New World Possibilities with Gender Lens Giving Strategies

On Thursday in New Zealand and Wednesday in the US, a virtual conversation took place between some of the boldest strategic experts in the feminist giving space. The conversation included Sarah Haacke Byrd, Executive Director of Women Moving Millions, Tuti B. Scott, feminist expert on gender lens grantmaking and gender lens investing, Melanie Brown, Senior Program Officer for US Policy and Advocacy at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Lucy Lee, Senior Associate for Volition Capital and Lotus Circle Bay Area convener.

feminist giving strategies
Melanie Brown, Senior Program Officer for US Policy and Advocacy at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, spoke about the need to recognize the “weathering” that women of color experience in our racist and sexist cultures.

 As more virtual strategizing takes place to amplify feminist giving strategies, these leaders offer a valuable perspective. Sue McCabe, Chief Executive of Philanthropy New Zealand opened the call with some shocking stats about how COVID is impacting New Zealand’s economy, even though they have had some of the best health outcomes from the virus. McCabe said that 90% of newly unemployed people, due to the COVID restrictions in New Zealand, are women. She stressed the importance of giving more, and giving more strategically, in the time of COVID.

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Feminist Donors: The Way to the Future

It’s always great to see your name up in lights, particularly at such a highly esteemed publication as Women’s eNews. Alyssa Fisher, the 2020 fellow in the Sy Syms Journalistic Excellence Program at Women’s eNews called me up and let me have a great riffing session on what it’s like to be at the helm of our small but mighty publication, Philanthropy Women, and what I see feminist donors doing for the world that no one else is doing.

feminist donors
(Image Credit: WMM)

From the article:

The idea to launch  a website dedicated to women in philanthropy first came to Kiersten Marek in 2016, when Hillary Clinton was anticipated to win the presidential election and become the United State’s first woman president. When she launched it the following  year, it felt even more pertinent. 

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Guiding A New World: Global Gender Lens Giving in COVID

Editor’s Note: The following event highlights some of the most authoritative leaders in feminist giving including Sarah Haacke Byrd, Executive Director of Women Moving Millions, Tuti B. Scott, feminist expert on gender lens grantmaking and gender lens investing, Melanie Brown, Senior Program Officer for US Policy and Advocacy at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Lucy Lee, Senior Associate for Volition Capital and Lotus Circle Bay Area convener. More virtual strategizing is taking place all the time to amplify feminist giving, and this free webinar will be a great chance for those working in the sector to learn more.

Philanthropy New Zealand and Asia Foundation are hosting a webinar on how gender lens philanthropy can serve the community during COVID. (Image credit: Philanthropy New Zealand)

Virtual Event – A New World is Possible: Gender Lens Philanthropy in a Time of Covid-19

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WFN to Prez Candidates: Speak Now for Women and Girls

Women’s funders demand presidential candidates go on the record on issues affecting women and girls in final debate 

SAN FRANCISCO — This week’s second and final presidential debate, scheduled for Oct. 22, 2020, is the last chance to question the candidates side-by-side about the issues most important to women and girls — especially women and girls of color. Women’s Funding Network issued an open letter, signed by prominent women’s funders, to the debate’s moderator to demand that the candidates answer a range of questions to give voters the information they need about how each candidate plans to achieve equality and justice for all women and girls. 

Full text of the letter:

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How Desai Foundation Drives Social Change for Women in India

Nonprofit ventures each have a unique story and journey, with some expanding their capacities and impact dramatically as they grow and mature. This seems to be the case with the Desai Foundation, now a public nonprofit, which exists to promote health and livelihood for women and children, primarily in India, with plans to expand this work in the U.S. 

Megha Desai, President of The Desai Foundation, served as host of The Lotus Festival, taking guests on a variety of virtual adventures over the course of an hour and a half. (Image Credit: Desai Foundation)

I recently had the opportunity to join the Desai Foundation for its annual Lotus Festival, a fundraiser and educational event that the foundation holds every year. This year with COVID, the event was also offered online, making it more accessible, and prompting the organizers to ensure that participants joining online would get a full experience of all that the foundation is about.

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#SayHerName: What Feminist Givers Can Do For Breonna Taylor

On March 13th, the Louisville Metro Police executed a “no knock” warrant at the Kentucky home of Breonna Taylor and her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker. The exact events of the night have been hotly contested in and out of court, but the end result was that a young woman with a bright future lost her life, and the police who perpetrated the killing did not seem to be held accountable in any way.

Image Credit: Todd Heisler / The New York Times

In the months that followed, protests surrounding Breonna’s death and the deaths of women of color at the hands of police officers have rocked the country, even amidst the most serious pandemic of our time. Bolstered by the Black Lives Matter movement, and further aided by Kimberlé  Crenshaw’s creation of the #SayHerName hashtag, Breonna’s story broke through to mainstream culture and gave America a new awareness about what racism looks like for women of color.

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PACs and Others Join to Defend Women Leaders from Fake News

As many of us know too well, we are living in a time when disinformation can kill you. Disinformation can also derail strong campaigns for leadership during an election season. In the case of our current political climate, there is great need for funders to step into the breach and defend news and information so that voters can make informed decisions.

Kamala Harris has already been the target of racist and sexist attacks this campaign season. The Women’s Disinformation Defense Project will spend $20 million to defend Harris and other candidates from baseless attacks. (Image Credit: Biden on Twitter)

To that end, I was thrilled to hear about a new project called the Women’s Disinformation Defense Project, which will work extra hard to defend our women and people of color candidates from being shredded mercilessly by fake news in the next 5 weeks. Convened by UltraViolet, the project is being dubbed a new “war room” that is creating and disseminating journalism that will counter the disinformation being targeted to voters.

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Love Beauty and Planet Pledges $100k for Carbon Reduction

Women’s beauty brand Love Beauty and Planet recently announced a $100,000 grant cycle for The Love Beauty and Planet Project. This grant project offers funding ranging from $1,000 to $20,000 for projects that improve the wellbeing and health of the planet, specifically those that focus on reducing, avoiding, or sequestering carbon.

Image Credit: Love Beauty and Planet

Ranging from $1,000 to $20,000, the Love Beauty and Planet grants focus on projects that improve recycling rates, reduce plastic waste, and/or sequester carbon emissions. What’s more, the company has expressed a preference for applications focusing on marginalized and underserved communities, which are often the most adversely affected–and the least able to recuperate–from carbon emissions that harm the environment.

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Alliance for Girls Investigates COVID’s Impact on Diverse CA Girls

Alliance for Girls (AFG), a California-based network of girls-serving organizations, wants state and local leaders to pay more attention to the needs of girls—particularly Black girls and girls of color—in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Photo Credit: Alliance for Girls
Alliance for Girls’ Movement for Equity Conference, October 2019

To investigate this issue further, Alliance for Girls has launched “When Girls Thrive,” an initiative researching and advocating for an expanded understanding of how girls are being impacted by COVID. It includes an online survey, and addresses the lack of data on the needs and experiences of girls and gender-expansive youth up to 24 years of age. This group is particularly vulnerable during this time of increased health risks, extended isolation, and significant disruption and barriers to education and work. Such challenges are even more extreme for Black youth and youth of color.

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Kinga Wisniewska on Collaboration over Competition

Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Kinga Wisniewska, the Resource Mobilization Manager at FRIDA | The Young Feminist Fund, a youth-led feminist fund working to support grassroots organizers in over 120 countries in the Global South.

Kinga Wisniewska is a feminist and a sexual and reproductive health and rights activist from Warsaw, Poland, now serving as the Resource Mobilization Manager at FRIDA | The Young Feminist Fund. (Image Credit: FRIDA | The Young Feminist Fund)

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

The fundraising field is quite secretive, as organizations fear that sharing their donor experiences would have repercussions on their relationships, or that they would have to compete for funds if they disclosed what opportunities they are working on. It’s so weighty to work in silos, feel isolated and overwhelmed with the “I have to do it all on my own” mentality. That makes fundraising burnout very real, with lasting effects on our well-being and health, and affects so many of us in philanthropy, especially those working in resource mobilization.

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