The IDP Foundation, Inc. has always practiced grantmaking with purpose.

We view the grants we provide as catalytic seed stage funding and aim to support programs we know will be sustainable and will facilitate further funding. IDPF particularly focuses on granting to transformative medical research that will have a lasting impact, not only here in the U.S. but also in the developing world.

The University of Illinois at Chicago’s (UIC) Mela Project is one such grantee. In 2014, IDPF provided a seed grant to the Mela Project, led by Dr. Gelila Goba, to strengthen the quality of education in OB/GYN training at Mekelle University in Ethiopia and to support research and faculty capacity. The Mela Project’s mission is to create a center of excellence in medical education, clinical training and research at Mekelle University. The partnership between UIC’s OB/GYN department and Mekelle University aims to improve the medical care of women and decrease maternal mortality in Ethiopia.

Our initial investment has helped the Mela Project progress from start-up to operational phase with new research and collaborative opportunities, a growing cohort of accomplished OB/GYNS, increasing opportunities for features in prestigious publications, and an expanded funding circle.

After the success of the initial funding, IDPF provided additional funding to the Mela Project in 2018, which resulted in the Mela Project’s expansion to include Jimma University in southern Ethiopia as well as Makerere University in Uganda. With this expansion, researchers have been able to further explore human papilloma virus (HPV) and cervical cancer at both Mekelle and Jimma Universities. Additionally, our latest grant has helped the Mela Project in their application for further funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

We are so excited that our support has contributed to the Mela Project‘s growth and that our seed stage investment will have long-term impact. We look forward to seeing the important progress made in the future by Dr. Gelila Goba and her team.

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