Janeen Comenote on How Native Feminist Values Can Guide Giving

Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Janeen Comenote, Executive Director of the National Urban Indian Family Coalition and Marguerite Casey Foundation board member.

Janeen Comenote, courtesy of Janeen Comenote

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

When I first started working in the nonprofit sector over 20 years ago, the concept of philanthropy was completely foreign to me and, frankly, intimidating. I wish I would have known then that my lived professional, personal, and cultural experience is an important story for philanthropy to hear. I think there is real power in sharing our stories with one another and philanthropy needs to hear our collective stories. When I first started my career, it was in a sort of silo, I was unaware of how invisible the Native community was in the larger philanthropic, and American, diaspora. I think, had I known then how profoundly that realization would shape my career, I may have utilized additional messaging about it earlier.

Read More

How is New York Women’s Fdn Supporting Underserved Communities?

The New York Women’s Foundation has given nearly $3M in grants to organizations helping underserved communities post-pandemic.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 14: The group Developing Artists performs onstage during the 32nd Anniversary Celebrating Women Breakfast at Marriott Marquis on May 14, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images for The
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – MAY 14: The group Developing Artists performs onstage during the 32nd Anniversary Celebrating Women Breakfast at Marriott Marquis on May 14, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images for The New York Women’s Foundation)

On June 28th, The New York Women’s Foundation announced almost $3 million in grants reflecting the organization’s fundamental strategy of early and long-term investment in community-rooted organizations led by women and gender expansive people addressing critical issues in underinvested communities. The Foundation’s latest round of grants are critically important to women, gender expansive people and their families in a post-COVID reality. The Foundation is charging ahead and bolstering investments in advancing racial equity, ending mass incarceration in New York City, increasing economic stability for low-income families, and eliminating gender-based violence. 

Read More

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

Read More

Activating Philanthropy – Part 3: Talking to Family About Giving

Editor’s Note: This article is Part Three 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: What It Means to “Call Your Congresswoman”, Part Three: Talking to Family About Giving, and Part Four: How to Start a Giving Circle. 

Talking to family about social giving can sometimes feel like a daunting task — but it doesn’t have to be. (Image Credit: Bewakoof)

Giving can strengthen a relationship between family members — but more often than not, “political talk” can cause major strain at the dinner table. So how do we balance our desire for collaborative philanthropy with not getting into unnecessary tangles with family members?

Read More

How Jack Dorsey’s $3MM Will Fund Girls’ Ed in Sub-Saharan Africa

Women’s History Month was definitely one for the books, especially with Jack Dorsey’s #StartSmall initiative dispersing $3 million in grants at the end of the month. This newest funding was allocated to four grassroots organizations focused on breaking down educational barriers for women in sub-Saharan Africa.  

Representatives from WGEP, AGE, AAF, and WISER at the Obama Summit 2019 with Michelle Obama. (Image credit: WGEP)

AGE AfricaAsante Africa FoundationWISER International, and Women’s Global Education Project are the well-deserving organizations receiving $750,000 each to support their already ingrained and successful efforts. The Obama Foundation’s Girls Opportunity Alliance is responsible for this cohort of collaboration joining forces to eradicate female inequity in the most rural areas of sub-Saharan Africa.

Read More

(Liveblog) Women’s Giving Circles: The Future of Latin America

On Thursday, March 19th, team members from Empatthy and a robust panel of speakers gathered online to celebrate the growing women’s giving circle movement in Latin America. Featuring Jeannie Sager (Women’s Philanthropy Institute), Carmen Stevens and Sondra Shaw-Hardy (Women’s Giving Circles International), Sara Lomelin (Philanthropy Together), and Rosa Madera (Fundadora Empatthy), the event was half celebration, half lively discussion of the future of collaborative giving in the Latin American region.

Juan Carlos Diaz Bilbao (BMW Foundation Responsible Leaders Network), the day’s moderator, introduced the event with thanks to the attendees, participants, and sponsors making the event possible.

Read More

Girls Leadership Celebrates 12 Years with “Power of Voice” Benefit

On Wednesday, March 10th, girls, funders, parents, activists, and leaders all over the country gathered for Girls Leadership’s 12th anniversary celebration. The “Power of Voice” Benefit featured honorees and speakers Billie Jean King, Marley Dias, Meena Harris, Samhita Mukhopadhyay, and Suni Harford.

The all-ages event opened with Alicia Menendez, television host and past intern with Girls Leadership, offering thanks and celebration to the event’s sponsors. Menendez also introduced the theme of the evening, “power of voice,” which honors women’s suffrage and collaborative efforts for social and gender justice.

Following an introductory video from the Co-CEOs, Takai Taylor and Simone Marean, J-Rey Soul (who you might know from the Black Eyed Peas and The Voice: Philippines) performed an original song in honor of Girls Leadership.

Read More

Hive Fund Update: Growing Imprint of New Climate and Gender Funder

When we last heard from the Hive Fund for Climate and Gender Justice, the new grassroots funding organization had just announced its first round of grantees in the spring of 2020. Almost a full year later, the fund has expanded its grantmaking efforts to four states (and a few regional and national partners) and is making waves in funding impact in the historically underserved American South.

The Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) is one of the grant recipients from The Hive Fund. WECAN is “a solutions-based organization engaging women and feminists worldwide in policy advocacy, on-the-ground projects, direct action, trainings, and movement building for global climate justice.” (Image Credit: The Hive Fund)

So, What’s Been Going on So Far with The Hive Fund?

What we were initially so excited about was the Hive Fund’s unique approach to fixing a very prevalent problem: The conspicuous funding gap for women’s climate organizations in the American South. And so far, the Hive Fund has proven to be a wave-making, impact-oriented force for the greater good.

Read More

FRIDA Commits to Flexibility with 93 New Participatory Grants

FRIDA | The Young Feminist Fund is on a roll, and they’re not letting up anytime soon. Shortly after finishing their 10th anniversary celebrations, the FRIDA team announced the next round of grants to 93 organizations, bringing their total grantee cohort to 252 activist groups in 115 countries across Latin America and the Caribbean, the Asian continent, Caucasus, Central and Eastern Europe, and the African continent.

FRIDA | The Young Feminist Fund recently announced the next 93 grantee partners in its latest cohort, representing the largest grant-making cohort in the organization’s 10-year history. (Image Credit: FRIDA)

This marks FRIDA’s largest grantee cohort since the organization’s founding, and the next step in FRIDA’s robust five-year plan.

Read More

Felecia Lucky: Without Us, Rural Communities Had No Access to COVID Funds

Recently I had the opportunity to talk with Felecia Lucky, President of the Black Belt Community Foundation in Selma, Alabama, which serves Alabama’s 12 most financially distressed counties. 

Felecia Lucky, President, Black Belt Community Foundation (Image Credit: Felecia Lucky)

Black Belt Community Foundation was officially formed in December 2003 after several years of community advocacy for such an institution. It was established to strengthen these 12 rural Alabama communities and enrich them with more community goods like health care, education, youth programs, and economic development. 

As President of the Foundation, Lucky shared with me some of the story of the foundation’s growth and evolution. She traced the origins of the foundation back to another woman leader, Dr. Carol Zippert, who had a vision of how to build community resources through a foundation, bringing philanthropy to an area of the country that hadn’t experienced much of it.

Read More