Cynthia Mendes: Exciting New WOC Leadership Possibilities in RI

Readers of Philanthropy Women know that we closely follow the feminist giving strategies on getting more women into politics. Now, an exciting announcement comes from our home state of Rhode Island, as State Senator Cynthia Mendes and Former Secretary of State Matt Brown have announced their joint campaign for Lt. Governor and Governor of Rhode Island.

Cynthia Mendes and Matt Brown announced today their joint campaign for Lt. Governor and Governor of Rhode Island. (Image credit:

Not only are these two uniquely qualified candidates running together, they have cultivated 50 more progressive candidates running for a large swath of positions in Rhode Island. Together, this could make for a new paradigm of leadership in the state.

Women donors have a great opportunity to support Cynthia Mendes, a single mom and woman of color who knows from the inside the difficulties of making it in our broken country. She will have the support and experience of Matt Brown, whose longstanding progressive politics have laid the foundation for a successful campaign. As described by the announcement about the 50 multiracial new progressive candidates:

This team of candidates – which includes nurses, retail workers, students, and teachers – will fight for the people of Rhode Island, not corporate lobbyists or the super-rich. When elected to office, they will replace the corrupt politicians who control our state government, and will then lead the country by enacting a Green New Deal, universal health care, and sweeping racial justice policies. Our new government will also invest in green affordable housing, create thousands of good union jobs, and clean up toxic pollution to ensure that every Rhode Islander has a safe home, clean air, clean water, and clean energy.

In the fashion of candidates like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Cynthia Mendes has risen to amazing heights in her political career by speaking from her street-level view about the problems we must face to become a healthier society. Cynthia hasn’t been afraid to speak her truth and reach new constituents by challenging the status quo and introducing new ways to strengthen the social ecosystem. As a former health care worker, she also has a clear view of the extra layer of difficulties we are facing in the COVID world.

Contributing to Cynthia and Matt now will do the magical EMILY (early money is like yeast) thing and give them an extra boost early on to ensure their progress is fast and furious. While we can’t endorse candidates or engage in political events here at Philanthropy Women, we wanted to make sure we flagged this event for women donors as it is a significant opportunity to realize the vision of reflective democracy.


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Author: Kiersten Marek

Kiersten Marek, LICSW, is the founder of Philanthropy Women. She practices clinical social work and writes about how women donors and their allies are advancing social change.

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