Marguerite Casey CEO on Resourcing Abolitionist Feminism

Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features President and Chief Executive Officer of the Marguerite Casey Foundation, Dr. Carmen Rojas.

carmen rojas
Carmen Rojas, courtesy of Carmen Rojas

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

I spent a lot of time in this sector trying to make sense of power relationships — specifically, those with undue influence, limited imaginations and proximity to the people who have long been excluded from our democracy and economy. I wish I had known that this is a feature in the design of philanthropy, and that it doesn’t need to be this way. I spent so much time trying to convince people in positions of power and people closest to the most resources that the communities I care about lack power in our democracy or representation in our economy, not as a result of individual choices but as a result of systemic design.

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Pop Culture Collaborative Leaders Discuss Funding Narrative Change

Editor’s Note: This dual interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Bridgit Antoinette Evans and Tracy Van Slyke, who are, respectively, the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Strategy Officer of the Pop Culture Collaborative, a philanthropic resource and funder learning community.

Bridgit Antoinette Evans and Tracy Van Slyke, courtesy of Bridgit Antoinette Evans and Tracy Van Slyke

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

Bridgit Antoinette Evans: I wish that I’d been introduced to Octavia E. Butler much earlier in life. Octavia wrote about this concept of “positive obsession,” which she described as “not being able to stop just because you’re afraid and full of doubts.” My mother and her siblings were leaders in the Civil Rights movement in Savannah, and while she fiercely believed that her daughters could be anything we wanted to be in the world, she was very clear that we needed to be improving the world while doing it. I wanted to be an artist, and so, as a teen, I became obsessed with one question: “What is the relationship between a great story and widespread cultural change?”

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Philanthropy or Investing: Why Not Both?

Editor’s Note: The following article was originally published on February 17, 2021.

When it comes to maximizing our financial impact, there is often an “either/or” approach to leveraging wealth. Do we use our dollars to fund a philanthropic effort, like a campaign or organization dedicated to women and girls, or do we turn our funds toward investment opportunities, like supporting companies with a strong commitment to diversity?

Ellen Remmer is a Senior Partner at The Philanthropic Institute (TPI) and Champion of Invest for Better. (Image Credit: Invest for Better/Ellen Remmer)

As new forms of giving spring up to meet the challenges — and opportunities — of a digital society, we are able to move further away from that attitude of “either/or.” There are ways to stretch our donor dollars further — through two types of collectives that maximize impact.

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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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Kimberlé Crenshaw: How to Fund Women and Girls of Color

Editor’s Note: This interview was originally published in July, 2017.

I have spent the past few years observing, writing about, and getting more involved in the world of women’s philanthropy. During that time, multiple experts have referred to the work of Kimberlé Crenshaw as being essential to the changes we now see going on in philanthropy, with more efforts to apply both a gender and race lens when framing problems and funding new strategies.

Kimberle Crenshaw
Kimberlé Crenshaw, Professor, Columbia Law School and UCLA Law School, Co-Founder, African American Policy Forum

Indeed, with her scholarship, advocacy, and legal expertise, Crenshaw has helped build and disseminate whole new areas of knowledge including critical race theory and intersectional theory. These concepts have helped philanthropists like Peter Buffett and organizations like the NoVo Foundation apply an inclusive gender and race lens that values and addresses the needs of women and girls of color in the United States.

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Experts: What Government Must Do Now to Ensure Gender Equality

Editor’s Note: The London School of Economics and Political Science, led by director Baroness Minouche Shafik, has published a statement on gender equality signed by multiple leaders including Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Vera Songwe, Kristalina Georgieva, Christine Lagarde, and Ursula von der Leyen.

COVID-19 has caused a health crisis for billions around the world and inflicted the worst economic pain in decades. And wherever we look a key theme recurs: no matter the geography or wealth of the country, women and girls bear the heaviest burden of economic hardship. That hurts all of us.

gender equality
The London School of Economics and Political Science has issued a joint statement from leaders of economics institutions, advising governments on how to maximize gender equality efforts. (Image credit: LSE)

As leaders representing leading economic institutions, we share this urgent message: to rebuild our global economy and improve the lives of all people, governments must prioritise gender equality in their economic recovery strategies.

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Happy Pride Month! On Taking Pride in Funding LGBTQIA+ Activism

Editor’s Note: COVID-19 has exposed the everyday struggles of the most vulnerable like never before. LGBTQIA+ activists are facing homophobia, transphobia and biphobia everyday as they continue to organize and support their community bearing the brunt of a pandemic. What does philanthropy need to do more? How can it better support LGBTQIA+ communities in the present moment? As we advance in the second year of the pandemic, Deepa Ranganathan and Juliana Camara, from FRIDA | The Young Feminist Fund, facilitate an engaging roundtable discussion with LGBTQIA+ members of the FRIDA ecosystem. 

FRIDA | The Young Feminist Fund helps support and empower LGBTQIA+ communities across the globe. (Image credit: FRIDA)

The first year of COVID-19 made donors run to provide immediate response to grantee partners navigating through it in different contexts. Learnings and reflections from this have been widely shared. However, as the pandemic  continues to create havoc and shows little signs of stopping, we are acutely aware of stepping into Pride Month amidst this crisis. For philanthropy, this is an opportunity to elaborate further on how to resource LGBTQIA+ communities in ways that allow them to thrive and go beyond merely surviving in these times.

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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.

chera reid
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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Due Diligence and Risk-Taking in Gender Lens Investing (Liveblog)

On Thursday, May 20th, the Philanthropy Women staff teamed up with Roslyn Dawson Thompson and Rehana Nathoo to discuss the importance of gender lens investing: what it is, how it works, and why we should focus our efforts on it.

gender lens investing

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

The conversation opened with a welcome to the day’s speakers and attendees, as well as a general thanks to Invest for Better for facilitating our conversation with Rehana and Roslyn. Citing the male-dominated nature of finance and corporate life, Kiersten shared her experiences in investing in a gender lens Exchange Traded Fund (EFT) called SHE.

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Activating Philanthropy – Part Four: How to Start a Giving Circle

Editor’s Note: This article is Part Four in our four-part Activating Philanthropy series. In this series, we explore ways to bring your philanthropic ideals into your everyday life, activating the lessons we’ve learned along the way. For the rest of the series, check out Part One: Philanthropy in Daily Routines, Part Two: How to Call Your Congresswoman, and Part Three: Talking to Family Members About Giving. 

giving circle
The Women’s Giving Circle of Harford Count presented TasteWise Kids a $5,000 grant for its Days of Taste Program. The check presentation included Kim Malat, Sherifa Clarke, Riva Kahn, Ennise Bloom and Alice Welsh Leeds. In 2019, the Women’s Giving Circle of Harford County awarded 13 grants to nonprofits serving women and children, totaling nearly $45,000. (Image Credit: Jessica Moser / Baltimore Sun)

We’re almost finished with our Activating Philanthropy series! Thanks for joining us for this four-week series on activating philanthropy in your everyday life. Now that we’ve covered the basics, we’re tying everything together with one of the simplest and most effective forms of collaborative philanthropy: the giving circle

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