1. What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession?
The fundraising field is quite secretive, as organizations fear that sharing their donor experiences would have repercussions on their relationships, or that they would have to compete for funds if they disclosed what opportunities they are working on. It’s so weighty to work in silos, feel isolated and overwhelmed with the “I have to do it all on my own” mentality. That makes fundraising burnout very real, with lasting effects on our well-being and health, and affects so many of us in philanthropy, especially those working in resource mobilization.
For her new song “Rooted,” Grammy Award winner Ciara has partnered with the non-profit Grantmakers for Girls of Color (G4GC), which will receive a portion of the song’s proceeds. “Rooted,” featuring and co-written by producer/songwriter Ester Dean, is a follow up to their 2019 Black female anthem “Melanin,” and celebrates Black Lives Matter, Black women, Black history and culture, and pregnancy.
“Rooted” was released by Ciara’s company Beauty Marks Entertainment, which is dedicated to creating business opportunities for women at the intersection of music, tech and philanthropy. The song’s video was filmed just before Ciara gave birth to her third child, Win Wilson, and prominently features Ciara’s pregnant body. It was directed by African American photographer/artist/filmmaker Annie Bercy.
In the next ten years, how can we guarantee more women in positions of leadership? How do we address the lack of diversity in our organizations and communities? And how do we empower the next generation of women and girls to never take no for an answer, pursue their goals, and find boundless success?
LiveGirl seeks to answer these questions through leadership and skill-building courses that reach middle school girls where they’re at: By empowering young women to reach for the stars while lifting each other up, LiveGirl aims to support the next generation of brave, inclusive leaders.
“We coach girls to embrace their original, quirky selves and to understand that self-confidence comes not from others liking you, but from you loving yourself,” says Sheri West, Founder and Chief LiveGirl. “Our mentors show them that when they truly believe in themselves, they will become unstoppable and astounding things will happen!”
The landmark selection of Harris as Joe Biden’s running mate in the 2020 election represents a huge win for diversity in politics. What’s more, Harris represents the positive impact of campaigning, fundraising, and donating in the world of feminist philanthropy.
Harris’s own presidential campaign says a lot about what we can do with feminist funding for political campaigns. Her decision to eschew funding from PAcs likely played a major role in her eventual drop from the 2020 race, but her commitment to funding sources outside the norm of American political campaign speaks to just how far we can go with feminist funding.
How can funding women’s media “change the game” when it comes to social change? When more feminist voices are heard, how will that impact the world?
In the next Philanthropy Women webinar, “Women in Media Changing the Game,” our Editor-in-Chief and superstars of women’s media will drill down on how funding women’s media is impacting social change. You don’t want to miss this one! Our star-studded guest roster includes Lori Sokol of Women’s ENews, Ruth Ann Harnisch of the Harnisch Foundation, and Johanna Derlega of The 19th, the new media epicenter for women in politics.
This webinar answers the question of what happens when more women are at the center of media: We’ll drill down on the ways that feminist funding can help elevate voices, amplify campaigns, and throw the label of “fake news” out the window.
Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL seriesfeatures Sheri West, the Founder, CEO & Chairperson of LiveGirl, a nonprofit organization that builds confident leaders.
1. What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession?
Prior to founding LiveGirl, I worked at a large, multi-national company for almost seventeen years. So, I had to “unlearn” corporate bureaucracy in order to embrace the competitive advantage of nimbleness in a small organization. Yes, we vet ideas and have approval processes, but we focus on moving fast when responding to the world. We mine for ideas that our team feels passionately about, and then we make them happen. I feel it’s more important to do what you truly believe in and pursue what makes you happy and excited.
The anti-trafficking movement is one of the most important movements for women’s equality, since a large proportion of survivors of trafficking are women. But often, the voices of the actual survivors of trafficking get excluded from approaches to solving this problem.
Recently, the Freedom Fund hosted a webinar to discuss ways that funders can work to include survivors in leadership. Amy Rahe, interim director of the Freedom Fund, moderated the discussion. Guest speakers included Mahendra Pandey, Senior Manager, Forced Labor & Human Trafficking for Humanity United, Natasha Dolby, Co-Founder, Freedom Forward, and Claire Falconer, Head of Global Initiatives and Movement Building, The Freedom Fund.
Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series featuresJenny Xia Spradling, Co-CEO of FreeWill, a digital estate planning company that has helped more than 150,000 people make wills. Before FreeWill, Jenny worked at McKinsey and Bain Capital, where she helped launched the firm’s first impact investment fund. She is also a cofounder of Paribus, later acquired by Capital One.
What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession?
You can have a job where you believe in the mission and have really fast career growth. I always felt like this was a trade-off in choosing a career – you could have growth or mission, but not both. The movement of social enterprises has really grown even over the past 10 years, and I think there will be more and more opportunities for people to have financial well-being while also achieving impact they are passionate about.
A newly published Dance Data Project (DDP) “Season Overview” report indicates that men choreographed 72 percent of works produced by the United States’ top 50 ballet companies during the 2019-20 season. While the gender disparity is significant; the figure represents an improvement over 2018-19 when 81 percent of works were choreographed by men. Nevertheless, as the report indicates, ballet equity has a long way to go.
“The entire DDP team is inspired by the rising number of commissioned women’s works,” said Liza Yntema, DDP Founder and President. “Yet, inequity is still present in some of the most notable categories of performance. Works choreographed by men continue to overwhelmingly populate the main stage, while women’s works are often relegated to special programs and sandwiched into male-dominated mixed bills.” Yntema also worries that women’s gains will be lost if company directors perceive that hiring more men represents a “safe choice” in a turbulent economy. Such thinking will make it more difficult to attract the new audiences that are critical to ballet’s survival.
On Tuesday, August 4th, the organizers of the Equality Can’t Wait Challenge hosted a Q&A via Zoom webinar. The discussion focused on the contest itself: what it was, how to enter, and more. Starting with an introductory presentation on the Challenge application and finishing with a lengthy Q&A, this webinar focused on audience participation and a clear explanation of the contest rules and goals.