Supporting Women Environmental Leaders During COVID

Editor’s Note: The following piece is by Ariana Carella, network engagement director at Rachel’s Network. She manages the organization’s collective funding program, including the Rachel’s Network Catalyst Award.

Ariana Carella, network engagement director, Rachel’s Network. (Image Credit: Ariana Carella)

Women and girls are at the forefront of social movements, galvanizing communities to respond to climate change, adopting socially responsible practices in philanthropy, and fighting for pro-environment legislation. Rachel’s Network was founded in 2000 with a mission to promote these impassioned women fighting for our planet. Throughout the year, we connect with women leaders and experts on issues relating to environmental protection, philanthropy, and advocacy, and our Rachel’s Network Catalyst Award provides $10,000 and recognition to mid-career women environmental leaders of color.

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Beyoncé: “Vote like our life depends on it, because it does.”

“We have to vote like our life depends on it, because it does,” said Beyoncé in her pre-recorded acceptance speech for the 2020 BET Awards. The performer and philanthropist is 2020’s recipient of the Humanitarian Award, bestowed for her work through the BeyGOOD Initiative and other campaigns.

International superstar Beyoncé is the recipient of the 2020 BET Humanitarian Award. (Image Credit: BET/Twitter)

“Thank you so much for this beautiful honor,” she said. “I want to dedicate this award to all of my brothers out there, all of my sisters out there inspiring me, marching and fighting for change. Your voices are being heard and you’re proving to our ancestors that their struggles were not in vain.”

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Plan International Details COVID’s Impact on Latina and Caribbean Girls

COVID-19 is imperiling the safety and education of many Latin American and Caribbean girls, reports Plan International, an independent development and humanitarian organization advancing children’s rights and equality for girls. With the closure of schools, many girls have been trapped at home and subject to increasing gender-based violence. Moreover, for some, their education may be derailed permanently with lasting generational effects.

Lucía hopes that at the end of the pandemic, girls will have a better quality of life, be free from violence, and have equal access to all services. Photo Credit: Plan International

Ninety-five percent of girls have been out of school since mid-March, and this has made them highly vulnerable. Amalia Alarcón, Plan’s Regional Head of Gender Transforming and Influencing, explains how the pandemic has a clear gender component. “The control measures for the disease do not take into account the specific vulnerabilities of girls, adolescents and women as the risk of suffering gender-based violence at home, increases. According to Plan International, “There has been a significant rise in reports of physical, sexual and psychological abuse directed towards girls and adolescents, with many more cases likely going under the radar.”

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Tech Giants Partner with UN Women on Gender-Based Violence

Editor’s Note: This post was previously published by UN Women on June 25, 2020.

As billions of people are still under COVID-19 lockdown, the shadow pandemic of violence against women has been growing within homes around the world.

UN Women is partnering with Google, Facebook, and Twitter to get public health messages to women across the world about how to access safety if they are experiencing gender-based violence. (Image Credit: UN Women)

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, violence against women and girls, a gross human rights violation, impacted one in three women worldwide. Recent data from multiple countries already show a spike in reporting of domestic violence through helplines since COVID-19 lockdowns started. As countries now contend with economic crisis, service shortfalls and high levels of stress, many women find themselves trapped in isolation with abusive partners, without access to information and support services that they need.

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Merck Seeks Grantees to Improve U.S. Childbirth Safety


Americans often think of high childbirth mortality rates as a problem plaguing low-income countries, but U.S. maternal mortality rates, particularly for African American and Native women, are high. Merck for Mothers’ “Safer Childbirth Cities” initiative is combating this trend, and its latest call for proposals is expanding its efforts beyond its initial ten-city cohort.

Merck for Mothers has issued an important new report on maternal mortality called “Insights from the States Report.” (Image Credit: Merck for Mothers)

While the U.S. maternal mortality rate is substantially lower than most countries of the Global South, according to the World Health Organization, the U.S. maternal death rate of 19 deaths per 100,000 live births it is substantially higher than Canada (10 per 100,000), the United Kingdom (7), Japan (5), Spain (4) and Italy (2). Countries comparable to the U.S. include Russia (17), Turkey (17) and Romania (19). Moreover, the U.S. is the only high-income country with a rising level of maternal mortality.

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Verizon Commits $7.5 Mil to Small Business Recovery Fund

Another corporate funder has stepped in to help small business in this time of economic uncertainty. Verizon recently announced another $2.5 million commitment to small businesses, bringing total funding for the Verizon Small Business Recovery Fund to 7.5 million dollars.

The Verizon Small Business Recovery Fund supports diverse businesses impacted by COVID-19 with the facilitation of Local Initiatives Support Corporation. (Image Credit: LISC)

“Small businesses across the country are confronting extreme economic challenges as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic,” writes the communications giant in the description of the program. “Financial support at this critical time can make the difference between staying in business or closing permanently, leading to lost income, jobs and economic stability.”

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Liveblog: Funding to End Violence Against Women of Color

Kiersten Marek, editor and publisher of Philanthropy Women, opened up today’s webinar, “Funding to End Violence Against Women of Color,” with a welcome to the speakers and audience.

She introduced the webinar with a discussion on the idea behind Philanthropy Women. Partially inspired by NoVo Foundation’s bold commitment of $90 million in funding for women and girls of color in 2016, Philanthropy Women launched in January of 2017 to cover this kind of intersectional feminist giving approach and others like it. However, with NoVo’s recent shuttering of programs for women and girls of color, the funding landscape for addressing domestic violence against women of color is facing some big changes.

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Empowering Black Women Entrepreneurs with the Doonie Fund

Kathryn Finney didn’t learn her grandmother’s real name until she turned 10 years old. Doonie Hale was an entrepreneur, a single mom, and the owner/operator of her own business as a seamstress in Milwaukee. Her story, her spirit, and her work inspire Kathryn Finney’s work today as the Founder of digitalundivided and The Doonie Fund.

digitalundivided (DID) serves as a catalyst for Black and Latinx women entrepreneurs. The Doonie Fund, created by DID Founder Kathryn Finney, has offered micro investments of $100 to more than 500 Black women entrepreneurs since April 2020. (Image Credit: DID)

“I was 10 years old when I learned that my grandmother’s real first name is Kathryn,” says Finney. “The lessons the original Kathryn taught me about being a Black woman entrepreneur, about creating beauty, is the reason why I’m here today.”

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Promoting Awareness, Funding, and Women’s Art with Nurse Heroes

How can we properly honor healthcare professionals risking their lives on the front lines of COVID-19? Philanthropist and art collector Sandi Nicholson, and her husband Bill Nicholson, recently announced the launch of “Nurse Heroes,” an art contest and fundraising campaign to support the healthcare heroes of 2020.

A New York nurse celebrates during the city’s daily 7:00 clap for healthcare heroes. (Image Credit: Nurse Heroes)

“This year we celebrate the bicentennial of the birth of Florence Nightingale, founder of modern nursing and the first nursing college,” the Nicholsons announced in a press release. “Today, the legacy of Florence Nightingale continues, with people all over the world opening their doors and windows to show appreciation for our health care workers on the front lines. With ‘Nurse Heroes’ we recognized an opportunity to do more.”

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Several New Funds Launch to Support Diverse Women

With so much disparity in the way that COVID impacts different communities and demographics, it is good to see many stories in the news about diverse women coming together to bring resources to those in need. In recent weeks, new funding efforts led by women of color have launched in several states across the country including Pennsylvania, Washington State, and Georgia. In addition, new national efforts have launched to help Black women entrepreneurs, and to understand and address the intersectionality of environment, race, and gender.

Consider Something Better, a new fund launched by Lauren Napier and Whitney Brown, will encourage corporations to fund companies owned by Black women. (Image Credit: Consider Something Better)

New Funds Seek to Address Racism, Sexism

Among these new initiatives is a new fund hosted by She Can Win, an organization started in 2013 in Philadelphia to support black women entrepreneurs. She Can Win recently pooled membership dues to create a new foundation and made four initial grants to organizations on the frontlines of reproductive justice, supporting young mothers, and helping survivors heal from injustice.

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