On Wednesday, February 3rd, Philanthropy Together hosted the second part of their webinar series surrounding giving circles and social justice. Moderated by LiJia Gong of Radfund, the panel featured Sarah David Heydemann (Radfund), Mario Lugay (Justice Funders Giving Side), Marsha Morgan (Community Investment Network), and Sian Miranda Singh ÓFaoláin.
Sara Lomelin, Executive Director of Philanthropy Together, introduced the day’s moderator and panelists, and encouraged attendees to share their locations and organizations.
The Social Justice Giving Circle Project
Gong began by introducing The Social Justice Giving Circle Project, which explores the relationship between giving circles and today’s social justice movements, both how it currently exists and what’s possible in the future.
2021 is shaping up to be a year of momentous change for gender equality movements. Here at Philanthropy Women, we’re taking a moment to look back at 2020 — a tumultuous year, to say the least, but one in which we realized the true impact of our organization and our work around the world.
The 2020 Philanthropy Women Media Impact Report offers a look into a year of incredible growth, progress, and partnership. Based on 12 months of publishing, this report breaks down our successes as a news outlet from a variety of perspectives, and offers an excellent look not just at our impact, but our role as a connector and facilitator for networks, campaigns, and conversations within the feminist philanthropy sphere.
WOC (Women of Color) have been at the forefront of grassroots movements for decades now, carrying out some of the most valuable work done within these movements. We have seen this from early on with women like Ella Baker and her work within the Black Freedom Movement, Pauli Murray who co-founded the National Organization for Women, and even today with leaders of Black Lives Matter, Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi.
Despite all of this evidence to prove that WOC are influential and important workers for grassroots movements and non profits, they tend to receive the least amount of funding from both governmental grants and philanthropic donations. The Ms. Foundation released research that reveals that the actual numbers of monetary giving to WOC is shockingly low; it makes up only 0.5% of the $66.9 billion that is annually given to foundations.In 2017, $356 million was available to Women and girls of color (WGOC). Of that, the median grant received by recipients of color was around $15,000, compared to around $35,000 which was reported by all other organizations. The numbers become even more shocking when breaking it down by ethnicity. Of that $356 million:
If you’ve wanted to form an impact circle but aren’t sure how to get started, Invest for Betterhas the program for you. Applications are now open for the Spring 2021 Cohort of Invest for Better’sCircle Leader program. Kicking off on February 11th, this free training program offers the resources and know-how for women to form, lead, and grow their own impact investing circles.
Invest for Better is a national initiative aimed at helping women demystify impact investing, take control of their capital and mobilize their money for good. It is non-profit and non-transactional, designed to address the “aspiration gap” between women’s interest and their action by overcoming obstacles to participation, and building trusted peer communities.
The intense repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic have led to massive ripple effects felt around the world, particularly in marginalized communities and for the women and girls within them. Within this crisis, however, there are also opportunities for improving the status of women and healthcare workers, and advancing toward universal healthcare as a basic human right.
However, the prevailing narrative around the pandemic tends to paint women and girls as “victims” of the pandemic, or victims of issues and events that impact access to healthcare. This may not be the best way to frame the issue, asserts Sarah Hillware of Women’s Global Health. Relegating women and girls to the role of “victim” can be a major barrier in the path to universal healthcare.
On January 27th, a group of motivated and influential women gathered together for a virtual panel discussion surrounding the launch of the Rhode Island Women’s Well-Being Index, a data-driven, collaborative effort led by the Women’s Fund of Rhode Island. The index is the first of its kind in Rhode Island aimed at truly capturing the unique data necessary to further understand women’s well-being on a multi-faceted level. Intending to dive deeper into women-specific issues, the Index covers five distinct areas: Health, Personal Safety, Employment & Earnings, Economic Security, and Political Empowerment.
The index takes a closer look at each city and town in Rhode Island to allow for some shockingly stark contrasts. National averages are presented as a backdrop for these RI-specific numbers. Some are encouraging and many are not. Policy recommendations are also laid out within each data set, detailing a strategy for reducing these inequities.
On Thursday, January 28th, the Girls Leadership team and representatives from Open Access, TPG, Morgan Stanley, the National Hockey League, and TIME’S UP gathered to discuss the changing face of the American workforce. Based off of the organization’s pivotal Ready to Lead report, the second of Girls Leadership’s three roundtable discussions focused on the implications of the report’s findings on the workforce of the future.
The report details leadership supports and barriers for Black and Latinx girls and exposes the factors that make it difficult for these girls to rise into leadership positions. External challenges like the tendency for school systems and workforce upper management to be dominated by white employers, leaders, and authority figures, represent a major barrier to Black and Latinx girls carrying their own torches of leadership into the future.
Bright and early on Wednesday, January 27th, women from all over the country joined Sondra Shaw-Hardy and Carmen Stevens of Women’s Giving Circles International (WGCI) for a collaborative workshop on collective giving.
Sondra opened the event by welcoming the attendees and speakers, and introducing the day’s topics.
“The power of women’s philanthropy has changed not only the countries we live in, but changed us as well,” she said.
Carmen Stevens on Global Giving Circles
Carmen Stevens introduced the history of WGCI, which works to provide educational resources for women all over the world looking to start and grow their own giving circles. Primarily focused on circles outside of the United States, WGCI facilitates circle creation, networking, and mentorship all over the globe, but particularly in Latin America, Europe, and the organization’s most recent programs in Asia.
On January 27th, Merck for Mothers, Merck & Co.’s $500 million global initiative with the sole purpose to “create a world where no woman has to die while giving life,” announced this year’s cohort of grant designations. These grants total an impressive $9 million allocated to their Safer Childbirth Cities program, the community-action coalition fighting the rising rates of preventable maternal death in the US.
After requesting a second round of grant proposals in June of 2020, Merck for Mothers narrowed down the proposals depending on their eligibility and proposed initiatives for addressing the maternal health disparities within their cities. The chosen communities will be provided with up to $1 million in funding to apply their own evidence-based interventions. On top of the 10 cities from the first cohort of grants released to Safer Childbirth Cities in 2019, cities included in the newly accepted grant proposals are Brooklyn, NY; Detroit, MI; Norfolk, VA; San Francisco, CA; St. Louis, MO; Tampa, FL; Tulsa, OK; Trenton, NJ; and Washington D.C.
On Tuesday, January 26th, the Philanthropy Women team gathered with representatives from The Jane Club, Women in Global Health (WGH), PSI, and Maverick Collective for a discussion on the ways radical philanthropy, operating alongside women-led movements, can lead to systemic change, particularly in health care services and employment, for women and girls around the world.
Editor-in-Chief Kiersten Marek moderated a discussion between Rena Greifinger of PSI/Maverick Collective and Sarah Hillware of WGH. Hosted by The Jane Club, a network of female-identifying persons and nonbinary and male allies, the event focused on ways to create more equitable healthcare systems by transforming the philanthropic system toward justice.