What’s New for Feminist Giving in February 2023

Greetings friends and feminist giving peeps! Welcome to February of 2023, which promises some big new things for gender equality funding.

Before we get into the top happenings in philanthropic giving for women, I want to call attention to a new gender lens investing product. We all know philanthropic giving matters, but there is also a great deal of progress that can be made by bringing gender lens thinking to the realms of business and finance.

A New gender lens ETF is available from Hypatia Capital. (Image credit Hypatia Capital)

New Gender Lens ETF: WCEO

On that topic, I’d like to share about Hypatia Capital’s new exchange-traded fund (ETF), WCEO. This ETF is specifically designed to generate revenue from companies led by women. The fund and its founder, Patricia Lizarraga, recently had a feature in Fox Business discussing the ETF and its potential to impact gender equality. “You can’t change the world, but you can reach gender equality in your domestic equity allocation today,” Lizarraga said in the article. In its first month, WCEO outperformed the S&P 500.

Sidebar: Steve Laffey is Running for President

Steve Laffey, former Mayor of Cranston, is running for President. In the past, he gave me an award for service to the city. (Image credit: Kiersten Marek)

The former Mayor of my hometown, Steve Laffey, has put out his announcement that he is running for President. I couldn’t resist knowing more about his plans, since we had worked together when he was Mayor of Cranston and he appointed me to a Financial Review Board.

I checked into his webinar, an hour-long session on February 7th that preceded the State of the Union Address. While I admire Steve for running, the webinar was like going into a weird alternative universe where women barely exist and are not even acknowledged. Steve shared a video of “average people on the street” he has spoken to about America, and in the first segment of video there seemed to be no women interviewed. None of the experts that Steve showed video of or talked about in his financial meanderings were women. When Steve put a call out on the webinar for questions, I asked about his prospective administration’s plans to address gender equality. I was completely ignored. A half hour later when he asked for questions, I asked about his position on reproductive justice. Again, I was totally ignored.

Steve’s talking points were all doomsday prophet Republican rants about how social security is going to disappear. He seemed to have no ability to speak to other issues beyond that. I checked out of the webinar after 45 minutes. That was all I could take. One wonders about the millions of dollars Laffey is going to spend on running for President, and how that money could be much more productively applied in the world for causes like, say, gender equality and racial justice. But instead, another white male millionaire is running for President, one who seems to actively ignore questions about how he will help women in his Presidency. Welcome to America. {sigh}

Update on Feminist Giving: Soon to be in Libraries Everywhere

Can you guess which one is the cheap Amazon knock-off? That’s right, the pink one in the middle! Amazon has since acknowledged the error and books should be produced correctly going forward. (Image credit: Kiersten Marek)

Feminist Giving is selling on Lulu pretty well. I had to fight to get the book produced properly on Amazon. The quality check copy I purchased was the wrong color and weighed several ounces less, suggesting they used a cheaper paper quality. My publisher, Lulu, championed the issue for me, and Amazon has admitted the error (they blame a subcontractor “printing floor error”) and the book should be all set to be bought on Amazon now. But literally, everything seems to be a fight. Not only as the author did I need to write and publish the book, but now I have to chase down the Amazon corporate monster that is producing a cheap knock-off of my book and pocketing the difference. It’s important to recognize that this is one of the ways that Jeff Bezos and MacKenzie Scott got to be so rich: by extracting profit from small publishers like me.

Feminist Giving is also starting to be stocked by libraries, and the book will be featured in the March edition of LibraryBub, which goes out to 10,000 libraries. Here’s hoping a bunch of libraries buy the book in digital or print form, to offer to their communities as a unique resource filling a knowledge gap.

Top 3 Happenings in Feminist Philanthropy February 2023

1. Major Funders Make Pact for Black Feminists

In an open letter from some of Melinda Gates’ Pivotal Ventures, Rihanna’s Clara Lionel Foundation, as well as the Ford Foundation and MacArthur Foundation, the funders pledge to “fund Black feminist movements like we want them to win.” The Black Feminist Fund is on a quest to raise $100 million to support nonprofits led by Black women. Launched in 2021, the fund has raised $35 million so far. More here.

2. Desai Collaborates with Clinton Foundation for Women in India

Desai Foundation, a foundation and organization focused on women and girls in India, recently hosted Former Secretary Hillary Clinton in India. During the event, a new collaboration was announced between Desai Foundation, SEWA and CGI to support the Global Climate Resilience Fund. This will be $50 million in new funding to help self-employed women in India. More information here and see video of announcement below.

3. Denmark Gives Asylum to Women Based Solely on Gender

While giving by individual or even groups of foundations can be significant, giving by an entire country is in a whole different category. Recently, the country of Denmark announced it will give asylum to Afghan women based solely on their gender. Can you imagine if our country could make such a huge commitment to women’s rights? Sweden also took this position in 2022 and began giving women a safe refuge from the human rights abuses of women in Afghanistan. More information here.


Get Your Copy of Feminist Giving, and Send in Your Reviews!

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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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