LaTosha Brown: The Time is Now to Fund Black Women and Girls

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on February 11, 2021.

This past summer, before the announcement of Kamala Harris as the nominee for Vice President, Latosha Brown received a phone call from the soon-to-be Vice President. The phone call was in response to an article Brown had published in Essence called Reimagining An America That Uplifts Black Girls. Vice President Kamala Harris wanted Latosha Brown to know that she shared her hope that America could reimagine the country so that all girls will be lifted up.

LaTosha Brown
LaTosha Brown shares her expertise as a movement organizer and leader, calling for more just and equitable funding for Black women and girls. ( Image Credit: LaTosha Brown)

“Vice President Kamala Harris called me to say she had read the article, and that she too was committed to women and girls all across the country,” said Brown, in a recent phone interview with Philanthropy Women.

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And The Winners Are: Announcing the Feminist Giving IRL Top Tier

Editor’s Note: The following post was first published on March 1, 2021, at the conclusion of our Feminist Giving IRL contest.

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.

Final vote for 2021 Feminist Giving IRL: Light blue is representing Elizabeth Yntema’s 33.4% of the vote. Dr. Tessie San Martin in the blue/green on the right came in at #2 with 19% of the vote. Sara Monteabaro is third in the bright pink with 16.5% of the vote. (Image Credit: Google Spreadsheets)

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.

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The 12 Most Promising Trends in Women’s Philanthropy

Editor’s Note: This post on feminist giving trends was originally published on August 3, 2020.

Since I launched Philanthropy Women in 2017, and even before then, I have been paying close attention to the feminist giving trends, as well as the big plays and strategy shifts, happening in feminist giving. For that reason, I thought it might be helpful to enumerate some of those gender equality giving trends and other happenings, and flesh out what they mean both now and for the future of philanthropy.

feminist giving
State-based women’s funds such are getting more powerful as large foundations like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation begin to recognize the value of their existing infrastructure to leverage social change. (Image credit: Women’s Foundation California)

1. Women Funders Are Getting More Ambitious With Their Strategies

I see women funders getting more ambitious with their strategies in many different ways, both in terms of the subjects they will fund as well as the approaches they are willing to try. This means they are doing bolder things with their money, which often translates into helping our culture to become more inclusive and knowledgeable about difference. For example, Mona Sinha, Chair of the Women Moving Millions Board, has done some amazing work lately supporting the documentary Disclosure. This film does groundbreaking work in terms of exploring the growing world of gender transition, helping this community to be seen and valued by society. Being unafraid to cross the barrier and fund the LGBTQ community is just one of the many bold strategies that more feminist funders are adopting more frequently.

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Which is More Important: Women on the Moon or Gender Equity on Earth?

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on December 8, 2020.

Is repeating space/moon travel a more pressing issue than addressing gender equality on earth?

Jeff Bezos
Jeff Bezos shared a video of his rocket engine on Instagram, with notes about the “thrust” and “deep throttling” of the machinery. (Image credit: Jeff Bezos Instagram)

Jeff Bezos seems to think so. The world’s richest man appears to be in something of a billionaire space-nerd contest with Elon Musk to see who can make the biggest cyber-splash with their private space travel enterprises.

Meanwhile, here on earth, we’re having much more pedestrian problems, such as mass deaths due to a preventable disease ravaging our populace, largely due to the extreme negligence of our country’s leadership.

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Janeen Comenote on How Native Feminist Values Can Guide Giving

Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Janeen Comenote, Executive Director of the National Urban Indian Family Coalition and Marguerite Casey Foundation board member.

Janeen Comenote, courtesy of Janeen Comenote

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

When I first started working in the nonprofit sector over 20 years ago, the concept of philanthropy was completely foreign to me and, frankly, intimidating. I wish I would have known then that my lived professional, personal, and cultural experience is an important story for philanthropy to hear. I think there is real power in sharing our stories with one another and philanthropy needs to hear our collective stories. When I first started my career, it was in a sort of silo, I was unaware of how invisible the Native community was in the larger philanthropic, and American, diaspora. I think, had I known then how profoundly that realization would shape my career, I may have utilized additional messaging about it earlier.

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Rajasvini Bhansali: Democratic Future of US Not Guaranteed

Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Rajasvini Bhansali, Executive Director of Solidaire Network.

Rajasvini Bhansali
Rajasvini Bhansali, Executive Director of Solidaire Network (courtesy of Rajasvini Bhansali)

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

I wish I had known to counter any external and internalized messages about individual leadership accomplishments with the recognition that we are deeply interdependent on others for our success. I would have been even more vulnerable and drawn strength from my community and led in a way that created conditions for even greater connectedness amongst different organizations, networks, and alliances. Sometimes I focused on my own team and organization’s needs over all sectoral, movement building and ecosystem level concerns.  But if the ecosystem doesn’t thrive then each organism within it also suffers. So as feminist leaders, we have to continuously nurture the whole ecosystem.

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How is New York Women’s Fdn Supporting Underserved Communities?

The New York Women’s Foundation has given nearly $3M in grants to organizations helping underserved communities post-pandemic.

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - MAY 14: The group Developing Artists performs onstage during the 32nd Anniversary Celebrating Women Breakfast at Marriott Marquis on May 14, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images for The
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – MAY 14: The group Developing Artists performs onstage during the 32nd Anniversary Celebrating Women Breakfast at Marriott Marquis on May 14, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Monica Schipper/Getty Images for The New York Women’s Foundation)

On June 28th, The New York Women’s Foundation announced almost $3 million in grants reflecting the organization’s fundamental strategy of early and long-term investment in community-rooted organizations led by women and gender expansive people addressing critical issues in underinvested communities. The Foundation’s latest round of grants are critically important to women, gender expansive people and their families in a post-COVID reality. The Foundation is charging ahead and bolstering investments in advancing racial equity, ending mass incarceration in New York City, increasing economic stability for low-income families, and eliminating gender-based violence. 

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A Leader in Women’s Health Urges Donors to Lean Into Discomfort

Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Dr. Anu Kumar, President and CEO of Ipas, an international reproductive health and rights organization.

Anu Kumar
Dr. Anu Kumar, courtesy of Dr. Anu Kumar

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

That the issues that I have chosen to work on, reproductive health and rights including access to abortion, are ones that will take generations to resolve. I naively thought that since Roe v. Wade was decided well before I came of reproductive age and the public health data were so clear about the health benefits of contraception and abortion for women, families, communities, and countries that logic would prevail and I would simply be running programs to scale up these programs. Little did I know that I would become a warrior for abortion rights!

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Trevor Project Granted Amazing $100K from NFL Player Carl Nassib

NFL Player Carl Nassib has come out as gay and is donating $100,000 to The Trevor Project to support LGBTQ+ youth at risk of suicide.

Statement from Amit Paley, CEO & Executive Director of The Trevor Project:

“The Trevor Project is grateful to Carl Nassib for living his truth and supporting LGBTQ youth. This generous donation will help us scale our life-saving crisis services to reach the more than 1.8 million LGBTQ youth who seriously consider suicide each year in the U.S.

Carl Nassib has come out as gay. (Image credit: Associated Press)

“Coming out is an intensely personal decision, and it can be an incredibly scary and difficult one to make. We hope that Carl’s historic representation in the NFL will inspire young LGBTQ athletes across the country to live their truth and pursue their dreams. 

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Gender Lens Analysis of MacKenzie Scott’s $2.7 Billion in New Giving

She’s done it again — outstripped all of philanthropy with her massive capacities to spread capital in the nonprofit realm. Today, MacKenzie Scott announced $2.7 Billion in new giving — funds that will go to those generally underfunded and overlooked. MacKenzie describes her process as “Seeding by Ceding” — seeding social change by ceding her priveleged role to those who need the power more.

mackenzie scott
MacKenzie Scott blew the doors off philanthropy again by giving $2.7 billion in new funding for overlooked and underfunded organizations. (Image credit: MacKenzie Scott)

The gender lens analysis of this new batch of giving turns up several organizations that we discuss frequently here at Philanthropy Women, including our fiscal sponsor, Women’s Funding Network (woot! woot!), as well as a long list of other organizations taking a range of approaches, including intersectional approaches, to addressing the gender issues in our culture. The list of lucky grantees in this batch include:

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