Recently I had the opportunity to talk with Felecia Lucky, President of the Black Belt Community Foundation in Selma, Alabama, which serves Alabama’s 12 most financially distressed counties.
Black Belt Community Foundation was officially formed in December 2003 after several years of community advocacy for such an institution. It was established to strengthen these 12 rural Alabama communities and enrich them with more community goods like health care, education, youth programs, and economic development.
As President of the Foundation, Lucky shared with me some of the story of the foundation’s growth and evolution. She traced the origins of the foundation back to another woman leader, Dr. Carol Zippert, who had a vision of how to build community resources through a foundation, bringing philanthropy to an area of the country that hadn’t experienced much of it.
Feminist Giving IRL Contest Winners Announced!Final Vote Shows Strength in Numbers and Rising Interest in Gender Equality in the Arts, Global Development, and Women in Tech
Gender Equality in Dance, Global Girls Equality, and Women in Tech are the 3 Big Winners
A total of 563 people voted in our Feminist Giving IRL Top Tier Contest. A graphic below shows the distribution of final results.
Congratulations to Our Winners!
First, a heartfelt congratulations to our winners, and thanks to all the women leaders profiled in Feminist Giving IRL for being willing to participate in this event. Each of our winners will receive a $100 honorarium and will be invited to participate in our Zoom-based Top Tier Crowning Webinar where we celebrate their accomplishments and discuss their plans for the future of gender equality in their work. Stay tuned for further details on that event.
Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features President and CEO of The New York Women’s Foundation Ana Oliveira. This interview was completed in late 2020.
What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession?
From the time I began my journey at the New York Women’s Foundation to now, I’ve learned the challenges you can face in philanthropy when being most responsive to transformation and justice. I came to The Foundation because it is an inclusive place with a commitment to equity and justice, with an emphasis on centering the needs of our grantee partners and the communities they serve. Those elements have allowed me to fundamentally understand how to carry out our philanthropy with transparency, respect and partnership.
When the world stops, life keeps going — especially for communities where social isolation and living off of savings are not viable options.
It’s a well-known fact that COVID-19 has made life at the bottom of the social pyramid even harder. Women and girls around the world, particularly in communities of color, are among the hardest hit by the ripple effects of the pandemic. The news reports address loss of income, life, and community, but the lesser-known impacts should not be forgotten.
Access to healthcare, particularly for women, was already a commodity difficult to come by in certain parts of the world. Now, in the wake of the pandemic, women and girls’ access to contraceptives, feminine hygiene products, and maternity care hangs more precariously than ever before.
Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Elena Marszalek, Managing Director of Del Mar Global Trust, a private foundation dedicated to the environment.
1. What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession?
I started my career in philanthropy as the only employee of Del Mar Global Trust, a newly established family foundation focused on the natural environment. Although I had previous experience working in climate change, I had little experience in philanthropy. I felt both hopeful and overwhelmed.
Joining Rachel’s Network, a community of women environmental philanthropists, broadened my knowledge of complex environmental issues, and significantly improved my ability to select and monitor grant recipients. Networking with other women with similar goals and interests helped my career in numerous other ways, for example sharing information about projects that as individuals we would not be aware of. Perhaps most importantly, I have access to other members with many years of experience who offer advice and mentorship. As in all professions, you learn through experience.
A new research paper exploring how COVID-19 gender policy changes have helped female scientists and improved research quality was published recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The research shines a pandemic-inspired light on how self-identified females are specifically impacted by COVID. Their job roles as scientists are being redefined and their increased caregiving roles are taking priority.
The results of the study, although unsurprising in terms of perpetual gender inequities, are unique to today’s world. The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) initiated their “COVID-19 funding competition” in February of 2020, and found fewer females applied. Those that did apply, were also less likely to be approved.
When it comes to maximizing our financial impact, there is often an “either/or” approach to leveraging wealth. Do we use our dollars to fund a philanthropic effort, like a campaign or organization dedicated to women and girls, or do we turn our funds toward investment opportunities, like supporting companies with a strong commitment to diversity?
As new forms of giving spring up to meet the challenges — and opportunities — of a digital society, we are able to move further away from that attitude of “either/or.” There are ways to stretch our donor dollars further — through two types of collectives that maximize impact.
In the same ways that traditional philanthropy has been historically dominated by white, older, high net worth men, feminist philanthropy has a noticeable population gap in younger age groups. Young women, in particular, in an era of crushing student loans, underemployment, and uncertainty in the face of COVID-19, are noticeably absent from a movement dedicated to their wellbeing.
This is not to say that the younger generations aren’t pulling their weight. In fact, it’s just the opposite. Young activists like Greta Thunberg and Sarah Goody are leading the way to revolutions in social justice and culture change. LGBT+ and POC youth are standing vanguard against discrimination, homophobia, and rollbacks of minorities’ legal rights.
Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Sarah Hillware, the Deputy Director of Women in Global Health (WGH), a 35,000+ strong women-led organization working to challenge power and privilege for gender equity in health.
1. What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession?
Personally, I wish I’d known that it was OK and, in fact, healthy, to take detours on my career journey. My path was not a straight and narrow one, but one which took me in directions that, at the time, I did not fully understand. For instance, I took a certification course in advertising sales and subsequently worked at a marketing and advertising firm for a year. That industry was not ultimately where I saw myself long- term, but the skills and knowledge I gained were invaluable, and ultimately helped me land my position at the World Bank.
For Black History month, Serena Williams Jewelry will be donating a portion of proceeds to Opportunity Fund’s Small Business Relief Fund.
Tennis icon, fashion and jewelry designer Serena Williams is extending her support of Opportunity Fund. Throughout February, a portion of proceeds from Serena Williams Jewelry will benefit Opportunity Fund’s Small Business Relief Fund, directly supporting Black small-business owners.
With the creation of jewelry that reflects Serena’s positivity, determination and generosity comes a renewed commitment to the community, emblematic of her unstoppable desire to support others in a meaningful way. Purchasing a necklace or bracelet from Serena Williams Jewelry Unstoppable collection not only enhances a woman’s accessory wardrobe, but also gives her a sense of empowerment by helping others.