Women’s Wealth and Gender Lens Thinking at Ruderman Family Fdn

As women’s global wealth continues to rise, philanthropists are turning toward an exciting new era of female empowerment and intelligent grantmaking in feminist philanthropy. At The Ruderman Family Foundation, a Massachusetts-based grantmaking entity devoted to disability inclusion and strengthening the Jewish community in the United States and abroad, leadership sits in the hands of two powerful and committed women: Sisters-in-law Sharon Shapiro and Shira Ruderman.

Sisters-in-law Sharon Shapiro (left) and Shira Ruderman (right) stand with Jay Ruderman (center), President of the Ruderman Family Foundation, where Sharon serves as Trustee and Community Liaison and Shira serves as Executive Director. (Image Credit: The Ruderman Family Foundation)

“Choosing a mission is based on values,” says Shira Ruderman, Executive Director of the Ruderman Family Foundation. “My Jewish values and who we are as people are have a great impact on choosing the topics you want to work on and how you want to conduct your business and philanthropy. We concentrated in the last 18 years on inclusion of people with disabilities and strengthening the relationship between American Jewry and the State of Israel. We believe in strategic philanthropy and do our best to lead through best practices.”

Read More

Lead With Love: Elena Marszalek on the Feminist Climate Movement

Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Elena Marszalek, Managing Director of Del Mar Global Trust, a private foundation dedicated to the environment. 

Elena Marszalek
Elena Marszalek, courtesy of Elena Marszalek

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

I started my career in philanthropy as the only employee of Del Mar Global Trust, a newly established family foundation focused on the natural environment. Although I had previous experience working in climate change, I had little experience in philanthropy. I felt both hopeful and overwhelmed. 

Joining Rachel’s Network, a community of women environmental philanthropists, broadened my knowledge of complex environmental issues, and significantly improved my ability to select and monitor grant recipients. Networking with other women with similar goals and interests helped my career in numerous other ways, for example sharing information about projects that as individuals we would not be aware of. Perhaps most importantly, I have access to other members with many years of experience who offer advice and mentorship. As in all professions, you learn through experience. 

Read More

Talking Women in Higher Ed and Tech with Loni Bordoloi Pazich

Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Loni Bordoloi Pazich, Program Director at The Teagle Foundation.

Photo courtesy of Loni Bordoloi Pazich.

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

I have my dream job now working in philanthropy but I didn’t even know the sector I work in existed until well after college. The world of foundations was completely invisible to me until I happened to work as a research assistant at the USC Center for Urban Education, where virtually all the work we carried out was funded through grants. I realized that foundations play an important role in shaping research and policy agendas. 

Read More

How Desai Foundation Drives Social Change for Women in India

Nonprofit ventures each have a unique story and journey, with some expanding their capacities and impact dramatically as they grow and mature. This seems to be the case with the Desai Foundation, now a public nonprofit, which exists to promote health and livelihood for women and children, primarily in India, with plans to expand this work in the U.S. 

Megha Desai, President of The Desai Foundation, served as host of The Lotus Festival, taking guests on a variety of virtual adventures over the course of an hour and a half. (Image Credit: Desai Foundation)

I recently had the opportunity to join the Desai Foundation for its annual Lotus Festival, a fundraiser and educational event that the foundation holds every year. This year with COVID, the event was also offered online, making it more accessible, and prompting the organizers to ensure that participants joining online would get a full experience of all that the foundation is about.

Read More

Liveblog: Women in Media Changing the Game

On Thursday, August 27th, we gathered for this month’s Philanthropy Women webinar: Women in Media Changing the Game. With guests Lori Sokol, Ruth Ann Harnisch, and Johanna Derlega, we discussed the under-funding and under-representation of female journalists and women’s media outlets, as well as ways funders can work to fix this under-representation.

How To Increase Funding for Women in Media

Editor-in-Chief Kiersten Marek kicked off the call with a reminder to breathe, and introduced today’s theme: Women in Media Changing the Game.

“We know now more than ever how important women’s leadership is,” she said. “COVID has taught us that women leaders in countries around the world have had much better success with managing COVID. And that’s just one example of the women’s leadership differential—the ability to prioritize health and the well-being of others.”

Read More

(Liveblog) Equality Can’t Wait Challenge Q&A

On Tuesday, August 4th, the organizers of the Equality Can’t Wait Challenge hosted a Q&A via Zoom webinar. The discussion focused on the contest itself: what it was, how to enter, and more. Starting with an introductory presentation on the Challenge application and finishing with a lengthy Q&A, this webinar focused on audience participation and a clear explanation of the contest rules and goals.

What is the Equality Can’t Wait Challenge?

The Equality Can’t Wait Challenge is a $40 million venture funded by Melinda Gates (through Pivotal Ventures), MacKenzie Scott, the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, and facilitated through Lever For Change, Pivotal Ventures, and Common Pool. Designed as a peer-reviewed and panel-evaluated contest, the Equality Can’t Wait Challenge will offer grants of at least $10 million to at least three winning projects that help expand women’s power and influence in the United States by 2030.

Read More

Heidi Gonzalez: “Every Day is an Opportunity to Do Better”

Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Heidi Gonzalez, Executive Director of Adoptions From The Heart (AFTH). In addition to her duties as the new Executive Director, Heidi is the Regional Supervisor of Wynnewood, PA, Allentown, PA, and Wilmington, DE for AFTH.

Heidi Gonzalez is the Executive Director of Adoptions From The Heart, the first open adoption agency on the East Coast. (Image Credit: AFTH)

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

I never really thought about it. In fact, I take each day as it comes. I try not to look back and get caught up in a “woulda shoulda coulda” mentality. Instead, I focus on the future and what I can do to improve my agency and myself. Every profession has its challenges: it’s all in how you handle them, and if I don’t think I did a bang up job the first time, I try to look at where I made mistakes and try to correct them the next time. Every day is an opportunity to do better–so that’s what I aspire to do.

Read More

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.”

Read More

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.”

Read More

Pascale Sykes Foundation on COVID and Sunsetting

The number of small businesses facing hardship due to COVID-19 continue to rise every day. In partnership with New Jersey Community Capital (NJCC), the Pascale Sykes Foundation is building a safety net for local New Jersey businesses impacted by the pandemic. The announcement comes alongside the Foundation’s intention to sunset operations in the next few years–and their intention to make as big of an impact as possible before closing their doors.

Frances P. Sykes (right) speaks with staff members at the Pascale Sykes Foundation. (Photo Credit: Pascale Sykes Foundation)

On April 23, the Foundation announced its commitment to the expansion of the THRIVE South Jersey Initiative, a program designed to combat economic hardship in four South Jersey counties. In light of COVID-19, NJCC and the Foundation introduced zero-based interest rate loans for small businesses in Gloucester, Cumberland, Salem, and Western Atlantic Counties.

Read More