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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Climate Gender Equity Fund Debuts with First Grants in Africa

The Climate Gender Equity Fund (CGEF) is a public-private partnership focused on catalyzing gender equity in climate finance. A year after launching, CGEF has announced the first cohort of women-led organizations selected to receive grants, each of which is focused on advancing gender-equitable climate action in Africa.

Women participate in Clean Tech Hub’s incubation program. (Image credit: Amazon news)

The three organizations selected include:

  • The Clean Technology Hub, a women-led acceleration hub in Nigeria that is scaling new climate technologies; 
  • WomanHub, an accelerator in South Africa that supports female science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) business founders; and 
  • M-Kayla Ventures, an incubator in Kenya that focuses on women entrepreneurs working on climate-smart agriculture solutions.

The founding members of CGEF include USAID, Amazon, Reckitt, Visa Foundation, and The UPS Foundation. Combined, they have committed $20 million to the fund; in addition, USAID announced an additional $5 million during the COP28 climate change conference. 

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Bankers, Investors File Amicus Briefs as Fearless Fund Lives Up to Name

Over the past few months we have been reporting on the Fearless Fund. This is a venture capital fund that seeks out businesses led by women of color and provides pre-seed, seed-level, or Series A financing. 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.”

Image credit: Fearless Fund on Instagram

Our last story on the Fearless Fund ran on 10/30/23, and reported that the Fearless Fund was  ordered by the 11th Circuit Court in Atlanta to suspend its Strivers Grant contest which awards $20,000 to small businesses that have at least one woman of color in a leadership role. The court ruled that considering applications only from women of color constitutes racial discrimination.

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Women Face Uphill Survival Odds in Health, US Talks But Does Not Walk

The healthcare profession has been promising to increase the number of women included in clinical trials for decades. To be blunt, this has not happened. Women are still woefully underrepresented in virtually all clinical trials. Even the majority of lab mice are male.

The White House has announced a new initiative totalling $900 Million to Launch women in the economy. (Image Credit: Biden Harris Administration)

Not only do researchers fail to include enough women in clinical trials, they often don’t look for differences between how men and women respond to treatments.

The results of this neglect are tragic:

  • Women are twice as likely as men to die from heart attacks.
  • When a nonsmoker dies of lung cancer, it’s twice as likely to be a woman as a man.
  • Women suffer more than men from Alzheimer’s and autoimmune disease.

Despite this, the research into these conditions, and many more, generally fails to examine women as a separate population from men. It’s even less likely to look at disparities affecting women of color – why, for instance, Black women are nearly three times more likely to die in pregnancy than white women are.

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Announcing New Documentary Work from Audacious Women

Charlotte Mangin and Sandra Rattley have launched a new production company together named Audacious Women Productions. This new company follows the success of UNLADYLIKE2020. This award winning series has reached over 6 million viewers to date.

Among projects in progress for Audacious Women Productions is Augusta Savage. (Image credit: Audacious Women Productions)

With a mission to uncover and elevate untold narratives of diverse changemakers in bold new ways, Audacious Women Productions extends the impact of its documentary films through the design of multimedia educational resources, and film screenings and events across the country in partnership with community and national organizations. Charlotte and Sandy are thrilled to continue working together to bring inspiring, innovative, and timely stories to intergenerational audiences.

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Thankful to Keep Learning as a Quantic Executive MBA Scholar

Hello philanthropy friends! With Thanksgiving in our midst, it seems the perfect time to announce some big news!  I am going to pursue an Executive MBA degree with Quantic, a highly selective MBA program that seeks to disrupt the business world as we know it. I am so excited to be going back to school!!!

Quantic MBA
I will be entering the 58th cohort for Quantic, which boasts an 89% graduation rate and very high scores for student satisfaction. (Image credit: Kiersten Marek)



One of the big reasons I am pursuing an Executive MBA is to better understand how to attract markets to feminism and gender equality. In going through the process of applying and interviewing at Quantic, I had the realization that I had already crossed two hurdles: I created a feminist product that people would pay money for and I created a sizable market for this product. Now I will figure out if this product can be expanded, and, beyond that, how to proceed in convening stakeholders in business to move the needle on equal rights for women and girls.

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Leah Hendrix-Hunt and Family Featured in New Yorker

At Philanthropy Women, we pride ourselves on being able to stay ahead of the curve in recognizing ideas, discovering significant trends, and identifying the people who make these things happen. We are pleased to note that the The New Yorker is now following our lead. Several years ago, PW ran an interview with Leah Hunt-Hendrix. As a reminder, Hunt-Hendrix is a scion of Hunt Oil, founded by her maternal grandfather. 

Dr. Kimberlé Crenshaw’s book, “#SayHerName: Black Women’s Stories of State Violence and Public Silence” was recently released. More details below. (Image credit: #SayHerName)

The August issue of The New Yorker ran a story that touches on many of the issues discussed on these pages. Attached below is a link to the interview with Leah that PW published previously. Our interview focused more on the hard news angle, discussing her foundation, Solidaire, and the work it does while the New Yorker article is a bit more chatty, with anecdotes of her family, social status, and the problems presented by being a progressive who happens to be the heir to an oil fortune.  

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