I am Jane Doe: The Funding Behind Child Sex Trafficking in America

Funders for the Center for Democracy and Technology, which filed Amicus Briefs supporting Backpage in the Case of Jane Doe vs. Backpage, include Google, Facebook, Open Society Institute, Ford Foundation, MacArthur Foundation, and others.

Last night I watched I am Jane Doe on Netflix. Narrated by actress and social justice advocate Jessica Chastain, the documentary reveals the money and power behind sex trafficking of children, primarily girls, in America.

It’s a horrifying story, but one that is important to know if you are a gender justice advocate, since it gets at the reasons why child sex trafficking, aided by internet hubs like Backpage, is a large and growing business in America.

The inability to end the practice of websites like Backpage.com advertising child prostitutes revolves around the 1996 Communications Decency Act, Section 230, which protects internet providers who publish information provided by another source. Backpage.com has been able to effectively use Section 230 to shield itself from legal challenges brought by the mothers of children who have been sex trafficked.

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Built on Partnership: How This Power Couple Champions Gender Equality

Jennifer and Peter Buffett, Co-Founders, Novo Foundation (Photo Credit: Taylor Crothers)

If a foundation’s mission is to build more healthy partnerships in the world, what better place to start than with their own internal partnerships?

In fact, for Peter and Jennifer Buffett of the NoVo Foundation, developing their own partnership as a couple coincided with developing the mission of their foundation, which is to transform relationships across the globe from “domination and exploitation” to “collaboration and partnership.”

I had approached NoVo wanting to talk to either Jennifer or Peter individually, but,  apropos of their partnership approach to philanthropy, I got them both. They spoke to me by phone from their home in the Hudson Valley, about two hours north of New York City.

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How Are Women More or Less Free? And What Can We Do About It?

Emily Nielsen Jones, President and C0-Founder of Imago Dei Fund, examines the status of gender equality within the larger context of freedom.

Fourth of July, 2017 came and went, but Lady Liberty’s vigil continues, reminding us of the brave work required in every generation to truly live as a free people.

As we turn the page on the 4th of July this year, report after report like the Freedom in the World 2017 and the 2017 Social Progress Index confirm a feeling in the air today: freedom is not currently advancing but rather is in decline. According to these reports, 2016 marked the 11th consecutive year of decline in global freedom.

“In past years we generally saw declines in freedom among autocracies and dictatorships,” describes Arch Puddington, one of Freedom In the World 2017’s co-authors, “but in 2016 it was established democracies that dominated the list of countries suffering setbacks.” The US was among a list of “Free” countries – including Brazil, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Hungary, Poland, Serbia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, and Tunisia – where freedom was found to be in decline as “populist and nationalist forces made significant gains.”

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This Changes Everything: Early American Feminists Were Deeply Religious, Relational, and Race-Conscious

Helen LaKelly Hunt, Author of And the Spirit Moved Them, and movement builder for both gender equality and safe relationships.

For Helen LaKelly Hunt, three central passions drive her work: funding for gender equality, changing the culture of intimate relationships, and rethinking the historical roots of American feminism. These three passions all come together in a new way with the publication of her latest book.

“Jennifer Baumgardner gets much credit. After all, she published this book.” said Helen, in a recent interview with Philanthropy Women. “And as a result of Jennifer’s passion, I always remind her, this book has two mothers.” Baumgardner is the Publisher at The Feminist Press, which released Helen’s book this past May.

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Bloomberg and Partners Support Philanthropy Strategy Aimed at Female Coffee Farmers

Sustainable Harvest has a wide array of supporters including The Clinton Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, and the Lemelson Foundation. It reports leveraging more than $4 million in development grants from foundations and academic, corporate and institutional partners, to deliver programs that help coffee farmers.

An article from Barista Magazine brings good news for women and coffee aficionados worldwide: the launching of a new program aimed at improving coffee quality and productivity for female farmers in Colombia. The new program is a partnership of Strauss Coffee, Sustainable Harvest and the Relationship Coffee Institute. From the article: 

A lot of things make coffee better—for example, better growing practices, a deeper understanding of soil quality, or more advanced machinery for depulping coffee cherries. Time and again, one of the single biggest contributors to an increase in both coffee quality and outcomes for farmers is investment in women. That’s why Strauss Coffee, one of the largest coffee companies in the world, in partnership with Sustainable Harvest Coffee Importers and the Relationship Coffee Institute (RCI), are taking part in a new incentive program aimed at improving the lives of female farmers in Colombia.

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New Study Funded by Global Coalition Sheds Light on Violence Against Women in the Middle East

The new study, called IMAGES MENA for short, is funded by governments, the UN, and the Arcus and Oak Foundations.

A coalition of international and UN organizations, private foundations and governments have come together to produce startling new research on the state of gender norms in the Middle East. The study, entitled Understanding Masculinities: Results from the International Men and Gender Equality Survey (IMAGES) for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), helps to clarify how cultural norms for both men and women contribute to hostility and violence against women, specifically in the nations of Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, and Palestine.

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What’s up with this New Philanthropy Hub, and How Will It Involve Women’s Philanthropy?

Giving Compass aggregates philanthropy news and information by topics, including news and information about women’s philanthropy.

Recently, I got an email from Stephanie Gillis, Senior Advisor at the Raikes Foundation, wanting to “explore potential synergies” with the work we are doing at Philanthropy Women. Naturally, I was eager to do so, and soon learned about Givingcompass.org, a new team effort of several foundations and nonprofits, aimed at drawing on the chops of the tech sector in order to provide more resources for the philanthropy sector, particularly around how to assess the quality of philanthropy and get the most impact per philanthropy dollar.

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Video: Grantmakers for Girls of Color Convened 125 Funders

Today, Grantmakers for Girls of Color will hold its second annual convening, with more than 125 funders meeting in New York for a day-long dialogue about girls of color and safety.

Grantmakers for Girls of Color (GGOC) is an unprecedented collaboration of philanthropic funders that are particularly focused on challenges faced by girls of color.

From the press release:

At the convening we will learn how girls of color are most impacted by interpersonal and state violence and how movements are responding. Together, this is a chance for funders to focus on intersecting safety concerns facing girls of color, as prioritized by those leading movements, and to explore how we can best support efforts working to create safety.

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How Philanthropy Can Strengthen Families And Fuel Gender Equality at the Same Time

Can philanthropy align around supporting families, and in doing so, bolster gender equality?

I had an amazing discussion today with Helen LaKelly Hunt about how funders are aligning across the political spectrum to help strengthen families, and within this approach there is huge potential for gender equality agendas to be realized.

In the context of Helen’s work as both a relationship expert and a philanthropy expert, she sees clearly how philanthropy can do more to build relationship skills, and in doing so make progress for gender equality.  As she puts it, “teaching relational skills transforms the family and bring gender equality to the family.”

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The Global Women’s Philanthropy Network Aligning Health with Human Rights for Women and Girls

Maverick Collective, co-chaired by Melinda Gates and H.R.H. Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway , is poised to deploy millions more in philanthropy with a gender lens.

Some of the wealthiest women in the world deploying vast fortunes with gender lens grantmaking: This is the future of philanthropy.

But gender norms of the past still haunt many women philanthropists. “Women told us that they would be at a cocktail party, and people would come talk to their husbands, but not them,” said Kate Roberts, Senior Vice President for Corporate Partnerships with Population Services International (PSI). A global nonprofit “focused on the encouragement of healthy behavior and affordability of health products,” PSI is the host organization for The Maverick Collective.

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