Welcome to Dignity Matters


Dignity Matters began by chance. Founder and Executive Director Kate Sanetra-Butler, who had just moved to Boston with her young family, was sightseeing in Copley Square in 2016. She was approached by a homeless teenager, who asked her for a tampon.

Unable to put the encounter out of her mind, Kate spent weeks doing research online and speaking with local school nurses and shelter directors. She came to a schocking realization: “period poverty” was a growing crisis in Massachusetts, and no one was doing anything to help. Kate started collecting menstrual care at her home in Wayland, and Dignity Matters began.

7 years later, Dignity Matters is one of the largest nonprofits in the nation focused on fighting period poverty. We help 15,000 women manage their period safely each month so they can live, learn, and care for their families with dignity.

Why does period poverty happen?

What does Dignity Matters do?

Dignity Matters supports 15,000 women and girls each month with the menstrual care, underwear, and bras they need to live with dignity.

Why do we fight Period Poverty?

Period poverty is a “deal-breaker:” for 3-7 days every month, women can’t work, attend school, or care for their families if they don’t have menstrual care. 1 in 4 students have missed a class because they can’t afford menstrual care, and 1 in 3 women working low-wage, hourly jobs have missed work (and are at risk of unemployment) for the same reason. When they have no other options, many women and girls turn to unhygienic alternatives like rags, socks, and newspaper – which often lead to infection, incontinence, and life-long illness.

How do we fight Period Poverty?

Dignity Matters supports women through a network of 170 shelters, food pantries, and schools. These organizations already serve them and their families, have earned their trust, and are accessible in their neighborhoods. We make a year-long commitment to each partner so they – and the women we support– know they can count on us when they need menstrual care. Learn more about our partners here.

We use wholesale manufacturing contracts to purchase menstrual care (at a 75% discount) and underwear (at a 50% discount). This helps us support more women with each dollar.

Who do we support?

There are women in every town in Massachusetts struggling to afford menstrual care. Period poverty may be most prevalent in marginalized communities, but the women and girls we support represent all races, ethnicities, sexual orientations, gender identities and religions. Many of them are students, many of them are the primary earners for their family, and many are recent immigrants and refugees.

How do our volunteers and donors help?

There is no state or federal funding program available to organizations like Dignity Matters that provide free menstrual care. We distribute 3 million items each year, and every single one of them is donated directly to us or purchased with financial support from our community.

Each year, we rely on hundreds of volunteers to help us collect, count, sort, pack, and deliver menstrual care and undergarments to the women we support. You are an essential part of Dignity Matters, and we’re very glad you’re here!

If you would like to help, we encourage you to donate funds, donate products, volunteer, subscribe to e-updates or get in touch to learn more about how you can make a difference.