The Barbara Pillsbury Memorial Fund

To keep Barbara's memory alive



An Advocate for Women in Development

Dr. Barbara Pillsbury, a medical/cultural anthropologist, spent all her professional career working with women and families in order to improve the lives of others. Barbara worked in 100 countries and spoke 13 languages, including Chinese, Arabic, and Swedish. She passed away on September 27, 2012. For more details about Barbara’s long devotion and achievements to international development, please visit her Memorial Page on the NAPA website.  

“The first time I met Barbara, I was struck by her passion for working in development. She was an excellent communicator and worked hard in drafting policy recommendations that benefited women. Her strong statement to me saying “I think one person can make a difference in helping others” inspired me and started me on a long journey working together with her on many consultancies for organizations such as the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the World Bank, the World Health Organization (WHO), and The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).” – Dr. Soheir Stolba, President, The SHARE Institute

The Barbara Pillsbury Memorial Fund was established by Barbara’s two daughters, Heather Cristman, and Kristina Milne, and her family, to honor Barbara and keep her causes in international development funded. This fund will be used to provide non-governmental organizations mini-grants that will enable women and children to lead better lives. The fund focuses on the issues that Barbara spent her life working on, such as reproductive health and family planning, maternal and child health, and HIV/AIDS education.


Project Funding:

The SHARE Institute’s mini-grants are awarded to non-governmental organizations in developing countries. These organizations submit proposals to SHARE and must answer technical questions about their proposed projects. Organizations are required to send electronic final reports and pictures about their projects. SHARE has favored micro-credit grants to help as many women as possible with limited funding. In thirteen years of operations, SHARE has completed 210 projects in 28 countries.

In the last three years of her life, Barbara personally funded mini-grants to be implemented in the DRC Congo. Approximately 100 women benefited from her donations. Money sent in her name after her passing in 2012 funded the same Congo project, which enabled women to purchase generators to irrigate their small lots of land. Also, children were able to study at night because of the electricity provided by the generator.

Projects Funded by the Barbara Pillsbury Memorial Fund in 2016

For the year 2016, the Barbara Pillsbury Fund funded four mini-grants.  These projects focused on areas that Barbara advocated for. The following is a summary of those projects. An estimated 60 women will benefit from these mini-grants.


CHEDRES in Nigeria

Maternal, New Born and Child Nutrition Project, Nigeria

The project was designed to address acute malnutrition and stunting among children.  The project provided facilitation sessions to educate pregnant women and lactating women about the importance of proper nutrition for children’s growth and development.

Pregnant women had their blood pressure checked.  Also, children had their height and weight and arm circumference checked.  The project provided deworming for 160 children.   As a result of the testing conducted on the children, 16 children were identified as severely malnourished and 96 children were malnourished.

The Society of Women against AIDS in Africa

Implementation of a Fish-Breeding Project, Democratic Republic of Congo

SWAA implemented a project to benefit young sex workers and steer them away from prostitution.  The project had several objectives including giving women a way to earn money and raise a family without being subjected to HIV/AIDs.  

Sixty five beneficiaries were identified and they participated in preparing a small lake to be stocked with fish.  Tools such as spades, wheelbarrows, and other digging tools were purchased and distributed to the women.

The project has been a major success.  One of the beneficiaries stated that she has been sending only her sons to school but not daughters because she lacked money.  The project has enabled her to pay for girls’ education.  Also, her oldest son has been able to join a university and is pursuing his dream of becoming an engineer.

Iseguri Ghana

Rice Farming and Micro-credit, Ghana

Growing brown rice is preferred in Ghana for its taste.  Brown rice is used in cultural rituals and special festivals.  Also, it is convenient for long-term storage and it can stand climatic changes.  Women were offered technical assistance to grow better varieties of brown rice. The beneficiaries were divided into three groups (a) Cassava planting group), (b) Rice planting group, and (c) Maize planting group.   The women learned about planting in line techniques, fertilizing the soil, and insect control methods.

Flying Samaritans, Mexico

Eye Exams for School Children and Senior Adults, Mexico

Medical teams consisting of students and professors of Medicine from the University of California Medical School visit a project site in Mexico.  The SHARE Institute purchases eye glasses for school children and older adults.  Many of the adults have never had corrective glasses.  They lived their lives with blurry vision.  The Optical Clinic provided eye exams to 94 patients and the SHARE funds paid for 44 new pairs of glasses.  There is a great deal of interest in the clinical services provided to senior adults.

Projects Funded by the Barbara Pillsbury Memorial Fund in 2014

For the year 2014, the Barbara Pillsbury Fund funded four mini-grants.  These projects focused on areas that Barbara advocated for. The following is a summary of those projects. An estimated 60 women will benefit from these mini-grants.


Voice of Women in Uganda

In 2014, The Barbara Pillsbury Memorial Fund, in coordination with The SHARE Institute, provided a mini-grant to Voice of Women in Uganda to assist women living with HIV/AIDS. The project provided two pigs to four women with HIV/AIDS so that the women could start up home-based businesses raising pigs for food.  Mimicking the principals of a revolving micro-credit fund, each woman that receives two pigs from the initial seed money will be required to pass on a male and a female pig to another woman in the community with HIV/AIDS. This practice will ensure that the initial mini-grant money will have a lasting impact in the community for years to come!


Empathy Uganda in Uganda

In 2014, The Barbara Pillsbury Memorial Fund, in partnership with the SHARE Institute, provided a mini-grant to Empathy Uganda for the purchase of an oven that will be used to train prenatal women in the business of baking.  Approximately 70% of women that Empathy Uganda works with live in extreme poverty, placing themselves and their unborn children at great risk during pregnancy due to malnutrition. The training provided by this project will allow the women to earn supplementary income during and after pregnancy that will be used to meet their nutritional and household needs.


CHEDRES in Nigeria

The SHARE Institute, in conjunction with the Barbara Pillsbury Memorial Fund, provided a mini-grant to CHEDRES in Nigeria to fund the Safe Motherhood Program.  The Safe Motherhood Program educates HIV/AIDS positive women in Nigeria of the dangers of pregnancy and childbirth due to HIV/AIDS. The program also works with pregnant women who carry HIV/AIDS in the prevention of the transfer of the disease to fetuses and newborns during pregnancy and childbirth. Finally the CHEDRES Safe Motherhood Program works to educate all women in their communities on how to prevent contracting or spreading HIV/AIDS.


The Society of Women against AIDS in Africa

SWAA was established in 1988 to fight HIV/AIDS and to elevate women living in poverty. Through the generous donations of Dr. Barbara Pillsbury, and later her memorial fund, this organization has received funding to combat sexual violence, and to assist women in the fight against poverty. 

In 2014, sixty women benefited from the purchase and distribution of fertilizer to increase production in agricultural land. The project resulted in the production of six tons of corn flour and three tons of corn vegetables. The increase in production helped women by increasing their incomes. Children benefited by getting more nutritious means and by being able to join nearby schools. 


How Can You Help?

For Barbara’s friends and loved ones, you might want to use the White Wall to share some good experiences you had with Barbara or to donate to her causes.  Please send all your contributions to SHARE via check to 8370 Sunset Ave. Fair Oaks, CA 95628 or using the PayPal link below.

Please send your comments to, and we will update the White Wall, send tax donation receipts, and ensure that your donations fund projects that further women’s causes. You can access the White Wall here.