What Kamala Harris Represents for Donor Activism and Inclusion

Kamala Harris has officially made history.

The landmark selection of Harris as Joe Biden’s running mate in the 2020 election represents a huge win for diversity in politics. What’s more, Harris represents the positive impact of campaigning, fundraising, and donating in the world of feminist philanthropy.

What does the selection of Kamala Harris say about the future of feminist funding? And what does it represent for how far we’ve come? (Image Credit: Joe Biden, Twitter)

Harris’s own presidential campaign says a lot about what we can do with feminist funding for political campaigns. Her decision to eschew funding from PAcs likely played a major role in her eventual drop from the 2020 race, but her commitment to funding sources outside the norm of American political campaign speaks to just how far we can go with feminist funding.

In fact, since Biden announced his VIP pick, more than $48 million in donations have flooded into the Biden-Harris campaign, providing a much-needed breath of fresh air at such a critical point of the presidential race.

“It’s a watershed moment for women of color across the country,” said Aimee Allison, founder of She The People, in an interview with Democracy Now. “We’ve worked tirelessly over the last three years, but standing on the shoulders of women of color who have worked as engaged citizens and as the most loyal Democrats to lead.”

There’s a lot I could say about the imperfections of this ticket — but I won’t. With less than three months until election day, our focus needs to be on voter registration, funding the Postal Service, and finding pandemic-safe methods for ensuring the U.S. population makes it to the polls. As we’re looking forward, it’s important, too, to take a look at how we got here.

As observers of feminist funding, we at Philanthropy Women have reported on the years of pushes for diversity, inclusion, and equality in American politics. Over the course of this election year, we’ve spoken with foundation leaders, activists, and philanthropists about the critical necessity of more women in positions of political leadership. We’ve seen the struggles and the calls for action, and we’ve seen the hard work from so many foundations, nonprofit leaders, activists, and philanthropists.

And what we’re seeing now? It finally feels like the American political system is listening.

Philanthropists and activists in the feminist sphere have been calling for this kind of representation for decades. We could espouse Harris’s virtues and crack down on her missteps for pages upon pages of articles, but we cannot deny that something truly exciting happened last week. I know so many little girls who will now be able to follow this election and think to themselves, “That could be me, someday.”

Since Biden’s announcement on August 11th, philanthropists, activists, and thought leaders around the country have shared their reactions to the Harris pick. In the below selections from Twitter, you’ll see a mix of reactions: eagerness at the implications for the future, pride at the hard work that got us to where we are today, and calls that this is too little, too late. Overall, we see excitement and pride, as the world of feminist philanthropy takes a portion of the credit–a well-deserved portion, at that–for this landmark VP pick.

It’s important not to misinterpret the excitement: The Biden-Harris ticket is far from perfect, and we haven’t solved the issue of representation or funding women in politics overnight. In fact, we’re nowhere close to solving that problem. But it cannot be denied that the Harris pick represents a milestone in American politics, a milestone that feminist funding, activism, and campaigning have worked so hard to make into a reality.

So, where do we go from here?

We keep funding. We keep donating.

We keep speaking up, elevating each other’s voices, and supporting women in politics on their paths to the Senate, House, and White House.

We keep finding campaigns we believe in, and sharing and supporting them as we work together to create a more just and equitable tomorrow.

We keep investing in future generations, in the next wave of women and girls who will use their voices, platforms, sweat, and tears to drive home the points that we believe in, and enact the change that we wish to see in the world.

Today, we celebrate. And tomorrow, we get to work.

What’s the world of feminist philanthropy saying about the Biden-Harris ticket?

Enjoy these selections from the movers and shakers of feminist philanthropy and politics as we celebrate this historic milestone, and look to what we can do in the future of funding women in politics.

Aimee Allison, She The People

The Harnisch Foundation

Melinda Gates, The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Sen. Elizabeth Warren

Roxane Gay, Author and Activist

Heather McGhee, Board Co-Chair of Color of Change

Barack Obama, Husband of Michelle Obama (oh, and 44th President of the United States)

New American Leaders


The New York Women’s Foundation

Surina Khan, CEO of Women’s Foundation of California

Heather McCulloch, Founder/Executive Director of Closing the Women’s Wealth Gap

Joy Reid, Journalist and Author


Author: Maggie May

Maggie May is a small business owner, author, and story-centric content strategist headquartered in Annapolis, MD and Philadelphia, PA. She has a passion for finding stories and telling them the way they're meant to be told.

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