ottawa - Gatineau region spreading out from as far west as Perth, north to Deep River and Pembroke, south to Morrisburg and east to Metcalfe and Quebec in the towns of Aylmer and Wakefield.  The O-GRGN convenes meetings of key leaders in the regional granny groups, hosts the Granny Fest, a learning and sharing one day conference every 18 months and organizes from time to time information and awareness events.

The grandmothers groups share three goals
  • Raise funds to meet the needs of African grandmothers and children in their care
  • Raise awareness about the expertise and leadership of Africa's grandmothers and their struggle to secure a hopeful and healthy future their children in their care
  • Build solidarity among grandmothers in order to better understand and sustain the vital work being done at the grassroots to turn the tide of AIDS in Africa

Advocacy GRAN style

GRAN takes action on 4 key areas:

1. The Right to Economic Security and Social Protection ...read more here

2. The Right to Education and Lifelong Learning...read more here

3. The Right to Freedom from Violence...read more here

4. The Right to Health...read more here

Grandmothers Advocacy Network - Mouvement de soutien des grands-meres, or GRAN is a non-partisan network of volunteers working together across Canada to advocate at local, national and international levels for the human rights of grandmothers, children and youth of sub-Saharan Africa. GRAN educates to raise public awareness and invite engagement. They advocate to influence national and global policy-makers and partner with like-minded organizations to amplify our voices and increase our impact.

For further information about the work of GRAN visit their website.

Did you know?  Only 10% of funds raised for the Grandmothers Campaign are used for administrative overhead.
Canadian grannies 
African grannies

 As the COVID-19 spreads across sub-Saharan Africa, the Stephen Lewis Foundation’s community-based partners are best placed to protect and support the most vulnerable populations. People affected by HIV and AIDS are particularly at risk, and must not disproportionately suffer the impacts of COVID-19. 

The Stephen Lewis Foundation needs your support to make sure that our grassroots partners have the resources they need to keep vulnerable communities healthy and safe during these challenging times. Learn more here

Since 2006, when the Grassroot Grannies first began, we have raised $926,350 for the Stephen Lewis Foundation.

WELCOME to the Grassroot Grannies website.  
Our Own Fundraising Page

In this time of Covid-19 we have had to turn to virtual creative means of raising funds for the Grandmothers Campaign.

For this purpose we have set up a fundraising page on which donations can be made directly to the Stephen Lewis Foundation. 

Instantly, income tax receipts will be sent electronically for amounts of $20.00 and more. 

To make donations 
click here


12th Annual RTTT

See the EVENTS page for details about this year's successful ride.

$97,500 has been raised by our riders this year.
COVID just won’t give up, but neither will we Grassroot Grannies! Although our traditional fundraisers have been altered or postponed, our group has kept the energy alive to reach our goals of reliable support for our African grandmothers and their orphaned grandchildren. We are in awe of the generous donations of our friends and families. Even without our usual plant sale or book exchange, our mask sales, on-line marketplace, garage sale, and especially the RIDE event, have this year all resulted in proceeds to the Stephen Lewis Foundation of over $100,000, a substantial increase over past years! Huge thanks to our many supporters.

Judy Hansen & Karen Whiteside
​Co-Chairs, Grassroot Grannies
September 2021 Update
Dear Stephen Lewis,

Our heartfelt wishes go to you as you face this latest personal health challenge. It brings forth recollections of the impact you have had on so many people’s lives.
Fifteen years ago, a group of us who had been friends for many years were at or nearing retirement, and seeking some meaningful challenge for the future. Your Grandmothers Campaign resonated immediately. We started with our common love of gardening by having a plant sale, and have broadened our fundraising events since then.
Grassroot Grannies Letter to Stephen Lewis
Apart from the obvious good that these programs have done to improve the lives of African grandmothers, and of those around them, there has been an unexpected personal benefit to each of us. We have expanded our group, made new friends, both within our group and across the whole country. 

We have challenged our leadership skills, and learned so much beyond our borders.