In Memoriam: Sandra Smithey
This week we heard the sad news from Flint, Michigan, that Sandra Smithey has passed away. Sandra was for many years our pillar of support at the CS Mott Foundation. The foundation has supported the work of Both ENDS and of partners like Casa Fund and the NGO Forum on the ADB for more than 20 years, both financially and with its wide-ranging knowledge. One of Sandra’s ambitions was to make international money flows, such as development funding via the World Bank but also, for example, export credit insurance, fairer and more sustainable.
Sandra was an imposing and warm-hearted woman. She believed in the power of civil society organisations to persuade public institutions to respect human rights and the environment. And she believed in the power of international cooperation. She had respect and enthusiasm for the strategy and work of Both ENDS, which she also expressed by sharing her constructive criticism with us. She also shared our belief that local activists and knowledge-holders, and locally rooted civil society movements, should be the key to real change. And she was prepared to translate that trust into long-term financial support for these actors.
Over the years, many Both ENDS colleagues worked with Sandra. We collaborated for example on creating Small Grants Funds and in the fight against large-scale water programmes in Africa, Asia and Latin America. She was also closely involved in our networks aimed at influencing the World Bank and other development banks.
We will always remember Sandra as an inspiring colleague and donor who succeeded in turning her confidence in civil society organisations into long-term, strategic financial support, and at the same time stood alongside her grantees with full conviction. We wish her family and all those around her strength in dealing with the loss of this unique and inspiring woman.