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 more than $100 million to 1700 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 to read Voices From the Frontlines

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 to read a letter by Stephen Lewis himself on where the money goes.  


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 $833,778 for the Stephen Lewis Foundation.

WELCOME to the Grassroot Grannies website.  
At this point our eager crafters started to make much needed masks and they were offered to friends at no charge. A small card was attached indicating that mask recipients could make a donation to the SLF and the project mushroomed. At year end, over 800 masks had been sewn and distributed and donations to the SLF totalling $19,000 plus. 

Since the beginning, masks were in short supply, so we tried to ensure that the masks were going to individuals and not to commercial establishments who would sell them for their profit. We felt we were doing a humanitarian thing by making masks for individuals. So our sewers sewed, our volunteers delivered and donations grew. The pandemic is not over yet. Our sewers are still sewing and our fundraising page is still active. Ten months later, there is still money coming in.

As was/is the case for many other Grannie Groups, most of our fundraising efforts had to be cancelled or modified. Our annual three-day Ride to Turn the Tide bicycle trip was changed to a one-day ride. Stella Val and her committee spent many hours rethinking and re-pedaling three suitable routes for the cyclists for a one-day ride. Needless to say, through their planning and the hard work of the cyclists and the generosity of the sponsors, we were able to donate over $67,000 to the SLF, which is almost as much as was donated in 2019.

It is too early to tell how this year is going to turn out. We may be lucky and the pandemic will be over so we can return to some normalcy in our lives. We might be able to resume some of our fundraising efforts or we may have to rely on the initiatives of our members to come up with some new ideas. 

In any case, the Grassroot Grannies are still a dedicated SLF fundraising group who will do our best to support our Grandmothers in Africa during these troubling times. 

We wish everyone a very happy, healthy and prosperous 2021.

Karen Whiteside
Co-Chair, Grassroot Grannies

In mid-March 2020 the COVID pandemic was peaking, and we realized that we were not going to be able to plan fundraising events that involved groups of people, so with our support, Diane Thomson stepped up by initiating a Grassroot Grannies fundraising page on the SLF website. Initially the details were only sent to our members. The idea was that many of us were saving money during the pandemic because we were no longer going out for coffee, lunches, attending movies or concerts, or filling our cars with gas. Making a donation of these funds was entirely optional, but the response was amazing, and within a month our members and friends had donated over $4,200.
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