Dr. Elesia Glover: Advocate, Supporter, and Proud Walden Alumna
Social change is life’s fuel for the founder of Posh Pack.
It was a statistic Dr. Elesia Glover would never forget. Nearly one in five girls in the United States has missed time in school due to lack of access to period supplies.1
“The more due diligence and research that I did around the issue, the more that I saw that there was a gap in support and advocacy specifically for students in that space,” she says. “And I wanted to do something to help advocate for students, and to bring awareness to it, but also help to fill the gap by providing the actual items to schools in need.”
In 2018, while living and working in Atlanta, Dr. Glover founded Posh Pack, a nonprofit organization dedicated to doing just that.
“Access to feminine hygiene products is not a privilege for those that can afford them, but a necessary right for all who need them,” Posh Pack explains on its website. “Without these products many young women miss educational opportunities, putting them behind in school. Additionally, many elected officials have not accounted for this need in their annual budgets to equip schools properly with these products. Posh Pack not only educates the public and elected officials on this need, but in the interim works to fill the gap by providing elementary, middle, and high schools with feminine hygiene products.”
Dr. Glover chose the name Posh Pack to reframe the conversation about menstruation. “The topic of menstrual cycles has long been a taboo topic, making young women feel insecure and unsure of themselves,” according to the nonprofit. “Posh Pack is working to make sure young women feel secure and confident in themselves even during this time of month.”
Posh Pack’s Reach Grows
By 2021, Dr. Glover’s social change initiative was donating period products to schools in Georgia, North Carolina, Florida, and Virginia. Posh Pack distributed 22,867 pads in 2021, which was 7,867 over its goal of 15,000.
In 2022, Dr. Glover plans to expand within those states and add schools in South Carolina, West Virginia, Tennessee, and Alabama. A $10,000 grant from Walden University, where Dr. Glover earned her PhD in Public Policy and Administration in 2018, will help make that possible.
“We originally had set a goal for 2022 to do 25,000 pads. But with the partnership with Walden, in terms of the Act for Good donation that they are giving us, we’re actually doubling our goal from 25,000 to 50,000 pads for 2022,” Posh Pack’s founder and president says. “We’re very excited to be able to increase our impact and our reach in that way because of the donation from Walden.”
Adjusting Course for COVID-19
Just as the young nonprofit was gaining momentum, the coronavirus outbreak closed schools in 2020, sending students home. But the Posh Pack team knew that the need for menstrual supplies was still there.
“We really had to be creative and adapt to change,” Dr. Glover says. “We had to figure out a way to still be effective in this space. And so we started to collaborate with food pantries and various organizations that had touchpoints with families that we may not have had. … They would give out the food items, but they would also include our donation of pads for families that needed them. And so we felt that that was an effective kind of workaround because we knew our items were still getting to the families in need. These families still had daughters who were attending school online, and they still needed access to pads.”
The organization’s pivot reinforced how dynamic collaborations can be, which is something Posh Pack will continue to focus on moving forward, Dr. Glover says.
“I think before that we had kind of worked pretty much in a silo, just making donations to schools. But through the pandemic, we saw the power of what it meant to work together with other organizations and what that partnership and collaborative effort can mean in terms of impact.”
One of her key goals is to partner with a company that produces period products.
“I’m actively trying to figure out how to make that happen for us. And in doing that, that would create not only a pipeline of items to donate, but it will also create a partnership, where we can have this conversation between ourselves as a nonprofit and the retailer or brand, about the importance of this issue and how they can help address period poverty on their end.”
Advocates for Better Access
Posh Pack’s advocacy work focuses on improving access to period products by educating public officials about period poverty and working to end the sales tax on period products.
“It seems that the road that has provided the most opportunity has been to work on a state level versus a federal level,” Dr. Glover says. “The Menstrual Equity for All Act has been introduced a number of times. And it seems that that is as far as it gets at a federal level. But even on a state level, in Georgia, it took a couple of times of a bill being introduced before we at least got to the point where they recognized the need to increase the budget for feminine hygiene products in schools. And they have done that. There’s still some other work to do, but that’s certainly a step in the right direction.”
Posh Pack is also reaching out to involve students in new ways through a pilot program for teens at a Georgia high school.
“We’re calling them Posh Pack Junior Ambassadors,” Dr. Glover says. “And so, what they will do is they will help stock their particular high school with feminine hygiene items in the bathroom, so girls don't feel the need to have to go to a nurse or walk across their high school campus and miss more class time trying to get a pad.”
That’s just the start, though. Dr. Glover’s long-term vision is to add components like leadership training and mentorship opportunities and replicate the program in high schools throughout the country.
Tireless Social Change Efforts
Looking at what Posh Pack has accomplished since 2018 seems all the more amazing when you learn there is no paid staff.
“This is completely volunteer,” says Dr. Glover, who now lives in Charlotte, North Carolina. “I have a very active 9-to-5 job, where I actually work for a global nonprofit, the Alliance to End Plastic Waste, managing external relations for North and South America. So, it keeps me very busy. And then outside of that, when I’m not doing my 9-to-5 work, I’m working on Posh Pack.”
She gives credit to the organization’s “fantastic” board of directors for Posh Pack’s growth. “Everybody has a true passion for this and is doing this all on a volunteer basis, which is really amazing,” she says.
Her own commitment to social change is second to none. “It’s at the core of what I do every day,” she says, and one of the reasons she chose Walden for her doctorate in public policy. The online university’s “foundation of social change across all of its programs” was a major appeal.
She also wanted an online degree program designed to let her “continue progressing professionally and academically, simultaneously.”
“I did not want to have to choose one or the other. And Walden gave me the ability to do both at the same time. It gave me the ability to still hone my professional skills and progress in my professional career while obtaining my doctorate and also progressing in my academic career as well. So that was at the core of my decision to choose Walden.”
If you’d like to join Walden in supporting Posh Pack, you can donate to the organization’s GoFundMe campaign and through Cash App ($PoshPackInc). Posh Pack also accepts donations of pads via the organization’s Amazon wish list.
“We try to make sure we make it as convenient as possible, and people have options for how they want to support the organization,” she says.
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