Philanthropy or Investing: Why Not Both?

When it comes to maximizing our financial impact, there is often an “either/or” approach to leveraging wealth. Do we use our dollars to fund a philanthropic effort, like a campaign or organization dedicated to women and girls, or do we turn our funds toward investment opportunities, like supporting companies with a strong commitment to diversity?

Ellen Remmer is a Senior Partner at The Philanthropic Institute (TPI) and Champion of Invest for Better. (Image Credit: Invest for Better/Ellen Remmer)

As new forms of giving spring up to meet the challenges — and opportunities — of a digital society, we are able to move further away from that attitude of “either/or.” There are ways to stretch our donor dollars further — through two types of collectives that maximize impact.

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Become an Invest for Better Circle Leader: Apply by February 10th!

If you’ve wanted to form an impact circle but aren’t sure how to get started, Invest for Better has the program for you. Applications are now open for the Spring 2021 Cohort of Invest for Better’s Circle Leader program. Kicking off on February 11th, this free training program offers the resources and know-how for women to form, lead, and grow their own impact investing circles.

The Spring 2021 cohort of Invest for Better’s Circle Leader training program begins on February 11th, 2021. (Image Credit: Invest for Better)

Invest for Better is a national initiative aimed at helping women demystify impact investing, take control of their capital and mobilize their money for good. It is non-profit and non-transactional, designed to address the “aspiration gap” between women’s interest and their action by overcoming obstacles to participation, and building trusted peer communities.

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Najada Kumbuli: Aligning Assets with Values at Visa Foundation

Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Najada Kumbuli, the new Head of Investments for the Visa Foundation. 

Najada Kumbuli, courtesy of Najada Kumbuli

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

I was fortunate to start my career in the field I was passionate about – impact investing. At the time, impact investing, or investing to generate a measurable, beneficial social and/or environmental impact alongside a financial return, was nascent, which provided both an opportunity to shape the trajectory of the industry and a challenge, as there were few companies leading the way, yet tremendous need to accelerate and scale their work. 

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Announcing New Grants from WomensNet

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, WomensNet has announced that it will be expanding its grantmaking to support more women-owned businesses in 2021.

WomensNet pledges to do more grantmaking in 2021 to support female entrepreneurs. (Image credit: WomensNet)
WomensNet pledges to do more grantmaking in 2021 to support female entrepreneurs. (Image credit: WomensNet)

(From WomensNet, January 21, 2021) Over the past few weeks, we’ve taken some time to reflect on the challenges women business owners faced in 2020.

The Covid-19 pandemic has been a tough time for small business owners generally.  And even tougher for women-owned start-ups across the country. We heard a lot of heart-breaking stories of businesses teetering because of Covid.

We’ve also felt the entrepreneurial spirit of women from every corner of America (as well as our Canadian neighbors). And so we’re starting 2021 with renewed hope and purpose in helping women like you. 

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Catherine Berman: Together, We Can Move Mountains

Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Catherine Berman, CEO and Co-founder of impact investment platform CNote.

Catherine Berman, courtesy of Catherine Berman

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

Question what others deem impossible.

2. What is your current greatest professional challenge?

Education. We see values-based investing as a game-changer for both investing and creating a more sustainable, equitable world.  We spend a lot of time helping investors and donors learn about the measurable difference they can make with their investments without sacrificing returns or operational ease. Many of us grew up learning the only way to support the causes and communities we care about was through grants. That is no longer the case. We see impact investing as an important opportunity to double-down on the causes you care about and a way to authentically represent your values with every dollar; where you spend, where you donate, and where you invest.

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Deb Nelson of RSF Social Finance on Activating Money for Good

Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Deb Nelson, Vice President of Client and Community Engagement at RSF Social Finance.

Deb Nelson, courtesy of Deb Nelson.

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

I wish I’d known what a powerful tool money can be, and how important it is to understand the way people think about and deal with money. Through my previous work at Social Venture Network, I grew to understand and leverage social capital, but I resisted working with financial capital until I understood how to use it to effect positive change. Women have been socialized to believe we don’t know enough about money and we should just leave it to the experts. But you don’t have to be an expert to use money well. You just need to question assumptions about money, understand what it can do and activate it for good. Now, I love working with money and collaborating with investors and donors.

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Caress Gives $1 Mil as Founding Donor to IFundWomen of Color

ENGLEWOOD CLIFFS, N.J., June 24, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Throughout history communities of color have been affected by systemic racism and societal injustice. The global pandemic of COVID-19 has further highlighted the ongoing economic, health and social inequities communities of color faceAs a brand that aims to empower and uplift women, we recognize that, women of color entrepreneurs and small business owners face specific challenges and lack of access when it comes to starting or sustaining their businesses.  

IFund Women of Color
(PRNewsfoto/Caress)

Today, Caress has announced a $1,000,000 investment over the next 2 years to support women of color entrepreneurs through a founding partnership with IFundWomen of Color. IFundWomen of Color (IFWOC), is the leading platform for diverse entrepreneurs to raise capital through crowdfunding, grants, and coaching. Through this partnership these entrepreneurs will receive the support needed to stay open, re-open, and ensure their long-term success. Beginning with a $500,000 immediate relief donation to support 200 women of color entrepreneurs, already in the IFWOC community, with funding and IFWOC group coaching, mentorship, and connections needed to sustain their businesses. 

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Stacy’s Rise Announces $10 K Female Founders Grantees

Four-month program to provide $10,000 grants, professional advertising services and executive mentorship – including access to Press and Heath – to the Class of 2020, as recent Stacy’s Rise Project survey reveals 72 percent of female entrepreneurs report difficulties finding a mentor.

stacy's rise grants
Stacy’s Rise Class of 2020 (Image Credit: Stacy’s Rise)

PLANO, Texas, July 16, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — When the Stacy’s Rise Project announced it would expand its 2020 grant and mentorship program to support even more female founders with broadened services, women responded in kind – with 1,600 applicants, quadrupling last year’s numbers for a chance at $10,000 business grants, 1:1 executive mentorship and a dedicated team of professionals creating, producing and strategically placing advertising on their behalf.

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Economic Mobility Hubs: Gates and Women’s Funds Partnership

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.

 (Image Credit: Christina @ wocintechchat.com on Unsplash)

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.

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COVID Worsens Student Debt for Women, Study Finds

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.

women student loans
Student debt was already more burdensome for women than it was for men. The COVID crisis is making the women’s student debt crisis worse. (Photo by Honey Yanibel Minaya Cruz on Unsplash.)

Read Deeper in Debt: Women and Student Loans in the Time of COVID

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