In the world of feminist giving, we have to celebrate the wins, both the small ones and the big ones. One of those big wins is happening right now, as Melinda Gates and MacKenzie Bezos team up to distribute $30 million through the Equality Can’t Wait Fund.
Really, it’s hard to imagine a more positive development for the feminist giving sphere than Melinda Gates’s incorporation of MacKenzie Bezos right into the frontlines of feminist philanthropy. Yet this is also a searing indictment of how far inequality has advanced in our nation, that the coming together of two megabillionaires could have so much influence.
With so much disparity in the way that COVID impacts different communities and demographics, it is good to see many stories in the news about diverse women coming together to bring resources to those in need. In recent weeks, new funding efforts led by women of color have launched in several states across the country including Pennsylvania, Washington State, and Georgia. In addition, new national efforts have launched to help Black women entrepreneurs, and to understand and address the intersectionality of environment, race, and gender.
New Funds Seek to Address Racism, Sexism
Among these new initiatives is a new fund hosted by She Can Win, an organization started in 2013 in Philadelphia to support black women entrepreneurs. She Can Win recently pooled membership dues to create a new foundation and made four initial grants to organizations on the frontlines of reproductive justice, supporting young mothers, and helping survivors heal from injustice.
One of Many, a short film about the 2017 Women’s March, and an official selection of the upcoming 2020 International New York Film Festival, is seeking digital distribution. As the Trump era lurches to a close, and new rounds of protests occupy the streets, One of Many documents the women’s marches that occurred nationwide three-and-a-half years ago in opposition to Trump, and more broadly, to sexism, patriarchy, and racism.
“The film captures the widespread, collective outrage that President Trump’s inauguration provoked while contextualizing it within historical human rights movements,” notes One of Many Executive Producer Jessica Good. The sixteen-minute documentary is directed by M.J. Bernier and debuted last fall at Atlanta’s Out on Film festival, one of the oldest and largest LGBTQ+ film festivals.
Editor’s Note: The following announcement was provided by Lever for Change, a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Affiliate.
Equality Can’t Wait Challenge
Launched on June 16, 2020, the Equality Can’t Wait Challenge will award $30 million to help expand women’s power and influence in the United States by 2030. Hosted by Pivotal Ventures, the investment and incubation company created by Melinda Gates, the Challenge seeks to accelerate the pace of progress for more women of all backgrounds to be in positions to make decisions, control resources, and shape policies and perspectives in their homes, workplaces, and communities – because equality can’t wait. Applicants must register online by Tuesday, September 1, 2020.
Women’s funds partner with Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to promote economic mobility for women and girls in wake of the COVID crisis
SAN FRANCISCO — Women’s Funding Network today announced the cohort selection for its Regional Women’s Economic Mobility Hub project, as part of an 18-month effort funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to increase support and resources necessary to advance economic mobility among women and girls.
The project is being launched at a pivotal time when economic mobility is essential to surviving the financial uncertainties resulting from the COVID crisis. The cohort includes Chicago Foundation for Women, Maine Women’s Fund, The Women’s Fund of Greater Birmingham, Women’s Foundation of Arkansas, Iowa Women’s Foundation, Women’s Foundation of Southern Arizona, The Women’s Foundation of Colorado, Western New York Women’s Foundation and Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis.
This important discussion comes at a critical time: as the COVID-19 crisis continues to play a dangerous role in the rise of domestic violence cases; as demonstrations continue in response to the deaths of people of color at the hands of police officers; and as people join together around the world to call for action on behalf of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and the countless other women and people of color who deserve to have their stories heard.
The webinar will focus on ways philanthropy can help to end violence against women of color. With the tragic death of Breonna Taylor, we see how women’s lives are snuffed out with no repercussions. Black women in the US are more likely to experience domestic violence, be arrested for it, and be murdered by an intimate partner. This webinar will focus on key strategies funders can take to support women of color as they fight for their right to live and prosper.
WASHINGTON, DC, May 20, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The global pandemic is making the country’s student debt crisis exponentially worse, according to a new analysis by the American Association of University Women. AAUW concludes that, unless policymakers take further action to combat student debt and bolster the U.S. economy, millions of women college graduates will face unprecedented burdens that will hamper their economic security for years to come.
Sheridan Road, a “luxury and lifestyle” magazine out of Chicago that focuses on North Shore activities, did a recent feature of Elizabeth “Liza” Yntema, whose work in dance equity we have covered here at Philanthropy Women. Liza has also participated in our Feminist Giving In Real Life (F-GIRL) series.
The wonderful thing about this interview, written by Allison Duncan, is how effortlessly it moves through different layers of experience as we come to understand the subject’s world view. The article starts with a foray into Liza’s family history of accused Salem witches, early women scientists, and Depression-era bankers with integrity. From the article:
COVID-19 puts pressure on all of us, but many women and girls are at higher risk of danger and oppression during these unprecedented times. A crisis like COVID-19 makes the widespread effects of issues like abuse, domestic violence, and rising barriers to educational, financial, and social survival much more intense–and often, much more deadly. The new Global Resilience Fund for Girls and Young Women seeks to answer this understated emergency with rapid, flexible funding to activist groups led by girls and young women.
The Global Resilience Fund supports informal collectives, registered organizations, and unregistered community groups led by girls, young women, and trans and intersex young people around the world. To reach populations that may otherwise have a difficult time obtaining funding, the Global Resilience Fund only offers grants to organizations with a budget of less than $50,000 per year. Successful applicants can receive “fully flexible rapid response grants” worth up to $5,000.
Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Desiree Flores, Arcus Foundation U.S. Social Justice program director.
1. What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession?
I grew up in a large Mexican-American family with farm worker roots in the rural Central Valley of California. I started out as a young program assistant right out of college at the Ms. Foundation for Women, excited for the job but not having a clue what the philanthropic sector was! What I wish I had known is the exact lesson I learned early and often in that position: that those closest to a problem know best how to solve it. We supported women of color organizing their local communities and creating national networks for systemic policy change. Black and brown women know how to shift cultural attitudes in support of reproductive rights, while HIV-positive women know how to structure data gathering to best test, treat and prevent the transmission. Invest in those who live it, and you will change the world.