Raising the Value of Communities by Investing in Girls of Color

Editor’s Note: Happy Juneteenth! In celebration, we are sharing the words of Dr. Monique Couvson, president and CEO of G4GC and the author of six books, including “Charisma’s Turn” (The New Press, 2023), a graphic novel about girls and their gifts.

As we navigate through this pivotal moment in history of rollbacks to civil rights, gender justice, and social progress, we are also seeing a generational transfer of wealth boosting women’s economic power and  women taking bold measures to move capital into the hands of other women.

Dr. Monique Couvson, president and CEO of G4GC  (Image credit: G4GC)

While we recognize and applaud how women are poised to shape a new type of philanthropy, it is imperative that in this effort girls —and in particular girls and gender-expansive youth of color, receive a robust and intentional investment. These young people are at the forefront of all social justice movements, and yet their contributions go overlooked and erased. As we move funds to women-serving organizations, we must also move money explicitly to organizations that center and are led by girls of color. That is how we can combat the erasure of Black girls and girls of color, and create opportunities for their courageous activism and leadership to thrive.

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Halle Berry Gets Behind New $275M Bill for Menopause Research 

 A campaign led by prominent female lawmakers and boosted by the star power of actor Halle Berry has succeeded in gaining Congressional support for a major initiative for womens’ health. On April 30, 2024, legislative leaders unveiled a $275 million bill to boost federal research, physician training and public awareness about menopause.

Halle Barre and a bevy of legislators gathered to unveile the Advancing Menopause Care and Mid-Life Women’s Health Act. (Image credit: Screenshot from Youtube video)

In a rare bipartisan effort, the Senate bill, the Advancing Menopause Care and Mid-Life Women’s Health Act, is led by Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee, and has support from Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and other lawmakers. 

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Federal Government Agency Latest Target of Assault on Diversity

In the past few weeks, the conservative crusade against affirmative action has widened its scope to include various levels of government. 

Jill Biden recently announced funding for the White House Initiative on Women’s Health Research. More information on this new funding is below. (Image credit: AP)

The first is aimed directly at the federal government. A federal judge in Texas has ruled that the Minority Business Development Agency (MBDA) is guilty of discrimination. The agency was created during the Nixon administration fifty years ago to improve access to capital for minority-owned businesses. The judge, who was appointed by Trump, has ruled that such support is an illegal violation of the rights of all Americans. 

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Biden Helps Women, Fearless Fund Update, Little League Opens Grants

It should no longer be a secret that more than half of all college degrees are granted to women. This has been the trend for some time now. So when the Biden Administration announced the cancellation of student debt for approximately 153,000 borrowers, the math tells us that most of those benefiting are women. Finally, some good news.

According to the Fact Sheet released by the White House, a total of $1.2 billion in student debt will be forgiven.

Grants are now open for Girls with Game. See below. (Image credit: Little League)

To qualify, the borrower must be enrolled in the administration’s Saving on a Valuable Education (SAVE) program. The initial debt must be under $12,000, and the borrower must have been making payments for at least ten years. The SAVE plan bases payment amounts on income and family size.

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WPI Webinar: Women’s Political Giving Will Surge in 2024

On January 30, 2024, the Womens’ Philanthropy Institute (WPI) of Indiana University hosted a webinar to look into a crystal ball and discuss what members of the giving community believe is coming our way in the coming year.

Jeannie Sager of WPI kicked off the conversation with a thorough review of relevant topics. (Image Credit: WPI)

The moderator was Jeannie Sager, Executive Director of WPI. Panelists included 

  • Elizabeth Barajas Romắn, President and CEO of the Women’s Funding Network (WFN);
  • Latanya Mapp Frett, President and CEO of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors (RPA); and 
  • Kiersten Marek, Founder and CEO of Philanthropy Women (PW)

To start, Jeannie Sager established five key trends as identified by research of WPI:

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Attack on Fearless Fund Goes National in Time and Newsweek

As we reported both in October and December of 2023, the good work of the  Fearless Fund has come under attack from right-wing extremists. The American ​​Alliance for Equal Rights (AAER) which is led by anti-affirmative activist Edward Blum, is the same conservative organization that convinced the Supreme Court to reject affirmative action criteria for college admissions in June 2023.

(Image credit: Fearless Fund)

Since the Supreme Court decision, AAER has expanded its scope to target seemingly all efforts to promote social justice and equity. The Fearless Fund is a venture capital fund that provides pre-seed, seed-level, or Series A financing to businesses led by women of color. As their website states, “Our mission is to bridge the gap in venture capital funding for women of color founders building scalable, growth aggressive companies.” 

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Upcoming Women’s Philanthropy Webinar on 2024 Giving Trends

Kiersten Marek, of Philanthropy Women, will be on a panel for a webinar presented by the Women’s Philanthropy Institute (WPI) on January 30, 2024 at 1:00 PM Eastern Time, (12:00 PM Central Time). The discussion is scheduled for one hour. 

The central topic will be how women’s philanthropy will transform itself in 2024. The US general election in November is sure to have an impact on women’s priorities and so women’s giving. The influence of megadonors, as always, will continue to be a significant factor in the sector as well as we head into this new year.  

Next Tuesday, join WPI for a webinar on women’s philanthropy trends. (Image credit: WPI)

Join Kiersten, WPI and others for the discussion as we explore research-driven insights that inform trends in gender and giving. We will also hear from leaders in the field who will share their predictions for 2024 and beyond. 

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Climate Gender Equity Fund Debuts with First Grants in Africa

The Climate Gender Equity Fund (CGEF) is a public-private partnership focused on catalyzing gender equity in climate finance. A year after launching, CGEF has announced the first cohort of women-led organizations selected to receive grants, each of which is focused on advancing gender-equitable climate action in Africa.

Women participate in Clean Tech Hub’s incubation program. (Image credit: Amazon news)

The three organizations selected include:

  • The Clean Technology Hub, a women-led acceleration hub in Nigeria that is scaling new climate technologies; 
  • WomanHub, an accelerator in South Africa that supports female science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) business founders; and 
  • M-Kayla Ventures, an incubator in Kenya that focuses on women entrepreneurs working on climate-smart agriculture solutions.

The founding members of CGEF include USAID, Amazon, Reckitt, Visa Foundation, and The UPS Foundation. Combined, they have committed $20 million to the fund; in addition, USAID announced an additional $5 million during the COP28 climate change conference. 

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Leah Hendrix-Hunt and Family Featured in New Yorker

At Philanthropy Women, we pride ourselves on being able to stay ahead of the curve in recognizing ideas, discovering significant trends, and identifying the people who make these things happen. We are pleased to note that the The New Yorker is now following our lead. Several years ago, PW ran an interview with Leah Hunt-Hendrix. As a reminder, Hunt-Hendrix is a scion of Hunt Oil, founded by her maternal grandfather. 

Dr. Kimberlé Crenshaw’s book, “#SayHerName: Black Women’s Stories of State Violence and Public Silence” was recently released. More details below. (Image credit: #SayHerName)

The August issue of The New Yorker ran a story that touches on many of the issues discussed on these pages. Attached below is a link to the interview with Leah that PW published previously. Our interview focused more on the hard news angle, discussing her foundation, Solidaire, and the work it does while the New Yorker article is a bit more chatty, with anecdotes of her family, social status, and the problems presented by being a progressive who happens to be the heir to an oil fortune.  

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Women and Girls Continue to be Underfunded by Philanthropy

Women and girls represent more than half of the population of the United States. Despite this, charitable giving to organizations serving them represents less than 2% of all philanthropic activity in the U.S. This is according to a new report published Wednesday, October 11 – the International Day of the Girl.  

As a percentage of all giving, giving for women and girls decreased in 2020, despite much public discussion about the need to fund women and girls in COVID. (Image credit: WGI)

The Women & Girls Index (WGI), released by the Women’s Philanthropy Institute at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, finds that while charitable giving to women’s and girls’ organizations in the U.S. increased by 9.2% in 2020, growth of support for women and girls was lower than the rate of growth in overall charitable giving in 2020 (11.3%), even though the COVID-19 pandemic disproportionately impacted women and girls in myriad ways. 

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