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.
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. And we’re not even talking about the gendered impacts yet.
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.
Time for a PW update about the future! 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.
UPDATE: Harvey Weinstein has been found guilty of rape in landmark case for the #MeToo era. Weinstein was convicted of third degree rape of Jessica Mann. The jury in New York also convicted Weinstein, 67, of third-degree rape of Jessica Mann, a former aspiring actress. He was also convicted of criminal sexual act in the first degree against Mimi Haley, a former “Project Runway” production assistant. Read more here.
(Original article published February 13, 2020) Harvey Weinstein is now on trial, and all the world is watching to see how far the women survivors can get in their pursuit of justice. Women in philanthropy, in particular, are paying close attention to the Weinstein trial, many of them commenting regularly on social media about it, and offering support and thanks for the bravery of the women testifying. There also appears to be a surge in funding for initiatives that get women’s voices on the record about sexual assault and harassment, particularly in the film industry. All of these events are evidence of #MeToo’s indelible imprint on civil society.
As a feminist, reading the news that Jeff Bezos has pledged $10 billion to fight climate change feels jarring, and a little frightening, especially as I scanned through several articles and realized there was no real plan for all this money, and no mention of gender as part of the strategy. I started to feel a little like a wife learning that her husband wants to work on improving their marriage, so he’s bought a boat to prove it, without considering whether she like boats or has any interest in the sport.
Slow your roll, Jeff. It seems like a better plan would be to step back and take a look at what the business you created has done to women, men, children, workers, the environment, and the global economy, and figure out a path to a more sustainable business model for Amazon.
In addition to the foundation’s 20th anniversary, this year marks another milestone I’ve been thinking about a lot lately: the 25th anniversary of the Beijing World Conference on Women. (If that name doesn’t ring a bell, you may know it as the event where Hillary Clinton famously declared that “Human rights are women’s rights, and women’s rights are human rights.”)
UPDATE: Thank you to all who have responded to our survey. We are getting a lot of good ideas for how to expand and sharpen our strategy. Those who haven’t joined in, get busy! Think of it as free therapy — your chance to vent about all your hopes and fears for gender equality movements.
Below is a survey we are are asking readers to respond to. With so many advanced thinkers and leaders in our audience, Philanthropy Women wants to make sure we have your needs covered when it comes to gender equality funding news. We also want to be able to share insights and honest observations from the community about gender equality movements and strategies, particularly ideas that might not otherwise surface in public discourse. Please let us know your thoughts!