#WomenFunded2019: WFN Opens Registration for Annual Conference

Women Funding Network’s Executive Director Cynthia Nimmo. (Photo Credit: WFN)

The Women’s Funding Network (WFN) recently opened registration for their September conference, Women Funded 2019: Leadership for a Changing World.

The event, held from September 11-13 at Hotel Kabuki in San Francisco’s Japantown neighborhood, is the next iteration in WFN’s successful conference series. You may remember last September’s Seattle takeover with Women Moving Millions and the Gates Foundation — WFN’s WOMEN+POWER conference was held in Seattle, Washington, in an incredible weekend for feminist thought leaders.

The San Francisco conference is gearing up to be WFN’s biggest event yet, featuring more than 80 speakers across more than 40 sessions. This year’s four themes — On The Frontlines, It’s Personal, The Power of Voice, and How Money Moves — focus on resolving complex social issues, leading with power across sectors, shaping stories, policy, and solution, and re-shaping philanthropy by redefining investment.

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Cedella Marley Backs Reggae Girlz as They Head for World Cup

Cedella Marley, author, designer, mother, and philanthropist, has been credited as the key donor behind much-needed support for the Jamaica’s women’s soccer team, Reggae Girlz. (Photo Credit: Cedella Marley on Twitter)

The New York Times recently ran a feature on Reggae Girlz, the first national soccer team from the Caribbean to qualify for the Women’s World Cup, happening soon (June 7 to July 7) in France.

The article, entitled The Women’s World Cup’s Other Inequality: Rich vs. Poor, reports that the coach of the Reggae Girlz has worked for free for five years, and many of the female players lack funds for the costs of being a professional athlete. The coaches have to buy them things like jackets to wear for training and other basics of the sport.

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How Craig Newmark Philanthropies Empowers Women at Work

Empower Work helps employees reach out by text for support for work-related issues. (Photo Credit: Empower Work)

Editor’s Note: The following opinion piece is by Jaime-Alexis Fowler, Founder & Executive Director of Empower Work, discussing how women, and anyone who needs outside support for a critical issue at work, can access this service, which is generously supported by Craig Newmark Philanthropies.

Jobs are at the center of opportunity. They affect everything from earning potential and career mobility to financial security and emotional well-being. Access to career opportunities, and support along the way, can play a critical role in gender equity and inclusion—in the workplace and beyond.

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Feminist Philanthropy Q and A with Donna Hall and Ruth Ann Harnisch

Ruth Ann Harnisch, Co-Founder and President of the Harnisch Foundation, shares insights on feminist philanthropy. (Image credit: The Harnisch Foundation)

Watching the news in 2019 can sometimes be an exercise in self-restraint. So often, we find ourselves gripped by unpleasant stories that have far-reaching implications, particularly for women.

At the same time, women’s voices are heard more widely in 2019 than in previous generations. Just look at the #MeToo movement, Nike’s “they call us crazy” advertisements, or the thousands of women who marched into DC’s Freedom Plaza on January 19th. These movements are a reminder that the world is not limited to what we see on the news — women around the world are banding together to make their voices heard, and when women unite to enact social change, incredible things happen.

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Lyda Hill, Female STEM Philanthropy Pioneer, and Master of Surprise

Lyda Hill at the launch of IF/THEN.

If we support a woman in STEM, then she can change the world.

If we support the organizations that support women in STEM, then we can change the world together.

Through surprise, purpose, and meaningful relationships, Lyda Hill is transforming feminist philanthropy as we know it — and her foundation’s $25 million donation to the IF/THEN initiative is the next great chapter in an inspiring lifelong story.

Lyda Hill, the entrepreneur and donor behind Lyda Hill Philanthropies, is no stranger to donations that come with a twist. Her organization is committed to funding meaningful change through her personal philosophy and her personal estate — all of which she plans on donating to charity in full, most of it during her lifetime.

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Disrupting Philanthropy’s Status Quo by Convening on Gender

Surina Khan, Executive Director of the Women’s Foundation of California. (Image Credit: WFC)

“I recently went to the Legacy Museum and National Memorial for Peace and Justice, in Montgomery Alabama. It’s an incredibly powerful place, but the stories of women are not as prominent as they could be,” says Surina Khan, Executive Director of the Women’s Foundation of California (WFC), in a recent interview about the principles guiding her leadership.

The experience of visiting the Legacy Museum reinforced for Khan the importance of gender justice impact assessments — of organizations and institutions regularly assessing whether they are paying enough attention to gender issues. Since returning to the helm of WFC in 2014, Khan has taken an increasingly intentional approach to employing a gender lens to everything they do, meaning from caterers to banking services to program grantees, it’s all about doing business with partners who align with WFC’s values.

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Ending FGM in the United States and Abroad: Who Are the Funders?

An International Day of Zero Tolerance for FGM has helped raise awareness, but more funding is needed to end the dangerous and unhealthy practice.

The subject of female genital mutilation (FGM) — the practice of removing a female’s clitoris, sometimes accompanied by sewing together her labia — rarely makes it into the mainstream news, so recent public awareness campaigns like February 6th’s #EndFGM campaign are helping to put it on the agenda.

Ending FGM is central to movements for women to be free to direct their own lives both in the U.S. and abroad. Feminist philanthropists have been working on this issue for decades, and now, with legislation passing to criminalize the practice, there is more potential than ever to realize some bigger gains.

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Nation Institute Rebrands as Type Media, Invites Donor Support

Type Media Center, formerly the Nation Institute, is women-led and majority women-owned, and invites women donors to fuel their growth.

“When the Nation Institute was founded more than 50 years ago, we were a modest organization affiliated with the Nation Magazine — but that name no longer reflects the breadth and impact of what we do today,” said Taya Kitman, Executive Director and CEO of Type Media Center, regarding the rebranding of the organization.

Type Media Center, the rebrand of the 52-year old Nation Institute, will be dedicated to “world-class independent journalism and publishing”and will be a nonprofit media company with two major programs rebranded as Type Investigations and Bold Type Books.

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Gender Lens Experts: Check Out this Women and Money Summit

Leaders in gender lens grantmaking and gender lens investing are convening in Austin, Texas on September 16 to 17, 2019.

For the past several years, there has been a growing synergy between gender lens investing and gender lens grantmaking.  The latest example: an upcoming gathering in Austin, Texas, that will explore ways to get more women “in the game” of both investing and donating for gender equality.

Leaders in gender lens advocacy, Tuti Scott and Tracy Gray, are facilitating this convening in Austin, Texas from September 16-17, in order to figure out what it will take to get more women aligned with donating, investing, and taking action for gender equality in all segments of society.

Women & Money: Making Money Moves that Matter is bringing together women leaders to engage in strategic talks about how to accelerate progress for gender equality across finance and investing as well as social policy.

More from the event’s web page:

We are convening bold, unapologetic leaders who want to move beyond information sharing in the gender lens investing space to put new knowledge and tools to good use. Together, we are sparking new conversations, listening to each other deeply, and getting to work so that women can activate their capital as impact investors and social justice givers.

If you are curious about investing with a gender lens and/or have questions about how this brings about social, political, and economic change, join us! If you already know which new money moves you want to make personally or in your organization, but want a stronger community of leaders and financial advisors to help guide your actions, join us!

Among the leaders on the Advisory Committee for this event are several women frequently discussed here at Philanthropy Women including Andrea Pactor of the Women’s Philanthropy Institute, Donna Hall of the Women Donors Network, Suzanne Biegel of Impact Alpha, and Cynthia Nimmo of the Women’s Funding Network.

Learn more about the gathering and register here. 

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Cheyenna Weber: Creating a Solidarity Economy Giving Project

Attendees at the Solidarity Giving Project annual party. (Photo credit: Zachary Shulman)

Editor’s Note: Fascinating things are going on in the realm of giving circles and community giving projects. We are pleased to share this piece by Cheyenna Layne Weber, one of the founders of Solidarity Economy Giving Project in New York City, which aims to bring together donors in new ways. 

From Cheyenna Layne Weber:

There are more than 2,000 solidarity economy organizations in New York City, most of them founded and maintained by women. These democratic, member-led groups take different legal forms, but hold certain values in common—social and racial justice, ecological sustainability, mutualism, and cooperation. They include low-income credit unions; cooperatives providing food, affordable housing, and childcare; cooperatives of farmers and workers; community gardens and land trusts; and community-supported agriculture. Together, these form a solidarity economy based on meeting material needs rather than making profits. (Explore these models in this short video.)

Attendees at the Solidarity Giving Project annual party. (Photo credit: Zachary Shulman)

Women form solidarity economy organizations as creative solutions to systemic oppression faced in workplaces, families, housing, food systems, and financial institutions. Latinx women in Staten Island formed worker co-operatives that operate cleaning or childcare businesses while providing living wages and control over working conditions. Bangladeshi women in East New York grow food for their families in a community garden they control. In the Bronx in the 1980s, low-income women formed affordable housing co-operatives , which endure despite rising real estate values. Around that time, women of the Lower East Side formed a low-income credit union that not only continues to serve the immigrant community but has expanded to Harlem and Staten Island. In all five boroughs, no matter the race or ethnicity of the community, women are building a solidarity economy.

Attendees at the Solidarity Giving Project annual party. (Photo credit: Zachary Shulman)

So why have you never heard of it? The erasure of women’s labor in the home has been well-documented, and a similar dynamic emerges for women’s labor in communities and workplaces. This is especially true when the labor is not designed to add value for shareholders of a corporation, but rather benefits the community members who control and make use of the services of a solidarity economy organization. Many innovative women are also overlooked because they do not fit patriarchy’s conception of the entrepreneur: white, male, affluent, able-bodied, straight, and Christian. Thus, dominant institutions like government, philanthropy, and the private sector have little understanding of the incredible entrepreneurial role women often take up, and until recently had expressed little interest in learning more. This is beginning to change as cities like New York and philanthropists such as Robin Hood Foundation have begun investing in worker co-operatives to ameliorate poverty.

But it is not enough. Solidarity economy organizations often lack funding, especially those run by and serving women who are of color, immigrants,  low-income, disabled, queer and/or trans. While a few co-op loan funds and investors offer capital (such as The Working World or Cooperative Fund of New England), it is almost impossible for these women to find micro-grants to cover costs like training and technical assistance, crowdfunding matches, emergency support, or event sponsorships. Of the available grants, arduous application processes, requiring professional grant-writing or prior relationships to power (such as alumni networks), exclude women working within solidarity economy organizations.

To meet this gap young philanthropists and organizers created the Solidarity Economy Giving Project (SEGP). A program of the Cooperative Economics Alliance of New York City (CEANYC),a democratic membership organization for NYC-based, solidarity economy enterprises, the Giving Project is the only solidarity economy grantmaking effort in the United States controlled by grassroots leaders. The Project includes a multi-racial, multi-gender, and intergenerational Giving Circle whose members each give a minimum $2,000 gift annually and jointly host a fundraising party. Giving Circle members lead the program, which includes learning from local solidarity economy leaders about their work; developing an analysis of racialized capitalism; building skills  to improve social justice philanthropy; and plenty of time to enjoy being with others dedicated to redistributing their wealth to address capitalism’s harmful impacts. Members also encourage each other to do more than just move money — to also become advocates and participants in the solidarity economy. Organizers initially hoped to raise $15,000 in the pilot year and ultimately raised $50,000. Now midway through year two, the Project has raised $61,000 in total.

Grassroots leaders designed the grantmaking process, which includes a very brief  application and a reduced reporting structure. The grantmaking committee is comprised of the elected members of CEANYC’s Board of Directors. SEGP donors do not participate in fund disbursement, and grantees are not burdened by site visits or extensive interviews with funders. Instead, donors trust the solidarity economy community to distribute these funds. This transfer of control flies in the face of traditional philanthropy, where a donor’s name is often affixed to a gift, and breaks with the  convention of foundation-based Giving Projects where full-time staff support participants in grantmaking decisions.

The impact of the Giving Project has been profound, even in its first full year of grantmaking in 2018. Grants included support for:

  • Nine women (seven women of color) to attend cooperative leadership trainings;
  • An affordable housing co-op in Brooklyn to prepare a vacant unit for a new family;
  • Manhattan community gardens to provide programs for low-income Latinx children;
  • Expanded staffing and ownership opportunities at catering and food processing worker co-ops led by people of color; and
  • Crowdfunding matches for a healthcare co-operative and a new food co-op that both serve Brooklyn communities of color.

The SEGP is something that like-minded donors could do in any city, and it is sorely needed. (Check out the solidarity economy in your area!) Whereas most funding is piecemeal,such as support for community gardens by health funders or credit unions by Community Reinvestment Act funds— we need resources to unify these disparate models  in a single solidarity economy vision.

The Hildegard Fund and Economic Justice grantmaking of New York Women’s Foundation and the new Solidarity Economy Initiative funders collaborative in Massachusetts are promising steps by funders in support of  a united solidarity economy rests on the power and potential of women’s leadership. Key to such efforts is acknowledging that this  work must be self-directed from the grassroots, and that resources must flow to under-resourced, dedicated innovators, not to well-connected charismatic white men or existing grantees who happen upon co-ops as a good idea they want to adopt.

A solidarity economy that meets all of our needs and welcomes all of our contributions is possible. The Solidarity Economy Giving Project is a small step in that direction.

We welcome any opportunity to support others who want to implement a similar program. Reach us at any time via organize@gocoopnyc.com.

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