“This gift is about supporting the next generation of women entrepreneurs,” said Kendra Scott, philanthropist, designer and professor of practice at University of Texas at Austin College of Fine Arts. Since 2019, when Scott first started an institute for women’s leadership in business at the school, she has enjoyed seeing women expand their horizons. “I’ve loved seeing UT create a space where women are inspired and motivated to be leaders in business and to use their knowledge, skills, and energy to keep changing the world and outdated business stereotypes.”
Kendra Scott started her company in 2002, just three months after her first son was born. With $500 and a love for dynamic design and good quality materials, she grew a start-up jewelry business into a company with over 2,000 employees (96% women) and expanded the product line to include home décor and beauty.
As we continue to celebrate Black History Month, one of the highlights so far has been the February 2022 edition of Meet the Philanthropist, my virtual interview series with leading women philanthropists and leaders in philanthropy.
This time, I had the distinct pleasure of a discussion with Chief Program Officer of California’s Rosenberg Foundation, Kendra Fox-Davis. I was thrilled to speak to Kendra, who is returning to have this conversation as a bit of a follow-up from the WOC Symposium in November. Everything she shared was so inspiring, and I knew she was the perfect person with whom to explore, remember, and embrace for Black History Month, particularly in the realm of fundraising and philanthropy.
Editor’s Note: I wrote this post a year ago, but I 100% endorse it again as the best use of your Giving Tuesday resources.
Since starting Philanthropy Women, we have chosen to embrace Giving Tuesday each year in different ways, but always as a great opportunity to give back to women. This year we are celebrating Giving Tuesday by naming our Top 10 Picks for feminist giving for the day. We hope you enjoy the list and relish the experience of making an intentional gift to one or all of them on Giving Tuesday.
#1 Women’s Fund of Rhode Island or Your State’s Women’s Fund
There is really no better bang for your charity buck than your own local women’s fund. Ours here in Rhode Island does a fantastic job of gender equality education and training, civic engagement, and grantmaking. Imagine if every adult in Rhode Island (roughly 800,000 people) gave just $1 to the Women’s Foundation of Rhode Island? That would mean $800,000 in resources that would exponentially increase the education, engagement, and grantmaking for one of the most influential women’s organizations in the state. Then we could really see what WFRI is capable of in terms of helping our state move toward gender equality. If you don’t live in Rhode Island, you can find your local women’s fund by visiting the Women’s Funding Network where most state and regional women’s funds are members.
As many of you know, along with founding and editing Philanthropy Women, I am also a psychotherapist. So today I am offering something new here for readers: a chance to explore your inner wellness through hypnosis.
One of my specialties as a therapist is identity development. I have spent many years studying and writing about the archetypes — the different dimensions of human identity that come into play across the lifespan. In 2018, I also trained and became certified as a hypnotherapist. This is a hypnosis session to help you get a deep night’s sleep, and to give you a chance to experience your inner Innocent.
It’s like that line from the Indigo girls song: “The hardest to learn was the least complicated.” The hardest thing for philanthropy to learn is that equality must become a priority: gender equality, racial equality, LGBTQ equality, and the list of those not included or given adequate resources and opportunities goes on. But instead, philanthropy keeps pointing elsewhere and saying, “Oh it’s a health care problem, oh it’s an education problem, oh it’s a workforce development problem.”
Our health care and education and workforce development problems often grow out of a firmly entrenched bedrock of equality problems. But the equality part of the story almost always gets minimized in philanthropy, almost always gets conveniently left out, almost always stays on the back burner. Ultimately, if you really look closely at what’s going on in philanthropy, you realize that philanthropy as a whole funds equality in mostly token ways — ways that never get at the root of the problem. As a result, equality remains a presumed cultural value that has no real mechanism for being realized on a broad scale. It’s a dream to talk about loftily and do some pilot programs on, and then get back to the serious business of running a society that worships and elevates the richest 1% to the grave detriment of everyone else.
It’s finally happening: America is charting its course as a nation to remedy our problems with gender equity and equality. What is contained in the momentous document, and how will it affect funding for gender issues?
The President and Vice President begin the document by locating the issue in our current context of heightened stakes for women and girls in the US and across the globe:
This document, the first-ever United States government strategy on gender equity and equality, is a part of that noble American tradition [of valuing equality]. It comes at an inflection point for the economic security, safety, health, and well-being of women and girls in our nation and around the globe. COVID-19 has exacerbated preexisting economic, health, and caregiving crises that disproportionately impacted women and girls long before the pandemic struck. Following the worst economic collapse since the Great Depression, women’s participation in the American labor force plummeted to its lowest level in over 30 years. Rates of gender-based violence have risen significantly, and racial and ethnic inequity has deepened.
Texas Women’s Foundation, a powerhouse for women and girls in Texas, raised more than $1 million at their 36th Annual Luncheon
Across Texas, groups convened to watch in livestream mini-parties, including 96 students and teachers from Brookhaven College, as the Texas Women’s Foundation held its Annual Luncheon online. Presented by the Dallas Mavericks, the event raised more than $1 million and had a total audience of over 4,000.
The event, entitled My Voice. My Story. Every Woman’s Power to Build Compassion and Community, brought together leaders across society to talk about the value of increasing the wellbeing of women and girls in Texas and beyond.
As we have noted before here on Philanthropy Women, there are many reasons why it is very hard to sustain a nonprofit or a business that provides a gender lens. There are also frequently economies of scale that can be realized when two entities with overlapping missions join together to enhance their work. A recent announcement from Gender Avenger and The Female Quotient highlights both of these dynamics.
Yesterday, Gender Avenger and The Female Quotient announced that they will be merging. Gender Avenger, a nonprofit that provides data and tools about gender discrimination in public dialogue, announced today that it is joining forces with The Female Quotient (The FQ), a for-profit company “changing the equation and closing the gaps” in gender equality. According to the press release, the collaboration “aims to remove barriers and break down the intimidating scale of the equality conversation happening all around the world.”
One Billion Rising is organizing events around the world on September 25th, 2021 to show support of Afghani women.
On Saturday, September 25, RISE FOR AND WITH THE WOMEN OF AFGHANISTAN will take to the streets in a day of action following an online day of solidarity on September 1, garnering participation from over 85 countries. During the global day of action, activists, women’s organizations, human rights groups, and high profile individuals will mount in person events in cities, towns and areas across the globe. Some events will take place online due to local Covid restrictions.
On September 23rd, The Women’s Funding Network will host The Feminist Factor, a virtual conference to discuss feminism across the globe.
Women Funded 2021 is a virtual gathering of all gender and racial justice funders, allies, and individuals committed to place-based solutions across the globe for gender equity. Women Funded ‘21 will explore the intersectional nature of feminism as a driver of our work, of the values that we hold, and how we are collectively building a more equitable future.
This gathering is open to the broader philanthropic and movement community as well as the WFN membership.