Philanthropy Women’s Top 10 Posts for 2017

What a year to take on writing about gender equality philanthropy! 2017 was a year of barriers being broken in the conversation about safety for women. This past year also brought a renewed appreciation for feminism in philanthropy, activism, and political leadership.

2017 was a tremendous year to be writing about gender equality philanthropy. In the wake of Trump’s election in 2016, women in progressive circles rallied their resources for fighting back against the coming regression. Our top ten posts help to recall the many ways that women joined the resistance and continued the fight. At #6, for example, Emily Nielsen Jones delves into the experience of coming together for the Women’s March last January. Meanwhile, at #2, one of the most unusual giving circles in the country celebrates its ability to reach women on the other side of the globe. At #5, we hear from Kimberle Crenshaw, law scholar and fierce advocate for philanthropy to reach out more to women and girls of color.

And now, the list!

Top 10 Posts on Philanthropy Women for 2017

#1: Why Feminist Philanthropy? For All the Relationship Reasons

I love that this is the number one post on Philanthropy Women, since it highlights the importance of progressive women leaders coming together and developing the language and strategy of feminist philanthropy.

#2: An Unusual Women’s Giving Circle in Boston Fuels Social Change Globally

Our story on the New England International Donors Giving Circle, which raised and granted $70,000 in 11 months for gender equality organizations in Kenya, Senegal, Rwanda, and Uganda, sent a strong signal about the power of women’s collective giving to effect change both locally and globally.

#3: The Grateful Activist: This Longtime Philanthropy Leader Shares Insights

While attending the Women’s Philanthropy Institute’s DREAM, DARE, DO conference in March, and seeing Tracy Gary speak about her lifetime of devotion to gender equality philanthropy, I began to appreciate how one woman’s work can impact so many. Her profile is one of our highest ranking posts, and speaks to the power of raising up women’s leadership and magnifying effective models of progressive women’s giving.

#4: Built on Partnership: How This Power Couple Champions Gender Equality

Jennifer and Peter Buffett of The NoVo Foundation have played a key role in identifying new strategies for moving the needle on gender equality philanthropy. With the foundation’s landmark devotion of $90 million in funding to address the needs of women and girls of color, this article explores how NoVo’s founders are contributing to the feminist philanthropy landscape.

#5: Behind a Law Scholar’s Push for More Funding for Women and Girls of Color

With her ability to identify America’s blind spot when it comes to funding women and girls of color, Kimberlé Crenshaw’s work resonates strongly with liberal strategies seeking to get at structural change. My favorite quote in the article from Crenshaw: “They say we lost the recent election because we paid too much attention to women and people of color, but the issue is that we didn’t pay enough attention to either constituency.”

#6: I’m With Her: Reboarding the Feminist Train to Build Local and Global Sisterhood

Emily Nielsen Jones got us all on the feminist train early this year, and she has been driving that train to new destinations ever since. As the co-founder of Imago Dei Fund and Board member for New England International Donors Network, Jones continues to test her mettle as a donor activist. Her essay exploring the many ways that feminism needs to be embraced by both men and women, got a lot of page views this past year.

#7: From Resistance to Renaissance: Women Must Embrace their Power for Funding Social Change

Another important progressive leader chimed in later in the year on Philanthropy Women: Allison Fine. With four fascinating books on nonprofits, networking, and social change to her credit, Fine also has several years experience as a policy wonk for Demos in New York. She is now Vice Chair of Board Of Directors at NARAL, an essential organization in the fight to protect women’s equality and access to reproductive services. With this thought leadership piece, Fine brings new ideas to the conversation on how women can embrace their power for funding social change.

#8: This Changes Everything: Early American Feminists Were Deeply Religious, Relational, and Race-Conscious

Few thinkers or leaders have the ability to connect ideas and action quite the way that Helen LaKelly Hunt does. With her new book, And the Spirit Moved Them, Hunt explores the three central passions that drive her work: funding for gender equality, changing the culture of intimate relationships, and rethinking the historical roots of American feminism. These result is a book that retells the history of American feminism in profound ways and calls on progressives to strategize across race, class, and gender lines.

#9: Ana Morales: Building on her Family Legacy with Philanthropy in Mexico

This piece by veteran fundraiser and consultant Kathy LeMay, got a lot of views, and helped explore how a new leader in philanthropy like Ana Morales can connect to the larger scene. My favorite quote from the article: “Morales’ philanthropic focus and confidence didn’t come overnight. It involved risk-taking and networking in unfamiliar territory. ‘I sat myself at dinners that scared the shit out of me and I started asking questions,'” said Morales.

#10: #MeToo, and Who is Funding Sexual Assault Prevention?

It’s an essential question that doesn’t get discussed enough: who is funding sexual assault prevention? While this article is by no means an exhaustive list of the funders for sexual assault prevention, it describes many important funders in the field and how they are approaching the problem. The article also serves as a reminder of how little focus this area of philanthropy gets.

Hell No, We Won’t Go! A Guide to Repealing the Trump Tax

Expect to hear a lot more about repealing the tax law here at Philanthropy Women over the coming year. It’s time to pull out all the stops and take back our democracy.

With Christmas over, it’s now time to get down to business and develop a strong agenda for 2018. At the top of that agenda for progressive donors, in my opinion, is repealing the Trump Tax that recently passed. This legislation does more to hurt the middle class and nonprofits than can be tolerated in a society that still prides itself on equality and freedom.

Here are just a few choice details about how this law will deter giving for the middle and upper middle class. The law’s discouragement of itemized deductions by raising the standard deduction for married couples to $24,000, is estimated to reduce the number of itemized tax returns from the current 30% to only 5%. That means only 5% of people will have enough charitable and other deductions to qualify for itemizing their taxes. This change strikes a devastating blow to families in the $70,000 to $200,000 income level, who often stretch their giving in order to qualify for the charitable tax exemption at $12,000. Between the mortgage interest deduction and the charitable deduction, some middle class families would be able to qualify for the $12,000 deduction threshold. By giving an extra two or three thousand or more, they are often supporting nonprofits in the community (their local church, food bank, or domestic violence shelter) getting a tax break, too.

As a member of the Episcopal church for the past two decades, I imagine many of the families we have known throughout the years qualified for itemized deductions the same way we did. But now that is no longer. It would be impossible for us, on our income, with a daughter in college, to qualify for the $24,000 deduction threshold. We are no longer part of the giving class that can get a tiny break on their taxes by giving more to nonprofits.

Experts are estimating this tax bill will strike a devastating blow to churches, as well as many other local nonprofits that depend on that middle class and upper middle class donor, who were incentivized to give by the previous tax code.

Corporations including AT&T, Bank of America, Comcast, and others, came out with distracting news about how they are going to give bonuses and raises because of the new tax bill and the $1 trillion windfall they expect.

Progressive donors: pay no attention to those distractions. We need to stay on task with our own agenda.

So what should progressive donors, and particularly progressive women donors do? It’s time to pull out all the stops.

  1. Collectively, progressive women donors and the nonprofit sector should come together to strategize on how to get the tax law repealed. Newly established alliances such as The Emergent Fund might be good places to grow a nexus of support and strategy to get the Trump Tax repealed.
  2. Other important allies need to be brought in as well, including political alliances that will work to bring both the House and the Senate back under democratic control.
  3. Give more than ever before to the causes that promote civic engagement for all. The more people we can bring to awareness about the way this tax law will impact them negatively, the more pressure they can exert on their elected representatives.
  4. By now, it should go without saying here at Philanthropy Women, but progressive donors should #FundWomen — meaning plow funding into women-led organizations that are influencing systemic change in representation for our democracy. A particularly good organization to join and support is the Women Donors Network, which has done much of the legwork in exposing the lack of representation in our elected leadership. Other organizations like Higher Heights, which has a specific targeted mission of electing more women of color, is another safe bet for spending your donor dollars effectively.
  5. Electing more progressive women leaders will be a double win for working to get this tax law repealed and working to get our culture more focused on health care, education, and workforce development. That means we all need to get out and distribute flyers and go to rallies and do all those other things that promote democracy and voter engagement.

Other thoughts about what we need to do now to start the tax law repeal, please share below!

Sources:

https://www.scpr.org/news/2017/12/21/79122/what-the-gop-tax-bill-may-bode-for-california-nonp/

https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/charities-fear-gop-tax-overhaul-will-dry-up-donations-heres-how

http://crosscut.com/2017/12/tax-reform-affordable-housing-washington-state-seattle-charitable-giving-nonprofits/

Related:

Women of Wealth to Congress: Stop the GOP Tax Scam

 

How Funny Girls is Growing Improv-Driven Leadership for Tweens

Funny Girls, a new program being piloted by the Harnisch Foundation around New York City and in Richmond, Virginia, engages girls in improv to build leadership skills. (Photo credit: Stephanie Buongiorno.)

Learning how to laugh as much as possible can be a key component to sane living, particularly in today’s regressive political and social scene. The Ms. Foundation for Women recently hosted its 22nd Annual comedy night, calling it “Laughter is the Best Resistance,” where Gloria Steinem did stand-up. Meanwhile, women like Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin are moving into the executive producer role for hit comedies like Grace and Frankie.

With all this emphasis on comedy, you might think that this is what the Harnisch Foundation‘s new program, Funny Girls, is all about. But there’s more to it, actually. Much more.

Jenny Raymond, Executive Director of the Harnisch Foundation, agreed that it’s a ripe time for women in comedy in a recent conference call with Philanthropy Women. “But Funny Girls isn’t teaching girls to be funny. It’s boosting and bolstering girls’ leadership skills. That being said, Funny Girls is experiencing the power of humor through improv, and paying attention to it.”

Funny Girls teaches leaderships skills through improv comedy to girls in grades 3 to 8. The  curriculum focuses on teaching five key leadership skills   collaboration, agility, resiliency, empathy and self-awareness as outlined by this video. Funny Girls is teaching the value of listening, persisting in difficulty, and collaborating, which will pay off in both healthier living and more women’s leadership over time.

“It’s about girls realizing the power of their own presence,” said Jenny Raymond, Executive Director of the Harnisch Foundation. (Photo credit: Stephanie Buongiorno.)

It’s currently being implemented through five partnerships, four in New York City and one in Richmond, Virginia, and hopes to deepen those relationships and add new ones in other geographic areas. The Foundation is staying in close touch with all its partners so they can learn as much as possible about things like cultural variance and program effectiveness.

“I went on a site visit in a primarily South Asian community in Queens, New York and it was so fascinating to see, culturally, how the girls responded to the curriculum in similar but different ways than I saw in the South Bronx the week before,” said Raymond. Offering the curriculum to others remains an important objective for the foundation, which aims to make Funny Girls as widely available as possible.

As part of the program, the Harnisch Foundation is training artists from within organizations and the community to implement the Funny Girls curriculum. One of the Funny Girls partners, DreamYard, is implementing the program in the Bronx. “Several of the organizations we are working with not only offer Funny Girls, but are also focused on social justice issues, and advancing the work that gets at the root of inequality that these girls are facing,” said Jocelyn Ban, Communications Specialist for theHF.  “For example, DreamYard is investing in girls not only to be leaders, but also to be a part of the solution to the problems they face in their communities through the arts.”

2018 will mark the 20th anniversary for the Harnisch Foundation, and adding Funny Girls to its portfolio has been a big shift for the organization, which has not traditionally done programmatic work. But it connects the foundation importantly to its own roots investing early and building out the pipeline for women leaders at every level of society. “This builds on the foundation’s history of investing in the leadership of women. Now we are putting a stake in the ground for supporting girls and investing in their leadership journeys, too,” said Ban.

Editor’s Note: Ruth Ann Harnisch, Co-Founder of the Harnisch Foundation, is a lead sponsor for Philanthropy Women.

Related:

Ruth Ann Harnisch on Getting the Most Bang for Your Social Change Buck with Women’s Funds

Funders Take Note: #MeToo is Time Magazine’s Person of the Year

We’re Scaling Up: Announcing Philanthropy Women’s First Lead Sponsors

 

 

 

Women of Wealth to Congress: Stop the GOP Tax Scam

Women of Wealth, powered by Women Donors Network and Patriotic Millionaires,  invites “all women who consider themselves ‘wealthy’ to join us in our fight to build a society of true abundance.”

While Donald Trump is predicting that his “monumental” tax bill will pass next week, women donors came together to demand that Congress reject the tax plan currently being finalized by the GOP. “This is not the decent and fair America we seek to build,” a letter from over 200 women states, as it blasts the GOP for its reckless and irresponsible tax bill.

Calling the tax legislation “morally bankrupt, intellectually corrupt, and economically indefensible,” the letter signed by over 200 Women of Wealth members.

Patriotic Millionaire Abigail Disney, heiress to the Disney fortune, said that, “If passed, this legislation will gut programs that are essential to our children and the elderly, it will kick millions of Americans off of their health insurance, and it will explode our deficit in the name of tax cuts for the wealthy. How could anyone stand by this plan?”

Other prominent networks signing on to the letter include Resource Generation, Responsible Wealth, and Voices for Progress. The letter refers to the GOP tax plan as “a direct assault on our nation” and urges citizens, particularly “fellow people of wealth” to voice their dissent.

“This makes no sense, morally or intellectually. I demand my lawmakers vote no on this bill,” said Kathleen Barry, member of the Women Donors Network, in a press release about the letter. “At a time when our infrastructure is crumbling, our communities are sick, and our families need more support, the GOP is trying to give tax cuts to the wealthy.”

This letter demonstrates the strengthening collaboration of progressive women donors as they push back against a political environment that has grown increasingly hostile to equality and social justice movements.

View the full letter here.

Related:

How WDN Connects Women and Cultivates Progressive Giving

 

Rapid Response for Resistance: How These Funders Came Together to Fight Injustice

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

An Unusual Women’s Giving Circle in Boston Fuels Social Change Globally

Members of the NEID Women’s Giving Circle, from left to right, front row: Diana Rowan Rockefeller, Rebecca Obounou, Odette Ponce, Emily Nielsen Jones, Jackie Jenkins Scott, Amy Brakeman. Back Row: Constance Kane, Liz Sheehan, Mary Kay Miller, Laura DeDominicis, Ina Breuer, Clare Reilly, Nika Elugardo, Ellen Remmer, Kathy LeMay.

We know from the research coming out of the Women’s Philanthropy Institute that giving circles are growing, and women’s giving circles in particular are on the rise. But what does a giving circle really look like on the ground? How do they make decisions that are well-informed and that carry out the group’s intentions?

To find out more, I recently attended the New England International Donors (NEID) Global Changemaker’s Gala in Boston, an event that brought together a wide range of givers and giver groupies to celebrate the NEID Giving Circle’s donations to social change. The event featured a keynote conversation between NEID member David Campbell and Petra Nemcova, supermodel and philanthropists specializing in disaster relief rebuilding and education (she has funded the creation of 165 schools), who spoke to the group about the way in which disaster relief tends to focus on first response. Nemcova takes a more holistic (and, I would argue, feminist) approach to disaster relief — committing to long-term support to help countries affected by natural disasters.

Petra Nemcova, supermodel and philanthropist, with grant recipient for Dandelion Africa, Wendo Aszed.

At the gala, Nemcova and Campbell had an exciting announcement of their own to make — the merging of two nonprofits that they lead, Happy Hearts Fund and All Hands Volunteers, to create a new organization called All Hands and Hearts.  It seems here at Philanthropy Women, we are constantly discovering more women leaders in the field  who can articulate problems in a new and compelling way. Nemcova is a strong voice worth following in women’s philanthropy, and I look forward to watching her new collaborative venture, All Hands and Hearts, unfold.

Karen Keating Ansara, Founder of NEID, who also spoke at the gala, pointed out that while giving circles are a growing trend, only a small number of giving circles donate internationally.  In fact, according the WPI’s recent research on giving circles in America, only 7% of giving circles have an international focus to their giving.

When I attended the first meeting of the NEID Giving circle in January of 2017, the sense I got from the group was that their passion for international giving was aligning, in the wake of the Trump presidency, with an awareness that more needed to be done to lift up women and address gender equality. The group expressed both a desire for more collaboration in philanthropy on the ground (the giving circle model) as well as a desire to stretch their reach internationally.

With that first meeting in late January 2017, NEID’s giving circle got right to work — the work of discussing how gender roles may have influenced their own journeys in philanthropy. Eleven months later,  the circle had raised $70,000, and he night of the Global Changemakers Gala at the Park Plaza Hotel, NEID received another $15,000 gift to the giving circle. Inspiring $15,000 gifts on the spot after hearing about NEID’s Giving Circle — that is some powerful collective grantmaking.

What made $70,000 in global grantmaking for women and girls possible in 11 months? Ina Breuer, NEID Executive Director, credits NEID Board member and donor activist Emily Nielsen Jones, who is also the Founder and President of Imago Dei Fund. “Emily has such a wonderful way of asking questions about gender — she makes it both personal and manageable,” said Breuer. “It gets people thinking about their own biases and experiences, and how things might be different.”

Emily Nielsen Jones has been pioneering her own brand of gender lens grantmaking for almost ten years through the foundation she and her husband, Ross Jones, created in 2008, Imago Dei Fund. With the NEID Giving Circle, Emily and her husband strengthened their networks on the ground in Boston, engaging both new and experienced donors for the purpose of empowering women and girls.

“It’s not easy to collaborate, to really do it well,” said Jones. “We had NEID to provide the support to incubate a giving circle. Not everyone can do that.” Jones and her colleagues at NEID used that support well by developing a new model for how women can collectively engage and deploy funds  particularly aimed at gender equality.

“The two of us were very aware from the beginning that what we needed to do in supporting the circle is ‘make decisions easy,'” said Breuer. “We wanted to facilitate the conversation in a way that felt natural, and we also wanted to enhance people’s ownership of the process so they could take action.”

“I was trying to be organized with all the data I collected,” said Odette Ponce, who handled much of the administrative load for the giving circle’s process. “I tried to back up every decision with data as much as possible.”

This kind of support had a strong impact on the giving circle participants, particularly those new to philanthropy. “I certainly do not think the same way I did just six months ago about international philanthropy,” said Rebecca Obounou, one of the nineteen members of the NEID Giving Circle. For Obounou and many other members of the group, the giving circle experience was transformative for them personally.

One thing NEID Giving Circle members did early on was make an effort to reach out and diversify the group.  “After the first meeting, we recognized that we had very little diversity in the circle, and so everyone made an effort to invite different voices in,” said Breuer. “And we were successful in some ways. We didn’t have diversity in terms of males, but we did bring in more diversity in terms of race and culture.”

Ina Breuer, who comes to NEID after 17 years as Executive Director of Beyond Conflict, had a revelation about the way in which the giving circle was a “safe space” where newcomers could consider carefully how to get involved in international philanthropy. “Once we had that 19 group gathered, I realized we were bringing in people who were new to philanthropy, and this was a safe space for them to go through the process of learning what it feels like to be an international donor. What sort of questions do you ask a grantee when you’re thinking about who you might want to give some money to?”

“I’m always thinking in the back of my mind, ‘How can we expand the table around giving for the advancement of women and girls,” said Jones. She acknowledged that it was extra helpful to have the administrative support of NEID, so that she and other members could focus on bringing together different voices in the circle. “It made it more interesting that people were all over the map in their learning,” added Jones.

Keynote Speaker Petra Nemcova with 2017 Giving Circle Honorees. From Left to Right: Louise Ruhr (CREATE!), Petra Nemcova (All Hands & Hearts), Gretchen Steidle (Global Grassroots), Wendo Aszed (Dandelion Africa), Lauren LeBlanc (Komera).

“We made the process anonymous so that everyone could nominate the organizations they were passionate about even if they had some connection to them,” said Ponce, a key aspect of the giving circle’s process. At the same time, NEID staff sent information and articles about women’s giving to the giving circle members.

“We tried to give people a sense of what is out there,” said Ponce, so she sent information and articles, including a report from Women Moving Millions that described many women-led organizations working internationally. “We also brought in a few organizations to have meetings with us.  So the donors got exposed to the people themselves doing this work.”

Jones described how the giving circle shifted into a different mode when it came time to land the plane and decide where to give the grants. “We just got started without knowing 100% how we would shift from getting to know one another and learning about the global gender terrain to the actual proposal vetting process. In sort of an organic way, we came up with a process that felt right and ‘narrowed the funnel’ of so many incredible organizations to a shortlist we felt good about making grants to.”

“We had everyone vote beforehand, and then were presented the vote as people were coming into the room. And then we discussed, ‘Did we get this right?’ in terms of the vote,” said Breuer.

“The way the voting system worked was like a ranking system, from 1 to 5, with 5 meaning the organization fully matched the Giving Circle’s selected criteria. That allowed me to easily add up points, and created a point system for winners,” said Odette Ponce. “We then let the giving circle make the decision and used the point system to back up that decision, and it worked out really well.”

People seemed to get more engaged in the process, and excited about the process, as the NEID Giving Circle moved toward decision time, and all that excitement appeared to bring most members to feeling very good about their giving — confident that the vote represented their intentions quite well.

And the Awardees are: (Drumroll, please!)

Dandelion Africa: Based in the Rift Valley of Kenya, Dandelion Africa’s mission is to improve the livelihoods of women and youth in marginalized areas. Wendo Aszed represented Dandelion Africa at the Gala, and talked about her own experiences of growing up as a woman in her community, where female genital cutting is a time-honored ritual, and where many women lack access to basic information about birth control. NEID awarded Dandelion Africa $30,000 to support the organization’s work educating both boys and girls on gender issues, including female genital cutting, in order to improve health and education outcomes for girls.

CREATE!: This organization works in rural Senegal to empower women and girls. CREATE! partners with women’s cooperatives to foster economic growth and teach sustainable agriculture. The program improves food security and access to clean water using renewable solar energy. NEID Giving Circle awarded $20,000 to CREATE! to support women and girls in rural Senegal participating in training in sustainable market gardening.

Global Grassroots: This organization works in Rwanda and Uganda, with a mission to “develop women and girls as leaders of conscious social change in their communities.” Global Grassroots runs a social venture incubator for underserved women, helping women design and construct their own water enterprises. NEID Giving Circle awarded $10,000 to Global Grassroots to support leadership training to build non-profit water ventures run by women.

Komera: The mission of Komera is to work with young women in Rwanda. Komera invests in adolescent girls and their families. Komera provides educational scholarships, community mentoring, and sports to adolescent girls. NEID Giving Circle awarded $10,000 to Komera to support leadership and business training for young women transitioning into adulthood.

And what does the future hold for NEID’s Giving Circles? It appears the success of the first circle has spawned a replica. This coming year there will be two circles — one focused again on women and girls, and a new one which will be focused on climate change.

The circles are also considering exciting possibilities for expanding outside of Boston.  “We want to make the circles available to people outside of the Boston area,” said Breuer. “What we’re proposing to do, if people in another area want to participate — you have to have a minimum of 5 people in each location. Those groups will meet separately on the same days as we meet in Boston, and then we will create online sessions when all the different nodes come together to assess different potential grantees.”

Sounds like another innovation to the NEID giving circle model is in the works. With its global focus, but local community-building impact, NEID”s giving circle model adds an important page to the growing literature on giving circles in America.  Stay tuned to NEID’s next moves by visiting their website. And if you are interested in joining, please reach out to Odette Ponce.

Editor’s Note: Emily Nielsen Jones is a Lead Sponsor of Philanthropy Women.

 

Rapid Response for Resistance: How These Funders Came Together to Fight Injustice

The Emergent Fund, a collaboration of Women Donors Network, Solidaire, Threshold Fund, and Democracy Alliance, has published a report detailing their strategy in deploying funds rapidly to address human rights and social justice.

“The Emergent Fund started as a plane built in mid-air. We moved faster than comfort allowed in developing a funding response to the new threats posed by the 2016 election because the scale of the crisis that loomed was so large, multidimensional, and immediate. Resources were urgently needed in many places and without much time for deliberation.” 

So begins Visionary Resistance, a new report reviewing how several donor networks came together to invest $ 1 million rapidly for efforts to protect  those most marginalized and targeted by a Trump presidency. Aptly named the Emergent Fund, this new resource is funded through a partnership between the Women Donors Network, Solidaire, Threshold Foundation, and the Democracy Alliance.

“This rapid-response model works to build up a new future in funding alternatives for communities facing injustice.” said Donna P. Hall, president and CEO of the Women Donors Network.  In particular, Hall noted in a press release about the new report, the Emergent Fund worked to defend those “belittled, criminalized and attacked during the presidential campaign – immigrants, women, Muslim and Arab-American communities, Black people, LGBTQ communities, and all people of color.”

The new report helps to identify specific ways that philanthropists can change hierarchical systems of grantmaking and work expediently to   empower communities to create their own solutions to problems.

Some key takeaways from the report? One is simply that with more intentional communication and accelerated deadlines, grantmaking can be more strategic and expedient. Another key takeaway: redefining the funder’s role from “expert” to “curator” of relationships with community members working at the grass roots.

And which organizations are getting funding from the Emergent Fund? Organizations working to protect the most vulnerable among us. Here is a small sampling:

United We Dream: Working to protect undocumented youth from deportation, United We Dream is the “largest immigrant-led national community” with over 400,000 members.

It Takes Roots: It Takes Roots is a “national multiracial alliance” focused on  racial, housing and climate justice in both the US and Canada.

CAIR-CA: Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is the nation’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization.

Campaign for Southern Equality: The Campaign for Southern Equality promotes LGBTQ equality in the U.S. South.

Grassroots Asians Rising Alliance: This is an alliance of grassroots Asian organizations spanning the country, coming together to build “self-determination” for Asians in the U.S.

JOLT: Jolt is focused on issues impacting the Latino community in Texas.

Full list is here.

Full report is here.

Related:

How WDN Connects Women and Cultivates Progressive Giving

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

Relationship-Building for Progressive Power: A Conversation with Leah Hunt-Hendrix

Editor’s Note: Women Donors Network is one of our spotlight organizations. 

 

Funders Take Note: #MeToo is Time Magazine’s Person of the Year

Time Magazine’s Person of the Year are the Silence Breakers: those women (and a few men) who are telling the stories that are changing our culture.

So much exciting change is happening in women’s philanthropy, but one of the biggest breakthroughs by far has been the overwhelming response to the #MeToo campaign, which helps to break the silence on sexual abuse and harassment. While we all have to measure when and were we choose to tell our stories (and as a therapist I have listened to many accounts, and have helped guide people to make choices about how much they wanted to disclose, and to whom) it is heartening to see so many women willing to take the risk and put their story out there.

For funders in philanthropy, this is an important moment to reflect on how much you are doing to help create a safer culture for women in our country. When women feel safer in their own homes, we will have families bringing up healthier children. When women feel safer in all settings, I believe we will reach critical mass in political leadership and will be able to close the gender gaps across all sectors — even stubborn ones like technology and sports.

But we have a long way to go, nd we won’t get there without investing more funding in amplifying the voices of women who have survived harassment and abuse.  I am particularly appreciative of Ruth Ann Harnisch’s work in this area. By producing the film The Hunting Ground, Ruth Ann highlighted the ongoing problem of campus sexual assault, and contributed to the wave of women pushing back against a patriarchy that often blames and revictimizes women who have suffered sexual trauma. Seeing the film helped me both as a survivor and as a practitioner who guides other survivors in finding their voice and healing from sexual trauma.

Take a look at what some of the major funders of sexual assault prevention are doing to move our culture to a better place for women. Then consider how you might lend your resources to a worthy cause in the sexual assault prevention funding arena.

More about the Silence Breakers here at Time.

Related:

From Resistance to Renaissance: Women Must Embrace their Power for Funding Social Change

#MeToo, and Who is Funding Sexual Assault Prevention?

Making the Connection Between Gender Equality and the Environment

The latest issue of Gender & Development looks closely at connecting up feminism with environmentalism.

The newest issue of Gender & Development is taking a close look at the connections between gender equality and environmental work in today’s world, a world where President Trump has the power to reduce the size of  public monuments in Utah by millions of acres, a potentially illegal move that has huge implications for gender justice.  Certainly, now is the time for feminist and environmentalists to come together and strategize about how to fight back.

In a post introducing the new issue of Gender & Development, Editor Caroline Sweetman reminds us that 2017 has been the deadliest on record for environmental activists.  Further, in many countries around the world, women are on the losing end of deals made to extract natural resources from developing nations.

It’s important to keep making the connections between gender justice and climate change for several reasons. First, it integrates the natural world into the equation when talking about how to equalize power and maintain the planet for everyone. Second, the approach calls into account the powerful corporate forces that are influencing the equation, and how they need to be held accountable both for addressing gender equality and for their role in impacting climate change.

I believe feminist philanthropy has a critical role to play in funding ecofeminism — continuing the work that began over 30 years ago when women leaders started to call attention to the parallels of environmental destruction and other forms of human domination and exploitation.  I believe as we approach critical mass for women in both government and business, we will see more forward movement for the ecofeminist agendas. However, that forward movement is going to need significant funding from progressive leaders who understand the connections between environmental and gender justice.

Check out the full issue here.

Related:

From Resistance to Renaissance: Women Must Embrace their Power for Funding Social Change

How Are Women More or Less Free? And What Can We Do About It?

With 30 Years of Activism, this Mobile Company Continues the Fight for Gender Equality

Announcing a New Fiscal Sponsor for Philanthropy Women

I am pleased to announce that the Women’s Funding Network has agreed to serve as Philanthropy Women’s fiscal sponsor for our not-for-profit publishing work.   This partnership will help us to raise funds to make Philanthropy Women a more potent force for educating the community about how women in philanthropy are driving social change.

The Women’s Funding Network (WFN) grew out of a 1984 joint meeting of the National Black United Fund and the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy, where participants discussed creating an organization exclusively for women’s funds. By 2000, WFN had grown into a network of 94 member funds and foundations with over $200 million in assets, deploying $30 million a year in grants.  In 2003, WFN received a $5 million grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, which enabled significant growth. Today, WFN continues to expand, with over 100 women’s funds and foundations  spanning 30 countries, and continues to collaborate with other philanthropic powerhouses like Kellogg, the Gates Foundation, and the Clinton Foundation, to address gender equality globally.

I first became aware of WFN because our longtime Executive Director of Women’s Fund of Rhode Island, Marcia Coné, reached out to meet with me and discuss women’s philanthropy both in Rhode Island and nationally. Marcia is now the Chief Strategist for the Women’s Funding Network and the author of Permission Granted: Changing the Paradigm for Women in Leadership, which explores ways to enact positive change in our own lives as well as in our communities.

I am thrilled to be able to partner with such an important organization in the history of progressive women’s funding. My job here at Philanthropy Women is enhanced by knowing that I have the support of this powerful network of women thinkers and doers. Please join me in welcoming the Women’s Funding Network as our fiscal sponsor, and in thanking them for their support.

Onward for gender equality!

More about the Women’s Funding Network here.