Money for Families: Big Philanthropy Supports Economic Recovery

Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation and Eric Braverman, Chief Executive Officer of Schmidt Futures, Serve As Co-Chairs to launch Fund supporting Low-income, Black, Indigenous, Latinx, BIPOC, Young, Immigrant, Women, Caregivers, Disabled, and LGBTQ People

(Image credit: Families and Workers Fund)

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Families and Workers Fund (FWF) today announced the launch of a five-year collaborative philanthropy dedicated to building a more equitable economy that uplifts all. Recognizing that the COVID-19 pandemic has created a once-in-a-generation opening to improve the lives of workers and their families, FWF will work to deploy funding and build partnerships to help repair and reimagine the systems that fuel economic security, opportunity and mobility. The Fund seeks to advance jobs that sustain and uplift people and also invest in the development of a more inclusive, effective public benefits system, with a focus on unemployment insurance. It will be co-chaired by Darren Walker, President, Ford Foundation and Eric Braverman, Chief Executive Officer, Schmidt Futures.

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Marguerite Casey CEO on Resourcing Abolitionist Feminism

Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features President and Chief Executive Officer of the Marguerite Casey Foundation, Dr. Carmen Rojas.

carmen rojas
Carmen Rojas, courtesy of Carmen Rojas

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

I spent a lot of time in this sector trying to make sense of power relationships — specifically, those with undue influence, limited imaginations and proximity to the people who have long been excluded from our democracy and economy. I wish I had known that this is a feature in the design of philanthropy, and that it doesn’t need to be this way. I spent so much time trying to convince people in positions of power and people closest to the most resources that the communities I care about lack power in our democracy or representation in our economy, not as a result of individual choices but as a result of systemic design.

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The Feminist Factor: How is Feminism Changing the World?

On September 23rd, The Women’s Funding Network will host The Feminist Factor, a virtual conference to discuss feminism across the globe.

The Feminist Factor will take place on September 23rd, 2021 from 10:30AM EDT to 6PM EDT. (Image credit: WFN)
The Feminist Factor will take place on September 23rd, 2021 from 10:30AM EDT to 6PM EDT. (Image credit: WFN)

Women Funded 2021 is a virtual gathering of all gender and racial justice funders, allies, and individuals committed to place-based solutions across the globe for gender equity. Women Funded ‘21 will explore the intersectional nature of feminism as a driver of our work, of the values that we hold, and how we are collectively building a more equitable future. 

This gathering is open to the broader philanthropic and movement community as well as the WFN membership.

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Intersectional Philanthropy: A Conversation with Suzanne Lerner

Editor’s Note: This Q&A was created with the assistance and guidance of Claudia Carasso, Founder and Principal of Elastic Minds. This post was originally published on September 10, 2020.

After our July webinar, “Lack of Funding for Women and Girls of Color: What Donors Can Do,” we had a chance to speak further with our guest, Suzanne Lerner, on her approach to intersectional gender lens philanthropy.

Suzanne Lerner, Co-Founder of clothing brand Michael Stars, is an activist entrepreneur with a primary focus on gender & racial equality, and the economic empowerment of women & girls. (Image Credit: Suzanne Lerner)

The conversation below explores Lerner’s experience as a philanthropist, business leader, and activist entrepreneur, as well as what other funders and company leaders can do to advance an intersectional focus in their approaches to philanthropy.

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Philanthropy or Investing: Why Not Both?

Editor’s Note: The following article was originally published on February 17, 2021.

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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The 12 Most Promising Trends in Women’s Philanthropy

Editor’s Note: This post on feminist giving trends was originally published on August 3, 2020.

Since I launched Philanthropy Women in 2017, and even before then, I have been paying close attention to the feminist giving trends, as well as the big plays and strategy shifts, happening in feminist giving. For that reason, I thought it might be helpful to enumerate some of those gender equality giving trends and other happenings, and flesh out what they mean both now and for the future of philanthropy.

feminist giving
State-based women’s funds such are getting more powerful as large foundations like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation begin to recognize the value of their existing infrastructure to leverage social change. (Image credit: Women’s Foundation California)

1. Women Funders Are Getting More Ambitious With Their Strategies

I see women funders getting more ambitious with their strategies in many different ways, both in terms of the subjects they will fund as well as the approaches they are willing to try. This means they are doing bolder things with their money, which often translates into helping our culture to become more inclusive and knowledgeable about difference. For example, Mona Sinha, Chair of the Women Moving Millions Board, has done some amazing work lately supporting the documentary Disclosure. This film does groundbreaking work in terms of exploring the growing world of gender transition, helping this community to be seen and valued by society. Being unafraid to cross the barrier and fund the LGBTQ community is just one of the many bold strategies that more feminist funders are adopting more frequently.

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Which is More Important: Women on the Moon or Gender Equity on Earth?

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on December 8, 2020.

Is repeating space/moon travel a more pressing issue than addressing gender equality on earth?

Jeff Bezos
Jeff Bezos shared a video of his rocket engine on Instagram, with notes about the “thrust” and “deep throttling” of the machinery. (Image credit: Jeff Bezos Instagram)

Jeff Bezos seems to think so. The world’s richest man appears to be in something of a billionaire space-nerd contest with Elon Musk to see who can make the biggest cyber-splash with their private space travel enterprises.

Meanwhile, here on earth, we’re having much more pedestrian problems, such as mass deaths due to a preventable disease ravaging our populace, largely due to the extreme negligence of our country’s leadership.

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Janeen Comenote on How Native Feminist Values Can Guide Giving

Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Janeen Comenote, Executive Director of the National Urban Indian Family Coalition and Marguerite Casey Foundation board member.

Janeen Comenote, courtesy of Janeen Comenote

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

When I first started working in the nonprofit sector over 20 years ago, the concept of philanthropy was completely foreign to me and, frankly, intimidating. I wish I would have known then that my lived professional, personal, and cultural experience is an important story for philanthropy to hear. I think there is real power in sharing our stories with one another and philanthropy needs to hear our collective stories. When I first started my career, it was in a sort of silo, I was unaware of how invisible the Native community was in the larger philanthropic, and American, diaspora. I think, had I known then how profoundly that realization would shape my career, I may have utilized additional messaging about it earlier.

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Sonal Sachdev Patel: Read This Post, Then Get Some Rest

Editor’s Note: The following essay from Sonal Sachdev Patel, CEO of God My Silent Partner Foundation, discusses the poor quality of life that many professionals in the nonprofit sector live with, and ways to improve that quality of life.

We live in a society that too often equates money with power – and there are very few people with more money than MacKenzie Scott.

get some rest
Sonal Sachdev Patel, CEO of God My Silent Partner Foundation. (Image credit: GMSP)

That’s why I was delighted to read her latest Medium post in which she makes the case for philanthropists getting more done by ceding power and getting out of the way.

That is, providing long-term, unrestricted funding to high-impact nonprofit organizations so they can get on with the important work of making positive change.

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How Desai Foundation has Shifted Now for the COVID Crisis in India

When last we spoke with Megha Desai of the Desai Foundation, it felt like the sky was the limit. But like so much else during the pandemic, critical need forced the Foundation to pivot away from their ambitious campaign goals around mask-making, and toward medical aid on the ground.

Like so many other nonprofit organizations, the Desai Foundation has been prompted to learned unexpected (but no less impactful) lessons during COVID. When one door closes, another opens, right? The Desai Foundation, however, also decided to build new doors.

Image Credit: Desai Foundation

Pivoting from Mask-Making to Other Areas of COVID Response in India

At the beginning of the pandemic, Megha Desai hoped to create a “Masks of Hope” campaign in India and the United States. The plan was to transition the Foundation’s production machines, ordinarily used to manufacture inexpensive menstrual hygiene products for communities in India, into mask manufacturing tools. Once the technique and designs were honed, the plan was to bring those machines back to the United States, bolstering the supplies of PPE moving to first responders and essential workers.

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