Kiersten Marek, LICSW, is the founder of Philanthropy Women. She practices clinical social work in Cranston, Rhode Island, and writes about how women donors and their allies are advancing social change.
Recently I had the opportunity to talk with Felecia Lucky, President of the Black Belt Community Foundation in Selma, Alabama, which serves Alabama’s 12 most financially distressed counties.
Black Belt Community Foundation was officially formed in December 2003 after several years of community advocacy for such an institution. It was established to strengthen these 12 rural Alabama communities and enrich them with more community goods like health care, education, youth programs, and economic development.
As President of the Foundation, Lucky shared with me some of the story of the foundation’s growth and evolution. She traced the origins of the foundation back to another woman leader, Dr. Carol Zippert, who had a vision of how to build community resources through a foundation, bringing philanthropy to an area of the country that hadn’t experienced much of it.
Feminist Giving IRL Contest Winners Announced!Final Vote Shows Strength in Numbers and Rising Interest in Gender Equality in the Arts, Global Development, and Women in Tech
Gender Equality in Dance, Global Girls Equality, and Women in Tech are the 3 Big Winners
A total of 563 people voted in our Feminist Giving IRL Top Tier Contest. A graphic below shows the distribution of final results.
Congratulations to Our Winners!
First, a heartfelt congratulations to our winners, and thanks to all the women leaders profiled in Feminist Giving IRL for being willing to participate in this event. Each of our winners will receive a $100 honorarium and will be invited to participate in our Zoom-based Top Tier Crowning Webinar where we celebrate their accomplishments and discuss their plans for the future of gender equality in their work. Stay tuned for further details on that event.
This past summer, before the announcement of Kamala Harris as the nominee for Vice President, Latosha Brown received a phone call from the soon-to-be Vice President. The phone call was in response to an article Brown had published in Essence called Reimagining An America That Uplifts Black Girls. Vice President Kamala Harris wanted Latosha Brown to know that she shared her hope that America could reimagine the country so that all girls will be lifted up.
“Vice President Kamala Harris called me to say she had read the article, and that she too was committed to women and girls all across the country,” said Brown, in a recent phone interview with Philanthropy Women.
We are always looking for new ways to spotlight the talented folks who do the hard work of building a more gender equal world. This year, we’ve decided to launch a new contest to do some of that spotlighting. It’s called the Top Tier Feminist Giver Award, and YOU get to vote for the winners!
Twenty-four women were featured in Philanthropy Women’s Feminist Giving In Real Life (F-GIRL) series this past year. We’ve decided to nominate all 24 remarkable women leaders for this contest and have voters choose their top three favorites from now until February 28, 2021. The top three vote-getters will be crowned a Top Tier Feminist Giver by Philanthropy Women and will receive $100 each. Winners will be announced on March 1, 2021 — the first day of Women’s History Month.
Every single one of you on this list who is not giving in the double digits as a percentage of your wealth: you should be ashamed.
I don’t like to use the shame card. I don’t use it much as a parent, and I don’t use it much as a therapist. But when I look at these numbers, all I can think of is how little regard these human beings appear to have for their fellow human beings. And yet they appear to have no shame about it. In fact, they receive a near constant stream of praise and adulation for the teeny tiny bit that they give of their vast wealth.
Here at Philanthropy Women, we started a series called Feminist Giving In Real Life (F-GIRL) to provide a platform for women leaders at all levels who are giving in a feminist way. This giving can happen through donations and funding strategy, through professional excellence, and/or through leadership efforts in the community. Feminist giving is a form of leadership that has special impact because it often combines deeply personal experience and significantly political thinking and acting.
Yesterday, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez performed what I would call a supreme act of feminist giving. When AOC spoke out against the January 6th riots and connected these riots to her experience of being sexually traumatized, she simultaneously stood up for every human who has experience sexual assault, and challenged the largest political body of our country to acknowledge how the January 6th riots are part of a continuum of pervasive violence against women, people of color, and other marginalized groups.
Editor’s Note: The following essay on this pivotal moment in the fight to pass the ERA (Equal Rights Amendment) is by Suzanne Lerner, co-founder and president of Michael Stars, and vice-chair of the Fund for Women’s Equality.
Something extraordinary happened involving the ERA at the end of last week—day two of the new administration.
U.S. Senators Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and Ben Cardin (D-Md.) announced that the first bipartisan legislation they will introduce for the 117th Congress is their joint resolution to remove the deadline to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA)
On day two of taking over the White House, the communications team for the Biden-Harris team sat down with Errin Haines, editor-at-large of The 19th. Haines spoke with the four key women leaders who are now shaping the Biden/Harris message for public consumption. And what is the overarching goal of this new group of self-described “qualified, capable, barrier-breaking” women? To tell Americans the truth, with the underlying belief that if more American know the truth, “they can handle anything.”
Haines held an hour long rap session with White House Communications Director Kate Bedingfield, White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki, Principal Deputy Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre, and Chief Spokesperson for the Vice President, Symone Sanders.
It’s a herstoric moment. It’s a historic day. It’s the end of the reign of terror that lasted four years under President Donald Trump. It’s the day that a woman of color ascends to one of the highest roles of leadership for our country.
Many women leaders have been inspired to speak today, to tell of how they are experiencing this massive shift in representation for our leadership, which we believe will lead us to becoming a better country. Here are some great responses and reflections from the Founding Mothers of the Ms. Foundation, all incredibly strong and enduring women leaders who capture the monumental nature of this event with their words. They are introduced by Teresa C. Younger, President and CEO of the Ms. Foundation for Women.
Dr. Jaana Rehnström, Founder and President of the Kota Alliance, an organization fostering international collaboration for women-centered nonprofits, recently authored an article that struck a deep chord with me. Readers here at Philanthropy Women will also likely feel a strong resonance with Dr. Rehnström’s words.
Dr. Rehnström begins by summarizing the current status of gender equality in the world: