Greetings and welcome to Philanthropy Women! It’s Kiersten Marek here, the founder and editor of PW. Today there are many new happenings I want to share with you from the feminist giving realm, but first I want to take a moment to acknowledge an issue that has caused difficulty for us as a publication: the phenomenon of feminist givers being taught not to love themselves, and to see funding news about their work as an indulgence.
As women, broadly speaking, we are taught not to love ourselves, to discredit our own work, and to downplay our own accomplishments. One of the reasons I started Philanthropy Women was because I wanted to reverse that trend — to make it possible, and, dare I say, easy, to feel good about yourself as a funder of gender equality.
Along with all of the other forms of oppression that a world without access to abortion brings, a particularly stark example of the violence that women face in the patriarchy occurred here in Rhode Island recently. Jennifer Rourke, who is part of the Rhode Island Cooperative, an alliance of progressive democratic candidates running for state office, was punched repeatedly by her opponent in the Senate race, Jeann Lugo.
Jennifer Rourke was speaking at a rally to protest the end of Roe V. Wade in Providence. After speaking, she was standing in the audience with friends. According to Matt Brown, candidate for Governor in Rhode Island and co-founder of the Rhode Island Co-op, three right-wing counter-protesters showed up. Jennifer, as one of the leaders there, approached the situation to try to de-escalate and defuse any possible conflict or disruption to the event. But moments later, Lugo, who is a Providence police officer and was off-duty, punched her in the face. The incident was caught on video by Bill Bartholomew.
Well my friends, welcome to 2022! January is a time of research and development here at Philanthropy Women, as we refine our strategy going forward. After much consideration, we have decided not to rebrand or change the name of the website. Because it so accurately fits the content, it needs to stand. And because the gender equality issues in philanthropy still need so much attention, we will be keeping the name.
Beyond that, the future is much less clear. It turns out that by doubling up on niches, philanthropy being one niche and gender equality being (sadly) another niche, we have struggled to find a solid foundation. However, this does not mean that gender equality philanthropy does not need and deserve more media attention. In fact, our struggle is kind of like a real-time example of the entrenched marginalization of women, and feminist ideas, in the charitable realm.
Wavelength Productions has opened submissions for the WAVE grant, which will award five women and non-binary filmmakers of color.
Submissions for the WAVE grant are now open. From Wavelength Films, the production studio behind titles such as Isabel Bethencourt and Parker Hill’s “Cusp” and Ekwa Msangi’s “Farewell Amor,” the initiative supports first-time women and non-binary filmmakers of color. The Wave Grant stands for “Women at the Very Edge” and includes a $5,000 grant and mentorship program.
The WAVE grant was launched to support directors with the production of their first short documentary or narrative film. A press release from Wavelength announced that “the program has been so successful that they will be awarding the mentorship program and grants to the top five filmmakers this year.”
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.
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?”
The spring application season is officially open for arts funders seeking female filmmakers, as shown in this list of grant resources.
As we head closer to a return to normalcy, funding opportunities for the arts are beginning to open back up — which means it’s time for women to take center stage in the film industry. For female filmmakers in particular, grants for documentaries, short films, feature films, and more are beginning to shake off the winter doldrums and prepare for the spring application season: the ideal opportunity to improve female representation in film.
Here are a selection of funders (presented in alphabetical order) looking for female directors and filmmakers. This is by no means a complete collection. More to add to the list? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to share this grants list with the female filmmakers in your social circles!
How many girls see themselves in office because of characters like Leslie Knope and Selina Meyer? How many teenagers cheer on their on-screen counterparts in movies like The Half of It, which features a queer, Chinese-American leading lady, and TV shows like Sex Education, where the beautifully diverse cast of high school characters has captured hearts around the world?
During the second day of the Women Moving Millions annual summit, Laverne Cox took the virtual stage with Darnell Moore, Director of Inclusion Strategy for Content and Marketing at Netflix, to discuss the power inherent in seeing people who look, talk, and live like us in the TV shows and movies we watch.
On Thursday, August 27th, we gathered for this month’s Philanthropy Women webinar: Women in Media Changing the Game. With guests Lori Sokol, Ruth Ann Harnisch, and Johanna Derlega, we discussed the under-funding and under-representation of female journalists and women’s media outlets, as well as ways funders can work to fix this under-representation.
How To Increase Funding for Women in Media
Editor-in-Chief Kiersten Marek kicked off the call with a reminder to breathe, and introduced today’s theme: Women in Media Changing the Game.
“We know now more than ever how important women’s leadership is,” she said. “COVID has taught us that women leaders in countries around the world have had much better success with managing COVID. And that’s just one example of the women’s leadership differential—the ability to prioritize health and the well-being of others.”
With COVID-19 dominating news feeds, it’s more important than ever before to keep our attention on movements like #MeToo and the fight for gender equality. The music industry, like many male-dominated fields, is rife with stories of harassment and assault. And the disconcerting trend we see over and over in cases of sexual assault pops up in the music industry, too: the silence of women scared that speaking up will mean losing their careers.
Academy Award-nominated filmmakers Amy Ziering and Kirby Dick seek to break this mold in On the Record, an intense and poignant account of one woman’s fight to tell her story. Drew Dixon, formerly a music executive at Def Jam Recordings and Arista Records, is one of the first women of color to speak up publicly about sexual assault at the hands of a prominent industry giant. On the Record tells her story, and those of several other women alleging sexual assault, harassment, or rape by music mogul Russell Simmons.
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.