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?
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.
If you’ve wanted to form an impact circle but aren’t sure how to get started, Invest for Betterhas the program for you. Applications are now open for the Spring 2021 Cohort of Invest for Better’sCircle 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.
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.
Bright and early on Wednesday, January 27th, women from all over the country joined Sondra Shaw-Hardy and Carmen Stevens of Women’s Giving Circles International (WGCI) for a collaborative workshop on collective giving.
Sondra opened the event by welcoming the attendees and speakers, and introducing the day’s topics.
“The power of women’s philanthropy has changed not only the countries we live in, but changed us as well,” she said.
Carmen Stevens on Global Giving Circles
Carmen Stevens introduced the history of WGCI, which works to provide educational resources for women all over the world looking to start and grow their own giving circles. Primarily focused on circles outside of the United States, WGCI facilitates circle creation, networking, and mentorship all over the globe, but particularly in Latin America, Europe, and the organization’s most recent programs in Asia.
Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Catherine Berman, CEO and Co-founder of impact investment platform CNote.
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.
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.
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.
If you’re a fan of hummus and veggie dip, you’re probably a fan of Stacy’s Pita Chips, too. However, like most businesses, the snack brand wasn’t always a familiar fixture in grocery stores. A combination of smart advertising tactics, mentoring, and financial support brought the female-founded brand from its origins in sandwich carts to its place in grocery stores (and our pantries!).
In honor of the brand’s rise to fame, Stacy and Frito-Lay partnered to create the Stacy’s Rise Project, a grant program designed to elevate female-founded brands. The 2020 application cycle is now open, the fourth in the Stacy’s Rise program, and it offers $10,000 grants to 15 women-owned businesses.
A fellowship granting fund, EllevateHER Forward equips women who have been economically impacted by the pandemic with tools and resources to return to work.
NEW YORK, May 5, 2020 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ — Ellevate Network, the largest community of women at work, launches EllevateHER Forward, a fellowship granting fund designed to alleviate the economic burden of the novel coronavirus pandemic on women and support their journey back to the workplace.
EllevateHER Forward Fellows are equipped with comprehensive membership packages that include networking opportunities, a wide range of professional and personal development programming, online resources, Ellevate’s signature 12-week virtual program Squads, and access to a community of over 150,000+ women. Contributions made to the fund will be matched up to $250,000 by Ellevate Network.
I was sitting in my office, wincing at the mid-afternoon sun bouncing off the gold dome perched atop the New Hampshire State House five years ago. The slant of the light created a glare that made it hard for me to look interested in the droning of a DC consultant who had cornered me there. He had scheduled meetings with operatives like me to talk about something “big” and “early” in the First in the Nation presidential cycle in New Hampshire – a $15 million spend to “draft Elizabeth Warren.”
Warren had just been elected to the U.S. Senate three years prior. His idea was nested in a paid and earned media schtick. He had donors. He had ideas. I was the lone progressive infrastructure staffer who had just gotten a crash course on running the state’s super PAC coalition to elect democrats up and down the ballot. I had seen a glimpse of the battlefield ahead and could have cared less about his ideas, mainly because he wasn’t actually looking for feedback.
The Tory Burch Foundation, a nonprofit organization empowering women, is bringing together leaders, activists, and performers for an event billed as The Summit: Challenging Stereotypes and Creating New Norms. The Embrace Ambition Summit (#EmbraceAmbition) will be held on March 5 in New York at Jazz at Lincoln Center’s Frederick P. Rose Hall.
Speakers will include:
Tory Burch – Executive Chairman and Chief Creative Officer of Tory Burch LLC, an American lifestyle brand, and Founder of the Tory Burch Foundation;
Yola – Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter and musician from Bristol, England;
Ashley Judd – Author, actor, leader of the #MeToo movement and founding member of Time’s Up;
Tina Tchen – President & CEO of Time’s Up, and formerly executive director of the White House Council on Women and Girls;
Sylvia Earle – Founder of the marine environmental organization Mission Blue;
Claudette Colvin – One of two survivors of the Browder v. Gayle U.S. Supreme Court Case that ended bus segregation in Montgomery, Alabama;
Diane von Furstenberg – Fashion designer, philanthropist and Founder and Chair of her eponymous company;
Mellody Hobson – Co-CEO and President of Ariel Investments;
Deja Foxx – Founder of @GenZGirlGang, an online community of womxn; and
Anne Finucane – Vice-Chair at Bank of America, and Board Chair of B of A’s European Bank.
The Tory Burch Foundation-convened Summit will include stories and conversations featuring female leaders from Hollywood, business, science, entrepreneurship and youth movements who will tackle “challenging stereotypes and creating new norms.” The all-day summit will include performances, including short stories, spoken word, and music.
Attendees will be able to connect with women-owned businesses at the entrepreneur marketplace, visit the Tory Burch Foundation pop-up shop, and network with other attendees. Applications to attend have closed, but anyone can sign up for the free live stream of the event.
Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Maricella Herrera, vice president of Operations and Strategy at Ellevate Network, “a community of professional women committed to helping each other succeed.”
What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession?
When I first started out, I thought my career was already laid out for me; I was going into my first job at a bank, I would rise in the ranks, get more responsibility, go to business school, go back to finance and keep going until I retired. It was what was expected. I never really understood that to be completely happy, I needed to find something that didn’t just intellectually stimulate me, but that resonated with my values. I didn’t know you could build a career in an area that was about doing good. When I first started out, social enterprises were nascent. Not many people were thinking about them. I wish I had known I could find my passion and what I’m good at in one place, and that it wouldn’t necessarily be what everyone else thought I was supposed to be doing, and that that was ok. My background is in business and finance, so knowing I can use those skills to make a difference in the world is exciting.