There was a big shift in how health care functions for women yesterday. An estimated 70,000 to 126,000 women will be prevented from accessing contraception due to the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the right of employers to refuse to provide birth control coverage for women.
Women leaders across the country decried the decision for its devastating impact on women, including women leaders in philanthropy. Elizabeth Barajas-Román, President and CEO of the Women’s Funding Network, called attention to how this decision is particularly detrimental to women and girls of color.
Kiersten Marek, editor and publisher of Philanthropy Women, opened up today’s webinar, “Funding to End Violence Against Women of Color,” with a welcome to the speakers and audience.
She introduced the webinar with a discussion on the idea behind Philanthropy Women. Partially inspired by NoVo Foundation’s bold commitment of $90 million in funding for women and girls of color in 2016, Philanthropy Women launched in January of 2017 to cover this kind of intersectional feminist giving approach and others like it. However, with NoVo’s recent shuttering of programs for women and girls of color, the funding landscape for addressing domestic violence against women of color is facing some big changes.
How can we properly honor healthcare professionals risking their lives on the front lines of COVID-19? Philanthropist and art collector Sandi Nicholson, and her husband Bill Nicholson, recently announced the launch of “Nurse Heroes,” an art contest and fundraising campaign to support the healthcare heroes of 2020.
“This year we celebrate the bicentennial of the birth of Florence Nightingale, founder of modern nursing and the first nursing college,” the Nicholsons announced in a press release. “Today, the legacy of Florence Nightingale continues, with people all over the world opening their doors and windows to show appreciation for our health care workers on the front lines. With ‘Nurse Heroes’ we recognized an opportunity to do more.”
In the world of feminist giving, we have to celebrate the wins, both the small ones and the big ones. One of those big wins is happening right now, as Melinda Gates and MacKenzie Bezos team up to distribute $30 million through the Equality Can’t Wait Fund.
Really, it’s hard to imagine a more positive development for the feminist giving sphere than Melinda Gates’s incorporation of MacKenzie Bezos right into the frontlines of feminist philanthropy. Yet this is also a searing indictment of how far inequality has advanced in our nation, that the coming together of two megabillionaires could have so much influence.
This important discussion comes at a critical time: as the COVID-19 crisis continues to play a dangerous role in the rise of domestic violence cases; as demonstrations continue in response to the deaths of people of color at the hands of police officers; and as people join together around the world to call for action on behalf of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and the countless other women and people of color who deserve to have their stories heard.
The webinar will focus on ways philanthropy can help to end violence against women of color. With the tragic death of Breonna Taylor, we see how women’s lives are snuffed out with no repercussions. Black women in the US are more likely to experience domestic violence, be arrested for it, and be murdered by an intimate partner. This webinar will focus on key strategies funders can take to support women of color as they fight for their right to live and prosper.
In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, feminist activists, institutions, and individuals around the world need immediate access to funding and other forms of support. Many aid packages have already been deployed to the people who need them most, but some other lesser-known populations are in danger of falling by the wayside.
One of these groups of vulnerable people includes feminist activists: people who have lost their jobs or livelihoods yet are still fighting for protection and social change. In the midst of a pandemic, these rights battles can’t simply be put aside.
The Ms. Foundation for Women, through its recently formed Activist Collaboration Fund, is granting $275,000 to 15 organizations across the country that are led by and for women and girls of color, trans women and girls of color, and indigenous women and girls.
The Activist Collaboration Fund (ACF) launched in late January and focuses on social justice and movement-building, including fostering cooperation among organizations. The ACF received over 160 nominations from organizations by and for women and girls of color from 35 states, as well as the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Guam.
With so much bad news right now, it’s hard to bring up another tough topic, but bring it up we will. As a therapist, I know that having the hard conversations is part of the process of moving forward. This tough topic is the news that the NoVo Foundation will be scaling back some of its operations, particularly those that pertain to funding women and girls. As discussed in last week’s post, As NoVo Downsizes, What Next for Women and Girls?, the question of how we will fill the enormous void left by this shift is just beginning to take hold in people’s minds and produce some responses.
Women Leaders Step Up to Respond to NoVo’s Shift
Two important leaders in women’s funding, Yifat Susskind, Executive Director of MADRES and Mona Sinha, Board Chair of Women Moving Millions, responded to the news of NoVo’s shift in focus with letters to The Chronicle of Philanthropy.
What the world needs now more than ever is more funders who understand and address the deep intersectionalities of human experience. Recently, a new funder launched to do just that. The Hive Fund is dedicated to supporting climate, gender and racial justice, with a focus on the U.S. Southeast. Launched in 2019, it recently released its Spring 2020 grant recipients.
Hive supports Black, Indigenous, and women of color leaders who traditionally have had limited access to philanthropic and other resources. The fund’s mandate is to fund “visionary and strategic efforts of leaders and organizations working at the intersections of climate justice, gender equity, democracy, cultural power and economic justice.” Moreover, Hive aims to embed participatory decision-making in it grant-making process.
Yolanda F. Johnson is rolling out Women of Color in Fundraising and Philanthropy (WOC) to support her colleagues in the field. Johnson is a multi-faceted juggernaut whose life’s work encompasses the performing arts, teaching, and non-profit management, with an accent on women, and women of color, in philanthropy and the arts.
Johnson is the first African-American to serve as President of Women in Development, a 40-year-old organization devoted to empowering and supporting New York-area women in the development field. She has an M.A. in arts management, and is a lyric soprano and music composer, teacher, and director. Johnson has performed nationally and internationally in operas, solo concerts, oratorios and sacred music, and is a recitalist and lecturer with a particular interest in spirituals related to the Underground Railroad. She is co-creator of Music She Wrote, a concert celebration of women composers.