When Women’s Leadership Has Market Value, the World Changes

It seems, in the feminist philanthropy community, everyone is waiting for that tipping point to come, when women’s leadership finally establishes its value to the world. COVID, it seems, is helping to accelerate our awareness of the added value of women’s leadership. By showing that countries led by women having strikingly better COVID survival and containment rates, we should finally be at that point where you could practically pour the product of women’s leadership into a bottle and sell it on the open market.

And now a few words from our Editor in Chief, Kiersten.

Well, think again. I have been on my own quest to establish the value of women’s leadership, particularly women’s leadership in philanthropy, over the past five years. I went in with the theory that feminist strategies are more powerful strategies, and once people get to know more about them, lots of folks would flock to our website and build up our subscriber base to the point where, eventually, it might even turn into a for-profit market product. Though fiscally sponsored by the Women’s Funding Network, our budget and strategy is built around the idea that only a small portion of our funding should come from grants, and that as our subscriber base grows, eventually, we could become attractive to a regular small business publication or larger progressive media platform.

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Share the Joy and Unique Promise of Giving for Gender Equality

Editor’s Note: I wrote this post a year ago, but I 100% endorse it again as the best use of your Giving Tuesday resources.

Since starting Philanthropy Women, we have chosen to embrace Giving Tuesday each year in different ways, but always as a great opportunity to give back to women. This year we are celebrating Giving Tuesday by naming our Top 10 Picks for feminist giving for the day. We hope you enjoy the list and relish the experience of making an intentional gift to one or all of them on Giving Tuesday.

giving tuesday 2020
Did you know that research from the Women’s Philanthropy Institute showed that in 2018, women gave the majority, 64.9%, of dollars donated on Giving Tuesday? Perhaps that’s because women generally look for opportunities to give, and when a new holiday is established where the sole purpose is to give to charity, women are all over it.

#1 Women’s Fund of Rhode Island or Your State’s Women’s Fund

There is really no better bang for your charity buck than your own local women’s fund. Ours here in Rhode Island does a fantastic job of gender equality education and training, civic engagement, and grantmaking. Imagine if every adult in Rhode Island (roughly 800,000 people) gave just $1 to the Women’s Foundation of Rhode Island? That would mean $800,000 in resources that would exponentially increase the education, engagement, and grantmaking for one of the most influential women’s organizations in the state. Then we could really see what WFRI is capable of in terms of helping our state move toward gender equality. If you don’t live in Rhode Island, you can find your local women’s fund by visiting the Women’s Funding Network where most state and regional women’s funds are members.

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Maggie May’s Greatest Hits on Philanthropy Women

As one of our most prolific writers at Philanthropy Women, Maggie May deserves a special tribute. Two and a half years ago, Maggie May started weaving her mighty creativity into stories on gender equality funding and strategy, and now that she is leaving us for greener (and higher paying) pastures, we want to make sure we give her a proper send-off that represents all she has done for our publication, and for gender equality strategy and funding as a whole.

Over the course of two and half years, Maggie May wrote 190 posts for Philanthropy Women. (Image credit: Maggie May)

Maggie May wrote 190 articles for Philanthropy Women over her time with us, an incredible amount of productivity for a young writer. She helped discover and narrate the stories of many undervalued women leaders of our time, and did so with power, insight, and clarity. Her work ranged from personal interviews to covering events to exploring the difficult questions about who gets funding and why.

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Sara Lomelin’s Passion for the Philanthropy of Everyday People

Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Sara Lomelin, executive director of Philanthropy Together.

Sara Lomelin, courtesy of Sara Lomelin

1. What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession?

When I switched careers 12 years ago, I didn’t understand the power dynamics and barriers that exist for grassroots nonprofits. I wish I knew the intricacies of philanthropy and why such large gaps exist between those who need funding and those who receive. I now see that collectively, we are moving the needle to shift philanthropy, but it’s happening very slowly.

While I wish I’d entered on this path sooner, I am proud to now devote my career to giving circles because I believe this model is the most dynamic way to liberate capital to nonprofit leaders who know what solutions are best for their communities. Giving circles are filled with everyday givers coming together to diversify and democratize philanthropy. These are the voices that have historically been excluded by mainstream philanthropy and the voices that will break down these existing power dynamics and eliminate barriers to much-needed funding for grassroots leaders.

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After Five Years, Philanthropy Women Rebranding in 2022

It’s like that line from the Indigo girls song: “The hardest to learn was the least complicated.” The hardest thing for philanthropy to learn is that equality must become a priority: gender equality, racial equality, LGBTQ equality, and the list of those not included or given adequate resources and opportunities goes on. But instead, philanthropy keeps pointing elsewhere and saying, “Oh it’s a health care problem, oh it’s an education problem, oh it’s a workforce development problem.”

philanthropy women
Philanthropy Women will be rebranding to expand its scope in 2022.

Our health care and education and workforce development problems often grow out of a firmly entrenched bedrock of equality problems. But the equality part of the story almost always gets minimized in philanthropy, almost always gets conveniently left out, almost always stays on the back burner. Ultimately, if you really look closely at what’s going on in philanthropy, you realize that philanthropy as a whole funds equality in mostly token ways — ways that never get at the root of the problem. As a result, equality remains a presumed cultural value that has no real mechanism for being realized on a broad scale. It’s a dream to talk about loftily and do some pilot programs on, and then get back to the serious business of running a society that worships and elevates the richest 1% to the grave detriment of everyone else.

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The Tech Accelerator Aiming to Address the Climate Emergency

Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving In Real Life series features Elodie Read, Program and Community Partnerships Lead at Subak, the first global non-profit tech accelerator dedicated to combatting the climate emergency. 

elodie read
Elodie Read, courtesy of Elodie Read

1. What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession?

I’m pretty early on in my career so this is quite a tricky question to answer. At university and grad school, everyone is full of conviction, zeal and a healthy dose of naivety about how the world is and how it should be. When you start working, it can be easy to get bogged down in reality, but I think it’s important to remember why we got into this kind of work and to keep working with our values and goals at the front of our minds.

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Tyeshia Wilson: A Giving Circle Leader on the Joy of Community

Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Tyeshia Wilson, director of engagement for Philanthropy Together.

Tyeshia Wilson, courtesy of Tyeshia Wilson

1. What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession?

Working in philanthropy is one of the most rewarding and self-fulfilling careers, ever. I’m altruistic, I’m a humanitarian, and I’m passionate about service. Looking back, I only wish I had been exposed to the idea of a career in philanthropy earlier. If I was aware of this alignment between  my heart and the work of this field, I would have started in this profession much sooner and likely pursued philanthropic studies in school.

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When Will Women be Safer? When the 1% Has Less Power

The ugly truth is that more people are still motivated by the desire to prioritize men’s income-generating and reputations than they are by the desire to ensure women’s rights and safety.” — Soraya Chemaly, Rage Becomes Her

women's rights
Photo by Michelle Ding on Unsplash

Prioritizing women’s rights and safety in today’s world is not easy, and it won’t become any easier as long as our culture puts men’s earnings and men’s reputations first, which it almost always does. Think of any number of powerful men whose reputations and money-generating capacities completely undermined women’s rights and safety: Harvey Weinstein, R. Kelly, Donald Trump, Bill Cosby, Jeffrey Epstein….and the list goes on and on. It’s a list that defines our culture, a culture of men and money first, and women and safety last, in our public and private lives, in government, business, and the non-profit sector.

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A Local Leader Calls for Investment in Black Women-led Nonprofits

Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features philanthropist, fundraiser and advocate Akilah S. Wallace, who serves as Executive Director of Faith in Texas.

Akilah S. Wallace
Akilah S. Wallace, courtesy of Akilah S. Wallace
  1. What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession?

When I started out in the nonprofit sector and philanthropy, I wish I knew the diversity of career paths available and how both work and volunteer experiences in private and public sectors provided much-needed, transferable skills. Additionally, I wish I knew how valuable my lived experiences as a Black woman, single mother, volunteer and more, could help shape culturally-relevant programs, policies and how resources are distributed.

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Marsha Morgan on How Collective Giving Can Uplift Women and Girls

Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Marsha Morgan, a founding member of the Birmingham Change Fund and past Chair of the Community Investment Network.

Marsha Morgan, courtesy of Marsha Morgan

1. What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession?

I wish I had started my journey in philanthropy with a proper understanding of the true definition of philanthropy: love of humanity. Having this knowledge and perspective would have allowed me to take more ownership of my power and would have changed how I leveraged my resources as a philanthropist when I first started working in collective giving.

2. What is your current greatest professional challenge?

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