Girl Power: Helping Empower Teen Girls in Grantmaking

Girls participate in the WFG-funded Unearth storytelling project. (Image credit: BRAVE)

“Too few girls have the chance to make decisions about any aspect of their lives – whether they can stay in school, whether and what they can study, when or who they marry, accessing health care, and if and where they can see friends,” Swatee Deepak, director of With and For Girls (WFG) says. WFG is a funding collaborative that seeks to shift the scales of power in teen girls’ favor. It gives financial support to girl-led and -centered groups around the world and engages young women in participatory grantmaking panels. This means, every year, former winning organizations train teen girls to choose the next prize recipients. As we’ve pointed out, girls and young women ages 10 to 24 make up 12.5% of the world’s population — around 900 million people total. But, less than 2 cents of every international aid dollar goes to campaigns directed toward girls in this age group.

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Grateful Every Day: Julie Schwietert Collazo, Immigrant Families Together

Julie Schwietert Collazo (Image credit: Julie Schwietert Collazo)

This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Julie Schwietert Collazo, co-founder and director of Immigrant Families Together.

What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession? 

I wish I had understood the importance of assembling a top-notch legal and accounting team from the get-go. The problem is, when we started Immigrant Families Together (IFT), it wasn’t with the intention of it becoming an organization. I simply envisioned it as a rapid response group of volunteers that was responding to an acute crisis. Having had strong legal and financial counsel early on would have helped us strategically and operationally.

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Relationship-Oriented Leadership: Caryl Stern After 13 Years at UNICEF

Caryl Stern (Image credit: Jessie English for UNICEF USA)

The second interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Caryl Stern, the CEO of UNICEF USA who recently announced she will be leaving the organization after 13 years. 

What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession?

I wish I had known that I would succeed. I don’t think in my wildest dreams I thought I would end up as CEO, and it would have been great to know that from the very beginning! And, I wish I had known from the very beginning to just be yourself at work. I grew into that and it’s something that I learned from experience in my role – it definitely served me well.

What is your current greatest professional challenge?

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Estate Gift will Research and Expose Historic Women Artists

“Lamentation with Saints,” by Plautilla Nelli (public domain)

The Sidney and Lois Eskenazi Museum of Art of Indiana University (IU) in Bloomington, Indiana recently received an estate gift of about $4 million from the late art historian and philanthropist Jane Fortune, who died in 2018. Fortune founded the non-profit Advancing Women Artists (AWA) in 2009 with a mission to research, restore and share women’s artwork, particularly in Florence, Italy. She was known to be a passionate explorer and advocate for the preservation of historic pieces by women and was affectionately dubbed “Indiana Jane” by the Florentine press, according to Smithsonian.com. The new gift to the museum consists of a collection of works as well as funds to back future research and initiatives that will support women artists. 

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It’s All About Health for Women and Girls: Ghada Khan on Ending FGM

Ghada Khan (front row, far right) with U.S. End FGM/C members and other attendees of the 63rd United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in March 2019. (Image credit: Ghada Khan)

An estimated 3.9 million girls around the world are at risk of female genital mutilation or cutting (FGM/C) every year. About 513,000 women and girls in the U.S. are at risk of or have undergone this procedure. Ending FGM/C is an issue that many funders can engage in; those who are interested in gender equality, who want to end gender-based violence and child abuse, who want to defend women’s bodily autonomy, and who want to make sure all girls are safe, educated and empowered.

Dr. Ghada Khan is a health program analyst and the network coordinator for the U.S. End FGM/C Network, a collaborative group of “survivors, civil society organizations, foundations, activists, policymakers, researchers, health care providers and others committed to promoting the abandonment of [FGM/C] in the U.S. and around the world.” She spoke to Philanthropy Women about her work and how philanthropy can be more effective in the fight to end FGM/C.

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The Domino Effect of Women Leaders: Fern Shepard, Rachel’s Network

Fern Shepard (Image credit: Fern Shepard)

Editor’s Note: Fern Shepard is the first participant in our new interview series: “Feminist Giving IRL” (in real life).

“Feminist Giving IRL” features leaders in philanthropy and the nonprofit realm who are outstanding advocates for gender equity. Our first featured leader, Fern Shepard, is President of Rachel’s Network, a non-profit organization named after Rachel Carson that empowers women funders in environmental protection.

What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession?

I began my career 30 years ago as an environmental lawyer with Earthjustice, where I quickly learned the importance of strong laws in protecting vulnerable populations. Courts are where powerless people and voiceless wildlife and wildlands can be protected from harm. Yet our environmental problems have only grown in complexity and severity since I started.

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Time and Space to Create: Ways Funders Can Help Women Artists

Artist Kathy Hodge in her studio. (Image credit: Kathy Hodge)

Being a working artist is demanding. Most artists hold other jobs to support themselves, which limits their studio time.

“It’s a cycle. You don’t have the time to create the work, so you can’t create enough work to sell to support yourself financially, so you need to have the job, which takes up your time. It’s hard to get out of that loop,” says Rhode Island artist Kathy Hodge. Hodge is an award-winning artist with many exhibitions and shows to her name who also served as the Artist in Residence at multiple U.S. national parks. Because the gender gap is still prevalent in the art world, as in many sectors and professions, women artists like Hodge are in particular need of support.

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Diane Ravitch Wants Philanthropy to Support Rebirth of Public Schools

Education expert Diane Ravitch (Image credit: Diane Ravitch)

Philanthropy aimed at K-12 education in the U.S. has ramped up in the past few decades and remains complex and controversial. Funders back diverse causes like delivering new learning technologies, establishing charter schools and backing professional development for public school teachers, among many others. Along with local and regional funders, major philanthropies like the Bill and Melinda Gates, Broad and Walton Family Foundations direct hundreds of millions to education annually.

Diane Ravitch says these funders should prioritize helping under-resourced American learning institutions and families by supporting traditional public schools and their teachers, and addressing income inequality. She discussed these topics as well as funding for girls and the pitfalls of charter schools with Philanthropy Women. Ravitch is an education author and historian and a former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education. She is currently a research professor of Education at New York University and president of the Network for Public Education, which she founded.

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The Free Black Mamas Fellowship: Bailed-Out Black Moms Organize

(Image credit: public domain)

This year for Mother’s Day, incarcerated mothers and caregivers in 36 U.S. cities had their bails paid through public donations. The Black Mamas Bail Out brings together givers and organizers from across the country to free imprisoned moms who can’t afford bail.

Bailing Out Black Moms and Caregivers

Today and every day, tens of thousands of people are imprisoned in the U.S. because they cannot pay bail. Most of the about 2.3 million people in American prisons and jails are people of color. While they are primarily male, women are now the fastest-growing incarcerated population. And, Black women are imprisoned at a rate double that of white women.

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Dream Big: The Film Funders Who Want Girls to Be Engineers

Two girls in school uniforms cross a bridge in Haiti.
Girls in Haiti take a new bridge to school. (Photo credit: “Dream Big – Haiti Behind the Scenes”)

The number of women in engineering (the crucial E of STEM) has risen in the last few decades, but still lags behind men — only 13% of engineers are women. A new big-screen film called, “Dream Big: Engineering Our World,” seeks to inspire the next generation of diverse female engineers. The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), MacGillivray Freeman Films (MFF) and Bechtel Corporation are the key partners driving this initiative.

A Film About Big Dreams

“Dream Big” shares exemplary feats of engineering and the stories of the contemporary engineers who bring them to life, with a focus on women in the field. Towering buildings, underwater robots, solar cars and sustainable city planning are a few of the topics covered.

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