Feminist Giving In the News: Top 10 Women’s Funding Countdown

This batch of feminist funding news spans from state-based government funding for childcare workers (brilliant stuff!) to ten new additions we have made to the funders listed in our Gender Equality Funder Database. Enjoy!

Lauren Y. Casteel, President and CEO of The Women’s Foundation of Colorado. (Image credit: WFC)

1: Women’s Foundation of Colorado Makes Goal of 100% Gender Lens Investable Assets

“As the only community foundation in the state focused on gender, racial, and economic equity, it was time to unapologetically integrate all assets of our operation and programs around our goals to ensure the success of our strategic framework,” said Lauren Y. Casteel, president and CEO of The Women’s Foundation. “We are proud to align our money with our mission, and to use all of our available resources to maximize donor impact.”

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Jamie Allen Black: The Loneliness of the Trust-Based Funder

Editor’s Note: The following opinion piece is from Jamie Allen Black, CEO of the Jewish Women’s Foundation of New York, in response to a recent opinion piece from Jeannie Infante Sager.

As Jeannie Infante Sager, director of the Women’s Philanthropy Institute, points out in her recent Philanthropy Women article, MacKenzie Scott, the world’s most famous female philanthropist, has embraced “trust-based” philanthropy. 

Jamie Allen Black, CEO of the Jewish Women’s Foundation of New York, raises important questions about relationship issues related to trust-based philanthropy. (Image credit: Jamie Allen Black)

Yet the conversation about Scott leaves one fascinating thing unsaid: She’s female and a philanthropist, but she doesn’t give like a female philanthropist.

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Why We Were So Easily Fooled by Hugh Hefner + Feminist Giving News

Hello there, my philanthro-friends. Welcome to another week of feminist giving updates, as well as other revelations in the world of gender equality news.

playboy feminist giving
Holly Madison, former girlfriend of Hugh Hefner and creator and star of Girls Next Door, discusses her diagnosis of Aspergers in Secrets of Playboy, and how she was drawn to living at the Playboy mansion early on because it gave her a sense of community. (Image credit: Secrets of Playboy)

This week, I did it. I binge-watched the first six episodes of Secrets of Playboy on A&E.

I did it for a lot of reasons. First, because I care about women, especially women who have survived trauma and are trying to make peace with that trauma and with the world that allowed it to happen.

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What Philanthropy is Doing About the World’s Lack of Feminism

Well hello, my philanthro-lovelies! I hope you are doing well, and are ready to dive into some more feminist giving news!

Happy Black History Month! This painting is entitled “Biddy Mason, 1852, Los Angeles” and features one of the first Black women to own property in Los Angeles, Biddy Mason. The year is 1852 in this depiction. Biddy Mason is age 34 and not yet freed. She would go on to petition for her freedom in California in 1856, and received her certificate of emancipation in 1860. Before and after her emancipation, Biddy Mason practiced as a nurse and mid-wife. (Image credit: Kiersten Marek)

Today I’d like to start with a quote from MacKenzie Scott, who has outstripped her ex-husband’s lifetime of giving in just two years. Here are her words from when she made her promise to fulfill The Giving Pledge:

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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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