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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Favianna Rodriguez on the Power of Art to Heal Polarization

Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Favianna Rodriguez, President of The Center for Cultural Power, a national organization investing in artists and storytellers as agents of positive social change.

Favianna Rodriguez, courtesy of Favianna Rodriguez
  1. What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession?

I wish I’d known more about the racial and gender barriers that exist for women of color leaders in the non-profit sector, particularly the arts and culture space. I knew how to pitch my ideas and raise money, but I lacked information on how to navigate situations in which I was experiencing unequal treatment due to my gender and racial identity. I was in many spaces where the safety of women was not prioritized. Unfortunately, over the last 20 years of being an institutional leader, I’ve experienced numerous uncomfortable situations including sexual harassment, the theft of my ideas by male leaders, being bullied by men when I challenged sexist assumptions, and being trained to lead in a boy’s club type of approach. Before, I didn’t have the language or tools to navigate these situations. But that has since changed, and I’m incredibly thankful for that because it gives me the opportunity to create safe spaces for other female and gender non-confirming leaders to thrive.

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Black Women Philanthropists Honored by New WPI Initiative

The Women’s Philanthropy Institute (WPI) has launched a new initiative to honor black women and their contributions to philanthropy.

Sharlene Kemler, CEO of the Loveland Foundation, is among the 10 women on WPI's Black Women Give Back List for her contributions to the mental health of black women. (Image credit: IUPhilanthropy)
Sharlene Kemler, CEO of the Loveland Foundation, is among the 10 women on WPI’s Black Women Give Back List for her contributions to the mental health of black women. (Image credit: IUPhilanthropy)

On August 31st, the Women’s Philanthropy Institute (WPI), part of the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, announced the honorees of the Black Women Give Back List, a new initiative to spotlight the important work and contributions of Black women philanthropists. Created in partnership with The Women Invested to Save the Earth (WISE) Fund, the backbone organization for Black Philanthropy Month, the list spotlights 10 outstanding Black women philanthropists from diverse backgrounds who use their time, talent, treasure, testimony and ties to make the world a better place.

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How Carmen Randolph and WFS Will Transform Philanthropy

As the Founding President and CEO of Women’s Foundation of the South (WFS), Carmen James Randolph will create huge change in philanthropy.

Carmen James Randolph, former VP for Programs of the Greater New Orleans Foundation, will take on a new role as the Founding President and CEO of WFS. (Image credit: Women's Foundation of the South)
Carmen James Randolph, former VP for Programs of the Greater New Orleans Foundation, will take on a new role as the Founding President and CEO of WFS. (Image credit: Women’s Foundation of the South)

Carmen James Randolph, noted philanthropy leader and former Vice President for Programs of the Greater New Orleans Foundation, has been announced as the Founding President and CEO of Women’s Foundation of the South (WFS), a revolutionary first-of-its-kind foundation founded by and created for women and girls of color in the South to advance gender and racial justice. As President and CEO, she will stand up this exciting new entity, build its team, broker partnerships with women of color leaders across the South to inform WFS’ work and investments, and oversee the strategic direction and day-to-day operations.

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Deb Markowitz: Bringing Women to the Fore in Environmental Work

Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Deb Markowitz, director of the Nature Conservancy in Massachusetts.

Deborah Markowitz
Deb Markowitz, courtesy of Deb Markowitz

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

I come to the position of director of the Nature Conservancy in Massachusetts after a long career in public service. I was in my mid-30s, with three very young children when I was first elected Vermont’s Secretary of State. After serving for 12 years, I ran for Governor of Vermont, and although I lost the primary election by less than 500 votes, the person who won appointed me to serve as his environmental secretary. From this experience I learned a couple of things. First, if you stay grounded in mission and purpose, you can withstand the ups and downs of ones’ career. Second, nothing great is ever accomplished alone. Ask for help, cultivate trusted partners, and use your power and privilege to lift others.  

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2020 Elections Diversified State Legislatures Like Never Before

A report from the Donors of Color Network and The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (DLCC) reveals major improvements in representation for BIPOC in government.

donors of color
Photo by Gayatri Malhotra on Unsplash

In the past, a prevalent political myth has been that white candidates have more electability and viability than candidates of color. This has led to a dangerous narrative that perpetuates subpar amounts of investment in candidates of color and their campaigns. Additionally, it pushed that white candidates were presumed to win elections.

A new report from Donors of Color and DLCC shows how the 2020 elections more than disproved this narrative. In 2020, we had the highest number of candidates of color elected into state legislator positions in the entire history of the country. This is no small feat to have accomplished, and quite a few factors went into making it possible.

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Pop Culture Collaborative Leaders Discuss Funding Narrative Change

Editor’s Note: This dual interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Bridgit Antoinette Evans and Tracy Van Slyke, who are, respectively, the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Strategy Officer of the Pop Culture Collaborative, a philanthropic resource and funder learning community.

Bridgit Antoinette Evans and Tracy Van Slyke, courtesy of Bridgit Antoinette Evans and Tracy Van Slyke

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

Bridgit Antoinette Evans: I wish that I’d been introduced to Octavia E. Butler much earlier in life. Octavia wrote about this concept of “positive obsession,” which she described as “not being able to stop just because you’re afraid and full of doubts.” My mother and her siblings were leaders in the Civil Rights movement in Savannah, and while she fiercely believed that her daughters could be anything we wanted to be in the world, she was very clear that we needed to be improving the world while doing it. I wanted to be an artist, and so, as a teen, I became obsessed with one question: “What is the relationship between a great story and widespread cultural change?”

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How Madam CJ Walker Empowered Black Giving in the Time of Jim Crow

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on November 20, 2020. We are resharing in celebration of Black Philanthropy Month.

On October 12, the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at IUPUI celebrated the launch of Dr. Tyrone McKinley Freeman’s new book, Madam C.J. Walker’s Gospel of Giving: Black Women’s Philanthropy During Jim Crow. Moderated by Bob Grimm, Philanthropy Historian at the University of Maryland’s Do Good Institute, the event featured conversations with Freeman, as well as Madam Walker’s great-great granddaughter, A’Lelia Bundles, who also wrote the foreword for the book.

The Lilly Family School of Philanthropy celebrated the launch of Dr. Tyrone McKinley Freeman’s book about the life and legacy of Madam C.J. Walker in an event featuring the author, the chair of the Do Good Institute, and Walker’s great-great granddaughter. (Image Credit: University of Illinois Press)

The event opened with a welcome from Bob Grimm, the night’s moderator. He began by introducing Dr. Freeman, a professor at the Lilly School, and a prolific author whose work has been featured in a wide range of outlets. Grimm also introduced A’Lelia Bundles, Madam Walker’s great-great granddaughter and author of many books about Madam Walker and her legacy.

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Equal Rights Amendment Can’t Wait in Time of COVID

Editor’s Note: This post urging passage of the Equal Rights Amendment was originally published on September 3, 2020.

Three weeks ago, I was elected as Board Chair of the Equal Rights Amendment Fund for Women’s Equality. As a funder and champion of women’s rights and economic justice, this call to step up could not have come at a more urgent time. 

equal rights amendment
The ERA Coalition is the sister organization to the Equal Rights Amendment Fund for Women’s Equality. (Image Credit: ERA Coalition)

Each one of us has had many moments of reckoning during COVID-19. But as women of color, we have seen that COVID has treated us differently from the rest. Race has been identified as a co-morbidity and a risk factor, just like diabetes or heart disease. Our healthcare systems, our educational systems, and our systems for protecting essential workers are all struggling mightily against a dangerous and mysterious disease. Basic rights and systems have been demolished for women, and women of color are being particularly hard-hit, facing higher rates of job loss while also being expected to bear more responsibility for caregiving and educating children.

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What if Only Women Voted in the 2020 Election?

Editor’s Note: This post about how women voted in the 2020 election originally appeared on November 11, 2020, and has been updated to reflect our country’s new investments from the Biden-Harris Administration.

The question came up in my mind about 2020 women voters, and I see many other people have been tossing this question around in conversations online: What if only women voted in the 2020 election? Would it have been a much easier win for the Biden-Harris presidency?

2020 Election Results for Women Voters

only women voted
This image from the Washington Post helps illustrate the point: if only women voted in the 2020 election, it would have been a much easier win for Biden. The key states of Texas, Florida, Arizona, and Pennsylvania would have all been sure wins, as well as many other states. (Image credit: Washington Post)

If Only Women Voted, Biden-Harris Landslide Win

The answer is a resounding yes. The above graphic says it all. In the 14 states listed above and in many others, Biden would have won handily.

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