Elsevier Foundation Teams with Girls Inc. for Generation Giga Girl

Elsevier Foundation is partnering with Girls Inc to bridge the gender gap for data analytics.

Two front-runners in the campaign to bring diversity to the sciences are teaming up to introduce girls to data analytics in high school. The Elsevier Foundation and Girls Inc. of New York City announced their new program on March 21st.

The new program — called Pre-G3: The Elsevier Foundation Data Analytics Preparatory Program for Girls — will introduce underserved and low-income girls to data analytics, boosting enrollment in Girls Inc.’s continuing high school courses “by improving [girls’] core skills and confidence in their ability to comprehend the lessons and succeed in the coursework.”

Pre-G3 is designed as a preparatory course for girls who have never experienced data analytics before. Girls Inc.’s flagship course — Generation Giga Girls, or G3 — offers girls the opportunity to explore skills in coding, sciences, math, and data analytics. After years in action, Girls Inc. discovered that confidence was a barrier to entry — many girls from underserved or low-income areas struggled with the basics of data analytics, making it difficult to embrace the G3 program.

Now, Pre-G3 seeks to bridge the gap between these girls and the field of data analytics. By introducing girls to these skills from a younger age, and on a wider scale, Girls Inc. is able to prepare them for the more intensive program when they reach high school. The goal is to boost enrollment in high school data analytics courses, igniting girls’ interests in science, mathematics, and coding from an early age.

Girls Inc. will be partnering with Elsevier Foundation to launch Generation Giga Girl (G3).

“Both the G3 and Pre-G3 programs teach data science through the lens of social justice issues, contemporary culture and developmentally appropriate topics,” says Dr. Pamela Maraldo, CEO of Girls Inc. of New York City. “Students learn to assess if Grade Point Average (GPA) is fair; if Black and Latino students have higher suspension rates than their white counterparts; and study trends in social media use among teens. Examples of women of color scientists and culturally relevant field trips are woven throughout.”

Like Girls Inc., this isn’t The Elsevier Foundation’s first foray into feminist philanthropy. Funded by Elsevier, a publisher and global information analytics company, the Foundation seeks to support libraries, nurses, and female scholars around the world, focusing on the early and mid-level parts of their careers.

The G3 and Pre-G3 programs are a way to support young women before they even start their careers — by introducing girls to coding, data analytics, and other STEM skills as early as the eighth grade, girls can discover a lifelong love for fields that they wouldn’t be exposed to through “normal” middle- and high-school curriculum.

As more foundations turn toward educating and inspiring girls from low-income or underserved areas, programs like these pave the way for bringing STEM education to women around the world.

“The mission of Girls Inc. is to build girls who are strong, smart and bold,” says Dr. Maraldo. “With support from the Elsevier Foundation, we will reach girls at an earlier age with the kind of academic enrichment that would be a game changer.  This is wonderful and very exciting!”

For more information about the Pre-G3 program, check out the official press release and the Elsevier Foundation and Girls Inc. websites.

To learn more about campaigns that support female education and empowerment, check out the ways foundations are looking to hire ore women asset managers or learn more about efforts to unite female-led fundraising for girls’ education around the world.

Testing Rape Kits: How Feminist Philanthropy Can Help

End the Backlog, a project of the Joyful Heart Foundation, tracks local, state, and national efforts to test rape kits. (Image Credit: End the Backlog)

A massive backlog of untested rape kits has long plagued the criminal justice system and undermined efforts to foreground sexual assault as a major problem worthy of serious investigation. Sexual assault survivors and activists have estimated that around 250,000 rape kits remain untested.

Crucially, addressing the backlog isn’t just a matter of garnering convictions and getting sexual assault perpetrators off the streets though that’s certainly part of it. It’s also about justice for survivors, putting issues that disproportionately affect women at the fore, and achieving some degree of increased safety for women and girls. And feminist philanthropy efforts have a direct role to play in achieving all of these goals.

New efforts from district attorney’s offices across the country to fund rape kit testing have resulted in a number of convictions of rapists and perpetrators of sexual assaults. As reported earlier in March in The New York Times, for example, Maisha Sudbeck, a Tucson woman whose rape evidence kit was ignored for over five years, found closure after a grant from the DA’s office in Manhattan funded investigators’ attempts to clear the backlog. Nathan Loebe, a serial rapist who had sexually assaulted Sudbeck and six other women, was convicted based on the DNA evidence in her kit. Manhattan DA Cyrus R. Vance Jr. dedicated $38 million to clearing the backlog in 2015. Since then, 64 rapists across a number of states have been found and convicted, just like Loebe.

In fact, many of those convicted since the grant’s initiation have been found to be serial perpetrators of sexual assault. Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy launched Enough SAID (Enough Sexual Assault In Detroit), a funding initiative to process thousands of rape kits (each of which cost just under $500 to test) after over 11,000 untested rape kits were discovered in a storage area at the Detroit Police Department five years ago.

Organizations like the Michigan Women’s Foundation (now rebranded as Michigan Women Forward) and a number of influential feminist donors have played a major role in testing those kits. The initiative has funded the testing of over 10,000 of those kits, resulting in the identification of over 800 serial rapists in a single county. Moreover, many of these sexual assault survivors are women of color–86 percent, in the case of the Wayne County kits that went untested. Efforts like Enough SAID and End The Backlog are addressing the issue of sexual assault head-on.

Despite these laudable efforts, the backlog remains, serving as a clear reminder of how issues that often affect women are often depoliticized, dismissed, or underfunded. Feminist donors and advocates have been instrumental in funding these initiatives, and continue to serve as leaders in the movement. Sarah Haacke Byrd, the Executive Director of Women Moving Millions, for example, is an expert in getting new legislation passed to test rape kits. At the time of her appointment, she had raised over $169 million to clear the backlog, and had been instrumental in the passage of over 35 laws across 26 states that help to prevent a similar backlog in the future. The rape kit backlog is one problem that feminist donors, activists, and philanthropists can contribute to in order to make an immediate difference on an urgent issue.

What can feminist philanthropists do to address the rape kit backlog in their states? For starters, check out the state-based news on End the Backlog, which helps to identify where and how states are making progress on this issue. Reaching out to your state-based organization working to end gender-based violence is another way to touch base and learn about how this issue is playing out in your community. Donors might also reach out to state-based women’s funds and foundations (check out the Women’s Funding Network for a list of the women’s funds in your area) to discuss ways to team up for advocacy around rape kit testing education and reform.

Longtime Women’s Foundation CEO to Step Down

Lee Roper-Batker, CEO of the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota.

The Women’s Foundation of Minnesota has announced the retirement of Lee Roper-Batker as President and CEO, a big change for one of the largest and most influential women’s foundations in the country.

Effective January 3, 2020, Roper-Batker will step down, after leading the foundation for 18 years.

Her service to the sector is significant. Since becoming the foundation’s President and CEO in 2001, Roper-Batker has presided over a period of growth and expansion that included increasing the organization’s grantmaking by 840%. She also helped established groundbreaking programs to protect women and girls from sexual trafficking including MN Girls Are Not For Sale, launched in 2011, a prescient project that helped raise awareness about sexual abuse and trafficking of women and girls before the #MeToo movement.

 “The Board of Trustees is deeply grateful to Lee for her nearly two decades of outstanding leadership and strategic vision that has transformed the Foundation to be a leader in seeking racial equity and the advancement of women and girls not only across our state, but in our nation” said Susan Segal, Women’s Foundation board chair. 

In addition to launching MN Girls Are Not for Sale in 2011, Roper-Batker was instrumental is establishing girlsBEST (girls Building Economic Success Together) in 2002, creating the first permanently endowed fund just for girls at any women’s foundation in the world.

Roper-Batker has also played a critical role in supporting the Young Women’s Initiative of Minnesota, “a $9 million public-private partnership with the Minnesota Governor’s Office to ensure equity in outcomes and center the leadership and solutions of young women of color, American Indian young women, young women from Greater Minnesota, LGBTQ+ youth, and young women with disabilities,” said Segal.

“I am tremendously proud of what we have achieved together toward a Minnesota where all women and girls are guaranteed economic opportunity, safety, and leadership. Serving as President and CEO of the Women’s Foundation has been my calling, a culmination of my life’s work, and among the highest honors in my life,” said Roper-Batker.

“I leave behind a women’s foundation that is grounded in research, community wisdom, intergenerational equity, and with a model of innovation, responsiveness, and impact. I am excited to see what the future holds as we pave the way for the Foundation’s next CEO and the fresh perspective, innovation, and leadership they will bring,” said Roper-Batker.

“I retire with hope, appreciation, and unwavering belief that we will, one day, see a world where women, girls, and all people hold the power to create and lead safe prosperous lives.”

Roper-Batker will certainly be missed, particularly as a leading member of the coalition of women’s funds focusing on women and girls of color. She also made major headway in helping the public understanding the complex needs of women and girls in Minnesota, and shared that information with the White House Council on Women and Girls, established by the Obama Administration in 2009.

How This Nonprofit is Growing Support to End FGM Globally

Former First Lady Michelle Obama with Amy Maglio, Founder of the Women’s Global Education Project. (Photo: Chuck Kennedy for the Obama Foundation)

Recently when checking in with the Obama Foundation, we learned that they are highlighting the Women’s Global Education Project (WGEP) and its work in helping global communities end the practice of female genital mutilation (FGM). To find our more about how this work takes place, Philanthropy Women spoke with Amy Maglio, Founder of WGEP. Maglio founded WGEP over 14 years ago after she was a peace corp volunteer in Senegal, where she lived for three years.

“When I got back from Senegal, I thought about all the girls I knew who weren’t in school,” said Maglio. She was particularly concerned with the reasons that girls weren’t going to school, and wanted to find more ways to ensure that girls got into school and stayed in school in Senegal. Maglio began partnering with local community-based organizations in Senegal that were already working on these questions. Local organizers in Senegal identified that girls ended their education often because of healthy, safety, and cultural issues.

About ten years ago, WGEP started working in Kenya and found a partner organization there that developed the Alternative Rite of Passage (ARP) program. From leaders there, Maglio said she gained a deeper understanding of how girls generally drop out of school and begin a family shortly after going through FGM.

ARP is slowly gaining traction in Kenya, with a 2014 Demographic Health Survey reporting that in some regions of the country, rates of female circumcision have dropped from 32% in 2003 to 21% in 2014. Other regions still have much higher rates, such as 92% of Kisii women and girls who are still subject to the practice, and 78% of Maasai women.

(ARP) is one answer to ending FGM, where girls participate in ceremonies that affirm their human rights to life, education, and health, as well as their cultural rights, many of which align with traditional cultural values of that particular community.

“We give girls the opportunity to transition into adulthood without the cutting,” said Maglio. “In Kenya we also do scholarships, tutoring, violence prevention, and leadership, but the alternative rite of passage is a critical piece that helps girls stay in school.”

Given the popularity of ARP for girls, WGEP has also started an alternative rite of passage for boys. “We advocate for safe circumcision, and while we have them there, we give them all the same health and reproductive education workshops that we give the girls.”

Maglio stressed the need for more funders to recognize the centrality of the issue of FGM in global gender equality work. “We have had a lot of support because our program is holistic and we address all of the issues of why girls aren’t going to school. A number of women donors and family foundations have supported us for a long time.” In addition, last year WGEP received funding from Dining for Women, an organization in the U.S. that helps women pool donations to address global gender issues.

One donor who has been a passionate long-time supporter of WGEP is Suzanne Kanter. “I have been so impressed with Amy, who understands the complexities of this issue and takes a nuanced approach to changing attitudes about FGM in Kenya in a real and lasting manner. Her work has helped thousands of girls stay healthy and in school.”

Kanter’s advice for other funders who want to make headway on this issue is to seek out organizations like WGEP that take a collaborative approach to changing FGM attitudes and practices, and who have a proven track record of success.

Another key aspect that Kanter said funders should look for is whether the organization learns from their experiences and thinks creatively about how to improve their programming and effectiveness. “WGEP avoids a top-down approach to its FGM work. In creating and building the Alternative Rite of Passage program, Amy has collaborated with high-caliber Kenyan partners, who have a deep understanding of local culture, customs, and needs.”

That process of building trust doesn’t happen overnight, stressed Kanter. “Amy has built WGEP’s program slowly, gaining the trust of girls, mothers and decision-makers in the villages the organization is serving, and expanding into new villages as word spreads about the program and its benefits.”

Maglio, and other leaders in the movement for gender equality globally, think it’s time for larger foundations and institutions to step up and add to the momentum to end FGM. “I think there is still difficulty with larger institutions and funders staying away from FGM,” said Maglio.

The reason, she speculates, is the deeply entrenched nature of cultural practices like FGM, and how hard it is to help communities shift to a new way of thinking and behaving. ” It’s such a deeply rooted tradition. “It is not something you can change overnight, it is a long term process.'”

The Obama Foundation lending support to WGEP may be critical to boosting the issue into the mainstream, as it represents a breakthrough into a broader level of funding and message dissemination capacity. Maglio is feeling particularly grateful for that connection these days, as she continues her work.

Learn more about WGEP and Amy Maglio on the organization’s website.

Women Asset Managers: San Francisco Foundation Needs You

The San Francisco Foundation is modeling a higher level of financial integrity as it announces a new $50 million for justice-lens investing, including hiring minority and women financial managers.

When you think of San Francisco, the first thing to come to mind is probably the Golden Gate Bridge, or the picturesque houses lining multi-million-dollar streets. You likely don’t immediately think of the wealth disparity that Silicon Valley brought to the city’s families, or the racial tensions that still crop up in a “dark blue region of a blue state.”

San Francisco faces the same problems that plague any city of its size. But what if that could change?

The San Francisco Foundation recently announced that it is committing $50 million to “investments that are aligned with its mission to building inclusive prosperity and racial equity in and around San Francisco.” In other words, the Foundation is committing 6.3% of its $800 million endowment to investment opportunities that will be good for the city of San Francisco — and they’re looking to invest with women- and minority-owned asset managers.

Why is this so exciting? $50 million can do a lot for a city like San Francisco, and the Foundation has already announced its intentions to focus the funds on investments that contribute to the greater good. According to ImpactAlpha, “Investments will be screened for positive environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations and to avoid ‘predatory lenders, private prisons, tobacco companies, retailers that sell assault weapons to the public, and fossil fuel companies.'”

But even more exciting: For female asset managers and women investors, this is an incredible opportunity. Women and minority financial managers working at the intersection of grant-making and investing now have the ability to apply for fund management work with The San Francisco Foundation that is specifically focused on fixing some of the problems plaguing San Francisco.

“Today, the Bay Area is at a crossroads,” reads the Foundation’s mission statement. “Despite historic levels of prosperity, we are seeing widening inequality, increasing poverty, and declines in upward economic mobility. The rising tide is not lifting all boats. We need to ensure that everyone has a chance to get a good job, live in a safe and affordable home, has a strong political voice, and can live in a community that provides real access to opportunity. To achieve this, TSFF has launched an ambitious strategy to advance racial and economic equity across the Bay Area.”

Mission-aligned investment funding is just one part of what the San Francisco is doing to address inequality in the Bay Area, and while $50 million may seem like a huge number, it makes up only 6.3% of the San Francisco Foundation’s endowment — and for someone like Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, that’s a paltry 0.034% of his net worth.

Imagine the world we’d live in if more companies and fortunate individuals like Jeff Bezos devoted their investment funding into socially, economically, and scientifically-conscious opportunities, instead of focusing on unicorn stocks that do very little for the world but turn a profit for investors.

Debates over climate change, sociopolitical equality, gun laws, and so much more are igniting the spark in new advocates, not just in San Francisco, but all over the world. The next generation of activists are looking for more accountability from high net worth individuals and the charitable institutions that hold their money.

It’s time for foundations to increase their own financial integrity and align all of their assets with their mission. The San Francisco Foundation is modeling how to do this while also increasing its impact — by gradually turning over their assets to a more diverse pool of financial managers, who are focused on returning those dollars to the community in a more meaningful way.

For more information on how you can get involved, take a look at The San Francisco Foundation’s current initiatives.

To learn more about women-led funding opportunities, discover how organizations like the New York Women’s Foundation and the American Cancer Society are making strides in feminist philanthropy.

Partnering for Power: NYWF Grants $11 Million for Gender Equality

The New York Women’s Foundation has announced a record-breaking $11 million in funding for 2018.

“These extraordinarily demanding times call for increased responsiveness, investment, and collaboration from philanthropy,” said Ana Oliveira, The New York Women’s Foundation’s President and CEO, upon announcing a record $11 million in grants for 2018 to 175 community organizations. “Our 2018 grantmaking expresses the Foundation’s increased response to the needs of historically underinvested communities most impacted by poverty and violence.”

The New York Women’s Foundation (The Foundation) has been at the forefront of gender equality philanthropy for several decades. From 2017 to 2018, grantmaking from the foundation increased by $3 million, breaking its previous record of $8 million, a 27% increase in just one year. If the New York Women’s Foundation continues giving at this rate, in another five years, its giving could reach over $25 million per year.

Big Focus on Partnerships

The Foundation’s new record grantmaking total builds on five strong years of growth with a particular focus on partnerships, said Oliveira in an email interview with Philanthropy Women. One major partnership highlight was the when the Foundation joined with 27 public U.S. women’s foundations, along with the Women’s Funding Network, to create Prosperity Together, the five-year, $100 million funding initiative to create opportunities and break down barriers to women’s economic security across the United States. “In its first two years, Prosperity Together invested a collective $58 million of its $100 million commitment,” said Oliveira. “We will be reporting on 2018 soon and will be sure to share the results with you.”

Another important collaboration leading toward this year’s record giving was the Foundation’s partnership with the New York City Council’s Young Women’s Initiative. This partnership focused specifically on increasing visibility and opportunity for girls, young women and gender-fluid youth of color in New York City.

The Foundation’s partnership with MeToo Movement founder Tarana Burke has been another significant propeller of its growth. “The MeToo Fund is a vehicle to ensure that the momentum of the Movement is sustained beyond news cycles, by activists of color leading organizations working to prevent sexual violence and promote the leadership and healing of survivors,” said Oliveira. With this work, the Foundation has extended its grantmaking beyond New York City with the help of other public women’s foundations across the country.

I wanted to know what inspires Oliveira to keep driving the Foundation to further heights of giving — and at such a fierce pace. “I am most inspired by the leaders we have the honor of supporting,” said Oliveira. “What we bring to the table is a willingness to listen, to invest right from the beginning—at the idea stage—and to stick with [grantees], continuing to invest over 5 years as they build out the solution.”

Oliveira cited examples of organizations thriving through their partnerships with the Foundation, including ROC United, Hot Bread Kitchen and Domestic Workers Alliance. “We know it is about more than funding, that is why we invest in the leaders themselves with training, coaching, and opportunities for visibility.”

Another factor that contributes to the Foundation’s record growth in giving, said Oliveira, is the the volunteer and donor communities that supports the Foundation. “Just as we look to community for solutions, we look to them for guidance in our grantmaking,” she said.

Oliveira also recognized the heavily participatory process that the Foundation uses to make grants. “Our brand of participatory grantmaking treats community members as equals. They already know the best ways to approach their local challenges, so we ask them to decide with us where resources should go, rather than determining what their problems are or how to fix them.”

A complete list of The New York Women’s Foundation 2018 grantee partners can be viewed here.

New Research from WPI Highlights Race and Gender Variables in Giving

The Women’s Philanthropy Institute at University of Indiana has come out with a new report detailing giving across race and gender. (Photo credit: WPI)

One important role that the Women’s Philanthropy Institute plays is producing research that drills down on the data about women’s giving, adding more demographic detail, including race, to the picture of how and why women give.

In its most recent research, WPI has identified ways that donors differ across race, and ways they appear to behave in relatively similar fashion. All of this data points to the fact that philanthropy is growing more aware of its diversity, and funders and nonprofits would do well to find ways to maximize engagement with donors of all backgrounds. By doing so, philanthropy as a social domain can help recognize and empower donors from historically oppressed or marginalized groups.

Women Give 2019: Gender and Giving Across Communities of Color studies the way in which race and gender intersect for high net worth givers, as well as givers in the general population. High net worth givers were defined for this study as households with $1 million or more in assets including their primary residence, or households earning $200,000 a year or more in income.

The study helps to shed light particularly on women of color and the unique perspectives they often bring to philanthropy. In a video released along with the research, entitled I am a Philanthropist, women of varying ages and backgrounds discuss how they first became givers, and how embracing the label of philanthropist has enriched their lives.

The new research also reveals a significant gap between the formal volunteering done by white people and people of color. The study notes that other research suggests that communities of color may do more informal volunteering that is harder to capture with research.

Progressive women’s philanthropy has taken a leading role in promoting the social value of inclusiveness. This new research from WPI builds further on the idea of inclusiveness as a cornerstone of successful giving. With large foundations like NoVo Foundation focusing on women and girls of color, and a growing awareness across women’s funds about the need to zero in on this population, WPI’s new research is joining the chorus of thought leaders in philanthropy calling for increased resources and support for racial as well as gender diversity in civil society.

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Executive Summary

New Coalition Forms to End Gender-Based Violence at Work

A new coalition of 11 funding partners have come together to create new support for ending gender-based harassment and abuse in the workplace. (Image Credit: Safety and Dignity for Women)

Over the past few years, the #MeToo movement has brought to light the rampant issues of sexual harassment, abuse, and violence that plague many of our communities. Mainstream media has primarily focused on sexual violence and harassment in high-profile industries, such as entertainment, sports, journalism, higher education, and the corporate world.

But the populations most disproportionately affected by sexual violence and harassment are often the same ones that go underserved, both financially and by media coverage. These populations include women of color, trans and nonbinary women, women with disabilities and/or mental illnesses, immigrants and migrants, socioeconomically disadvantaged women, indigenous women, and incarcerated or formerly incarcerated women, among others. Many of these women work in industries where sexual violence is prevalent and often ignored, such as domestic work, restaurants, and hospitality. Workers in these industries often go without the labor protections that can serve as a partial buffer against sexual exploitation.

A new initiative among some of the largest and most influential philanthropic foundations in the U.S. aims to shift the #MeToo lens to many of these underserved populations. 11 partners have agreed to fund campaigns against sexual violence and harassment that are helmed primarily by women of color and members of other vulnerable populations. Participating foundations include the NoVo Foundation, CBS, Nathan Cummings Foundation, Kapor Center, the Open Society Foundation, the Ford Foundation, the Conrad Hilton Foundation, and several others (including three anonymous donors).

The NoVo Foundation in particular is known for its consistent philanthropic focus on initiatives aimed at supporting and empowering women and girls. And although women in marginalized populations are often portrayed as “voiceless,” NoVo’s Executive Director Pamela Shifman told the Associated Press that they are in fact anything but. Emphasizing the fact that many of the funds will go towards campaigns led by affected women leaders themselves, Shifman said, “We’ve seen girls and women step up with such incredible bravery. This is about funders stepping up to say, ‘We hear you. We see you.'”

Rather than assuming marginalized women are voiceless, funders in this new team effort are hoping to amplify the voices of women leaders and survivors who are already working to secure a safer, brighter future for themselves and others. Freada Kapor Klein, Co-chair of the Kapor Center, agreed, saying: “What’s different about this fund is that it’s driven by believing in and supporting solutions that come from the lived experiences of the most marginalized women. Women of color face staggeringly disproportionate levels of bias and harassment that limit their access, opportunities and outcomes to full participation in their workplaces and society.” Inspired by organizing efforts through groups like the Restaurant Opportunities Center and the National Domestic Workers Alliance, this fund is survivor-led at its heart, rooted in the belief that systemic change can only come about when it’s headed by people working with and for their own communities.

The transnational funding efforts, which start with $20 million and are being housed at Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors, will focus not only on domestic laborers and other industries where women are frequently subjected to sexual harassment (such as the garment industry), but also on sexual abuse in institutions such as medical facilities, prisons, jails, and schools.

The fund names its five primary goals as: policy advocacy, narrative and culture change, organizing and civic engagement, leadership development, and convening and peer learning. Funding will go towards existing and burgeoning organizing efforts at every level, as well as efforts to effect public policy changes to provide more labor protections against sexual violence. The fund will also focus on launching a communications hub centered around eradicating sexual violence against marginalized women, supporting artmaking and educational projects alike in order to “change the narrative” about sexual harassment. Beginning in 2019, at least $5 million will be provided in grants each year to projects that align with the fund’s mission. The team of donors has made a five-year philanthropic commitment to start.

In a press release about the joint funding effort, National Women’s Law Center President Fatima Goss Graves emphasized the importance of ensuring a workplace free from sexual coercion or exploitation for laborers in every field. Of the initiative, she said, “Whether in a company with thousands of employees or in a workplace of one in someone’s home, women should be able to work with safety, equality, dignity, and fairness. To effect lasting change to end sexual violence, we need to build one movement, where advocates, policymakers, and philanthropists are following the lead of survivors, and this fund is a huge step toward making that a reality.”

Donors who are curious about the initiative or who want to get involved can find more information at The Collaborative Fund for Women’s Safety and Dignity.

ACS ResearcHERS: Uniting Feminist Philanthropy and Cancer Research

ResearcHERS brings together women leaders and medicine to raise money for research on cancer. (Image credit: ACS)

There is an old “riddle” that used to circulate in the early 2000s in which a father and son are critically injured in a car accident and rushed to the hospital. The hospital workers do everything they can to save the father, but he dies under their care. When the son is prepped for his life-saving surgery, the attending doctor stops dead and declares, “I can’t perform the procedure — I cannot operate on my own son.” How is this possible?

The answer? The doctor is a woman — the son’s mother — and that is why she is unwilling to perform the surgery. The difficulty of the “riddle” comes from the guesser’s automatic presumption that the doctor in question has to be a man — because, of course, only men are qualified to be surgeons, right?

For generations, women have had to fight against inherent prejudices just to get the medical care they need, let alone to become the caregivers. In the years since this riddle first went around, women from all over the world have worked to dismantle the assumption that lofty careers as surgeons, scientists, astronauts, and engineers are reserved for men. And now, fundraising campaigns are starting to close the gap between women-led research programs and the funding they need to achieve scientific breakthroughs, eradicate disease, and inspire the next generation of girl scientists.

The American Cancer Society in Illinois recently announced ResearcHERS: Women Fighting Cancer, a fundraising and empowerment program that appoints prominent female Ambassadors to fundraise, share scientific discoveries, and promote women in research. Committing to a fundraising goal of $2,500, these Ambassadors use their online and industry clout to spread the word about applicable research programs, raise money for other women in healthcare, and donate funds directly to cancer research efforts led by women.

“One in three Americans will battle cancer in their lifetime,” reads the ResearcHERS website. “It can be hard to believe that a single person can make a difference. But funding just one research breakthrough, or one study with the right outcome, could potentially save thousands of lives. ResearcHERS is a movement that engages women to raise funds that directly support cancer researchers—women cancer researchers.”

The American Cancer Society (ACS) has already been identified as a front-runner in feminist-leaning philanthropy. About half of the researchers who receive funding from the ACS are women, and the ACS emphasizes funding for researchers who are early in their careers or beginning early research, when funding can be difficult to secure but can also lead to significant scientific breakthroughs.

Headed by Co-Chairs Cheryle R. Jackson (SVP Global Business Development & President, AAR) and Michelle M. Le Beau (PhD, Director, University of Chicago Medicine Comprehensive Cancer Center), the new ResearcHERS program aims to raise $500,000 in its first year and use the funds to support prominent women in research.

According to the ResearcHERS website, you can get involved by:

  • Learning more about ResearcHERS: Women Fighting Cancer or nominating an influential woman as an Ambassador on the official website;
  • Donating to support women-led cancer research;
  • Sharing the movement on social media and highlighting women researchers on Facebook and YouTube; and
  • Sharing your story using the official hashtags, #ACSResearcHERS, #WomenFightingCancer and #CancerResearch.

Interested in learning more about how feminist philanthropy is impacting women’s healthcare? Discover the impact of a $10 million grant to fund female healthcare leaders at UCLA, or see what happens when a health care foundation, a nonprofit initiative, and a for-profit health information company collaborate to help educate pregnant women around the country.

MDRC Confirms: Grameen Loans Help Fight Poverty for U.S. Women

A Grameen America borrower with child. (Photo credit: Grameen America)

Micro-loans, in which poor people are provided small loans so that they can jump-start or grow an enterprise, are often associated with least developed countries, but, according to a new study, this model has proved highly effective when applied to poor American women over the last decade.

The Grameen Bank model was pioneered in Bangladesh during the 1970s and 80s, and aimed to reduce poverty through the provision of loans, financial training, and peer support to those unable to access traditional credit mechanisms. It turned out a that small amount of funds enabling the purchase of such basics as tools, seeds, and livestock enabled many to lift themselves out of the most desperate kinds of poverty.

Continue reading “MDRC Confirms: Grameen Loans Help Fight Poverty for U.S. Women”