How Philanthropy Can Both Strengthen Families And Fuel Gender Equality

I had an amazing discussion today with Helen LaKelly Hunt about how funders are aligning across the political spectrum to help strengthen families, and within this approach there is huge potential for gender equality agendas to be realized.

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Can philanthropy align around supporting families, and in doing so, bolster gender equality?

In the context of Helen’s work as both a relationship expert and a philanthropy expert, she sees clearly how philanthropy can do more to build relationship skills, and in doing so make progress for gender equality.  As she puts it, “teaching relational skills transforms the family and bring gender equality to the family.”

Right after talking to Helen, I happened upon this article from the Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID) entitled “Families Can Drive Gender Equality, but Only if We Help Them Evolve.” AWID has been around for over 30 years and describes itself as “an international, feminist, membership organisation committed to achieving gender equality, sustainable development and women’s human rights.”

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Aligning Health with Human Rights for Women and Girls

Some of the wealthiest women in the world deploying vast fortunes with gender lens grantmaking: This is the future of philanthropy. Maverick Collective is one of the places where this strategy is already taking place.

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Maverick Collective, co-chaired by Melinda Gates and H.R.H. Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway , is poised to deploy millions more in philanthropy with a gender lens.

But gender norms of the past still haunt many women philanthropists. “Women told us that they would be at a cocktail party, and people would come talk to their husbands, but not them,” said Kate Roberts, Senior Vice President for Corporate Partnerships with Population Services International (PSI). A global nonprofit “focused on the encouragement of healthy behavior and affordability of health products,” PSI is the host organization for The Maverick Collective.

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How Can Philanthropy Shape New Gender Norms for Women and Girls?

It’s always interesting to drill down on a specific population, such as young Latina women, and consider the implications both for that community and for other marginalized communities.

A new report, Gender Norms: A Key to Improving Outcomes Among Young Latinas does just that. The report, prepared in partnership with Hispanics in Philanthropy and Frontline Solutions, takes on the issue specifically of Latina women and how gender norms put them at risk for lower life outcomes.

The paper begins by telling the story of how philanthropy has begun to approach gender in different ways, but still does not integrate gender awareness as broadly as it could.

From the paper:

Few social justice foundations today would seek to create portfolios that were race and class blind, and fewer still fund grantees that offered race- or class- blind programs, particularly in communities of color. That’s because they know that addressing underlying structures of oppression like race and class race and class makes efforts more effective.

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Millennial Women Beg to Differ: New Attitudes in Women’s Giving

These are the top three issues for Millennial giving. What if one of the top three was gender equality? What kind of a difference would that make?

Fidelity Charitable has come out with a new report on trends in women’s giving, and it is definitely food for thought for anyone in the women’s philanthropy field.

The report delves into generational differences in giving between Millennial women and Boomer women.

Before talking about the report’s findings, I want to draw attention to the methodology, so we know specifically who we are talking about when we talk about Millennials and Baby Boomers. The report used survey data from Millennials, which they defined as women age 17 to 37, and Baby Boomers, which they defined as women age 51 to 71. So women in the 37 to 51 range (like me!) are not being talked about in the report.

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Scaling the Mount Everest of Gender Equality in Minnesota

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Lee Roper-Batker, CEO of the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota.

“We know Minnesotans have many shared values, including equality and opportunity,” says Lee Roper-Batker, CEO of the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota. But getting those shared values to manifest in support for policies that advance women and girls is sometimes a task that feels comparable to scaling the world’s highest mountain. “We have to meet people where they are and bring them with us,” she says, which can often be a daunting task.

Lee Roper-Batker spoke to me by phone from her office at the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota (WFM) in downtown Minneapolis, a stone’s throw from the Mississippi River. The WFM is the oldest and largest statewide women’s foundation in the U.S., and its mission is to engage in “systems change” affecting individual, cultural and community attitudes and behaviors. The goal is to move institutions and public policies toward gender equity, something that Roper-Batker describes as “Our Everest.” A Minnesota native, Roper-Batker has headed the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota, which started in 1983, since 2001.

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Why NoVo is Funding Young Women’s Freedom in California

As the NoVo Foundation gets into its grantmaking from the $90 million in funds established to support young women and girls of color, one of its first big grants will go to help young women and girls of color involved in the juvenile justice system.

The Young Women’s Freedom Center in California fights for the rights of system-involved girls.

The Young Women’s Freedom Center, which has been organizing around juvenile justice for young women and girls in California since 1993, will be the recipient of new funding from the NoVo Foundation to support its work.  The NoVo Foundation, which began in 2006, made a commitment last year to deploy $90 million in the service of supporting self-led organizing by young women who have “directly experienced poverty, violence, addiction, and incarceration.”

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Supporting the Resistance: Over 50 Grants for Trans Advocacy

The Fund for Trans Generation, created by Borealis Philanthropy, gave out over 50 grants to support community advocacy for transgender people.

Nonprofits development folks looking to build community advocacy for trans people have a new source to tap. The Fund for Trans Generation (FTG), created by Borealis Philanthropy, just gave out its first round of grants, with an initial deployment of over 50 grants ranging from $15,000 to $30,000.

Borealis Philanthropy reports that it received 130 letters of inquiry for this initial grant cycle. 69% of these grantees has a budget of $75,000 or less, so these grants are going to make a huge contribution to the overall funding of these essential community groups.

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What’s Stronger California Doing for Gender Equality?

Stronger California is working to improve gender equality in the state.

It’s Time Network hosted a conference call this past week that gave a window for states across the country to learn about California’s efforts to grow gender equality movements. The call featured Jessica Stender of Equal Rights Advocates, who has been coordinating and enacting many steps of a legislative agenda for women in California. The call was well-received nationally, with people registered from 16 states.

stronger california

From Betsy McKinney and the It’s Time Network team:

Thank you for joining us for Tuesday’s virtual convening to learn about how we can support policy agendas that lift women and children out of poverty, ensure fair pay and family-friendly workplaces, and more, focusing on the Stronger California legislation.

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Heavy Hitters Collaborate on New Blueprint for Social Change

Things are really coming together for women’s funds and gender lens investing, as this new report details. The new report is written by Joy Anderson, President and Founder of Criterion Institute, Ms. Foundation President Teresa Younger, and Elizabeth Schaffer, Chief Operating Officer of the Global Fund for Women.

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I have not read the report in total yet, but from my first foray in, I am really excited to see how these advanced thinkers and leaders are putting ideas together and finding new synergy for social change and finance. This is powerful stuff!

The report is written using architectural design as an extended metaphor for how to integrate the different sectors of finance, women’s funds, and social change theory. Combining these three components, the report then makes practical suggestions about how to influence issues like domestic violence, the gender wage gap, and climate change.

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How is Walmart Doing with Supporting Women’s Funds and Women’s Empowerment?

Walmart supported the creation of a Women-Owned logo for suppliers, to increase visibility for women-owned businesses in their supply chain.

Given that Walmart is the largest employer in America, second only to the government, the fact that they are taking an active stance in addressing women’s empowerment is particularly important.

We want to make sure Walmart’s grantmaking gets talked about here on Philanthropy Women because they are such a large and influential company, not just in America, but globally. Because of their size, their ability to influence both the economy and the culture is great, and will likely have a growing impact on issues related to women as time goes on.

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