Founded in 2013, GlobalHearthWorks Foundation, Inc. is a non-profit organization that supports market-based enterprises involved in bringing sustainable fuels and improved cookstoves to consumers in the poorest parts of the developing world.
We are a small foundation with a hands-on approach; we work closely with management teams on the ground to help build businesses, formulate strategy, and improve organizational structure. We collaborate with fellow funders and implementers — including governments, NGOs, and for-profit organizations— to share lessons-learned and to bring the most promising cooking solutions to the greatest number of households.
We are registered and based in Massachusetts. Currently, we are working in Africa and Haiti.
Ashley Pettus founded Global HearthWorks Foundation in 2013 to work with vulnerable communities that are contending with environmental degradation and the growing threat of climate change.
As an undergraduate and graduate student, she lived in Asia and conducted doctoral dissertation research on women's role in Vietnam’s market reform process; but she has always been drawn to Africa. Her work as a freelance science writer exposed her to projects and organizations in East and Southern Africa, where she saw firsthand that energy poverty—especially the lack of safe and sustainable cooking practices—is a root cause of many of the problems affecting the poor in developing countries, from land erosion caused by deforestation, to chronic respiratory illnesses among women and children, to limited educational opportunities, especially for girls.
Convinced that market-based approaches have the best chance of getting new technologies and fuels to the greatest number of people who will in fact use them, she began providing low-interest GHWF loans to start-up and early-stage enterprises that were testing new ways to address environmental degradation, gender inequality, poor health and poverty.
Ashley earned a Ph.D. in Social and Cultural Anthropology from University of California Berkeley and a bachelor’s degree in Social Studies from Harvard. A trustee of the Wellspring Foundation, she lives in Cambridge, MA, where GHWF is based, and travels frequently to Africa and Haiti..