Shira Ruderman: Show With Actions, Not Just Words

Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Shira Ruderman, Executive Director of the Ruderman Family Foundation, a private family foundation that invests in three primary areas of focus: advocating for and advancing the inclusion of people with disabilities throughout our society, strengthening the relationship between Israel and the American Jewish community, and modeling the practice of strategic philanthropy worldwide.

Shira Ruderman is the Executive Director of the Ruderman Family Foundation. (Image Credit: Ruderman Family Foundation)

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

I wish I knew philanthropy is a life journey that you cannot get separated from. I view it like parenthood, you learn as you go. Philanthropy makes you recognize your passions, skills, views on life.

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Teresa Bonner on Ageism, Othering, and Ending Broken Systems

 Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Teresa Bonner, Executive Director of Aroha Philanthropies.

Teresa Bonner, Executive Director of Aroha Philanthropies. (Image Credit: Teresa Bonner)

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

The short answer is “everything!” By the time I began working for foundations, I had spent about ten years on the public charity side of the table, and prior to that, I worked as an attorney for a number of years. When I reached the philanthropic stage of my career, I had quite a bit of experience in the workplace and in the nonprofit sector. Despite that, I had no idea that private foundations were subject to many more rules and requirements than public charities are, or that institutional philanthropy had its own established culture and norms.

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A Leader in Women’s Health Urges Donors to Lean Into Discomfort

Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Dr. Anu Kumar, President and CEO of Ipas, an international reproductive health and rights organization.

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Dr. Anu Kumar, courtesy of Dr. Anu Kumar

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

That the issues that I have chosen to work on, reproductive health and rights including access to abortion, are ones that will take generations to resolve. I naively thought that since Roe v. Wade was decided well before I came of reproductive age and the public health data were so clear about the health benefits of contraception and abortion for women, families, communities, and countries that logic would prevail and I would simply be running programs to scale up these programs. Little did I know that I would become a warrior for abortion rights!

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How One Corporate Wife Set a New Standard for HNW Divorce

One the founding benefactors of the Women’s Philanthropy Institute, Lorna Jorgenson Wendt, has a fascinating backstory, and I’m thankful to Sondra Shaw-Hardy for bringing her to my attention. This weekend, I did some reading and learned how Lorna was able to shake up the entire nation in the late 1990’s by fighting for her right to an equal share of the assets in divorcing her corporate CEO husband.

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Lorna Jorgenson Wendt set a new standard for divorce equality, and was featured on the cover of Fortune Magazine in 1998. (Image credit: Fortune)

Lorna Jorgenson Wendt was married to Gary Wendt for 32 years. The two had been high school sweethearts in the Midwest, went to college together at the University of Wisconsin, and then married and moved to Cambridge, MA, where Lorna put Gary through business school for his MBA from Harvard. At the time, in a ceremony conducted by a Harvard Dean, Lorna and other Harvard student wives were awarded Ph.T certificates — honorary awards for “Put Hubby Through” college.

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Chera Reid: “My Being and Doing are One and the Same”

Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Chera Reid, Co-Executive Director, Center for Evaluation Innovation.

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Chera Reid, Co-Executive Director of Evaluation Roundtable at the Center for Evaluation Innovation, shares her insights on how we can become a more diverse community. (Image credit: Chera Reid)

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

I wish I had known that it was me, in my whole human self, that was what every organization needed from me. It was and is me that organizations are asking for. When I was starting out professionally, I was ready with my resume and eager to please. I worked hard to do more of what I believed senior leaders wanted me to do, and I kept parts of who I am to myself. Showing up wholly—head, heart, and hands—is what social change leadership requires. Today my being and doing are one and the same.

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Nicole Small: Supporting STEM Women with the IF/THEN Initiative

Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Nicole Small, CEO of Lyda Hill Philanthropies.

Nicole Small, courtesy of Nicole Small
  1. What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession? 

So many things. There isn’t enough room.  I wish I had known that it was going to be a long and winding road and that, looking back, it would all make sense and would be so much fun! 

2. What is your current greatest professional challenge? 

My greatest professional challenge is that there aren’t enough hours in the day to engage with all of the wonderful teams doing amazing work to advance our communities, both for profit and not for profit.  We are constantly trying to think about balancing strategic long-term initiatives with short-term needs, given that this pandemic has illuminated so many deep issues around economic and health disparities. 

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Texas Women’s Fdn Event Spotlights Outstanding Gender Lens Leaders

The Texas Women’s Foundation (TWF) held its Leadership Forum and Awards Celebration on April 29th, honoring the trailblazing women making a difference for both Texas and the world. From 10 AM to 12 PM, thousands joined in on the virtual celebration, discussions, and moments of gratitude. The event served to highlight how, particularly since COVID, women’s leadership offers particular value and potential.

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Leaders honored by the Texas Women’s Foundation at their Leadership and Awards Celebration. (Photo credit: Texas Women’s Foundation and Plano Magazine)

The celebration honored five Maura Women Helping Women Award recipients and two Young Leader Award recipients. The Maura award enters its 42nd year with over 200 past honorees who have and are implementing drastic advancement opportunities for women and girls. The Young Leader Award highlights women leaders under 40 who, through their own accomplishments, are shaping the roads of progress for women everywhere.

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Free Gender Lens Investing Webinar Discussing Options with Experts!

Join Philanthropy Women and inspiring guests on Thursday, May 20th for the next iteration of our webinar series! Gender Lens Investing: Hear From The Experts will be a focused conversation on the power of leveraging your investments to support gender equity.

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Guests Rehana Nathoo, Founder and CEO of Spectrum Impact, and Roslyn Dawson Thompson, President and CEO of Texas Women’s Foundation, will discuss gender-lens investing with Philanthropy Women’s Editor-in-Chief, Kiersten Marek.

From realigning your portfolio as an individual or an organization to hiring women financial advisors to advocating for women as a shareholder, this webinar will discuss the many ways that women can make a good return on their money and impact financial markets by investing with a gender lens.

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Getting to Work for Ecofeminism with WILD ELEMENTS

Roll up your sleeves and get ready to get to work — the WILD ELEMENTS Foundation has arrived! Just in time for Earth Day, this planet-focused grantmaking organization is leading the conservation conversation with a three-pronged “kindness” approach. And what’s more, WILD ELEMENTS is helmed by two incredible women: Nikki Eslami and Heidi Nel.

WILD ELEMENTS is Eslami’s brainchild: as the CEO and Founder of the organization, Eslami is also a Board Member of the WILD ELEMENTS Foundation, alongside the Foundation’s President and fellow board member Heidi Nel.

The WILD ELEMENTS Foundation launched its first initiatives in April 2021. (Image Credit: WE Foundation)

WILD ELEMENTS is a purpose-first platform, which consists of three unique organizations – a nonprofit corporation (the WILD ELEMENTS Foundation), a storytelling studio, and mindfully made brands. Beginning with a $3 million investment, the WILD ELEMENTS Foundation will support the stories and innovations of leaders around the world through grantmaking, advocacy, network building, and other charitable activities.

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Fiona McKay: Financial Sector Must Evolve to Prioritize Social Returns

Fiona McKay’s website asks a simple but striking question: What would the world look like if more women controlled the money? It’s a question I often find myself pondering, too, as a social worker, a small businesswoman, a parent, and a gender equality activist.

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Fiona McKay, author of the report, Trailblazing Women in Investment. (Image Credit: Fiona McKay)

McKay isn’t just pondering this profound question, though. She’s actively doing research on the way that gender norms shape our experiences, particularly in the financial sector. She is the author of Trailblazing Women in Investment, a new report that discusses gender lens investing and the barriers that women still face with controlling the money in finance.

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