Giving Through Celebration: Batonga Foundation Hosts NYC Benefit

One of the best ways to leverage support for a community is by celebrating its culture. Angélique Kidjo and the Batonga Foundation seek to amplify their campaign for women and girls in West Africa through a one-of-a-kind benefit dinner hosted later this month in New York City.

Angelique Kidjo invites YOU to a night of West African flavor in New York City! (Source: Batonga Foundation)

Kidjo, a three-time Grammy Award-winning singer and musician, was born in Benin and grew up steeped in the rich musical and social culture of West Africa. She attended school at a time when girls’ education was not considered socially acceptable. In answer to taunts from boys in her classes, Kidjo would shout back, “Batonga!,” an invented word that has since translated into Kidjo’s music and philanthropy.

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The International Battle for Women’s Water Rights

Five years later, the battle for clean water still rages in Flint, Michigan. (Photo Credit: Flint Rising)

Superheroes no longer wear capes: they wear gym shoes. 

A few days before we spoke on the phone, Gina Luster represented Flint Rising at an activist event in San Francisco. A red-eye flight took her to Grand Rapids, Michigan, then to her home in Flint at 7:30 in the morning. Next, Gina drove to Detroit for a panel appearance at the NAACP’s annual conference. She arrived in the city exhausted and ready for a shower before our interview, only to find out she couldn’t check into her hotel. 

Gina took my call from the hotel parking lot, sitting under a tree next to the Detroit River. Despite the insanity of her schedule and the flickering cell phone signal, her attitude was overwhelmingly positive. 

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New Microgrants Cultivate Collective Giving

Members of the co-design team working to grow the power and amplification of giving circles. (Photo credit: Catalist)

On August 20, 2019, an initiative to connect and catalyst the field of giving circles announced their intention to donate $32,000 to collective giving organizations. The funds, distributed in thirteen microgrants ranging from $500 to $5,000, will go toward circles and networks that “showcase, scale, strengthen, and sustain the field of collective giving. 

This initiative is born out of a yearlong co-design process spearheaded by the organizations Amplifier, Asian Women’s Giving Circle, Catalist, Community Investment Network, and Latino Community Foundation. 

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Georges Provide $5 Mil for Mayo Clinic Center for Women’s Health

The new Center for Women’s Health at Mayo Clinic will be tailored to serving the medical needs of women of all ages. A new gift of $5 million from the George Family Foundation will expand this work. (Photo Credit: Mayo Clinic Women’s Health on Facebook)

On June 25, 2019, Mayo Clinic announced its upcoming grant from The George Family Foundation to fund the all-new Center for Women’s Health. The center aims to combat some of the problems women face in receiving adequate healthcare, offering tailored health services for women of all ages.

Penny George, board chair of the George Family Foundation, accomplished psychologist, and renowned philanthropist, has spent her career championing reform for women’s healthcare.

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Dalios Critique Capitalism, Give $100 Million to Public Schools

Image: Barbara Dalio reads to kindergarten students in a Connecticut public school. (Image Credit: @DalioEducation on Twitter)

A recent announcement of a gift from Dalio Philanthropies to Connecticut’s public schools brings Barbara Dalio’s work in education into the spotlight. She’s a hands-on philanthropist and the wife of Ray Dalio, founder of Bridgewater Associates, one of the most successful hedge funds in the U.S. The wealth of these Giving Pledge signatories is estimated at more than $18 billion.

As part of a public-private partnership to support disengaged youth in public schools, the Dalios and the state government of Connecticut will each give $100 million toward a new $300 million project. They call on other philanthropists and business leaders to contribute the remaining third during the next five years. The Dalio’s gift is the largest known philanthropic donation to benefit the state of Connecticut to date.

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How’s the Obama Foundation Doing with Building Global Girls Alliance?

The Obamas launched Let Girls Learn during Obama’s presidency, and are now continuing the work through their own foundation’s program, Global Girls Alliance. (Photo Credit: Global Girls Alliance.)

When we last checked in at the newly formed Obama Foundation, the former First Lady Michelle Obama and her husband, President Barack Obama were laying the groundwork for cultivating a new coalition of organizations focused on girls globally.

Through a collaboration with GoFundMe, the Obama Foundation has established the Global Girls Alliance Fund, helping to raise funds for grassroots organizations to make more headway with educating girls. The initiative accepts applications from eligible nonprofits already working to increase educational opportunities for girls.

In October of 2018, Michelle Obama announced the Global Girls Alliance, encouraging the public to help make education a reality for girls worldwide. (photo courtesy of the Obama Foundation)

Now Global Girls Alliance is highlighting a Chicago-based nonprofit named The Women’s Global Education Project and is recognizing the work they are doing both in the field and with a compelling new documentary about female genital mutilation (FGM).

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New Prize Awards $1 Million to Create a Safer World for Women

The team from Leaf Wearables, winner of the $1 million prize in the Anu and Naveen Jain Women’s Safety competition. The prize was facilitated by XPRIZE, a new platform that specializes in “designing and implementing innovative competition models to solve the world’s grandest challenges.” (Photo courtesy of XPRIZE.)

Finding new ways for women to be safe in the community is still a high priority for feminist philanthropists everywhere. Now, with a new competition funded by  Anu and Naveen Jain, more tools will be available for women to access emergency response.

The Anu and Naveen Jain Women’s Safety XPRIZE recently announced the winner of its $1 million competition:  an Indian company called Leaf Wearables, which created a new device for triggering emergency response. The low-cost device, called SAFER, is aimed at making as many as one billion families safer.

“Safety is a fundamental human right and should not be considered a luxury for women,” said Anu Jain, who, along with her husband Naveen is co-founder of InfoSpace and is a Community Relations leader at Viome. The focus of much of Anu Jain’s philanthropy is centered on empowering women and girls. “With so many advances in innovation and technology today, it was unacceptable to us that we didn’t have a solution to help curb this sexual assault pandemic.”

Statistics about the high levels of harassment women face in India are startling. As many as 92% of women in New Delhi report experiencing some form of violence in public spaces over the course of their lives.

“We have been working tirelessly to solve the problem of safety using technology,” said Leaf Wearables team leader Manik Mehta. Leaf Wearables comes to the prize with the advantage of having significant market experience and success with an early version of SAFER that has aleady sold thousands of units in Indian markets.

“Women’s safety is not just a third world problem; we face it every day in our own country and on our college campuses. It’s not a red state problem or a blue state problem but a national problem,” said Naveen Jain, co-founder of the Women’s Safety XPRIZE and board member for XPRIZE. Naveen is the founder of multiple tech companies including Moon Express, Viome, Bluedot, TalentWise, Intelius and InfoSpace.

The competition launched in October of 2016. Eighty-five initial teams engaged in the competition, coming from 18 countries worldwide including the United States, India, Switzerland, Canada, Spain, Germany, China and United Arab Emirates. Prototypes for the competition were submitted in April of this year, and the five finalist for the prize engaged in a process of testing their solutions to see how the devices would function in diverse environments including high rise office buildings, college campuses, in public transit, and at home. Importantly, all of these devices are designed to work in areas where no cellular connection is available.

XPRIZE is a platform that specializes in helping nonprofits conduct competitions aimed at solving big world problems. Active competitions include the the $15M Global Learning XPRIZE, the $7M Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE, the $7M Barbara Bush Foundation Adult Literacy XPRIZE, and the $5M IBM Watson AI XPRIZE.

From the Prize Announcement:

GRAND PRIZE WINNER ($1M USD)

  • SAFER Pro from Leaf Wearables (New Delhi, India) – Led by Manik Mehta, a smart safety device that sends emergency alerts with location details to a users’ guardians when they sense danger. SAFER Pro is a small chip that can ultimately be put into any device or jewelry with a discreet emergency alert button. When the alert is received, it additionally lets you record audio from the time of the alert.

ADDITIONAL FINALISTS

  • Artemis (Lausanne, Switzerland) – Led by Dr. Nicee Srivastava, Artemis is developing a device that can be used to trigger an alert not just by a gesture, but also by seamlessly tracking emotional threat levels.
  • Nimb & SafeTrek (Los Altos, CA and St. Louis, MO, United States) – Led by Leo Bereschanskiy and Nick Droege, Nimb collaborates with SafeTrek to provide their customers an option to call for professional emergency services with just a touch of the thumb. The company was founded in response to rising concerns about safety on and off campus. Both teams work together to make the world a safer place.
  • Saffron (Bellevue, WA, United States; Tsinghua, China) – Led by Nicholas Becker, Saffron is a collaboration between the University of Washington and Tsinghua University through the Global Innovation eXchange (GIX), focused on developing wearable sensors and machine learning algorithms to create inconspicuous technologies that improve the safety and well-being of women around the world.
  • Soterra (Bethlehem, PA, United States) – Led by Lena McDonnell, Soterra used a combination of global positioning services, cellular data and bluetooth to build a versatile, reliable and affordable network to connect women to emergency support systems.

Related:

Harvesting Female Empowerment: Florence Reed and the Business of Food

Carnegie Endowment Identifies How to Increase Women in U.S. Politics

Which Countries Fund Gender Equality Most? And Will #1 Keep Its Spot?Read More

Good News: Philanthropy Women is in the Top 40 Philanthropy Blogs!

It’s always nice to be recognized. This morning I  learned that Philanthropy Women made the Feedspot Top 40 list for philanthropy blogs. 

The criteria for being chosen for this list are as follows:

The Best Philanthropy Blogs are chosen from thousands of Philanthropy blogs in our index using search and social metrics. We’ve carefully selected these websites because they are actively working to educate, inspire, and empower their readers with frequent updates and high-quality information.

These blogs are ranked based on following criteria:

  • Google reputation and Google search ranking
  • Influence and popularity on Facebook, twitter and other social media sites
  • Quality and consistency of posts.
  • Feedspot’s editorial team and expert review

Many of my favorite resources for philanthropy are on this list, including CEP Blog, Philanthropy News Digest, the Chronicle of Philanthropy, and HistPhil. Also featured are some international, family, and community blogs that I will definitely need to check out.

Yay!

Related:

Announcing the 2018 Philanthropy Women Leadership Awards

Kathy LeMay Shares About the Fine Art of Radical Listening to Donors

From Resistance to Renaissance: Women Must Embrace their Power for Funding Social ChangeRead More

Coming Soon: Hillary Clinton’s Book, and Update on PW’s Launch

It’s Friday afternoon and I still want to squeeze in some of my daughter’s soccer game, but I also want to let readers know that we are putting together a progress report on how we are doing as a new media outlet. Hopefully that will come out next week. Also upcoming we have reviews of What Happened, to catch up on one of most important political and philanthropic leaders, Hillary Rodham Clinton. We’ll also be reviewing Funding Feminism: Monied Women, Philanthropy, and the Women’s Movement, 1870–1967 for all you history buffs out there.

Have a great weekend!Read More

What’s up with this New Philanthropy Hub, and How Will It Involve Women’s Philanthropy?

Giving Compass aggregates philanthropy news and information by topics, including news and information about women’s philanthropy.

Recently, I got an email from Stephanie Gillis, Senior Advisor at the Raikes Foundation, wanting to “explore potential synergies” with the work we are doing at Philanthropy Women. Naturally, I was eager to do so, and soon learned about Givingcompass.org, a new team effort of several foundations and nonprofits, aimed at drawing on the chops of the tech sector in order to provide more resources for the philanthropy sector, particularly around how to assess the quality of philanthropy and get the most impact per philanthropy dollar.

What got me smiling right away as I got an inside tour of  GivingCompass.org: It looks like they are going to do philanthropy news aggregation right. Inside the site, partners of great magnitude have already signed up to be part of the 12-16 “magazines” that will aggregate multiple areas of philanthropy, helping to feed donors and the nonprofit sector with a new source for matchmaking, as well as data, case examples, and strategy on how to give.

This could work out very well not only for Giving Compass, but also for Philanthropy Women, which, as a free and open news source, is already being aggregated by Giving Compass. That means more eyeballs for our work, as well as us being able to learn more from the other news and information sources participating there.

Giving Compass is being incubated by the Raikes Foundation, and supported by a group of partners including the Seattle Foundation, Social Venture Partners, Stanford PACS, Charity Navigator, and Global Giving. These partners are coming together out of an awareness that philanthropy needs to do more to help donors make informed decisions about giving with impact, and the resources available to help them in this process.

The soft launch is scheduled for June 12, and the site will be open in beta mode this summer. It would be a great time to get in on the ground floor of this new experiment.

Giving Compass will officially launch with lots of fanfare in September, but during the summer you can come on board and explore, and help the team learn and improve the site for September. Giving Compass aggregates top quality resources and information in response to donors’ interests, and is eager to get more community reactions.

Giving Compass is a free online platform, and has ambitions to become “the single online destination” for expertly curated information on how to give, who to partner with, where to meet, and where to give with better impact.

Who are the some of the masterminds behind this new philanthropy hub?

Jeff and Tricia Raikes recognized early the irony that 70-80% of giving in the US is directed by individuals, but most of the resources in the sector are designed to support professionals working in foundations. They partnered with other donors and began assembling a team to drive Giving Compass.

Stephanie Gillis is Senior Advisor for Impact-Driven Philanthropy at the Raikes Foundation and the General Manager for Giving Compass. She joined Raikes earlier this year, having been Managing Director of Arabella Advisors, where she focused on family and individual donors. Previously, Gillis was COO and Senior Consultant with Blueprint Research + Design, Inc., where she worked with philanthropy clients on strategy and evaluation.

Luis J. Salazar is the tech genius behind Giving Compass and board advisor to the Business School at the University of Washington Bothell. Previously, he co-founded Jobaline.com and before that, held high ranking positions for Yahoo, Microsoft (co-founding Office 365), and other big tech companies.

Paul Shoemaker is a Senior Consultant with Giving Compass, focused on content and partnerships. Shoemaker is also the Founding President of Social Venture Partners. In 2011 and 2012, Shoemaker was twice named one of the “Top 50 Most Influential People in the Nonprofit Sector” by The NonProfit Times (2011 and 2012). In 2015, Shoemaker received the Microsoft Alumni Integral Fellow Award. He is the author of Can’t Not Do: The Compelling Social Drive that Changes Our World .Read More