Post Election Buzz: Women’s Funds Welcome New Reflective Democracy

Women, and particularly women of color, made historic gains in the 2018 elections.

How do you create better leadership? By electing quality leaders that reflect the values of the people. With the 2018 elections, Americans have elected more leaders than ever who share a vision to make the country more inclusive and safe,  particularly for women, minorities, and marginalized populations.

As feminist philanthropy leaders praise the outcome of the 2018 elections, they are also using this moment to continue advocating for the causes of women’s rights and reproductive freedom.  “Women’s Funding Network was created 30 years ago to increase women’s leadership in all arenas – media, corporate, policy, philanthropic. Progress is made every day,” tweeted Cynthia Nimmo, CEO of the Women’s Funding Network.  “Today, so proud to see a more inclusive democracy in America.”

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NY Women’s Foundation Centers on Gender with New Justice Fund

The Justice Fund initiative was unveiled at a panel discussion titled A New Paradigm for Justice: Centering Women and Families presented by The New York Women’s Foundation and New York Philanthropy.

People who have been incarcerated face a number of barriers in reintegrating into society. For women, girls and transgender communities, the difficulties can be even steeper. Oftentimes, the effects of incarceration can worsen problems related to housing and employment, and can have a devastating impact on children.

To address these problems, particularly for women, The New York Women’s Foundation recently announced the creation of The Justice Fund, which will aim to do more to dismantle mass incarceration, particularly for women, girls, and transgender people.

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New #MeToo Funding Fuels Empathy and Justice for Survivors

The Fund for the Me Too Movement and Allies has provided $840,000 in grant funds to organizations across the country doing work to address gender-based violence.

Within the past year, the Women’s Media Center reports that coverage of #MeToo in the mainstream media has grown significantly. As awareness about the detrimental effects of sexual assault continues to grow in our culture, the New York Women’s Foundation is fostering real efforts to aid #MeToo survivors. In May of 2018, the foundation created the Fund for the Me Too Movement and Allies, and now that fund has made $840,000 in its first round of grant funding.  This is a collaborative effort, housed and managed by The New York Women’s Foundation, with the grantmaking decisions being made jointly with Tarana Burke, founder and leader of the #MeToo Movement. 

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Rebecca Traister Comes to Rhode Island for Women’s Fund Benefit

Rebecca Traister, author of Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger, pictured with event hosts Emily and Robin Kall Homonoff. (Photo Credit: Little Lion Communication)

With the recent news that “rage giving” — philanthropic giving to offset the shrinking of civil society resulting from the election of Donald Trump — is primarily driven by progressive women donors, the timing could not be better for Rebecca Traister’s new book, Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger.  Particularly with the much-contested appointment of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, progressive women’s rage appears to be reaching a new crescendo, and the resultant giving to charity and politics may set new records.

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Hamutal Gouri: Seven Steps to Growing Feminist Funding Eco-Systems

Hamutal Gouri takes her decades of experience as a feminist funding leader and outlines seven steps we can follow to grow feminist funding ecosystems.

After leading the DAFNA Fund in Israel for over 15 years, Hamutal Gouri has written an overview of how we can grow funding for feminist philanthropy and accelerate social change that is both inclusive and fair, and that engages the larger systems of government in new ways.

In the article, Gouri calls on leaders invested in Israel to do more to safeguard human rights and equality, which are under threat from growing religious and nationalist extremes. She then outlines the unequal status of women in Israel before offering her vision of the future steps needed. The article considers the particular concerns of Israel, including specific religious, security, and social justice contexts of the nation.

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Obama Foundation Announces New Global Initiative to Educate Girls

The Obama Foundation announced the launch of The Global Girls Alliance, which will seek to increase education for girls worldwide. (Photo courtesy of Obama Foundation website.)

Today, in recognition of International Day of the Girl, the Obama Foundation has announced the launch of a new initiative that will empower adolescent girls around the world through education.

The initiative aims to support more than 1,500 grassroots organizations around the world that reduce barriers to education for girls such as early marriage, limited access, and lack of financial resources.

Michelle Obama appeared on the Today Show to make the announcement, emphasizing that “The stats show that when you educate a girl, you educate a family, a community, a country.”

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Jacki Zehner Lets It Rip As She Exits Women Moving Millions Leadership

Jessica Houssian, Jacki Zehner, and Kathy LeMay, September 2018 Annual Women Moving Millions Summit in Seattle, sponsored by The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Wow, what a read. I had to keep stopping at points to walk around the block and get my core energetics realigned. Jacki Zehner literally pours her heart out in this stunning blog post where she shares about her experiences rising to the C-Suite at Goldman Sachs, as well as her intense love for gender equality philanthropy, which has been expressed in over a decade of devotion to growing one of the most important organizations in gender equality philanthropy, Women Moving Millions.

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Ms. Foundation Shifts Strategic Course Toward Women of Color

The Ms. Foundation’s 2018-2022 Strategic Plan targets low-income women, many of whom are women of color. (Photo Credit: Ms. Foundation Strategic Plan, Building Power: Advancing Democracy)

The nation’s oldest public women’s foundation recently announced that it will steer in a new direction over the next five years — toward growing its commitment to low-income women and women of color by more than $25 million.

In addition, the Ms. Foundation will form its first-ever political fund, which will support the legislative agenda for women and girls both nationally and locally.

With Teresa C. Younger at the helm, the  Ms. Foundation for Women is joining other big funders in the feminist philanthropy space, including the NoVo Foundation and Prosperity Together (the national coalition of women’s funds focused on low-income women and women of color) in making economic, social and cultural equality for women and girls of color a central feature of its strategic plan. “Women of color are a political force to be reckoned with,” said Younger, in a press release announcing the new strategic plan. “In 2018, we delivered unprecedented electoral wins in Alabama, Georgia, and New York — yet we are sorely underrepresented in philanthropic investment, with only 2% of that spending going to women and girls of color.”

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WFN Summit Explores What it Will Take to Get More Women Into Office

Women’s Funding Network recently hosted a summit in New York, bringing together thought leadership to grow the movement for women’s equality.

Feminist leader and journalist Marianne Schnall’s eight-year-old daughter had a striking question after the election of Barack Obama in 2008. Why have we not had a woman president?

The question wouldn’t go away for Schnall, and soon she found herself bringing it up to thought leaders and scholars, trying to figure out what it would take to put a woman in the highest governmental office in America.

One thing Schnall realized in this process was the need for stronger coalition-building across progressive movements. “This isn’t a women’s issue. It’s a human issue. It’s an issue of having a reflective democracy, and that’s why we need to have men be part of these conversations,” said Schnall.

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London Convening Focuses on Ending Violence Against Women

Left to Right: Marai Larasi (Imkaan); Nasra Ayub (Integrate UK); Emma Watson; Devi Leiper O’Malley (FRIDA–The Young Feminist Fund)

“I think supporting girls and women’s organizations is the greatest hope we have for worldwide transformative change – and my philanthropic choices are grounded in that belief,” said celebrity and activist Emma Watson, at a convening on July 10 in London, sponsored by NoVo Foundation, Oak Foundation, Unbound Philanthropy and Ariadne.

Watson also noted that  research across seventy countries concludes that women’s movements are the key factor in enacting policy change. “This makes it all the more shocking that a survey of European foundations found that less than 5 percent of funds were targeted towards girls and women.”

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