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.
Last evening, Kimberlé Crenshaw and the African American Policy Forum hosted a Zoom session called Under the Blacklight: The Intersectional Vulnerabilities that COVID Lays Bare. It featured an array of progressive leaders including Eve Ensler, Laura Flanders, Eddie S. Glaude Jr., Ai-jen Poo, Dorothy Roberts and Alvin Starks.
There were many great points discussed in the meeting, but as a health care provider, I want to bring one point right to the surface. Eve Ensler, when discussing her work supporting nurses in the COVID crisis, said that many nurses are reporting that they are being told that they need to show up for work even though they have COVID symptoms such as cough, congestion, and exhaustion, or the beginnings of symptoms which can sometimes look like nausea and vomiting, sleeplessness, and “just not feeling right.”
Editor’s Note: This edition of our Feminist Giving IRL (in real life) series features Dr. Vicky Stergiopoulos, Clinician Scientist and Physician-in-Chief at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), Canada’s largest mental health hospital and a global research leader. She is the clinical lead of CAMH womenmind, a new effort from CAMH to close the gender gap in mental health. She is also a Professor and Vice Chair Clinical and Innovation in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto.
1. What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession?
At Philanthropy Women, we will be working extra hard to be a resource for the feminist giving community on best practices to get us through the COVID crisis. We will work to generate ideas and share news that will help us make system-wide changes that will address this crisis and prevent future crises of this proportion in the future.
The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is working on a mail-in test for COVID-19 that could be available in the next two weeks. When I learned this from a news summary here, my first thought was: why would this mail-in test be restricted by zip code? Why provide this, the safest way to test (without having to go into a health care environment and risk infection) to only a select few? Why not provide it to everyone?
Well folks, we’re off the charts, quite literally. Vulnerable people are dying at an alarming rate. Markets are dropping and jumping and dropping again as more people test positive for COVID-19. Health care workers are risking their lives by going to work, and many of us are spending more time social distancing than humanity may have ever tried before. It’s all quite surreal.
Some leaders in philanthropy are responding to the health crisis with concern and plans to help.
The Kaiser Family Foundation has put together a Donor Funding for COVID-19 Response list, and there you can find organizations funding the research and the medical response to the unprecedented outbreak. Most of the funding listed here is going to China, and all of this funding is brand new, starting in January 2020.
We are now heading into our fourth year since our founding in January of 2017 here at Philanthropy Women. Starting and running PW has been a fascinating experience, and in an effort at radical business transparency, I’d like to fill you in on a little of the behind-the-scenes story of why we do what we do, and where we’re going.
Why Do We Do What We Do
Philanthropy Women was born out of my realization that very few people knew about the funders who have made gender equality a growing possibility in our world. Some 93% of these funders are women, and true to gender norms as women, they failed to promote their world-changing work.
This was a loss to society that I wanted to reconcile by showing what feminist givers looks like in real life. I also wanted to expand the definition of feminist giving to encompass a wide array of leaders at every level of society — from direct care workers to CEOs — who are giving their time, energy, and resources for the express purpose of seeing the world become more gender equal.
One of the benefits of my ongoing work as a mental health practitioner is that I never lose sight of the problems caused by the ongoing oppression of women. For this reason, I was particularly excited to learn about a new initiative coming out of Canada called womenmind. Launched by The Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) in Toronto, Canada, womenmind is being supported by two gifts totaling $6.5 million, and aims to “put a defined focus on closing the gender gap in mental health.”
With $5-million in funding from Sandi and Jim Treliving and family and another $1.5-million donation from Hudson’s Bay Foundation, CAMH is creating womenmind for the purpose of “fuel[ing] philanthropy focused on accelerating discovery related to improving the mental health of girls and women and supporting female-identifying researchers to become leaders in the sciences.”
NEW YORK, March 2 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Curtailing a major United Nations meeting on gender equality over coronavirus fears could be a blow to progress in women’s rights and needs to be rescheduled to include diverse voices, participants and observers said on Monday.
The annual two-week U.N. Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) promoting equality and women’s empowerment was scaled back on Monday to just one-day next week due the global outbreak.
In its abbreviated version, the CSW will hold a procedural meeting on March 9 – the day after International Women’s Day – to adopt a draft political declaration marking 25 years since the historic women’s rights declaration signed in Beijing.
Editor’s Note: This post is not intended as an endorsement for any candidate for public office. Philanthropy Women is partially funded by fiscal sponsorship through the Women’s Funding Network, a 501c(3) organization, and therefore cannot make any political endorsements.
Many of us have probably read the articles about Bloomberg’s multiple lawsuits involving sexual harassment and creating a hostile work environment for women. This post isn’t about that, and that topic is deserving of its own discussion in feminist giving circles. This post is about Bloomberg’s philanthropy for women, and the way his billions impact not just gender equality movements, but also environmental movements and movements for racial justice.