Mother’s Milk: What Can Funders Do For Breastfeeding Week?

International Breastfeeding Week is August 1-7, so we’d like to take the opportunity here at Philanthropy Women to emphasize the importance of breastfeeding to human health, and to ask women givers to do more to support breastfeeding initiatives. If you want to know my opinion, breastfeeding should be a celebrated activity. What a different world it would be if, every time a woman breastfed in public, people around her paused and admired what is one of the miracles of human health.

Breastfeeding memes are popular on social media, a sign of the public’s ongoing interest in the topic. What if breastfeeding support became more popular among funders?

But instead, we shame women who breastfeed in public. We eye them with disgust. If women post pictures of themselves breastfeeding, they get trolled online. Recently, Aliya Shagieva, the youngest daughter of the president of Kyrgyztan, posted a picture of herself breastfeeding her baby on Instagram, with the caption, “I will feed my child whenever and wherever he needs to be fed.”  She was accused of immoral behavior, and trolled until she took the picture down.

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Women Givers: Empty Your Closets for Your Favorite Cause

Christena Reinhard is Co-Founder of Union & Fifth, which makes it easy to sell designer clothes for a cause, and has a specialty campaign around gender equality with Eileen Fisher Foundation.

One thing that repeatedly intrigues me in philanthropy is the way that women leaders put together the components of giving and social progress in new and creative ways, in order to maximize deployment of funds to important causes. Nearly every week, I come across a new combination of philanthropy and social action that a woman is pioneering.

This week’s amazing tale of women doing good in the world comes from the online retail sector and a new hub for online shopping called Union & Fifth. This nonprofit online store makes it easy for you to donate women’s designer clothing, shoes, and handbags, and choose a cause for where the money will be donated.

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Can’t Get Promoted in Nonprofits? Are you LGBTQ Person of Color?

A new report with support from the Annie E. Casey Foundation and other partners helps to identify the multiple barriers faced by LGBTQ people of color in the nonprofit sector.

You work in a nonprofit that supports strengthening diversity and being conscious of race and gender bias, and yet you feel discriminated against year after year, as you are bypassed for promotions and other career advancement opportunities.  It’s a familiar story for many LGBTQ people of color, and now a new report has come out that fills a big research gap — the lack of data on leadership of LGBTQ people of color in the nonprofit industry.

“It was tough being one of a couple staff people of color in an LGBTQ organization. I would see things others didn’t and I would name it. That was sometimes really difficult for my superiors to hear,” said a multiracial transgender respondent quoted in the study.

The report, Working at the Intersections: LGBTQ Staff and the Nonprofit Leadership Gap, was recently released by the Building Movement Project (BMP), which is fiscally sponsored by Third Sector New England, which recently changed its name to TSNE MissionWorks. BMP started as a collective of 20 people working in small nonprofits who came together in 1999 in order to maximize impact with up-to-date analysis on issues related to social justice and nonprofit operating practices. BMP was originally housed at the Hauser Center for Nonprofits at Harvard, and moved to Demos in 2003.

The report makes specific recommendations for nonprofits and foundations to address LGBTQ bias in the workplace.

This LGBTQ-focused report builds on the recent release of Race to Lead: Confronting the Nonprofit Racial Leadership Gap, which BMP released last month along with unveiling a new website, Racetolead.org, which serves as a new online hub for knowledge and action on the racial leadership gap in nonprofits.

One of the key findings of the study is that most LGBTQ people of color see racial discrimination as the primary barrier to advancement toward leadership positions. Twice as many survey respondents identified race as negatively impacting on their careers compared to sexual orientation, according to the study’s findings.

This finding informs the report’s recommendations that nonprofit agencies take a primary focus on race, in order to lay the groundwork for the organization to begin addressing issues of anti-LGBTQ bias. The report also recommends that funders and nonprofits adopt nondiscrimination policies that include sexuality and gender identity, and establish systems for monitoring and addressing discrimination.

More on the report here. Read More

How Are Women More or Less Free? And What Can We Do About It?

Emily Nielsen Jones, President and C0-Founder of Imago Dei Fund, examines the status of gender equality within the larger context of freedom.

Fourth of July, 2017 came and went, but Lady Liberty’s vigil continues, reminding us of the brave work required in every generation to truly experience freedom in life.

As we turn the page on the 4th of July this year, report after report like the Freedom in the World 2017 and the 2017 Social Progress Index confirm a feeling in the air today: freedom is not currently advancing but rather is in decline. According to these reports, 2016 marked the 11th consecutive year of decline in global freedom.

“In past years we generally saw declines in freedom among autocracies and dictatorships,” describes Arch Puddington, one of Freedom In the World 2017’s co-authors, “but in 2016 it was established democracies that dominated the list of countries suffering setbacks.” The US was among a list of “Free” countries – including Brazil, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Hungary, Poland, Serbia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, and Tunisia – where freedom was found to be in decline as “populist and nationalist forces made significant gains.”

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Women, Hide Your Wallets: The GOP Wants to Defund Your Health Care

A massive defunding for women’s health care is now under consideration in the United States Senate. All told, it represents billions of dollars annually that will come straight out of primarily women’s wallets. 

You may not usually think of the federal government as a philanthropic institution. Yet from our country’s start,  congressional acts have subsidized various segments of the population and for a variety of reasons. Take the 1792 Postal Act. A spirited debate went on in the second session of Congress, over maintaining access to information. That Congress voted to create low postal rates for newspapers and to improve roads by creating postal routes to ensure expansion and development of our fledgling country, rather than solely serve existing communities. Americans still benefit from reduced media postal rates today.

The proposed Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) put forth by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in the 115th Session is an entirely different matter. It will adversely impact the finances of women – particularly poor women and women of color, and all rural people, especially women. By cutting off funding – just so the wealthy 1% can get tax breaks – American adult women, 126 million strong, will again have to shell out of pocket money for all kinds of basic health care or forego health services, often to the detriment of their own well-being and the well-being of their families. People will die as a result of this bill. The greater proportion of those deaths will be women.

Dawn Laguens, Executive Vice President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, stated it succinctly, “It is outrageous that a group of men are negotiating to make it harder for women to prevent unintended pregnancy, harder to have a healthy pregnancy and harder to raise a healthy child.”

The Impact on Medicaid

The Better Care Reconciliation Act proposes gigantic cuts in Medicaid, rolling back the expansions that were put in place by the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare. An estimated $772 Billion will be siphoned off from this program that benefits low income people. This impacts 25 million women in the US, who are 36% of the Medicaid beneficiaries. Their children, under age 18, are another 44% of Medicaid recipients. Over the first 10 years of this proposed bill the deep cuts into medicaid are expected to be 25%, but in the 2nd decade starting after 2027, the cuts go far deeper to 35%.

These Medicaid cuts threaten rural hospitals. Simply, many will close. As a group, 14% of their budgets come through medicaid reimbursements for their services.

Though not named, criteria specifically targets Planned Parenthood for the chopping block, however, at present, only for one year. This vital health service agency provides everything from cancer screenings to birth control. It has historically served one in five women in America. Planned Parenthood would be denied reimbursement, like other health care agencies, for the low income women, who comprise over 50 percent of their patients. In 2015 Planned Parenthood affiliates received $553.7 million in government reimbursements and grants for services. This means some 2.4 million women who regularly use the 600 Planned Parenthood facilities across America will no longer have access to these vital services.

Many conservative lawmakers claim women can as easily be served by other existing clinics.“…[Community health centers] are vastly bigger in network, there are so many more of them, and they provide these kinds of services without all of the controversy surrounding this [abortion] issue,” touted House Speaker Paul Ryan in January. But a report from the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office estimates that these other community clinics could not make up for the flood of uninsured patients to their doors.

Further, in an investigation by Rewire, numerous of these clinics are religious in affiliation and fail to offer a full range of reproductive health care. They restrict family planning. So, in fact they are both in contradiction to the services offered at Planned Parenthood clinics and fail to adhere to the tenets of the ACA.

Being Female, A Pre-existing Condition

The Senate’s BCRA bill, like the House’s version, the AHCA, avoids outright omissions of the essential success of the Affordable Health Act. That is the inclusion of all people in health insurance despite so-called pre-existing conditions. Prior to the ACA women universally had to pay higher premiums solely due to their sex as a pre-existing condition.

The BCRA and the AHCA theoretically keep pre-existing conditions. But the laws pass the political buck to states to allow for waivers that effect various types of pre-existing conditions. “Because they [the states] are closer to the public’s health needs,” numerous Congressional supporters of the two bills disingenuously claim, the states can make the decision on how to handle pre-existing conditions.

But combined with all the fiscal cuts, many states will be hard pressed to shoulder the costs related to pre-existing conditions. Instead, the public will get a hodge-podge of programs that will make some states semi-bright beacons of partial health coverage and others wilting lilies where poor citizens are on the hook personally for the high and rising costs of health care that they cannot afford. This dynamic will have larger ramifications on the impact of businesses to attract workers and other developments and programs within certain states. It is a far cry from the 1792 Postal Act. Or Obamacare.

People of color in larger numbers have historically lacked insurance. The ACA started to close that gap, though there is far more to go. The Groundswell Fund and Ms. Foundation for Women are two foundations that for decades have supported women of color health groups addressing these disparities. It is from these groups that new theoretical frameworks and progressive advancements like Reproductive Justice have emerged and that, in turn, have impacted the international health community.

Teresa C. Younger, President and CEO of Ms. Foundation said, “The bill is called The Bettercare Act but it will only result in worse care for women of color. [ It ] siphons resources to pay for yet another tax cut for rich white men. It’s clear women of color are in Conservatives’ anti-woman, pro-billionaire crosshairs with this bill, but women of color won’t stand for it. We are literally fighting for our survival.”

The Impact on Birth Control

Not until 1965 did birth control become legal. State laws prohibiting it were struck down that year in Griswold v. Connecticutt by the Supreme Court.

Post 1965, with oral contraceptives available since 1961, almost three generations of sexually active women have practiced birth control. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, contraceptions make up an estimated 30-44% of out-of-pocket spendingfor their health care by sexually active women.  The ACA recognizes the unique health needs of women throughout their lifespan. The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) created a set of guidelines for women’s care. This includes contraception. An estimated $1.4 billion in the first year alone of Obamacare was saved by 55 million women because they had access to birth control through copayments in their health insurance.

Despite 71% of the US population being in favor of full coverage of birth control, the current administration is not listening. The BCRA does not directly strike down the birth control provision, but already rumors are afoot that the Tom Price lead Health and Human Services Department is about to do away with a component of the benefit.

The first line of attack on this widely acceptable copay is based on religious and moral grounds. In a leaked rule, the Trump administration may be poised to significantly roll back birth control through the ACA. Building on the Supreme Court’s Hobby Lobby ruling, it would allow any employer or university to deny coverage based on their beliefs. Religious and moral grounds of women are obliterated. Also, there seems to be an attempt to bypass the mandated 60-day public comment period.

$200 Billion in Incentives Luring Senators to Pass BCRA

Women are primary caregivers, tending to the upbringing of children and caring for aging parents. The majority of this work is unpaid labor. Women’s reproductive organs warrant greater health care. Combined, these factors mean women interact with health care providers far more frequently than men. Cutting funds for some of the most essential health needs of women as provided in the ACA is a direct slap in the face to 51% of the US population.

McConnell’s pulling of the BCRA just before the Fourth of July recess was momentary. To understand better the horse trading that the Senate Majority Leader has at his disposal to get Senators on board his health care train wreck, long time Hill correspondent, Michael McAuliff, has written an especially informative article. Hint, the reporter calls it “Candy”. While he makes no mention of women per se, McAuliff explains how the Majority Leader has about $200 billion worth of incentives at his disposal. That’s our tax money at play, being used as inducements to decimate our health care systems.

Gloria Feldt, who for thirty years worked with Planned Parenthood, ten years as President and CEO of the Federation, and is now co-founder of Take The Lead Women, summed it up this way: “Families who thought their company plans would cover a new child’s birth may find themselves paying a very high premium just to have coverage–and then be bankrupted by devastating costs if there are complications of pregnancy or birth. [The BCRA creates] high profits for insurance companies. Now that’s about as foolish a piece of legislation as you can get.”Read More

Men Cleaning House: New UN Campaign Fights Sexist Stereotypes

It looks like the UN is finding more ways to connect its gender equality strategy to the economy and culture. In a bold new multi-sector alliance with such big names as Unilever, Twitter, and Microsoft, UN Women announced a global campaign to end sexist stereotypes in advertising.

unstereotype alliance
The Unstereotype Alliance, a collaboration of UN Women and over 20 corporate and feminist media partners, is working to change the culture of sexist gender norms.

The new launch is called the Unstereotype Alliance, and it seeks to unite leaders across business, technology and media to tackle the stereotypes that normalize sexism. On June 22 at The Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, the Unstereotype Alliance held its inaugural session to define its strategy and priorities.

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Imagining What Is Possible: FRIDA is Growing Women’s Media Globally

Young feminists have been organizing across the globe for decades, but their work, particularly in the media sector, has been woefully underfunded. I know, since I was one of them. In 1969, when I co-founded Women Make Movies, women’s funds didn’t exist.

FRIDA
FRIDA is a global feminist funder dedicated to social change. It has made $1.3 million in direct grants to over 150 groups in over 80 different countries.

Over the decades, thousands of young activists have gathered at events like the International Forum on Women’s Rights and Development, the flagship event of AWID (Association of Women’s Rights in Development), and have talked about the need for more funding for young feminists, particularly in media. As the last decade closed, many young activists lamented that no women’s fund specifically addressed their youthful organizing needs. So they decided to start their own, with AWID and Fondo Centralamericano de Mujeres (Central America Women’s Fund) incubating this spark of an idea.

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Livestream Today: Ellevate Network Summit on Mobilizing Women

Sallie Krawcheck, CEO and Co-Founder, Ellevest

One of the things I love about Ellevate Network is the way they are bringing together authority, autonomy, and agency in order to grow gender equality movements. Sallie Krawcheck comes with the authority in finance, she has now launched Ellevate which gives her vision more autonomy, and today Ellevate is taking a big step to increase the agency of gender equality movements by hosting its first-ever summit to mobilize gender equality movements.

From the Summit’s webpage:

Action. Impact. Power.

These words are some of the ones we deal with every day at Ellevate Network. We know women have power (after all we hold trillions of dollars in investable assets, control 86% of consumer spending and are starting businesses at a faster pace than men.) And yet, there is still gender inequality.

It stops here.

Join us virtually for our first annual summit as we talk about using your voice for advocacy and creating change in your community; the power of news and information accessibility and how it is changing business; innovation and disruption as a way to close the gap; and how we can work together to make change happen.

With more than 30 speakers taking the stage, this full-day event will leave you inspired and ready for action, with key-takeaways you can implement in your life today.

You can join the livestream of Ellevate’s summit here:  Livestream: Mobilizing the Power of Women, a Summit Hosted by Ellevate Network | Ellevate

Related: Gender Matters All the Time: 9 of Philanthropy’s Most Powerful Gender Lens InvestorsRead More

Are Conservatives Taking Over the UN?

Recently, one of our lead sponsors, Emily Nielsen Jones, philanthropist and Co-founder of Imago Dei Fund, raised the warning flag about the growing conservative Christian influence on religious culture in the U.S. Now, a new report has come out that warns of a growing conservative religious influence on the United Nations. The report, entitled Rights at Risk and produced by The Observatory on the Universality of Rights (OURS), argues that  “the universality of human rights is under attack by an increasingly coordinated and agile set of anti-rights actors operating in the international human rights sphere.”

UN
OURS, which sponsored the new report, Rights at Risk, is a working group that included Planned Parenthood Global, Asian-Pacific Resource and Research Centre for Women, Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID), and many other global nonprofits.

These anti-rights actors frequently use the guise of religion and “family values” to attempt to erode rights for individuals, and are in favor of (not a big surprise) restricting abortion and access to contraceptive services.

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How Will Giving Compass Impact Women’s Philanthropy?

Recently, I got an email from Stephanie Gillis, Senior Advisor at the Raikes Foundation, wanting to “explore potential synergies” with the work we are doing at Philanthropy Women. Naturally, I was eager to do so, and soon learned about Givingcompass.org, a new team effort of several foundations and nonprofits, aimed at drawing on the chops of the tech sector in order to provide more resources for the philanthropy sector, particularly around how to assess the quality of philanthropy and get the most impact per philanthropy dollar.

Giving Compass aggregates philanthropy news and information by topics, including news and information about women’s philanthropy.

What got me smiling right away as I got an inside tour of  GivingCompass.org: It looks like they are going to do philanthropy news aggregation right. Inside the site, partners of great magnitude have already signed up to be part of the 12-16 “magazines” that will aggregate multiple areas of philanthropy, helping to feed donors and the nonprofit sector with a new source for matchmaking, as well as data, case examples, and strategy on how to give.

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