Addressing inequity

What we do.

The Kwek Society was founded by Eva Marie Carney in early 2018. Eva is a dual citizen of the United States and the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, an elected legislator for the Nation, and a human rights lawyer. The Kwek Society works to shine a light on and address menstrual and other inequities in Indigenous communities.

Eva’s eyes were opened to the shocking rate of period poverty on rural Indigenous reservations when she read Why Many Native American Girls Skip School When They Have Their Periods, by Eleanor Goldberg.

In the piece, a Pine Ridge Reservation student reports that about half of her friends can’t afford tampons or period pads so they have to skip school for as long as a week when they are on their periods, and then fall farther and farther behind in class. Eva found untenable this injustice of missing out on school due to a lack of access to period products. She launched The Kwek Society with a particular focus on getting period care to community members without ready access to these expensive products. (“Kwe’k” means “women” in the Potawatomi language.)

One in Three Students Struggled to Purchase Period Products this year.

An essential need.


Many Indigenous people refer to the time of menstruation as their “moon time.”  Early on, Eva worked with several fellow Potawatomi kwe’k to develop The Kwek Society’s signature “moon time bags.” These are colorful cotton bags sewn by supporters and stuffed with pads and liners. The bags allow menstruators to keep supplies on hand when one’s moon time approaches. You can read more about how we developed our moon time bags here.

Since 2018, The Kwek Society has expanded to provide period supplies to students living in cities and suburbs and to get supplies to other Indigenous community members, including unhomed individuals, who can’t afford these expensive necessities. We believe that every person deserves sufficient supplies to maintain dignity and celebrate their strength during their moon time. No one should have to miss school or work or activities of daily life when they are on their periods, and no one should suffer the indignity of stained clothing, or use period supplies for longer than intended and risk their health due to insufficient supplies.

We are very small. Our Founder Eva now serves as our volunteer Executive Director. She is supported by several young women who are passionate about our mission and work for us part-time. A majority of our board members are Indigenous women. We believe that our respect for tribal traditions has been integral to our growth.

We interact with leaders of schools and governments and community-based organizations in Indigenous communities to meet the specific period product needs of each community. Our objective is to support the dignity of each person we serve and to meet individual preferences for period supplies whenever possible.

Our mission

Meet the need.

We at The Kwek Society are focused on supplying Indigenous students and communities the period products they need to maintain their dignity and celebrate their strength and moon times. We collaborate with schools and programs in rural areas, suburbs, and cities across North America to eliminate period poverty among Indigenous people. We educate about moon time as a time for celebration, and we work to support the dignity and strength of all we serve.

Dignity. Strength. Period Supplies.

The Kwek Society is a strong force pertaining to the issue of period poverty. Our school district serves a large Native American population and the grants of moon time bags have helped these students be more present in school as well as open doors to more conversations educating young students about puberty.

The Kwek Society provides so much more than just grants, they are encouraging and share their expertise to expand services to all menstruating students in various ways.

April Stobbe

School Board Member, School Volunteer, Shawnee Public Schools (OK)

Non-profit excellence

Dedicated to impact.

The Kwek Society is committed to ending period poverty in Indigenous communities. We are also committed to thriving as a respected and well-run non-profit performing with transparency and excellence.

Here are some of our milestones to date:

  • Early 2018: We obtained our 501(c)(3) public charity tax-exempt status from the IRS.
  • Early 2019: We earned GuideStar’s highest level of recognition – its Platinum Seal of Transparency.  We continue to maintain that recognition.
  • Early 2019: We received our first donation from a sovereign Native Nation, the Pokagon Band of Potawatomi.
  • Summer 2019: We received a substantial in-kind donation of tampons and pads purchased and delivered by the Citizen Potawatomi Nation to 20 schools in Oklahoma and New Mexico, which allowed us to proceed with new partnerships, knowing the 20 schools who got CPN donations were taken care of for the school year.
  • Late 2019: We were recognized at the Reykjavik Global Forum – World Leaders with the Power Together Award.
  • Late 2019: We were awarded our first public grant — a $2,500 Winter Assistance grant by MissionBox, an online hub for nonprofits — which we used to purchase a special supplement of period supplies for students in 15 of the schools and programs we support, to eliminate their concerns about addressing their moon times in a dignified way while on holiday break and out of reach of their schools’ supplies.
  • Early 2020: The Kwek Society was invited to become an Allied Program of the Alliance for Period Supplies, a national organization working to ensure that individuals in need have access to essential period products required to participate fully in daily life.
  • Summer 2020: We received our first foundation grant from The Burkehaven Family Foundation.
  • Late 2020: The Sparkjoy Foundation awarded us a sizable grant and we added to our board of directors an Ontario, Canada-based First Nations kwe (woman).
  • First half of 2021: We expanded our reach across North America with the addition of four new Canadian-based partners, new school partners in Arizona and New Mexico, and a community renewal non-profit in Oklahoma, and we expanded our Board of Directors. We are 10 women strong, and 8 of us are Indigenous kwe’k (women).
  • Second half of 2021: We secured our first multi-year grant from The Burkehaven Family Foundation, giving us the cushion needed to operate, expand and innovate. By late September, we added another First Nations partner situated in Canada, along with a tribally operated school in Iowa, two tribally operated health clinics in Oklahoma and an additional school partner in South Dakota. We continued our outreach to school and community leaders.
  • End of 2021: We added a Navajo boarding school in Farmington, New Mexico, and cemented relationships with New Mexico partners during our site visits in November 2021. We began distributing washable “Glad Rags” period pads to several of our New Mexico partners—hoping this will foster our sustainability (and reflect our accountability to our Mother Earth). With the help of the Alliance for Period Supplies and U by Kotex®, in December 2021 we showered tampons on Indigenous schools and communities across Northern Maine. And we received generous donations and commitments for future profits from so many throughout the last quarter of 2021, including from It’s August, PERIOD Ontario, Chingona Makes, and thicfigtattoo. And, in mid-December, we forged a partnership with Bras for Girls, which began shipping sports bras and education pamphlets on breast development to students in some of our partner schools. We look forward to sustaining our partnerships and adding new partnerships in 2022!
  • First half of 2022: We secured funding from The Roundhouse Foundation and the Citizen Potawatomi Nation that allows us to continue expanding our reach throughout Indigenous North America while meeting our obligations to all of the existing partners we supply with period products.  We added schools in three new states, Alaska, Colorado, and Nevada, and new community partners in Colorado, Oregon, and South Dakota, raising our number of partners throughout the U.S. and Canada to 87. We accepted from U by Kotex® (through the Alliance for Period Supplies) a very sizeable donation of pads and liners for the students attending Central Consolidated School District Schools (New Mexico) and celebrated the milestone of distributing more than 1,000,000 period supplies since we started in 2018.
  • Second half of 2022: By year-end, we blew past the one-million-period-supplies-donated milestone to 1.2 MILLION! In August, we were recognized by Walmart and Always as one of 50 “Period Heroes” working across the United States to end period poverty. That recognition came with a substantial donation of Always pads, which helped boost our donation numbers. The donation was split among larger school districts we support in New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Wyoming. Among the new commitments we made were commitments to stock the restrooms of Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, Kansas, supported by a new funder, the Prairie Band Potawatomi Nation, and period supplies and puberty education support to the Shiprock Office of Diné Youth, which serves hundreds upon hundreds of Navajo Nation youth living in Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. The latter partnership was made possible by funding from two other sovereign Nations, the Notawaseppi Huron Band of Potawatomi and the Forest County Potawatomi; further support – in the form of donation of hundreds of sports bras – came from Bras for Girls.
  • First half of 2023:  We hired our first part-time kwe (woman) to support our programming! We were granted funds by The Pad Project’s Pads Across America to supply 17 cases of organic pads from Be Prepared Period to students we support. This donation allowed us to once again invite students in need to take enough pads to see them through summer break. In April 2023, we joined forces with Indigenous Women Rising, sharing an information table at the largest U.S. powwow — The Gathering of Nations PowWow in Albuquerque, New Mexico; by early March, we reached the milestone of 1.4 million supplies donated and added three additional partners in Ontario province.
  • June through September 2023: We received another generous donation from The Pad Project that helped us tremendously in restocking schools with pads for the start of the new school year. The Wildhorse Foundation also generously funded our pad purchases. In August 2023 we added 3 new school partners. Earlier in the summer, we were excited to be part of Rock the Rez, getting needed period care items to campers and staff participating in two music camps on South Dakota reservations. In September we received multi-pallet donations of Tampax tampons from Proctor & Gamble, which we directed to the 15 Central Consolidated School District schools we support in New Mexico.

    Our terrific friends at Bras for Girls continue to provide sports bras to the students we support – during the first 8 months of 2023 they donated 1,578 bras! And our work is getting noticed! Our efforts to address period poverty in North American Indigenous communities were featured in an article in Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health’s Harvard Public Health newsletter that was republished by the Boston Globe.

Kwek Power Together Award

Founder & President Eva Marie Carney, fourth from right, receiving The Kwek Society’s Power Together award from the Reykjavik (Iceland) Global Forum – World Leaders in November 2019, alongside twenty-four other organisations using our Power, Together to end the stigma of menstruation that still plagues society.

Your donations fund our critical work to support dignity and affirm Indigenous people. They are tax-deductible pursuant to IRS rules. We stretch every dollar to the limit: our founder and everyone else on our board volunteers their time, and we tirelessly pursue donations of period supplies, postage, and more to reduce expenses. 

You can find the most up-to-date information on our partnerships, operations and impact by reviewing our GuideStar Nonprofit Profile.

Together we can end period poverty

We have 23 girls in grades 5 – 8.  I have given the period care items you sent to our health teacher and I also have given her one of each book that I ordered for her to use in health class. 

Is it possible to get three more moon time bags?  I have already given away three of the five that you sent along. I gave them to girls that have already started their period. Word has gotten out and the younger girls are asking for a bag. Some have not started their cycles yet but the fact that they are asking for them now means to me that carrying and storing period products in their lockers does not have any stigma when they come packaged in a beautiful bag.  

Janice Rice

Sipiyak Elementary School, Pleasant Point, Maine

You can support our mission directly with your donations, checks, packages and correspondence to:

The Kwek Society
Attn: Eva Marie Carney
P.O. Box 5595
Arlington, VA  22205

501(c)(3) number (EIN): 82-4369803

If shipping products via UPS or FedEx, please email us for a private address.

Alliance for Period Supplies Logo


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Our Executive Team and Board

Who we are.

Eva Marie Carney

Founder + Executive Director

Eva Marie Carney

Eva Marie Carney is The Kwek Society’s Founder and Executive Director. She holds elected office as a Member of the Legislature of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation, with reservation lands near Shawnee, Oklahoma. She also works as a human rights lawyer through Just Neighbors, a nonprofit law firm operating from Annandale, Virginia. Just Neighbors generously grants The Kwek Society office and meeting space. Eva is one of a number of Menstrual Health content area experts who have built Our Bodies Ourselves Today, a world-class online platform providing up-to-date, trustworthy, and inclusive information about health, sexuality, and well-being. She is a dual citizen of the United States and the Citizen Potawatomi Nation and lives in Virginia.

Eva earlier was a partner in a Washington, D.C. law firm and an Assistant General Counsel with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Eva graduated from the University of San Francisco with a BA in history and received her JD from Stanford Law School. Her husband Alan L. Cohen and their two adult children actively support The Kwek Society, and their dog Bailey serves as the organization’s Chief of Morale.

The Kwek Society Founder Eva Marie CarneyThe Kwek Society Moral Officer - Bailey

Watch this video of Eva presenting to NIH National Library of Medicine personnel about the reach and impact of “period poverty” and The Kwek Society’s work to meet period care needs and empower Indigenous menstruators.

Learn more

Barbara B. Hannigan

Board President

Barbara B. Hannigan

Barbara B. Hannigan, Board President, is a retired attorney and ethics official. Before joining our Board, Barbara served as Ethics Officer of the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, a non-profit financial regulator. Before assuming that role, Barbara spent close to two decades at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, serving as SEC Ethics Counsel and Designated Agency Ethics Official among other roles. Before her SEC career, Ms. Hannigan was an associate with the Washington D.C. law firm now known as Pillsbury.  Barbara lives in Virginia.

Barbara received a J.D. from The American University.

Barbara shared her thoughts about International Women’s Day and her work for The Kwek Society in a recent interview with Goodera.

The Kwek Society is very much focused on women’s rights and making sure that we fill the need to mitigate, to the extent that we can, period povertyMany people think that period poverty and the inaccessibility of products is just a problem that is faced in more economically disadvantaged countries. But that is not the case. It is a problem in America. And it is a problem in Native communities.

Paige Willett

Board Vice President + Newsletter Editor

Paige Willett

Paige Willett is a dual citizen of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation (CPN) and the United States. Born and raised in Oklahoma, she attended the University of Oklahoma Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communications and received her bachelor’s degree in journalism in 2012. She attends New York University, working on a master’s in American Journalism.

Paige is an award-winning writer and audio journalist with work published by the Hownikan (CPN’s monthly news publication), Oklahoma Daily, Shawnee News-Star and NPR affiliate KGOU. She is a member of the Native American Journalists Association and the Oklahoma Society of Professional Journalists. She was named one of NextGen Under 30 Oklahoma recipients in 2019. She is also a member of CPN’s chapter of the American Indian Science and Engineering Society.

Paige works for the Bureau of Indian Education as a communications specialist. In addition to serving as the Vice President of our Board of Directors, she also writes for and edits The Kwek Society’s periodic newsletter. Paige previously worked for CPN’s public information department as a writer, editor, and podcast producer, as well as host and operations director for a local NPR affiliate. She enjoys telling Indigenous stories and ensuring that tribal members are informed.

Kimberly Pratt


Kimberly Pratt

Kimberly Pratt is a dual citizen of the United States and the Citizen Potawatomi Nation (CPN). She is presently on a Joint Duty Assignment at the Pentagon serving as a strategic planner for international treaty negotiations on the Joint Staff. In May of 2021, she completed the Graduate Fellowship Certificate program in Countering Weapons of Mass Destruction from the National Defense University and Missouri State University program. In 2013, she retired as a Colonel from the Air Force Reserves culminating a military career spanning 34 years.

The highlights of her career include graduating in the fourth class with women from the U.S. Air Force Academy in 1983; being selected as the first woman to be an Airborne Intelligence Officer on the EC-130, Airborne Battlefield Command and Control Center (1986-1988); serving as first Commander of the 139th Intelligence Squadron, Georgia Air National Guard (2008-2010); and serving as the Senior Reservist at the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency (2012-2013).

Kim holds a Bachelor of Science degree from the U.S. Air Force Academy, and a Master of Science in Strategic Intelligence (M.S.S.I.) degree from the Joint Military Intelligence College, Defense Intelligence Agency, Bolling Air Force Base, Washington D.C. (2005). She lives in Alexandria, Virginia and is married to Edward Pratt, an aerospace engineer, retired from the Civil Service. She has two children that are both CPN tribal members, and two stepchildren.


Susannah Howard

Board Member

Susannah Howard

Susannah Howard is a dual citizen of the United States and the Citizen Potawatomi Nation (CPN). She graduated from Smith College, earning a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Geosciences and a certificate in Native American and Indigenous Studies from the Five College Consortium.

While an undergraduate at Smith, Susannah participated in the Potawatomi Leadership Program (Shawnee, OK), served as a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellow at Smith (Northampton, MA), interned with the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum (Washington, DC), the Research Experience for Undergraduate programs: Sustainable Land and Water Resources (Minneapolis, MN), and was a student fellow in the Kahn Liberal Arts Institute’s Food Project (Northampton, MA). She also served in multiple roles in house government, as the chair and treasurer of the Indigenous Smith Students Alliance, and volunteered with the Admissions Office to improve diversity-centered initiatives and run guided tours.

After graduating from Smith College in 2019, Susie joined the inaugural Sloan Indigenous Graduate Partnership cohort to earn her Master of Science degree in environmental science at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. There, she studied the opportunities for cultural revitalization of Potawatomi plant knowledge in the wake of climate change. Susie worked with Dr. Robin Wall Kimmerer, a fellow ecologist and CPN citizen who so many know from reading or listening to her beautiful book, Braiding Sweetgrass.

Because Susie had to conduct much of her research remotely due to the pandemic, she was excited when presented with the opportunity to join the blossoming community of Kwek Society leadership and supporters. She has cherished the chance to meet more like-minded folks and support our work to end period poverty and lift Indigenous voices. 

Susie Howard has served on The Kwek Society Board of Directors since June 2021. She is one of our youngest members. She initially interned with us from August 2020 to May 2021, helping us track donations and thank donors. 

Susie now works at the Upper Valley Land Trust as a conservation project manager, helping landowners protect their working fields and forests for future generations. She recently completed the Indigenous Leadership Program at Arizona State University. She serves as a trustee for the Thetford Historical Society, assisting in restoring and rehabilitating their Barn Museum. In her spare time, Susie is an avid reader and heirloom gardener, and she greatly enjoys her adventures to bookstores, museums, botanic gardens, and conservation areas.

Kathy Meacham Webb


Kathy Meacham Webb

Kathy Meacham Webb is a citizen of the Shawnee, Oklahoma-based Citizen Potawatomi Nation and lives in Tennessee. Her business career has focused on helping companies support their most valued asset – their employees — through culture development and health care strategies.

She currently is the National Director of Partnerships at Hinge Health, the world’s most complete Digital Musculoskeletal Clinic for back and joint pain, leading partnership collaboration. Previously, she developed the Consulting Practice with Limeade, an employee engagement company that builds great places to work by improving well-being and strengthening workplace culture. Kathy started her career with Johnson & Johnson and HealthFitness, working on health, fitness and well-being approaches, contributing to these companies’ winning national awards and creating a sustainable industry.

She is an active member and previous co-chair of the Health Enhancement Research Organization and a national presenter and speaker on topics including the importance of well-being, employee engagement and organizational support.


Lisa Witt

Board Member

Lisa Witt

Lisa Witt lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She is The Kwek Society’s woman on the ground in New Mexico, the site of many of our partnerships. Lisa is the Marketing Manager and Owner of Quilted Care Ltd Co. that oversees, with husband Tom, senior living communities in New Mexico, Texas and Nevada. She is Board President of the David Specter Shalom House, a HUD-financed low-income community for seniors.

 Lisa previously owned Avista Video Histories and, earlier, served as the Chief Economist, Policy Planning Staff at the Department of State and as Senior Budget Analyst, International Affairs Division, Office of Management and Budget, while living in Washington, D.C. Lisa graduated with a B.A. in International Relations from the University of Michigan and a Master of Science in Foreign Service from Georgetown University. She is married to Tom and has two adult children.


Tesia Zientek

Board Member

Tesia Zientek

Tesia Zientek is a Citizen Potawatomi Nation tribal citizen. With help from a Gates Millennium Scholarship, she graduated magna cum laude from the University of Notre Dame in 2009 with her B.A. in English. After graduation, Tesia spent two years teaching and running an afterschool program in Puerto Rico before pursuing her M.A. in Education Policy from Stanford University in 2013. To celebrate her achievements, Tesia has received the Howard Yackus Memorial, NextGen 30 Under 30, NCAIED Native American 40 Under 40, and Oklahoma Magazine 40 Under 40 awards. In 2015, she established her tribe’s first Department of Education and served as Director through 2023. For ten years, Tesia also served as Potawatomi Leadership Program Advisor, building the curriculum for the Harvard Honoring Nations Award-winning internship program. Tesia currently works for the American Indian Science and Engineering Society (AISES) as Senior Director of Programs. She serves as President of the National Indian Education Association and President of the Oklahoma Council for Indian Education. In her spare time, she enjoys thrifting vintage clothing and reading.


Winona Elliott

Board Member

Winona Elliott

Board Member Winona Elliott is Potawatomi and Ojibway from Neyaashiinigmiing First Nation located on the Bruce Peninsula in Ontario, Canada. She belongs to the Moose Clan from her father’s side, and also acknowledges her mother’s clan, the Fish Clan. She lives in Ontario, Canada, and works as a Circle Facilitator for Native Child Welfare, an Indigenous Child Well-Being Agency.


Pam Vrooman, Ph.D.

Board Member

Pam Vrooman, Ph.D.

Pam Vrooman, Ph.D. is a citizen of the Citizen Potawatomi Nation and a licensed clinical psychologist in the state of Oklahoma. She has been in private practice for the past 15 years. She specializes in the treatment of co-occurring disorders and trauma for adolescents and adults, with an emphasis on decolonizing trauma work. She works with neurodivergent individuals as well as individuals who identify as LGBTQ+. Before starting her own practice, she worked in the field of chemical dependency at all levels and interfaced with the judicial system by serving as the Drug/Mental Health Court liaison for Resonance Center for Women. She also worked at Domestic Violence Intervention Services offering counseling and advocacy for victims.Dr. Vrooman received her B.A. in English and her M.A. and Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Tulsa. While in graduate school she also served as the research coordinator for a $5 million Office of Juvenile Affairs gang prevention grant working with multiple Tulsa non-profits. She was a speaker in the train-the-trainer series conducted by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, and also appeared in the Emmy-nominated documentary, “A Question of Life or Meth.” Before becoming a psychologist, Dr. Vrooman spent 20 years in public relations and marketing doing strategic planning, market research, and writing. She is a member of Matriarch Oklahoma, an ongoing student of the Bodéwadmi language, and performs regularly with De’wegen Kwék, a Citizen Potawatomi women’s hand drum group. She is married to Samuel Harris, with two adult children, three grandchildren, and three big dogs that regularly dig up her gardens.