When last we spoke with Megha Desai of the Desai Foundation, it felt like the sky was the limit. But like so much else during the pandemic, critical need forced the Foundation to pivot away from their ambitious campaign goals around mask-making, and toward medical aid on the ground.
Like so many other nonprofit organizations, the Desai Foundation has been prompted to learned unexpected (but no less impactful) lessons during COVID. When one door closes, another opens, right? The Desai Foundation, however, also decided to build new doors.
Pivoting from Mask-Making to Other Areas of COVID Response in India
At the beginning of the pandemic, Megha Desai hoped to create a “Masks of Hope” campaign in India and the United States. The plan was to transition the Foundation’s production machines, ordinarily used to manufacture inexpensive menstrual hygiene products for communities in India, into mask manufacturing tools. Once the technique and designs were honed, the plan was to bring those machines back to the United States, bolstering the supplies of PPE moving to first responders and essential workers.
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.
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.
BWHI has received a grant of $400K from the Rockefeller Foundation to improve access to vaccines for black women and people of color.
The Black Women’s Health Imperative (BWHI) announced that it has received a $400,000 grant from The Rockefeller Foundation to improve vaccination rates among Black women and communities of color. The grant is part of The Rockefeller Foundation’s $20 million Equity-First Vaccination Initiative, which supports hyper-local, community-led programs to improve vaccine access and support educational outreach in five cities. Learnings from the initiative will help inform strategies across the country to increase access to Covid-19 vaccinations in communities of color, contributing to a collective, national north star goal of ensuring at least 70 million people of color will be fully vaccinated by July 2021.
A new report from the Feminist Humanitarian Network has found a drastic decrease in funding for women in the Global South.
The Feminist Humanitarian Network released new findings and recommendations from its “Women’s Humanitarian Voices: Covid-19 through a feminist lens” report examining the role of Women’s Rights Organizations (WROs) in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The report shows the solutions WROs established to overcome funding challenges that worsened for organisations representing women and girls in the Global South, and illustrates the patriarchal humanitarian and government systems WROs operate within that continue to exclude them from decision-making in crisis response and recovery planning. The report brings together key learnings from research in eight countries – Liberia, South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Lebanon, Palestine, Bangladesh, and Nepal.
Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Sharon Shapiro, Trustee and Community Liaison at the Ruderman Family Foundation.
1. What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession?
I wish I had known that philanthropy is a process and that there’s a strategy to giving. Growing up in a family that was highly philanthropic, we really didn’t talk about my parents’ giving and what it meant to them. We saw examples, but it wasn’t really spoken about in the house. Today, I try to teach my kids about philanthropy in a strategic way.
2. What is your current greatest professional challenge?
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.
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.
The Marsha P. Johnson Institute has committed over $250K in direct donations to black LGBTQ+ individuals to provide post-pandemic support.
As the pandemic continues and with it, disproportionate impacts on Black transgender people, the Marsha P. Johnson Institute today announced the donation of over $250,000 to more than 500 individuals across the United States in 2020.
The Marsha P. Johnson Institute’s COVID-19 Relief Fund provides a one-time direct relief payment of $500 to Black transgender or non-binary identified people. The Institute is committed to centering the needs of those most beyond the margins; priority for the awardees was given to Black trans women and those who have experience as sex workers, have been formerly incarcerated, and other vulnerable community members.
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.
The Rockefeller Foundation has launched the Equity-First Vaccination Initiative to improve vaccination rates in communities of color.
The Rockefeller Foundation announces the launch of a historic $20 million Equity-First Vaccination Initiative to improve the vaccination rate among communities of color, which have been disproportionately impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic. Representing less than one-third of the 74 million people who are now fully vaccinated in the United States, communities of color are twice as likely to die from Covid-19 and three times as likely to be hospitalized as white Americans. To close this gap, the Foundation will initially collaborate with five organizations to deploy equity-first, hyper-local public health interventions in five U.S. cities: Baltimore, Md.; Chicago, Ill.; Houston, Texas; Newark, N.J.; Oakland, Calif. During the second phase of the Initiative, the Foundation will collaborate with several national organizations to take lessons learned from the five cities and ensure that at least 70 million people of color are vaccinated by July 2021.