NYWF Report Stresses Urgency of Addressing Child Care, Housing

The New York Women’s Foundation recently released a new Voices from the Field report that stresses the urgency of creating more affordable housing and childcare opportunities in order to advance gender equality movements.

The New York Women’s Foundation distributed a record $8 million in 2017 for undertakings in line with its mission to create “an equitable and just future for women and families.” A vital part of this 31-year-old foundation’s work is drawing on local expertise to create and disseminate research on the needs and circumstances of women, girls, LGBTQI, and gender-nonconforming people.

In the fall of 2018, the foundation released part of a series called, Voices from the Field, which explores challenges and support strategies for low-income women in NYC during four major developmental periods: ages 0-8, 9-24, 25-59, and 60 and up. The newly released “Blueprint for Investing in Women Age 25 – 59” draws on data and expert interviews across academic, policy, nonprofit, and philanthropic sectors to identify systemic barriers and potential solutions for these populations.

New York City is home to a diverse group of 2,250,000 female-identifying people. Striking stats from the NYWF research include that in the state of New York, the rate of workforce participation for women with children under six is 81 percent for Black women, 64 percent for Latina women, and 50 percent for White women. A total of 56 percent of Latina household incomes cannot cover basic living costs, along with 47 percent of Black households, 44 percent of Asian households, and 24 percent of White households.

Given that many women of color and immigrant women in poverty are both primary caregivers and breadwinners, stable housing and care for their children emerged as key focus areas. President and CEO of the New York Women’s Foundation Ana Oliveira said the report clarified that “there must be a concerted and coordinated effort by the government, nonprofit, and philanthropic sectors to use their resources to expand access to affordable housing and reliable child care.”

An anonymous participant in a job training program is quoted in the report, explaining how having to both earn wages for a household and be its primary caregiver can be a catch-22:

“I’m constantly worried about my children because I can’t always arrange good care for them while I’m in training. And once I’m hired, I know I’ll be constantly worried about my job because there are bound to be times when those arrangements will fall through and I’ll have no choice but to stay home to take care of my kids. Women can’t be in two places at once and—when we try to be—everyone loses. Why haven’t people figured that out yet?”

Reasonably-priced child care was found to be the most crucial need for women in NYC, with affordable housing a close second and a clearly interconnected factor in women’s stability. Being able to pay for housing also connects to other obstacles for women, such as domestic abuse; women who cannot afford a place to live struggle to leave violent situations. Similarly, equitable and living wages, quality health care, and inclusion and representation in the public sector are all areas where barriers exist and overlap for women, especially for those of color and of immigrant status.

The NYWF calls on the public, nonprofit, and philanthropic sectors to step up their support for these females, pointing out that it can only benefit the metropolis as a whole.

“[The Blueprint Series] is offered with the conviction that there is no better strategy for boosting New York’s overall economic strength than supporting the women who provide the cultural wellspring and the economic and caregiving bedrock for the city,” the foundation states in the publication.

Specifically, it asks the government to back policies including family leave, equal pay, job training, emergency refuge, improved sexual assault and rape prosecution, and to “forthrightly identify, monitor, and combat institutionalized harassment and violence against women of color, immigrant women, and LGBTQI individuals.” Nonprofits and funders are similarly encouraged to serve and empower women economically, civically, and through high-quality health and family services, including those relating to reproductive care.

NYWF emphasizes the need for multifunder efforts and collaborative action to reach these goals and recommends that funders “ensure that all those efforts reflect the explicit input and guidance of those constituencies” served. Participatory and inclusive grantmaking and strategic partnerships are methods the foundation already embraces and practices itself. Examples include its, “Girls Ignite! Grantmaking,” which empowers teenagers to distribute local funds, and its funders collaborative called the New York City Fund for Girls and Young Women of Color, among many of its other undertakings.

The New York Women’s Foundation also recently announced the first recipients of grants from its Fund for The Me Too Movement and Allies and launched the Justice Fund to address the effects of mass incarceration on females. It will certainly be interesting to see what new endeavors and developments 2019 holds for this women’s foundation; in the most recent annual report, Oliveira and Board Co-Chairs Kwanza Butler and Janet Riccio write they are “more resolved than ever to take bold action to create gender, racial and economic justice.”

Related:

NY Women’s Foundation Launches #MeToo Fund with $1 Million Start

New Infusion: $13 Million to Address Gender and Race Health Gaps

New York Women’s Foundation Announces Additional $4 Million in Grants for 2017

Which Funders are Helping Young Women and Girls of Color Build Community Activism?

New ED and Board Chair of Women Moving Millions Bring Financial and Legislative Power

Sarah Haacke Byrd, Executive Director of Women Moving Millions, played a key role in addressing gender-based violence and the backlog of unprocessed rape kits in the U.S.

After an extensive search and interview process, Women Moving Millions (WMM) recently announced the appointment of Sarah Haacke Byrd as its new Executive Director. Byrd is an influential rising star of the feminist philanthropy community known for being a “joyful warrior” in the ongoing battle for gender equality. Byrd also comes to her new position at WMM with a history of leadership focused on legislative changes that would make the processing of rape kits a necessity in all police investigations of sexual assault.

As the former Managing Director of the  Joyful Heart Foundation, Sarah Haacke Byrd has played a critical role in movement-building around ending sexual violence.  With her work at Joyful Heart, Byrd helped to convene a national community of sexual violence survivors, legislators, law enforcement, and major funders, to shed light on the frightening fact that rape kits frequently go untested. Byrd helped raise an estimated $169 million in new funding to address this lack of testing of rape kits, resulting in the passage of 35 laws in 26 states.

Founded in 2007 by sisters Helen LaKelly Hunt and Swanee Hunt, Women Moving Millions is focused on supporting women donors who are making large-scale investments in women and girls that are aiding in the global fight for gender equality. By taking on this key leadership role at WMM, Byrd will be steering one of the most significant and powerful networks for funding gender equality worldwide.

Earlier this year, Byrd testified before the California Legislature regarding legislation to mandate the processing of rape kits.  This legislation passed in the House and Senate in California, and is only being held up by the Governor’s veto for budgetary reasons, so will likely proceed to a full pass in the near future. Byrd’s testimony is a powerful sample of how effectively she communicates within the political realm, and how well this bodes for the future leadership of Women Moving Millions. It’s also an excellent example of how philanthropy can aid in the process of gathering and disseminating critical information about a public safety issue, such as sexual violence, and push for needed reforms.

New Board Chair of Women Moving Millions Bring Financial Expertise

Mona Sinha is the incoming Board Chair of Women Moving Millions and is leading efforts to create a new education curriculum for feminist philanthropists.

Along with WMM having a new Executive Director, the organization also has a new Board Chair: Mona Sinha, who is a passionate and longtime advocate for women and girls and the recipient of Smith College’s 2018 Development Award for Exemplary Leadership. Sinha is also very involved in efforts to end sex trafficking, and received the The Last Girl Champion award in 2017 from Apne Aap, an organization working globally on the issue.

Sinha brings particular expertise from the corporate worlds of finance, marketing and business restructuring.   She is also is co-founder of Raising Change, which coaches mission-driven organizations to raise resources for social change.

As incoming Board Chair at WMM, Sinha is looking forward to launching a new education curriculum for members, who will spend several days together to work on three areas of development: impact, influence, and investment.  “Each pillar will be taught in small cohorts that do a deep dive into the subject matter and enable robust reflection and discussion about practices and innovative ideas that are emerging in the world of philanthropy,” writes Sinha in a recent brief on the education curriculum launch entitled Why Women’s Philanthropic Education Matters

Sinha sees this new education curriculum as having the potential to fulfill a prediction by the Stanford Social Innovation Review that the impact of gender equity efforts will add $28 trillion to the global economy by 2025.  “Match that with the fact that women will control over $72 trillion in wealth by 2020,” writes Sinha, and she sees many more large-scale investments from women aiming to close the gender gap on pay and improve health and safety for women.

But Sinha recognizes that women philanthropists making these large-scale investments need support and education to achieve this goal. Within the new education curriculum, donors will have an opportunities to clarify and amplify their strategies, bringing greater integrity and influence to feminist philanthropy.  “We have found that WMM members benefit from learning in community,” she writes. In the upcoming education curriculum launching in February of 2019, Women Moving Millions members will have the chance to more deeply investigate and structure their giving for women and girls. The development of the leadership curriculum was led by Jessica Houssian at WMM and funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, including a detailed assessment before a full rollout of the program. 

Sinha also serves several other organizations in the gender equality sphere including, Breakthrough (ending violence against women), Direct Impact Africa (empowers women to be leaders in the lower Zambezi) the Advisory boards at the Museum of Natural History (sponsors science education for inner city girls), Columbia Business School Tamer Center Social Enterprise Program (building awareness of social justice in future business leaders), Women Creating Change at Columbia University, and Columbia Global Mental Health program (promoting mental health as integral to overall healthcare around the world).  

Related:

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Kathy LeMay on Regenerating Courage as a Social Change Agent

Empowering Women by Changing Men: Promundo’s Global Fight for Gender Equality

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How the NFL’s $10 Million Investment in Ending Gender-Based Violence is Activating Youth

For Giving Tuesday, Join Us in Giving to Women’s Fund of RI

Donating to WFRI is a great way to fuel gender equality movements in Rhode Island.

There are so many reasons to support your state’s women’s fund. Here in Rhode Island, our women’s fund plays a critical role in addressing gender equality with grantmaking, legislative advocacy, and in-depth research. All of this work helps to guide social change strategy and increases public awareness about gender equality in the state.

On Giving Tuesday, our household is pledging $500 for the Women’s Fund of Rhode Island. We support all of the goals of WFRI, but in particular, we are interested in supporting the organization’s legislative advocacy. According to WFRI, $500 will pay for “14 hours of written and verbal testimony for legislative hearings on Fair Pay, Reproductive Freedom and Freedom from Sexual Harassment.”

This is money well-spent. Every time we discuss the issues related to gender equality in a legislative setting, we may not win immediately, but we teach our legislators important lessons about the issues that need to be addressed. Sometimes it takes several lessons before change can occur, but every lesson increases the likelihood of that change.

Now is a great time to donate to WFRI, because the organization has a $10,000 match pledge. From WFRI, read on:

We have a $10,000 challenge match to meet.

A founding board member has offered a $10,000 challenge grant for us to relaunch our Women’s Policy Institute, which trains women to advocate for issues that affect women and girls in Rhode Island. She’ll match $.50 on the dollar when we raise $20,000 to relaunch this powerful program. Donate today towards WPI and have a direct impact on gender equity in Rhode Island.

But Wait! There’s More! Every dollar you give to WFRI has a direct local and statewide impact. Together with our supporters, WFRI is working hard to impact issues affecting women and girls statewide. With your help in 2018, we’ve:

  • Supported research on working women of color and the unique challenges they experience in the workplace, taking a deeper dive into the data of last year’s Status of Working Women in Rhode Island report
  • Provided training to nearly 200 women in salary negotiation skills, finding mentors and learning to advocate for causes that impact their lives
  • Hosted six Cocktails and Conversations panels on topics such as Feminism is a Male Issue and Intersectionality in Feminism
  • Made $50,000 in grants with a gender lens focus
  • Advocated for Reproductive Freedom, Fair Pay, a $15 Minimum Wage and Freedom from Sexual Harassment

Now is the time to donate to WFRI!

Related:

Interview with The Woman Project: “Reproductive Freedom is Essential”

Women’s Funds Deploy $58.4 Million in Funding in Two Years

Happy Day for RI Progressives as Women Prevail in Primary Polls

Reasons to be Thankful: Gender Alpha and Record Voter Turnout

This is just a quick post before taking a few days off to enjoy time with family and friends. We will be covering several important events in upcoming posts, including a fascinating call on Gender Alpha with Suzanne Biegel and David Bank, where they discussed how “Gender Alpha” is all about identifying the specific dividends that gender lens investing yields. Biegel and Bank are co-producers of November’s Gender-Smart Investing Summit in London. Guests on the call included Luisamaria Ruiz Carlile of Veris Wealth Partners, which specializes in gender lens investing and research.

And one other quick note to acknowledge the significance of the recent elections, where voter turnout was higher than it has been in 104 years. That’s right — the last time voter turnout was as high as it was in 2018 was in 1914, before women even had the right to vote. Now that women and millennials are getting into the driver’s seat with social change, we hope to see even better voter turnout in 2020. I don’t know about you, but I am mighty thankful that people are finally getting the message (it seems!) about the importance of civic engagement. That could mean in 2020 we elect a President that gets us back on track in terms of valuing safety, diversity, and systems change to address inequality.

Coming up soon, we’ll also be providing some news on Women Moving Millions and its new Executive Director, Sarah Haacke Byrd, and will be sharing and discussing WMM new Board Chair Mona Sinha’s Education Curriculum for WMM members, which will be launching in February.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Related:

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Post Election Buzz: Women’s Funds Welcome New Reflective Democracy

Seattle: 2018 Global Nexus for Feminist Giving? WDN Also Meets There

New 25th Anniversary Issue of GreenMoney Dedicated to Women

Heavy Hitters Collaborate on New Blueprint for Women’s Funds to Lead Social Change

Gender Matters All the Time: 9 of Philanthropy’s Most Powerful Gender Lens Investors

Jacki Zehner Lets It Rip As She Exits Women Moving Millions Leadership

 

The Growing Influence and Diversity of Giving Circles: Two New Reports

Two new reports from the Women’s Philanthropy Institute explore the forms and functions of giving circles today in America. (graphic courtesy of WPI report infographic.)

Two new reports from the Women’s Philanthropy Institute point to the increasing influence and diversity of giving circle (GC) members, and the challenges present when established foundations serve as “hosts” for GCs.

The reports are authored by the Collective Giving Research Group (CGRG) which was formed in 2015 as a collaborative “to explore and understand the dynamics of giving circles and other forms of collective giving.” Its members include scholars and consultants in the areas of philanthropy, public affairs and public administration, and it has institutional support from the Women’s Philanthropy Institute (WPI), which is part of the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. Funding for the reports came from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation via the WPI, and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.

Giving circles typically comprise groups of individuals who donate collectively to an organization, cause or project of common interest. The difference between a GC and a typical philanthropic organization or non-profit is that donors themselves choose what to fund. Larger giving circles can have hundreds of voting members and a yearly membership fee (or required annual donation) of $1,000 or more. The Greater Indianapolis 100 is one such charitable women’s giving circle group; it makes gifts of $100,000 and membership costs $1,000 annually. Of course, a GC can also be quite modest and informal – a half-dozen people meeting in a member’s living room and deciding to pool their money for a charitable purpose, whether that be sending a needy local child to summer camp, protecting a slice of wetland, or supporting micro-loans for African women.

According to the CGRG, there are triple the number of US GCs now than a decade ago, and GCs are estimated to have given roughly $1.3 billion to charitable causes since their inception.

Women are Key to GC Growth

An earlier (2017) report from the CGRG on U.S. GCs noted “Women dominate giving circle membership, making up 70 percent of all members. …. While men have a presence in 66 percent of giving circles, they are only the majority of members in 7.5 percent of groups.” A separate 2017 CGRG report stated that women’s GCs represented nearly half the groups in their database.

Giving circles have increasingly become the point of entry for women, and particularly women of color, in charitable giving. Giving circles are places where groups underrepresented in traditional philanthropy can organize as women, or as a subset of women (LGBT, Asian, Latinx, African American) and find ways to support their own communities. GCs often give to local initiatives, are less traditional in their giving than typical funders, and more likely to support women and ethnic and minority groups.

The new CGRG report on GC membership indicates that compared to non-members, GC donors “give more money and time, give more strategically, and are more engaged in civic and political activities.” Moreover, GC members take greater advantage of their social networks in obtaining advice about philanthropy, bring in a broader range of information, and consult a wider array of people for advice than do non-members. The GC movement is relatively new, but already there are differences between GC veterans and members who have joined within the last year. Newer members tend to be younger, more ethnically diverse, and have lower incomes. Longitudinal studies, the report suggests, will reveal to what extent participating in a GC changes donor attitudes and preferences over time, and whether the diversity among new GC members is sustained.

The “Dynamics of Hosting” report focuses on GC hosting, and notes that community foundations and similar organizations are promoting and adopting giving circles to cultivate a more diverse donor pool, strengthen and expand community engagement, and foster a philanthropic culture. The CGRG findings on hosting were obtained in the summer of 2017 from survey data that included responses from 86 community and public foundations in 33 states. Of the 86, two-thirds host one or more GC groups. Over 90 percent of hosts indicated that they wished to affiliate with a GC in order to promote a culture of philanthropy.

The most common reason for the host-GC relationship is for the host to act as a fiscal sponsor in which it provides 501(c)(3) status, and receives donations and disburses grants for the GC. Hosts may also help a GC reach a specific group of donors, and work with a group of donors in establishing a GC to address a shared priority. Hosts may also play a role in communications and outreach, event planning, and regulation oversight. Hosting a GC is labor intensive, and some hosts charge a flat fee, while others take a percentage of annual CG assets. Some foundations do the work gratis, often as part of a mission to reach underserved communities and promote philanthropy. Regardless, the report indicates that most hosts did not feel that fees met their expenses.

No doubt, community foundations and other such entities have taken notice of the steady growth of giving circles and realize that partnering with such groups is the wave of the future. As the CGRG hosting report concludes, “Giving circles and collective giving groups hold enormous potential for broad outreach, flexible and authentic engagement of donors, and a more democratic approach to building a culture of philanthropy.” As GCs evolve, some of the questions surrounding host vs GC costs and benefits will likely be better answered.

Full reports are here. 

Related:

Research Reveals Common Traits for Gender Equality Givers

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

Giving Circles Gain Infrastructure Support from Big Funders

Another Women’s Giving Circle is Born: Waterbury Giving Circle Makes Inaugural Grants

High Net Worth Women Who Drove Progressive Giving in the Midterms

Women, and particularly women of color, made historic gains in the 2018 elections. Much of this new political activity was driven by progressive women donors.

The election of Donald Trump has sparked a wave of political activism never seen before, particularly among progressive donors.

According to the Center for Responsive Politic’s data, the top 154 donors spent a combined total of over $700 million this election cycle, with Democrats and progressives spending an estimated total of $327 million in this election, and Republicans and conservatives spending an estimated $350 million.

While the Center for Responsive Politics is reporting that this year’s midterms were by far the most expensive in history, with a large share of that spending coming from the right, another large share of that spending involved progressive women donors opening their wallets to fund the protection of key civil liberties including reproductive rights, health care, and social inclusion.

Taking the most recent data from the Center for Responsive Politics, I’ve parsed out the top women donors to progressive causes and candidates. Most of these women gave with their partners, so their decisions to give to progressive causes likely ranged in terms of how much the giving was driven by one or the other in the partnership. The important point here is that women are getting more influential in political giving, both within couples and independently, and in no other election cycle has that been more evident. Women donated an estimated 36% of the funds that fueled the 2018 midterm elections, and yes, that is a big deal.

TOP 5 WOMEN DONORS TO DEMOCRATIC AND PROGRESSIVE CAUSES AND CANDIDATES

1. Katherine A. Taylor (Kat Steyer): Along with husband Tom Steyer, Kat Steyer contributed over $50.7 million in combined hard and soft money going to Democratic and liberal causes and candidates. Tom and Kat Steyer are the founders of the TomKat Foundation, which focuses heavily on financial inclusion (they also run one of the most progressive banks in the nation lending to those who might not otherwise be able to get capital). Kat Steyer also focuses on food and nutrition and funds FoodCorp, which goes into public schools across the nation to help them improve food quality and teach about nutrition and healthy eating habits.

2. Marilyn Simons: In partnership with her husband, James Simons, Marilyn Simons contributed $18.9 million to progressives and Democrats this election cycle. In their foundation work, Jim and Marilyn Simons focus on science and math as well as issues related to Autism (they have family members who have struggled with Autism).

3. Deborah J. Simon:  Ms. Simon gave $8.9 million to Democrats and liberal causes for the midterm elections. The daughter of a real estate company magnate, Ms. Simon chairs the Simon Youth Foundation (www.syf.org), a public charity that operating in 13 states to help at-risk high school students stay in school.  Ms. Simon is also the founder of The Deborah Joy Simon Foundation, a private foundation making grants for religious, charitable, scientific, literary, and educational purposes.

4. Cari Tuna: Along with partner Dustin Moskovitz (co-founder of Facebook), Cari Tuna made $6.3 million in donations to Democrats and liberal causes for the midterm elections.  Tuna and Moskovitz are the co-founders of Good Ventures, where Tuna oversees the Open Philanthropy Project, which seeks to improve grantmaking with more effectiveness.

5. Marsha Z. Laufer:  Along with spouse Henry, Marsha Laufer contributed $5.68 million to progressive causes and candidates in the midterm elections. According to Open Secrets, the Laufers have recently made many large donations to women’s election causes, including  $100,000 to Women Vote! in September of this year. According to Forbes, Marsha Laufer and her husband Henry contributed an estimated $2 million to Hillary Clinton’s recent campaign for President. 

The full list is here, so you can do more research to discover who the women are behind the big bump in political giving this election cycle.

From my parsed data, here are the top Democratic/progressive givers:

And here are the top Republican/conservative givers:

 

 

Related:

WPI Study: Rage Giving is Driven by Progressive Women Donors

Priming the Pump: Exploring Ways to Grow Women’s Giving

Research Reveals Common Traits for Gender Equality Givers

Empowering Women by Changing Men: Promundo’s Global Fight for Gender Equality

Post Election Buzz: Women’s Funds Welcome New Reflective Democracy

 

 

Seattle: 2018 Global Nexus for Feminist Giving? WDN Also Meets There

Senator Kamala Harris spoke at WDN Connect 2018, the yearly gathering of Women Donors Network members and allies.

I can see the travel brochures now: Come to Seattle, home of some of the biggest feminist funding gatherings in recent history!

Not only did the Women’s Funding Network and Women Moving Millions convene in Seattle this year, but now the Women Donors Network has also paid a visit to Emerald City, making Seattle a central destination for feminist philanthropists in 2018. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation sponsored Women Moving Millions for their event in September, and hosted the Women’s Funding Network for an evening event at the same time.

Women Donors Network’s gathering began just two days after the mid-term elections, offering a unique opportunity for women donors to analyze how a more reflective democracy will influence key issues including climate change, health, and gun violence.

Speakers at WDN Connect 2018 included LaTosha Brown, Donna Hall, and Congresswoman Pramila Jayapal.  (photo credit: @wholeadsus)

The three day gathering of Women Donors Network members also delved into studying the transformative movements of our time, including #MeToo and #Familiesbelongtogether. Sessions also focused on building inclusiveness in divisive times and working with WDN’s 501(c)4 sister organization, WDN Action, to discuss next steps for community advocacy. Senator Kamala Harris spoke at the conference and outlined a 2019 call to action for progressive advocacy. In the evening, The Seattle Foundation co-hosted an event called “Progressive Power Happy Hour” which allowed time for connecting with local leaders.

All of these meetings in Seattle suggests that there is more to come with women donors collaborating with large foundations such as the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation in order to supercharge feminist philanthropy. And, in fact, the Gates Foundation recently made one of the largest global pledges ever for the health of women and children, with its $200 million pledge to the Global Financing Facility, in conjunction with the Government of Norway and other international partners. This $200 million was joined with $360 million from the Government of Norway as the two largest gifts in the Global Financing Facility’s $1 billion dollar pledge for improving the health of the world’s neediest women and children.

Related:

Ashindi Maxton: Fund with Radical Trust to Redefine “Expertise”

How WDN Connects Women and Cultivates Progressive Giving

Empowering Women by Changing Men: Promundo’s Global Fight for Gender Equality

Feminists Everywhere: Seattle Hosts WMM and WFN at Same Time

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

 

One Billion Pledged for Global Health of Women and Children

The Global Financing Facility recently held is Replenishment Event, where global leaders pledged $1 billion to address health needs for the world’s poorest women and children.

The “Global Financing Facility” (GFF) might not be a familiar name for  some in the U.S. philanthropy world, but it ranks among the most important organizations in the ongoing fight for global gender equality. Recently, GFF made a big pledge that is particularly noteworthy for its public/private collaboration, and for its attention to women. GFF is an international organization supported by the World Bank Group, and dedicated to improving the health of the planet’s most impoverished women and children.

In early November, the GFF held a conference, or “Replenishment Event,”  in Oslo, Norway. The meeting was hosted by the governments of Norway and Burkina Faso in conjunction with the World Bank Group and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Fourteen donors, including national governments of various sizes, foundations, and multilateral institutions pledged over one billion dollars to improve the health of mothers and children in the world’s poorest countries. The Government of Norway ($360 million) and the Gates Foundation ($200 million) were the two largest donors. The United States did not contribute to the Replenishment Event, nor has it provided any support to the GFF to date.

The Global Financing Facility was founded in 2015 as a mechanism to help achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goal of ending preventable maternal, newborn and child deaths by 2030. It currently operates in 27 countries, 19 of which are in Africa. The GFF’s mandate is to address the greatest health and nutrition issues affecting women, children and adolescents in the world’s poorest nations. It emphasizes partnerships with countries, civil society organizations, financiers, multilateral bodies and the private sector in funding healthcare systems.

The GFF aims to improve outcomes long-term, as opposed to spending on stop-gap emergency measures which are often not sustained. To this end, not only were there pledges from wealthy countries and foundations at the Oslo conference, the African nations of Burkina Faso and Côte d’Ivoire committed to increasing their health spending by 15% annually, while Nigeria recommitted to its $150 million yearly investment in health and nutrition targeting women, children and adolescents.

The billion dollars pledged is expected to link to an additional $7.5 billion in funds from the World Bank’s International Development Association (IDA), and International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD). GFF calculates that the billion-dollar commitment represents roughly half of what it needs to expand its efforts to finance healthcare in 50 of the world’s lowest income nations, and make progress in meeting the 2030 Sustainable Development Goal on maternal, newborn and child deaths.

The GFF’s boost to health financing in poor countries is three pronged: (i) develop a plan that prioritizes a strong primary health care system and reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health and nutrition; (ii) strengthen a country-led platform that unites key stakeholders around a health and nutrition plan; (iii) work with countries to direct resources at the most vulnerable populations in the hardest-to-reach regions.

The need is great, as over two billion people live in countries that spend less than $25 per capita on health yearly. This lack of healthcare funds has serious consequences: 450,000 children under five die unnecessarily every month, and 830 women die every day from pregnancy and child-birth related complications. The GFF notes that in 50 countries around the world, over five million mothers and children die from preventable conditions due to a lack of resources. The GFF is promoting increased spending on health, but also ensuring that the spending is targeted, and that outcomes are measurable.

The GFF quotes Melinda Gates, who notes the ripple effect generated by increased health care spending on women and children in the Global South: “Healthy women, children and adolescents contribute to a virtuous cycle. With health comes the ability to go to school and learn, which helps people prosper as adults, who are then able to raise empowered children who continue the cycle. That’s why the GFF is such a great investment.”

Related:

World Bank Makes 10 Grants Totaling $1.14 million for Preventing Gender Based Violence

New Infusion: $13 Million to Address Gender and Race Health Gaps

Priscilla Chan and The Future of Inclusive Philanthropy

 

Post Election Buzz: Women’s Funds Welcome New Reflective Democracy

Women, and particularly women of color, made historic gains in the 2018 elections.

How do you create better leadership? By electing quality leaders that reflect the values of the people. With the 2018 elections, Americans have elected more leaders than ever who share a vision to make the country more inclusive and safe,  particularly for women, minorities, and marginalized populations.

As feminist philanthropy leaders praise the outcome of the 2018 elections, they are also using this moment to continue advocating for the causes of women’s rights and reproductive freedom.  “Women’s Funding Network was created 30 years ago to increase women’s leadership in all arenas – media, corporate, policy, philanthropic. Progress is made every day,” tweeted Cynthia Nimmo, CEO of the Women’s Funding Network.  “Today, so proud to see a more inclusive democracy in America.”

“Thank you to those who took risks and those who found courage to push back against hate, racism, sexism and white supremacy,” tweeted Teresa Younger, CEO of the Ms. Foundation for women. “We are in this together and will continue to move forward. I am energized by what I continue to see and hear about our commitment to build power for good.”

Here in Rhode Island, where women are poorly represented in government and in danger of losing reproductive freedom, progressive women candidates made historic gains in political representation. Planned Parenthood Votes! Rhode Island (PPV!RI) reported that, along with growing the number of their endorsed candidates who got elected to 44, Rhode Island also elected a record 42 women to the state legislature, including 16 in the Senate and 26 in the House.

The Democrats’ regaining the majority in the U.S. House of Representatives was largely driven by women voters, who are being heralded as “pivotal” to the election’s results. And overall in Congress, at least 102 women will be sworn in early next year, up from 84 women currently serving in Congress.

Much of this change has to do with an intentional investment by progressive women donors in helping women learn about, prepare, and act on their goals of running for public office. Organizations like Vote, Run, Lead, EMERGE America, She Should Run, Running Start, and Higher Heights have been working for years to increase the number of women taking on the immense challenges of funding and winning political campaigns.

So it’s time to say thank you to the women donors who are thinking strategically, and who recognize the deep connection between political representation and progress for gender equality. Hopefully you feel validated for your efforts by this election’s outcomes, and will continue to expand your commitments to growing gender equality in government.

Related:

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

Interview with The Woman Project: “Reproductive Freedom is Essential”

Feminists Everywhere: Seattle Hosts WMM and WFN at Same Time

Kathy LeMay on Regenerating Courage as a Social Change Agent

Did You Vote? Do It Now, for the Sake of Reflective Democracy

Philanthropy Women publisher Kiersten Marek voted today in Rhode Island, and gave support to  local candidates running for city council, including Gail Harvey and Sarah Lee in Cranston.

It’s an election like no other, with record numbers of women running for office at the local, state, and national levels, and women everywhere becoming activist voters who want to see themselves represented in government.

It’s a great time to be publishing about women’s philanthropy, as more women take on funding nonprofits that are supporting gender equality, not only in the U.S. but also globally. So far this year we’ve seen significant growth in new organizations committing to addressing gender-based violence and education for girls worldwide, including Girls, Inc, the Obama Foundation, and the #MeToo Fund headed by Tarana Burke.

And yet so much more can happen to enlarge gender equality movements, and integrate new awarenesses into our daily lives about how we can treat others with less gender prejudice. Tomorrow, I’m excited to be sponsoring a Safe Conversations workshop for licensed mental health professionals at my offices in Cranston, Rhode Island. This is one way that I am trying to enlarge the gender equality practices that we all have the capacity to change — the ways that we speak to and support one another in our communities.

I will be holding subsequent workshops in Safe Conversations over the coming months. Please contact me if you are interested in enrolling in a future workshop.

Related:

Women Donors: Help RI Take Out Anti-Feminist State House Speaker

Built on Partnership: How This Power Couple Champions Gender Equality

Feminist Grantmaking’s Connection to the New Relational Culture

Happy Day for RI Progressives as Women Prevail in Primary Polls

UPDATE: Big Win for Progressives as RI Dems Rescind Endorsements

Giving For Good: Your Daily Round-Up of Feminist Philanthropy News

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