Time to Vote for PW’s Annual Leadership Awards!

Editor’s Note: Voting is now open for our 2020 Leadership Awards. Voting will be open until December 15, 2019.

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RI Democratic Party Seeks to Muzzle Women: Sign the Petition!

Editor’s Note: The following call to action comes from the Chair of the Rhode Island Women’s Caucus, an activist network that spearheaded Rhode Island’s landmark 2019 legislation protecting reproductive rights.

Early last week, the Rhode Democratic State Party released changes to their bylaws that would severely inhibit the Rhode Island Democratic Party Women’s Caucus. Our official statement on the proposed changes can be found here, but in summary the Caucus would not be allowed to speak, raise funds, organize or participate in democracy in any meaningful way.

Elizabeth Gledhill, Rhode Island Women’s Democratic Caucus Chair, urges women activists to support the Caucus as they fight against new legislation that would restrict their ability to fundraise and advocate independently. (Photo credit: Elizabeth Gledhill)

We are the branch of our state’s Democratic Party specifically working to engage, recruit, train, and support women candidates. Our members fill the halls of the State House in support of legislation critical to the vitality of Rhode Island women and hundreds of our volunteers canvass neighborhoods in support of women candidates each election cycle. We have demonstrated our ability to mobilize and elect democratic women and their allies. Yet, the party leadership distances itself from us at every opportunity.

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Finding Comfort in Solitude: Natalie Deehan-Clark

Editor’s Note:  This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Natalie Deehan-Clark, U.S. Communications Coordinator at the Center for Renewable Energy and Appropriate Technology for the Environment (CREATE!). From 2017-2018, Natalie traveled the world solo to explore sustainable solutions and community empowerment in developing countries. Natalie values storytelling as a catalyst for social change, particularly for equality and sustainability movements. 

Natalie Deehan-Clark, U.S. Communications Coordinator at the Center for Renewable Energy and Appropriate Technology for the Environment (CREATE!)

1. What do you wish you had known when you started out in college that you now know?

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Expanding the Ripple Effect: Giving Circles Convene on Equity, Inclusion

Editor’s Note: The following piece is co-authored by Laura Midgley and Bo Lee, board members of Catalist and co-chairs of the Catalist’s upcoming conference. Catalist is an innovative organization working to enhance collective giving by and for women.

For the past decade, Catalist has supported the creation, development, and expansion of women’s collective giving groups, sometimes referred to as giving circles. Open to all women’s collective grantmaking organizations, the network connects and inspires a fast-growing movement of community-minded women who recognize the exponential power of collectively sharing of the experience of giving for social change. The network currently has over 75 affiliates nationwide. Globally, with the addition of groups in Melbourne and London, the movement’s combined giving is over $125 million and has involved more than 17,000 women since 1995. 

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Finance Expert: Minimize Charity. Maximize Gender Lens Investing


Tracy Gray has something important to tell women about their philanthropy: do less of it. It’s not the usual message that donors get from the world, and it’s not the usual message here at Philanthropy Women, either. But the context of this message comes from Gray’s conviction that the quicker we grow women’s wealth, the quicker we will move toward a better society.

Tracy Gray is the Founder of the 22 Fund, a growth equity investment firm that seeks to create more quality employment opportunities for women and people of color. (Photo credit: anitab.org)

“Take some of your money out of charity and put it into women-owned or women-led businesses,” Gray advised women donors, in a recent phone chat with Philanthropy Women.

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AWID Studies the Feminist Funding Ecosystem

This week’s essential reading for feminist givers comes from the Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID) with their report, Toward a Feminist Funding Ecosystem. The report helps to more clearly define the different types of funding that impact feminist movement-building, and makes recommendations for how to increase the most effective forms of funding.

AWID’s report, Toward a Feminist Funding Ecosystem, defines four main types of funding that impact feminist social change. (Image credit: AWID)

The report cites evidence that, “A remarkable – and disturbing – 99% of gender-related international aid fails to reach women’s rights and feminist organizations directly.” Instead, these funds end up being used by the development agencies that receive them, or get redistributed to mainstream organizations that are not associated with feminist movement builders.

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Women’s Giving Circles In the News

The Philadelphia Inquirer just published an excellent in-depth piece on giving circles, and it prompted me to do a scan of the women’s giving circle activity out there.

As the Inquirer article explains, more giving in the circle form is happening now than ever, and much of it is being driven by women.

My favorite line from the Philly Inquirer piece is from Paula Liang:

“The collective giving movement has grown slowly but steadily over 25 years,” says Paula Liang, chair of Catalist, a national network of 75 women’s giving circles that represent 20,000 donors, “and now has reached what lots of us believe is a tipping point.”

Orchid Giving Circle, a Texas Women’s Foundation group, recently granted $219,500 to 14 community organizations in Texas. (Photo Credit: Orchid Giving Circle)

As the article reminds us, giving circles have quadrupled over the last decade, and the majority of the activity in the movement is women-led. Much of it is also focused on giving to women and girls, such as Project W, the giving circle featured in the Philly Inquirer article.

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Leap of Faith: Oxfam Studies Funders for Women and Girls

Oxfam did the world another service recently by producing a report called A Leap of Faith: Conversations with Funders of Women’s Organizations. The report, which was written by I.G. Advisors, tells the story of how the funding landscape for women and girls feels close up — the ways that these funders struggle with trusting their grantees while also finding useful metrics to measure their work.

Oxfam has produced a new report studying how funders for women and girls approach their work. (PHOTO CREDIT: Nana Kofi Acquah / Oxfam)

Dr. Fenella Porter of Oxfam introduces the report by examining the profound power imbalances that exist between grantees and grantmakers across the board. She suggests that one form of power that grantees have is the power inherent in being the information collectors — the bringers of knowledge. “Knowledge is certainly power,” Porter continues, “but we must also recognize the many other power imbalances” that exist in philanthropy.

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How Women Will Shape The Great Wealth Transfer

Editor’s Note: The following essay is authored by Jenny Xia and Patrick Schmitt, Co-Founders of Free Will, an award-winning social venture with a mission of supporting world leaders in law, design, and philanthropy. To date, more than $850 million has been committed to nonprofit organizations through Free Will.

In the next two decades, an estimated $30 trillion will be inherited in the US as the large and prosperous Baby Boomer generation passes its wealth on to the next generation. This is the largest wealth transfer in human history, and may be the single greatest opportunity for philanthropy ever.

This demographic wave is beginning to thrust “planned giving”  and “bequests” (giving through wills, trusts, and a few other avenues) from the outskirts of mainstream philanthropy into the spotlight. 

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Investing in Gender Equity with a Better Tax Structure

Here at Philanthropy Women, we are primarily concerned with how gender equality movements are being cultivated through charitable giving. However, we occasionally like to step out of our silo and bring in news about how gender equality can be fostered through our collective distribution systems known as governments.

Which is why, today, we want to talk about Elizabeth Warren’s proposed ‘Wealth Tax’. According to Nancy L. Cohen, author, historian and thought leader on gender and American politics, “Warren’s wealth tax would be a massive investment in gender equity.”

Warren’s proposed tax structure might be the biggest boon yet for gender equality in the U.S. (Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

“Senator Warren’s proposed wealth tax is a massive investment in gender equality – and if enacted, would be a gamechanger for women and girls across the US,” said Cohen, further describing the tax plan as a “bold investments in universal childcare and early education” that would “raise wages for childcare workers” and “unleash the potential of American women – increasing workforce participation and helping to close the gender wage gap.” 

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