Halle Berry Gets Behind New $275M Bill for Menopause Research 

 A campaign led by prominent female lawmakers and boosted by the star power of actor Halle Berry has succeeded in gaining Congressional support for a major initiative for womens’ health. On April 30, 2024, legislative leaders unveiled a $275 million bill to boost federal research, physician training and public awareness about menopause.

Halle Barre and a bevy of legislators gathered to unveile the Advancing Menopause Care and Mid-Life Women’s Health Act. (Image credit: Screenshot from Youtube video)

In a rare bipartisan effort, the Senate bill, the Advancing Menopause Care and Mid-Life Women’s Health Act, is led by Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and has support from Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and other lawmakers. 

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Dr. Janet Wormack is the New CFO and COO of The Steve Fund

Since women are both the primary producers and consumers of mental health services, it’s heartening to see women being elevated into positions of leadership and influence in this arena.

Dr. Janet Wormack, new Chief Financial and Operations Officer at The Steve Fund. (Image credit: The Steve Fund)

The Steve Fund announced the appointment of Dr. Janet Wormack as the organization’s new Chief Financial and Operations Officer. The Steve Fund is a leading nonprofit organization focused on promoting the mental health and emotional well-being of young people of color.

“Dr. Janet Wormack brings a wealth of experience in public and higher education administration to The Steve Fund,” said David McGhee, CEO of The Steve Fund. 

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Institutional Shake-Up: WPI Names New Interim Director

Following the resignation of Director Jeannie Infante Sager, The Women’s Philanthropy Institute (WPI) has announced a new Interim Director.

Jacqueline Ackerman has been named to the role of Interim Director. Ackerman has been associated with WPI since 2012 and has held roles as Assistant and Associate Director of Research at WPI. Most recently, she served as Associate Director for WPI. 

Outgoing Director of Women’s Philanthropy Institute, who recently participated in a webinar with Kiersten Marek and other women’s philanthropy experts. (Image credit: KLM)

‘Jaquie has been instrumental to the growth and evolution of WPI for close to a decade,” said outgoing director Jeannie Infante Sager. “[She has] led our research agenda, managed research reports and roll outs, served as primary author on many of our reports, and supervised grants and sponsorships. Her commitment to our mission and her enthusiasm for our work are evident, and I have no doubt that they will continue to make significant contributions women’s philanthropy.”

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Janiece Evans-Page: Daring to Double Down on Racial Equity

With racial justice programs and DEI initiatives under threat, philanthropic organizations face an important decision – double down in the fight for justice or back down. Janiece Evans-Page, the CEO of Tides, is taking the harder road. She won’t back down, and she won’t let others shut her down. As the leader of an organization managing as much as $1.25 billion in assets at any given time, Evans-Page is carrying out a critical mission that other funders might want to emulate: upholding the American values of racial and gender equality.

Janiece Evans-Page, the CEO of Tides. (Image credit: Tides)

We were fortunate enough that Janiece Evans-Page was willing to share her time and her thoughts on the attacks on organizations like the Fearless Fund. Janiece shares her insights here on how philanthropy can prioritize racial and gender justice, and use core values as the building blocks to a healthier democracy.

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Federal Government Agency Latest Target of Assault on Diversity

In the past few weeks, the conservative crusade against affirmative action has widened its scope to include various levels of government. 

Jill Biden recently announced funding for the White House Initiative on Women’s Health Research. More information on this new funding is below. (Image credit: AP)

The first is aimed directly at the federal government. A federal judge in Texas has ruled that the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) is guilty of discrimination. The agency was created during the Nixon administration fifty years ago to improve access to capital for minority-owned businesses. The judge, who was appointed by Trump, has ruled that such support is an illegal violation of the rights of all Americans. 

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Blaustein: Create New Global Systems by Funding Local Women

Dear Readers: This essay is written by Susan M. Blaustein, Founder/Executive Director, WomenStrong International.

As we witness the world aflame with conflict- and climate-fueled disasters, it is urgent this International Women’s Day that we support and strengthen the peacemakers, the healers, the teachers, advocates, the community-builders: of course, I mean the women.

WomenStrong International supports Projet Jeune Leaders in Madagascar. (Image credit:  Projet Jeune Leader)

In climate-related emergencies, we see over and over that local women leaders and the organizations they lead are best-positioned to know who is most vulnerable, where those individuals and families are living, which forms of relief are most urgent, and where those relief services can be safely and reliably located. 

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Biden Helps Women, Fearless Fund Update, Little League Opens Grants

It should no longer be a secret that more than half of all college degrees are granted to women. This has been the trend for some time now. So when the Biden Administration announced the cancellation of student debt for approximately 153,000 borrowers, the math tells us that most of those benefiting are women. Finally, some good news.

According to the Fact Sheet released by the White House, a total of $1.2 billion in student debt will be forgiven.

Grants are now open for Girls with Game. See below. (Image credit: Little League)

To qualify, the borrower must be enrolled in the administration’s Saving on a Valuable Education (SAVE) program. The initial debt must be under $12,000, and the borrower must have been making payments for at least ten years. The SAVE plan bases payment amounts on income and family size.

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WPI Webinar: Women’s Political Giving Will Surge in 2024

On January 30, 2024, the Womens’ Philanthropy Institute (WPI) of Indiana University hosted a webinar to look into a crystal ball and discuss what members of the giving community believe is coming our way in the coming year.

Jeannie Sager of WPI kicked off the conversation with a thorough review of relevant topics. (Image Credit: WPI)

The moderator was Jeannie Sager, Executive Director of WPI. Panelists included 

  • Elizabeth Barajas Romắn, President and CEO of the Women’s Funding Network (WFN);
  • Latanya Mapp Frett, President and CEO of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors (RPA); and 
  • Kiersten Marek, Founder and CEO of Philanthropy Women (PW)

To start, Jeannie Sager established five key trends as identified by research of WPI:

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Attack on Fearless Fund Goes National in Time and Newsweek

As we reported both in October and December of 2023, the good work of the  Fearless Fund has come under attack from right-wing extremists. The American ​​Alliance for Equal Rights (AAER) which is led by anti-affirmative activist Edward Blum, is the same conservative organization that convinced the Supreme Court to reject affirmative action criteria for college admissions in June 2023.

(Image credit: Fearless Fund)

Since the Supreme Court decision, AAER has expanded its scope to target seemingly all efforts to promote social justice and equity. The Fearless Fund is a venture capital fund that provides pre-seed, seed-level, or Series A financing to businesses led by women of color. As their website states, “Our mission is to bridge the gap in venture capital funding for women of color founders building scalable, growth aggressive companies.” 

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Upcoming Women’s Philanthropy Webinar on 2024 Giving Trends

Kiersten Marek, of Philanthropy Women, will be on a panel for a webinar presented by the Women’s Philanthropy Institute (WPI) on January 30, 2024 at 1:00 PM Eastern Time, (12:00 PM Central Time). The discussion is scheduled for one hour. 

The central topic will be how women’s philanthropy will transform itself in 2024. The US general election in November is sure to have an impact on women’s priorities and so women’s giving. The influence of megadonors, as always, will continue to be a significant factor in the sector as well as we head into this new year.  

Next Tuesday, join WPI for a webinar on women’s philanthropy trends. (Image credit: WPI)

Join Kiersten, WPI and others for the discussion as we explore research-driven insights that inform trends in gender and giving. We will also hear from leaders in the field who will share their predictions for 2024 and beyond. 

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