Distributive By Design: How a New Economic Model Helps Build Gender Equality

Image: Kate Raworth and Christian Guthier/The Lancet Planetary Health

Kate Raworth has written a very compelling article about the need to redesign economies to address inequality. The change requires relinquishing old economic thinking, which said something like, “Inequality has to get worse before it can get better in a growing economy,” and replacing it with new thinking that builds on “a network of flows” which are distributive by design.

Raworth is a Senior Visiting Research Associate at the Environmental Change Institute at Oxford University and the author of Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st Century Economist.

More from the article:

Instead of focusing foremost on income, 21st-century economists will seek to redistribute the sources of wealth too – especially the wealth that lies in controlling land and resources, in controlling money creation, and in owning enterprise, technology and knowledge. And instead of turning solely to the market and state for solutions, they will harness the power of the commons to make it happen. Here are some questions that 21st century economists have already taken on to help create an economy that is distributive by design:

Land and resources: how can the value of Earth’s natural commonwealth be more equitably distributed: through land reform, land-value taxes, or by reclaiming land as a commons? And how could understanding our planet’s atmosphere and oceans as global commons far better distribute the global returns to their sustainable use?

Money creation: why endow commercial banks with the right to create money as interest-based debt, and leave them to reap the rents that flow from it? Money could alternatively be created by the state, or indeed by communities as complementary currencies: it’s time to create a monetary ecosystem that can fulfill this distributive potential. 

Enterprise: what business design models – such as cooperatives and employee-owned companies – can best ensure that committed workers, not fickle shareholders, reap a far greater share of the value that they help to generate?

Knowledge: how can the potential of the creative commons be unleashed internationally, through free open-source hardware and software, and the rise of creative commons licensing? 

Technology: who will own the robots, and why should it be that way? Given that much basic research underlying automation and digitization has been publicly funded, should a share of the rewards not return to the public purse? 



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Want Gender Equality in Your City? Join This Call.

Do you, like me, live in a city where girls softball teams have names like “The Dolls” and very few women make it into elected office? Then you might want to join this call being held by It’s Time Network next Tuesday, May 2nd at 3 PM EST. This will be an opportunity to learn about how to take action in your local community to protect and advance women’s rights.

It’s Time Network brought together a number of important organizations to formulate their Mayors Guide: Accelerating Gender Equality including the San Francisco Department on the Status of Women, Institute for Women’s Policy Research Center for American Women in Politics, Jobs with Justice,  Forward Together, Equal Rights Advocates, Global Fund for Women, Women Donors Network, Girls Inc.,  MomsRising, The Grove Foundation, St. Vincent De Paul Society of San Francisco, Astrea Foundation and Women’s Earth Alliance.

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How Funding for a New App is Helping Lift Up Communities Around the Globe

Courtenay Cabot Venton, an economist working in global development, helped developed a new app that brings communities together to solve problems.

From Emily: At Imago Dei Fund, we are honored to discover inspiring people with ideas that make cool things happen in the world. One such example is Courtenay Cabot Venton, the author of this post and an economist working in global development, who has spearheaded the development of an app being used around the world through a web of partnerships. This app helps people develop“self help groups” in impoverished places, making use of technology to empower and uplift their members. In many ways, Courtenay’s story of creating this app to empower women shows how the very nature of empowerment is changing. 

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First Women, Now Parents and Babies, to March on Washington for Better Care

It’s like the biggest play group ever, but political. On Tuesday, May 2, parents and babies from every state are converging on Capitol Hill and urging Congress to “Think Babies.”

Whenever there is a new initiative for babies, you can be sure there is a lot of woman power behind it. Man power, too, to be sure. But let’s face it: women still change more diapers, read more stories, and attend to more preschool dramas than men.

There is no doubt that women and entire communities benefit when babies are well taken care of. So this should be an important march, with a powerful feminist message: babies matter. Think Babies. 

From ZERO TO THREE, the organizing leading families in advocating for policies that support the littlest humans:

This Strolling Thunder event, organized by ZERO TO THREE, aims to increase legislators’ recognition about:

1. The importance of brain development in the first few years of life;
 2. How a child learns and grows;
 3. How investments in babies and toddlers are critical to our nation’s future; and
 4. Why Congress must Think Babies when it acts on legislation.
 “The greatest opportunity to influence a child’s life happens between the ages of 0 to 3, when brains grow faster than at any other point later in life,” said Matthew Melmed, executive director of ZERO TO THREE, a national nonprofit organization that works to ensure that all babies and toddlers have a strong start in life. “When families have the support they need to nourish the critical first few months and years of development with quality interactions and connections, we can stave off challenges down the road,” he added.

Parents will deliver that message directly when they stroll around the Capitol and visit with their Senators and Representatives. The goal of the meetings is to emphasize why making young children’s potential a national priority benefits the country, and impacts everything from economic development to military readiness.

Investments in programs and policies that support early brain development yield significant return on investment in the long run. Research shows that quality early childhood programs that begin at birth can deliver a 13 percent per year return on investment through more years of education, more employment, and better adult health.

But families without the social and economic resources to provide their babies and toddlers with positive, nurturing experiences are at a disadvantage. Nearly half of America’s babies live in or near poverty, which can undermine brain development. Giving all babies a strong start in life increases graduation rates, improves the quality of the workforce, improves health, and reduces crime.

To create that strong start, ZERO TO THREE is calling on Congress to focus on three key areas:

***Support paid family leave policies and options, so all parents have the time to build strong early relationships with their children without sacrificing their financial stability.
***Increase access to quality, affordable child care for all working families that provides babies and toddlers with close relationships with caring adults and strong early learning experiences.
***Build up mental health supports in primary pediatric care and early childhood programs to effectively support child development from day one.
 
The mothers, fathers, and caregivers taking part in Strolling Thunder represent a wide swath of Americans. They come from some of the country’s biggest cities and small rural towns. Their broad racial, ethnic, and economic diversity illustrates the widespread public demand for further federal support in early childhood programs.

“To help all children grow up as healthy as possible, we must give families and babies the support they need from the start,” said Kristin Schubert, managing director at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which is supporting the Think Babies campaign. “Healthy physical, cognitive, social, and emotional development throughout childhood is a fundamental part of building a national Culture of Health.”

Following Strolling Thunder, ZERO TO THREE will continue to educate the public and policymakers on the need for federal improvements in a wide range of supportive policies, including by mobilizing advocates across the nation.

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Givers, or Takers? Callahan’s New Book Takes a Hard Look at Philanthropy’s Alpha Donors

David Callahan, Founder and Editor of Inside Philanthropy and author of The Givers

Great private wealth is nothing new, but reading David Callahan’s The Givers will convince you that there is a different game at play today, with staggering fortunes and unprecedented elite hubris. Some fortunes are so big, and growing so fast, that even a dedicated philanthropist can’t give the money away fast enough. To cite just one example, Michael Bloomberg was worth around $5 billion when he became mayor of New York in 2002; he’s now worth more than $45 billion. With this figure in mind, the over one billion dollars he has given Johns Hopkins University to date doesn’t seem so big. Still, it’s an astonishing sum for most of us to contemplate. And that’s not all. Bloomberg has also given hundreds of millions to reduce smoking and traffic deaths globally, and combat climate change.

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Check Out this Call for Applications for Women Peacemakers

The Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice trains women as international peacemakers.

University of San Diego’s Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice just announced a call for application to its Women PeaceMakers fellowship program. The 10-month fellowship will bring on four women peacebuilders to work in high conflict areas internationally, engaging with four international peace partners on the goal of reducing violence in the community. Each fellow will also be followed by a Peace Researcher who will “document her peacebuilding journey, and specifically, how she engages the security sector.”

From Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice:

Each year, an urgent peacebuilding issue is identified and participants are selected based on their work in that area. During the 2017-18 academic year, the program will focus on Women PeaceMakers working with the local security sector (police, military and other state security forces) to advance peacebuilding, human security, and women’s rights in pre-, during or post-conflict settings. The guiding question that the fellows will work on is:

How can Women PeaceMakers and international partners build more effective local/global collaborations in their peacebuilding efforts to engage the security sector?

Examples of civilian-led engagement with the security sector to ensure legal mechanisms are upheld and human rights are protected include the following:

● Efforts to enhance accountability (e.g. civilian-led reporting mechanisms and efforts to combat impunity);

● Facilitation of security sector reform (e.g. civilian-supported disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration campaigns of certain military, police or militias);

● Building community-security partnerships

● The work of former female combatants to reintegrate and rehabilitate fellow fighters

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How is Walmart Doing with Supporting Women’s Funds and Women’s Empowerment?

Walmart supported the creation of a Women-Owned logo for suppliers, to increase visibility for women-owned businesses in their supply chain.

Given that Walmart is the largest employer in America, second only to the government, the fact that they are taking an active stance in addressing women’s empowerment is particularly important.

We want to make sure Walmart’s grantmaking gets talked about here on Philanthropy Women because they are such a large and influential company, not just in America, but globally. Because of their size, their ability to influence both the economy and the culture is great, and will likely have a growing impact on issues related to women as time goes on.

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Vini Bhansali: On Growing Underfunded Change Agents in the Global South

Rajasvini Bhansali, Executive Director, IDEX, soon to be renamed Thousand Currents. (Photo credit: Rucha Chitnis)

Rajasvini “Vini” Bhansali spoke to me by phone from Mumbai, India, where she was working and visiting family, the trip to her homeland compelled by a family illness.

“We attract donors and ambassadors that are thinking about local and global connections,” says Bhansali, Executive Director of IDEX (soon to be renamed Thousand Currents). Bhansali notes that 60 percent of IDEX’s budget comes from family foundations, 20 percent from individual donors, and 20 percent from earned income. Last year, IDEX recorded a 45 percent increase in new individual donors, and as it morphs into Thousand Currents, the organization has added staff positions, including a grants coordinator, a community engagement manager, and directors of “donor organizing” and “diaspora partnerships.”

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This Funder is Growing Quickly, and Giving Out Rapid-Response Grants to Fight Trump

The Emergent Fund is making rapid-response grants to push back on Trump’s discriminatory policies.

There is nothing quite like women’s networks to help make rapid-response grants. In an environment where women’s rights are being threatened by atrocious plans such as the Trump administration’s proposed ending of the Violence Against Women Act, we need more women’s networks to come forward like the Women Donors Network and push for increased funding to fight back.

Now, the Emergent Fund, of which the Women Donors Network is a founding member, has announced its next wave of rapid-response grants to community-based organizations resisting the Trump Administration’s regressive policies. This brings the total of grants already issued by the Emergent Fund to $500,000.

As we wrote in January, the Emergent Fund was formed by the Women Donors Network and Solidaire, in order to raise funds for grassroots organization to resist discriminatory policies being proposed and enacted by the Trump administration.

Related: Women Donors Network and Solidaire Join Forces to Create New Fund

I interviewed Donna Hall about the Women Donors Network (WDN) this past year and was astounded by all this network of women funders has done, and is continuing to do. WDN is particularly nimble and responsive to community concerns and emergencies, so it is great that they are forging the path on new funding to defend vulnerable people in the coming years. The Emergent Fund’s momentum appears to be very strong early on, which is a good indicator of likely ongoing solid growth.

“Everything is on the line — the lives and safety of millions of black and brown Americans, and even our Democracy itself,” said Jenifer Fernandez Ancona, Vice President for Strategy & Member Engagement at WDN.

As one of the member networks of the Emergent Fund, WDN is helping support the Emergent Fund’s ability to combat issues like deportation and Islamophobia. “These local fights are critical to building national progressive power needed for bigger wins,” added Ancona.

The Emergent Fund is now a partnership between Solidaire Network, Women Donors Network, and Threshold Foundation. Governed by an Advisory Council made up of leaders who represent communities most affected by the new administration, the Emergent Fund is making sure resources and advocacy remain available for marginalized groups.

The grantees for this $500,000 in funding are:

Council on American-Islamic Relations, California Chapter (CAIR-CA) - $30,000

For Arab, Middle Eastern Muslim, and South Asian communities, the dangers they feared during Trump's campaign have become a nightmarish reality. In the 10 days after the election, nearly a third of the nation's Islamophobic hate crimes occurred in California. When the travel ban was announced, CAIR-CA was on the forefront of organizing protests at airports all across the country. CAIR-CA will use their Emergent Fund grant to support their immediate civil rights defense work, including legal services, know your rights trainings, and ongoing organizing.

NYC #FreedomCities Campaign - $25,000

#FreedomCities is a campaign developed by frontline leaders from the New York Worker Center Federation. New York City workers—immigrants and citizens alike—realize that Trump's attacks on immigrants are only part of a larger oppressive agenda that targets Muslims, African Americans, and other communities of color. #FreedomCities takes a comprehensive approach and calls for safety beyond policing. The Emergent Fund is proud to be #FreedomCities' first funder.

Brown Boi Project - $20,000

The Brown Boi Project is committed to changing the way that communities of color talk about gender. Brown Boi wants to ensure the growth of and robust commitment to gender justice during this time of crisis. Brown Boi will use their Emergent Fund Grant to host a four-day, rapid-response training to prepare leaders to resist the current attack on rights, integrate gender justice into direct action, and ensure that women and trans/gender non-conforming people of color are in leadership across our movements.

Southeast Asian Freedom Network (SEAFN) - $15,000

In the past few weeks, Southeast Asian refugee communities have suffered an onslaught of ICE raids that are tearing families apart. SEAFN organizers are currently coordinating with families and organizers on the ground almost every day, but there are too many communities strapped for resources. Southeast Asian Freedom Network will use their Emergent Fund grant to hire a coordinator to provide support to Cambodian communities facing deportations and to provide resources for local Cambodian community leaders who are actively fighting to free their people from unjust immigration detention systems.

#LeadWithLove - $10,000

#LeadWithLove began as a pledge by more than 100 movement leaders who have committed to accelerating the transition from a world of domination and extraction to one of regeneration and interdependence. #LeadWithLove calls movements to take bold action grounded in fierce love. #LeadWithLove will use their Emergent Fund grant to host a convening this year that will bring together leaders from across the climate, food, education, racial, gender, and reproductive justice movements. To learn more about the project, visit leadwithlove.vision.

JOLT - $10,000

Jolt is a Texas-based, multi-issue organization that builds the political power and influence of Latinos in our democracy. It has become a political home base for many immigrant youth, and their programs range from Latina leadership development to civic engagement and grassroots organizing. Jolt will use their Emergent Fund grant to continue their base-building work and support organizing in Latino communities in Texas.

Movement for Justice in El Barrio - $10,000

Movement for Justice in El Barrio was founded when Latina immigrant mothers joined together to address negligence and harassment from their landlord. Over the last 12 years, these women have organized around housing issues and developed a strong cohort of immigrant women leaders. Since the election, they have seen an increase in harassment and hate crimes against immigrants. And they are fighting back. Movement for Justice in El Barrio will use their Emergent Fund grant to host a series of bilingual encuentros, or workshops, to educate East Harlem's immigrant residents about their rights and how to protect themselves from ICE raids.

Blackout for Human Rights #MLKNOW 2017 Short Film Series - $3,100

Blackout for Human Rights is a collective of artists, filmmakers, musicians, and activists who leverage cultural activism in support of human rights. Blackout has held several high-profile events in the last year, including a #JusticeforFlint concert and #BlackoutBlackFriday. Blackout is creating a series of short advocacy films incorporating content from their recent #MLKNOW 2017 event held at the historic Riverside Church in Harlem. Blackout for Human Rights will use their Emergent Fund grant to produce and distribute their films on social media.

SpiritHouse Inc/The Harm Free Zone - $25,000

SpiritHouse Inc, a Durham, North Carolina based cultural arts and organizing organization, has worked with low-wealth families and community members to uncover and uproot the systemic barriers that prevent us from gaining the resources, leverage and capacity for long-term self-sufficiency. Spirit House will use their Emergent Fund Grant to support their Harm Free Zone, rooted in the belief that oppressed people can create accountable, self-directing communities by: healing from systemic racism, eliminating reliance on law enforcement, holding policy makers accountable.

Campaign for Southern Equality | Rapid Response Initiative - $10,000

The Campaign for Southern Equality advocates across the South for LGBT rights in all areas of life. Through our Rapid Response Initiative, CSE is working on the frontlines of the LGBTQ South, led by and for LGBTQ Southerners. Nimble and bold, we work for full equality - both legal and lived - from Mississippi to the Carolinas.

Melenie Eleneke Grassroots Re-entry Program of the Transgender Gender-Variant Intersex Justice Project (TGIJP) - $20,000

TGIJP is a trans-led, Black-led organization which centers the leadership of currently and formerly incarcerated transgender women of color. Both inside and outside of prisons--TGIJOP works to create a united family in the struggle for survival and freedom.

18MillionRising - $25,000

18MillionRising uses tech and pop-culture organizing to boost Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders as a social justice force, nationwide. Leading Asian American civil rights organization — 18MR will use their Emergent Fund grant to continue their work on responding to hate crimes and developing tech for movement activists.

All of Us Initiative @ Organization United for Respect (OUR) - $30,000

OUR’s All of Us initiative will build multiracial communities of support and resistance among people working at Walmart. OUR’s All of Us project will deepen our multi-racial working class base in key areas of the country by connecting to people based on a shared set of values and class experiences and building unity around a vision of economic security. By developing cross racial relationships and exposing how White House policies that target people of color, immigrants and the safety net go against OUR shared visions and values, we will broaden the base of people working at Walmart who are committed to fight back around these policies.

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