Reproductive Rights and Women’s Philanthropy: Aligning Our Resources

 

We’re not going back, and women’s philanthropy will be leading the charge to defend reproductive rights.

According to a recent article in the Ms. Magazine Blog by Gaylynn Burroughs, Policy Director at the Feminist Majority Foundation, reproductive rights advocates are still expecting “an all-out effort by Republicans to repeal the Affordable Care Act.” Read the full article, Not Going Back: The Affordable Care Act and Medicaid for more details.

Repeal of the Affordable Care Act will have huge ramifications for access to birth control, as well as access to health care for women in general. In addition to losing access, women will also lose funding for birth control and may again be left to shoulder all of the costs associated with family planning.

But we’re not going back. There are many with immense resources in this fight. In an article I wrote for Inside Philanthropy in July of 2016, I detail the philanthropy investments that have been made in defending reproductive rights. Here is a quick recap of the funders on the pro-choice side of things:

Top Pro-Choice Funders

Susan Thompson Buffett Foundation

The foundation named after Warren Buffett’s late wife and bankrolled by Buffett family wealth is the most important player by far in the abortion space. STBF has given tens of millions of dollars to the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, as well state affiliates, since 2010. The foundation gave over $35 million in 2014 alone. We don’t yet have data for 2015, but we’re betting that the pattern has continued, with the biggest grants going to Planned Parenthood’s national infrastructure and a range of smaller ones going to state affiliates.

Meanwhile, STBF is the single largest funder of the National Abortion Federation, the professional association of abortion providers. It’s given the group tens of millions of dollars in recent years, money which—among other things—funds training doctors to perform abortions, a skill no longer taught at most medical schools. In 2014, it gave the group $23 million to support its national telephone hotline, which NAF describes as the “only toll-free source of information about abortion and referrals to providers of quality care in the U.S. and Canada.” Other big STBF grants fund an array of pro-choice groups that are deep in the policy fights over abortion access, like NARAL and the National Women’s Law Center.

William and Flora Hewlett Foundation

The next-largest donor to the fight for reproductive health and justice is the Hewlett Foundation, which has given over $10 million to support Planned Parenthood’s U.S. work since 2010. While that figure is significant, it is less than a 10th of what STBF gave. Likewise, Hewlett is a big supporter of the National Abortion Federation, though it doesn’t approach the level of STBF, with grants to NAF totaling under $4 million since 2010. A range of other groups advocating for abortion rights have also received Hewlett money. They include the National Women’s Law Center, Guttmacher Institute, and Center for Reproductive Rights. (Again, not all this grant money related directly to abortion.)

Open Society Foundations

OSF is not widely associated with the reproductive rights struggle, but it makes sense that it would be, and grantmaking confirms that the Soros-backed foundation has given big at different points. In 2012, it made a $13.2 million grant to the Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and at least $5 million in other OSF grants have gone to that group since 2010.

That grantmaking reflects an announced $20 million investment in 2011 to be distributed over a four-year period, with the specific purpose of building centers in South and Southeast regions of the U.S. for reproductive health services. Again, bear in mind the earlier point about the many services provided by Planned Parenthood that have nothing to do with abortion. OSF has also backed various other pro-choice groups over the past five years, at smaller levels.

David and Lucile Packard Foundation

The Packard Foundation is another longtime player in the reproductive rights space. And, through its program for Population and Reproductive Health, is another key funder of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, giving over $7 million to this group since 2011. Packard also backs the National Abortion Federation to the tune of around $2.2 million in the past few years. In addition, Packard grants fund smaller pro-choice groups such as NARAL, which has pulled in $400,000 in the past few years. The Center for Reproductive Rights, another popular group among funders, has received over $2 million in Packard money since 2011. The National Women’s Law Center has also gotten steady funding.

Ford Foundation

Ford isn’t a huge player in the abortion space, but it weighs in at times, and sometimes the grants are large. For instance, it gave Planned Federation of America a $1 million grant in 2015. If you dig through Ford’s grants database, you’ll find various grants for U.S. pro-choice work here and there.

JPB Foundation

JPB is a newer and less consistent player in the reproductive rights space, but it pops up now and again as a significant funder. It gave Planned Parenthood Federation of America a total of $6 million in 2012 and 2013.

Sources: Not Going Back: The Affordable Care Act and Medicaid – Ms. Magazine Blog

Long Distance Funders: The Money Behind the Endless Abortion Battles

Bat Girl, Wonder Woman, or Hillary Clinton? Choose Your Superhero and Fight for Equality

Batgirl reads, and so can you! (Credit: American Library Association)

I enjoyed reading Jacki Zehner’s call to make 2017 the “Year of Wonder Women” — the year when we all become defenders of “justice, progress and equality.”

Without the female President many of us envisioned leading the charge on the causes we care most about, we must all become even stronger defenders of those values.

Zehner writes: “This month marks the 75th anniversary of the first appearance of Wonder Woman in DC’s All Star Comics #8 in December, 1941. She was introduced as an Amazon warrior who was sent to the world of men to fight against the biggest threat facing the world at that time; the Nazi party in World War II.”

Wonder Woman in 1941 was fighting a similar tide to the one that we are called upon to fight now: the tide of inequality, of discrimination, and of white nationalist sentiment.

For another perspective on an important female superhero, I’ve always identified more with Bat Girl. Initially cast as a love interest for Bat Man to stave off homoerotic rumors about Bat Man and Robin, Bat Girl’s latest rendition in comics is a rugged and resilient figure. Gail Simone called her “one of the smartest and toughest women in comics … One thing the book is truly about, is that the after-effects of something like PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) or other trauma-related syndromes, can strike even very smart, very intellectually tough people, even soldiers and cops, a subject that is generally overlooked in comic books.”

As a therapist, I recognize the Bat Girl superheroes in nearly every meeting I have with a woman or man, or someone who is questioning their gender. Many people come to therapy to recover from the blows that life has delivered, and my job is to help them get back on their own feet with smarts and toughness.

We were dealt a serious blow this year with the election of Donald Trump, but I see women every day stepping up and seizing their power to make the world a better place. Jacki Zehner is one of those women I look to for inspiration and guidance. Her many years of work to form mighty coalitions of funders for women’s empowerment is an impressive testament to what one woman can do to make the world a better place.

But I also look to myself. Because with Philanthropy Women, I have created a new resource for women to find their resilience, find their strategy, and make the most of their resources. In my private practice, I aim to be that person of power for my clients, showing them that their resilience is paying off, that they have become stronger and wiser, and that next time around, they will do a better job. With my writing and publishing online, it’s much the same, except as a friend so cleverly put it, “Online, you can have a much bigger waiting room.”

Source: 2017. The Year of the Wonder Women. | Jacki Zehner | Pulse | LinkedIn

Taking Cues Globally from Leaders of Women’s Empowerment in Philanthropy

Cherie Blair, Founder, The Cherie Blair Foundation for Women

With the change in leadership in the U.S. toward a more conservative, white nationalist mentality, it’s a good time to look around the globe and discover other leaders of women’s empowerment who are outside of the U.S. political sphere.

One impressive leader is Cherie Blair and the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women, which is doing work internationally to help women develop business skills and earn income. Next year, the foundation will even be expanding its work to reach some of the most marginalized women in the world, those impacted by war in the Bekaa Valley, an area heavily impacted by the flood of refugees across the border of Syria.

Hopefully the Cherie Blair Foundation won’t lose any of its funding in the coming age of Trump, though one of its donors has been The Secretary’s Office of Global Women’s Issues at the U.S. Department of State. The Foundation also counts among its donors the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Dell, J.P Morgan Chase, and Bank of America, and many others. So while the Foundation is based in Europe, it clearly has a large American donor following.

Founded in 2008, The Cherie Blair Foundation appears to have a keen understanding of the role that corporations can play in building women’s economic power and independence. In an interview with Susan McPherson for Forbes, Blair lays out the reason why corporations are so important to the gender equality agenda. “The private sector has a crucial role to play in driving women’s empowerment. It accounts for over 90 percent of jobs in the developing world, so it’s perfectly placed to bring more women into its workforces and supply chains, pay them fairly and promote them into leadership roles,” says Blair.

Another essential point Blair makes is about not only giving women the technology to be connected online, but also helping them develop the skills to use that technology. Her Foundation has done some groundbreaking work in communicating with women via mobile technology to help shift gender norms and attitudes, as well as build women’s economic empowerment.

Source: How Cherie Blair Is Fighting For Women’s Economic Independence

Building Out Funding for Women and Girls in Anti-Feminist Political Times

Gender equity work will continue, though the U.S. may no longer be world leaders on that front.  (weep, weep)

Let’s face it: it’s going to be a rough time for gender equity over the next four years, if not longer. In my private practice as a therapist, just days after the election, I saw a clear uptick in violent and threatening behavior toward my domestic violence clients. This may have just been coincidence, but I wondered. Suddenly, a very old threat was a new threat again.

This article from ReutersWomen’s Rights Face a Daunting New Year Worldwide, Campaigners Warn, lays out clearly where and how movements for gender equality will be hurting in the coming years. Work to end violence against women is going to face major challenges, as will work to keep access to contraception and abortion available. And the list goes on.

The Reuters article notes that the U.S. played a key role in forwarding gender equity agendas in recent years, particularly in “helping draw up global development goals approved by the United Nations, one of which calls for gender equality by 2030.” But things are going to change, and the U.S. may no longer be playing that key role.

With Donald Trump as our leader, the U.S. may no longer be the global leaders in setting the agenda and moving things forward for gender equity. The frontrunners on gender equity may hail from other nations, as we stave off the flood of rollbacks that the Trump administration and conservative allies will now try to carry out.

Still, the work will continue in the U.S., and it may even grow stronger. We have already seen The Women Donors Network step up boldly to lead in funding for vulnerable populations, and we will likely see more strong leadership moves from the Harnisch Foundation, the Ms. Foundation, the NoVo Foundation, Women Moving Millions, and community-based women’s funds across the country. Historically, women’s funds and feminist foundations have taken an inclusive approach to tackling social issues, seeking to bring in and advocate for other marginalized groups, including people of all races and sexual orientations. This role will likely develop further as we see progressive coalitions grow to defend human and civil rights.

There is already a strong coalition forming to march in Washington, D.C. on January 21, and more marches and protests are being planned. We will highlight that event and others like it here on Philanthropy Women, particularly as they relate to funding for women and girls.

We will also be following corporate giving for gender equality, and will find out which corporations will maintain and grow their focus on women in this new political era. We hope to see good things continuing for women’s empowerment at the corporate foundation level and will be tracking that work closely.

Welcome to Philanthropy Women, a Home for News and Conversation on Women Donors and Their Allies

That’s me! Kiersten Marek, Founder and Editor, Philanthropy Women

Hello again, world. It’s me, Kiersten. I’ve decided to develop a new website to help you become a healthier, more peaceful, and more secure place. It’s called Philanthropy Women. 

For the past two years, I have been writing about women in philanthropy for Inside Philanthropy. It has been a wonderful and eye-opening experience, and has inspired me to take my own interest in women and philanthropy to a self-sustaining level.

More women are discovering the value of their perspective in philanthropy and are leading the way with better solutions to big social problems. Philanthropy Women seeks to magnify and amplify these women and their allies, so that we can help guide efforts at making our world more sane and whole.

Philanthropy Women aims to be a hub for news and information about women donors and their allies. We will be covering news about funding — both the givers and the getters of grants for women and girls. We will be talking a lot about women-driven grantmaking strategies. We will be watching where the money is flowing in philanthropy for gender equality, with a particular eye toward analyzing why money is going in certain directions, and how effective that grantmaking appears to be.

Please subscribe for free daily updates (upper right corner of the page), and you will receive an email once a day with the day’s new posts. For advertisers, we are offering competitive rates for prime visibility in our sidebar. For foundations and nonprofits in philanthropy, we also have a  job board where you can advertise jobs in philanthropy.

Thanks for joining me on this unprecedented journey into highlighting and understanding the growing role of women in philanthropy. I hope you enjoy the ride.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Women in Charge: What’s Donna Hall Doing for Women’s Empowerment?

Donna Hall, President and CEO, Women Donors Network, speaking at the WDN 2015 conference in New Orleans.

I wrote this profile of Donna Hall, President and CEO of the Women Donors Network, in February of 2016, but now it seems truer than ever. With the recent news that the Women Donors Network is partnering with Solidaire to lead a funding effort aimed at defending vulnerable people against a hostile government, the Women Donors Network is, again, not picking the easy fights, and going boldly into terrain that other, larger foundations seems to be approaching more hesitantly.

Related: Women Donors Network and Solidaire Join Forces to Create New Fund

Listening to Donna Hall, who has been leading the Women Donors Network (WDN) since 2002, you quickly get the sense that she’s someone who has weathered many battles on the frontlines for women’s equality, and that she doesn’t choose the easy fights. It’s like being with someone who wants you to understand the cold, hard truth of continued male dominance, while at the same time giving you a chance to consider what the future may hold if we keep trending in the right direction with women’s leadership.

“When I was at Rockefeller, I worked with a colleague, another woman, and the two of us were trying to get the Rockefeller Foundation to do a large international initiative on women and work, and it never really got off the ground. It’s one of the reasons that organizations like the Women Donors Network formed, to give women’s philanthropy its own place.”

Hall was an associate director with the Rockefeller Foundation before coming to WDN in 2002. She described how the Women Donors Network and other women’s giving networks provide a much-needed vehicle for women’s giving, unhampered by the big, unwieldy legacy foundations. In Hall’s view, the big foundations like Rockefeller, while significantly funding women’s issues over the years, have failed to take on women’s empowerment with the focus and resources needed for real change.

Hall believes a lot of the problem is due to the lack of women’s leadership in the top tier of big foundations, a statistic paralleled by the lack of women in leadership in nearly every major industry. Across the board, Hall says the research is quite consistent: Women rarely, if ever, break out of the 17 to 20 percent range of leadership in organizations—nonprofit, for-profit, or government. “Even if women are represented, they often don’t have a large enough number to influence the big decisions and directions of these institutions,” said Hall.

For the past 14 years, Hall has been steadily developing one of the largest networks of high-net-worth women in the U.S. The Women Donors Network sees itself as a “community with purpose,” and aims to affect a large swath of social issues. One of the biggest issues WDN is working on is impacting the national conversation about women, race, and political leadership, with the goal of changing the ratios of the leadership ranks to make them more representative.

The members of the Women Donors Network distribute over $200 million a year in grant funding, much of it through donor circles with focus areas including criminal justice, immigration, funding for progressive political infrastructure, and many other issues in between. It also funds three main initiatives, one of which is its Reflective Democracy campaign.

Hall is one of the guiding forces behind WDN’s Reflective Democracy campaign, which takes an intersectional approach to examining both racism and sexism, and the lack of representation for women and people of color in our political system.

After WDN unveiled the Who Leads Us? website, which offers a state-by-state breakdown of the gender and race of elected officials at every level of government across the state, Fox News reported that “Donna Hall is dangerous.” Making this kind of information available so that women and minorities can find out where they stand may be dangerous to the status quo, but it is very good for civic engagement and representative democracy.

The campaign’s groundbreaking analysis, Justice for All?, showed that 95 percent of elected prosecutors nationwide are white, a startling statistic that captured the attention of media outlets like Fortune and the New York Times, and reportedly created a palpable buzz at the American Bar Association Conference. It also released Who Runs (in) America?, exposing some of the many structural barriers that perpetuate our male-dominated political leadership.

As part of its strategy, the Reflective Democracy campaign has made grassroots grants across the country to better understand why women and people of color don’t get into office. Their research has identified four main barriers. “Number one is money at two levels,” said Hall. “Money to run, and money to take time off from work. Women can’t afford to take time off.”

Hall described the second barrier as the process of gatekeeping that occurs in establishment politics—”The quiet back-room meetings where they’re planning years in advance who they want to be in a particular spot when that spot opens up,” she said. The two other major barriers identified by the campaign are redistricting and access to voting. In 2015, WDN accepted proposals for systemic ways to address all of these barriers. Reflective Democracy’s budget last year was $1 million, and this year, WDN will put $1.4 million into continuing this work.

As another piece of WDN’s leadership for social change, Hall highlighted WDN’s support for UltraViolet, an organization that modeled itself on Moveon.org, but with a focused emphasis on gender equality. With several active campaigns on issues including equal pay, fair treatment for girls in schools, and the Flint water crisis, UltraViolet connects women’s empowerment directly to activism, helping to move from ideas to impact in the fight for gender equity.

Hall also wanted to talk about one other project that exemplifies WDN’s approach to social issues. “Some of the most impactful work we did early on was in response to Hurricane Katrina,” said Hall. Disaster relief is perhaps one of the world’s oldest forms of philanthropy, traditional and basic to the core, but the way Hall described WDN doing this work was anything but traditional.

Rather than going the route of joining with the American Red Cross or another dominant relief organization, WDN partnered with the 21st Century Foundation, which in 2005, was the only African-American endowed foundation, to raise more than $4.5 million over three years. Between 2005 and 2011, WDN helped to support more than 40 grassroots organizations in New Orleans and on the Gulf Coast. Hall shared this as an example of the nimbleness of WDN’s networks, and the breadth of issues they have taken on.

Hall is leading WDN with a strategy that faces squarely the power struggles that come with equality movements. Her organization is also taking on challenges facing humanity as a whole, providing a model for how to persevere, despite what often seem like insurmountable odds.

For Hall, diversity and an intersectional approach are key to the gender equity movement. “International examples have taught us that, once you have a sufficient number of women and people of color in elected offices in government, then everything else begins to roll down and change, but if you don’t have that diversity in place it’s going to be hard to change things,” she said. “Without a diversity of involvement, we can’t really get to where we want to go.”

Link to Original post.

 

Women Donors Network and Solidaire Join Forces to Create New Fund

Many of us are wondering on a daily basis what will happen to marginalized communities under a Trump administration. Now, the Women Donors Network and Solidaire are teaming up to do something with that concern: raise money to defend and include.

With a goal of raising $500,000 between now and Inauguration Day, January 20, The Emergent Fund will work to fund organizations that defend marginalized groups particularly threatened by a Trump presidency. The populations they will work to protect include “immigrants, women, Muslim and Arab-American communities, Black people, LGBT communities, and all people of color.”

From the press release:

We don’t know exactly what will come, but we must be prepared. We do know that there are strong leaders and organized movements on the ground in these communities, and we know that their work has been historically under-resourced. Now is the time for us to use our collective power to stand with them and support them in what they are doing, to listen to what they need, and to fund the new strategies that will emerge over the next 2-4 years.

Now is the time to give big and bold. Organizations like Cosecha are looking for additional funds to exponentially increase their ability to organize sanctuary cities and sanctuary campuses. Groups like MPower Change are doing communications work around the unconstitutionality of a Muslim registry, and building bridges between Muslim, immigrant, and Black communities.

Source: Launching: The Emergent Fund | Solidaire

I interviewed Donna Hall about the Women Donors Network this past year and was amazed at what this network of women funders is doing. The work of the Women Donors Network is particularly nimble and responsive to community concerns and emergencies, so it is great that they are forging the path on new funding to defend vulnerable people in the coming years.

Empowered Women are Changing Philanthropy. These Experts Explain How

Debra Mesch, Director, Women’s Philanthropy Institute

Some big trends are happening in America for women, and these trends will likely be snowballing in the near future. The first trend: the growing financial muscle of women. The second: women’s growing leadership. Add to this mix the upward trajectory of women’s role in philanthropy, and you may have the makings of a paradigm shift.

In conversing with Debra Mesch, director of the Women’s Philanthropy Institute, and Andrea Pactor, its associate director, I came away with a sense of how forces are aligning, now more than ever, for women to take the lead in philanthropy and beyond, and shape public policy for the common good.

Let’s review the case for women’s growing financial muscle. “Women are becoming the recipients of a massive transfer of wealth,” said Mesch. A quick review of the numbers: $10-million-plus, women-owned firms increased by 57 percent in 2013. Forty-five percent of American millionaires are now women, and 48 percent of estates worth more than $5 million are controlled by women. In 2013, an estimated 60 percent of high-net-worth women made their own fortunes, and by some estimates, as much as two-thirds of all wealth in the U.S. will be controlled by women by the year 2030.

And the case for women’s growing leadership? We are seeing more and more breakthroughs for women’s leadership across the board, from religion to politics, from business to nonprofit, from the household to the White House. Hillary Clinton is the most obvious example of the perfect nexus of women’s leadership and philanthropy, with her dual role as both a political and a philanthropic leader. This presidential race may yield the first female president, and it’s no accident that she has a strong history in philanthropy, a field that has been ahead of the curve in pushing for promising social policy changes for women for several decades.

Add to this the women in communities forming giving circles. Scholars in the field are calling this process “the democratization of philanthropy,” and the results of this massive cultural shift have yet to be fully realized.

But wait a minute. Let’s back up. Where did all this momentum for women and philanthropy come from? Andrea Pactor traces the study of gender and philanthropy back to the very practical pursuits of two leading women fundraisers. Sondra Shaw-Hardy and Martha Taylor, who started the National Network for Women as Philanthropists in 1991, perceived a critical difference in the way women approached giving. They also recognized a huge deficit in the field of fundraising that needed to be addressed—cultivating women donors.

“The two women (Shaw-Hardy and Taylor) who created this work did it not only to help women come into their own in philanthropy, but also to change the way fundraisers perceive donors,” said Pactor. “So this particular strand of women’s philanthropy study emanated from a very pragmatic approach to fundraising.”
Andrea Pactor, Associate Director, Women’s Philanthropy Institute
In 1997, the National Network for Women as Philanthropists became the Women’s Philanthropy Institute, and then became part of the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy in 2004. The program functioned mainly as a home base for the lectures and presentations that Shaw-Hardy and Taylor made about gender and philanthropy across the country, and why it was such an important factor in fundraising. In its early years, the program functioned primarily to provide donor education to women donors about their power and influence in philanthropy, and at the same time to guide fundraisers to engage women as donors.

Debra Mesch came on as director of the Women’s Philanthropy Institute in 2008, and helped the Institute gain traction by establishing a volunteer leadership council. In 2010, WPI began its signature research series Women Give, and each year, this research has built out the picture a little more on how gender is influencing philanthropy, and what we can do to maximize the return on women’s positive influence. As we recently reported, that research just got a major boost from the Gates Foundation.

Mesch and Pactor both see a lot of transformation happening on the ground for women in philanthropy. “Pockets of very powerful women at the community and grassroots level are forming their own giving circles, their own collective giving models, their own modes of engaging in philanthropy, to make powerful changes in their own communities and across the globe,” said Mesch.

Pactor agrees that giving circles are not just a trend, but a cultural phenomenon that is growing steadily—and an important way in which people are participating in society, as people organize their own giving campaigns and groups for giving. “There are giving circles for everybody out there.” Pactor pointed to the Women’s Collective Giving Network, an association of 47 giving circles, with more than 10,000 women philanthropists in the mix.

Pactor also sees an important new development in the Prosperity Together Initiative, which launched in November 2015 and brings together 28 women’s funds and foundations to provide $118 million in funding for women and girls of color. “This represents a new direction for the women’s funds. What Prosperity Together did is, it reframed the conversation, and it took existing dollars and pooled them to get more traction and bandwidth.” Pactor sees this move significantly increasing the visibility of women’s funds, which work to address inequality for women and girls.

Pactor also sees great potential for the new generation of women leaders in philanthropy coming up through these women’s funds. “They are bringing a lot of new momentum and ideas, leaders like Jennifer Lockwood- Shabat at the Washington Area Women’s Foundation, Liz Vivian out of the Women’s Funding Alliance. These women have the potential to take the state women’s funds in new and important directions.” Pactor also talked about the strength of Lee Roper-Batker from the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota and Roslyn Dawson-Thompson of the Dallas Women’s Foundation, more longstanding leaders of the women’s funds who have laid the groundwork for the younger generation.

Mesch sees big things happening in the near future with our understanding of women’s role in giving at the micro-level—how individual households are influenced by their female members. “We know women are much more interested in the idea of legacy, and leaving a legacy to their children and grandchildren. That’s another area of potential new findings that will influence practice.”

Pactor and Mesch talked about the example of Mark Zuckerberg and Priscilla Chan’s giving, and how it has evolved since the couple’s marriage in 2012. “The recent giving that they have made, particularly in the Bay Area, to us, clearly reflects the research in the sense that she is a full partner in helping to craft their giving plan,” said Pactor. “We think that kind of high visibility of women’s role is another way that people like that will influence other people in their giving.”

Mesch also cited the giving of Bill and Melinda Gates as an example of a couple negotiating its philanthropic giving. She referenced Nicholas Kristof’s recent article on the 15th anniversary of the creation of the Gates Foundation, which describes how Melinda Gates has taken a stronger role recently in advocating for women to be central to the Gates’s giving.

“She [Melinda Gates] has a strong belief that giving to women and girls really makes an impact in the community, and changes the status of women and girls. She is a full partner with Bill, but she has also started her own track, now, on funding for women and philanthropy.”

And where do Mesch and Pactor see things going in the future for women and philanthropy? “Technology,” said Mesch. “Women seem to connect better with a lot of the technology around philanthropy, so we want to see where that can go in terms of further developing and amplifying giving.”

Pactor sees two other big trends: public policy and impact investing, both areas where women are becoming more strategic in terms of spending their money. “As more women come into philanthropy, they are realizing that they need to work on the legislative level and focus more on public policy.”

She also sees women as having an edge when it comes to reinventing philanthropy with financial tools like impact investing. “The concept of impact investing appeals to a lot of women,” she said. “So I think we’re going to hear a lot more from women about that.”

Giving Circles Get New Attention from The Rhode Island Foundation

How great to see The Rhode Island Foundation embracing giving circles and offering to provide matching funds to six giving circles that meet their criteria. From the Foundation’s website:

The Rhode Island Foundation seeks up to six informed and engaged community leaders who are interested in forming, leading, and facilitating small groups of peer networks organized around charitable giving. Giving circles are groups of people who pool their donations and decide together how to distribute them. Groups typically have a shared interest or connection, but it’s not required. Individual giving circles will have the ability to set their own member requirements and giving levels.

Each circle will identify its own needs and design the appropriate goals and structure. This initiative is meant to inspire philanthropy throughout the community and to provide an opportunity for groups of people that might not otherwise come together around a fundraising effort – to do just that. It is not about giving to the Rhode Island Foundation. Likewise, the Rhode Island Foundation will not solicit gifts for your giving circle.

Source: Giving Circles

BCF Announces $2.3 Million in Grants to Brooklyn Nonprofits Serving Youth, Girls of Color – The Brooklyn Reader

Today, Brooklyn Community Foundation announced $1.9 million in new grants through its Invest in Youth initiative, bringing the Foundation’s total funding for youth-serving nonprofits in Brooklyn to $2.3 million in 2016.

BCF launched its Invest in Youth initiative in 2015 as a 10-year, $25 million commitment to improve Brooklyn’s social and economic opportunities and outcomes for 16- to 24-year-olds, particularly young people of color.“We believe that a stronger and more equitable future for Brooklyn depends upon the success of its young people today—especially those who are growing up in our poorest communities.” said Brooklyn Community Foundation President and CEO Cecilia Clarke.

Source: BCF Announces $2.3 Million in Grants to Brooklyn Nonprofits Serving Youth, Girls of Color – The Brooklyn Reader