Yes, it’s today. Yes, it’s now. Today is Rhode Island’s first statewide giving day, and an opportunity to support your favorite community causes. More than 90 organizations in Rhode Island are participating in this new philanthropy event.
Here is a note from Kelly Nevins, Executive Director of Women’s Fund of Rhode Island, discussing why today is a great day to support WFRI.
Engaging Men as Allies; Women Fighting All Forms of Discrimination; Negotiation Skills Workshops; Gender Equity in the Workplace and in Sports; Public hearings on reproductive health/freedom, fair pay and increased minimum wages... these are the issues and activities that the Women's Fund of Rhode Island (WFRI) has tackled in the first half of 2018, through the support of volunteers and donors like you.
What will WFRI do for the next half of 2018? Let's start by celebrating Rhode Island Gives Day together! Join us today with a gift of any size to ride the wave of philanthropy and advance gender equity in Rhode Island. Make your RI Gives Day Gift here or contact us at 401-262-5657.
Your gift today will advance gender equity by funding research on the Status of Working Women of Color in RI, support policy and advocacy through programs like our upcoming Gubernatorial Forum, and fund grants that level the playing field for women and girls. Your dollars will also be used to support additional salary negotiation workshops, address intersectionality in feminism and ignite the fire of young women interested in advocacy.
In other exciting news from WFRI, the women’s fund has also appointed four new board members. From the press release:
As of this past Monday, the Women’s Funding Network (WFN) has launched its newest initiative: Wercspace.org, a free website for women entrepreneurs to build their network and their business. With this new space for women, WFN hopes to provide a community for women-owned businesses of all stripes to come together and support each other.
Wercspace.org acts as a business-oriented social networking site with a feminist approach. It provides access to a community of women-owned business that members can add as contacts, instantly building women into communities to help one another. Another section of the website is dedicated to resources and tools for business owners. These resources range from marketing to certification to self-care, and allow members to receive assistance based on the stage of their business. Furthermore, the site provides links to free and low-cost online courses in a variety of fields. These courses, along with the business stories of female entrepreneurs, emphasize the importance of learning and keeping an open mind as a business owner and a feminist. The site also includes information on funding a business, providing various links and sources of information.
I’m thrilled to announce that Philanthropy Women will now offer Premium Access content. We have been building our database for over a year, and are now confident that opening up this new revenue stream will be a benefit to everyone. By providing Premium Access content, we will be able to raise funds to expand our work, hiring more reporters and researchers, and finding new ways to serve the community of gender equality philanthropists and activists.
Not all of our content will be behind the paywall. We take seriously the role of publishers to provide access to educational content, and will continue to offer free access to content that serves a pressing public need.
I’m glad to be collaborating with David Callahan and publishing occasionally on Inside Philanthropy again. Here is my latest piece, featuring longtime philanthropy professional Kathy LeMay talking about her new masterclass for social change fundraising.
The topics of listening and participatory grantmaking are trending heavily in philanthropy right now, and for good reason. We are living in a time when the lack of listening and responsiveness from government and other social institutions is finally getting people’s attention. LeMay’s masterclass sounds like an opportunity worth exploring if you are particularly interested in engaging donors deeply in their mission and strengthening your skills as a change agent and fundraiser.
Despite an increasingly hostile climate for women and girls in the United States, with access to reproductive services being cut and campus sexual assault policies being rolled back, a partnership of women’s funds that started during the Obama administration is continuing to grow and deploy needed funds to grassroots organizations.
I’m always on the lookout for ways that women leaders are doing philanthropy differently — mixing and melding the work into different spaces, finding ways to combine giving with other activities and make philanthropy more accessible to the public. One effort that recently caught my eye was Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation (BTWF) and its collaborating-while-touring work with local organizations.
First, just to clear up a technical detail, BTWF is not actually a foundation, but a nonprofit with the mission of enhancing mental wellness and kindness in the community. This year, rather than using its end-of-year fundraising period to raise money for BTWF, the organization is giving all the money it raised during its partnership with its Channel Kindness Tour to grassroots organizations in communities across the country, many of which are doing groundbreaking work with inclusion as an essential value to building a healthy community.
With Christmas over, it’s now time to get down to business and develop a strong agenda for 2018. At the top of that agenda for progressive donors, in my opinion, is repealing the Trump Tax that recently passed. This legislation does more to hurt the middle class and nonprofits than can be tolerated in a society that still prides itself on equality and freedom.
Here are just a few choice details about how this law will deter giving for the middle and upper middle class. The law’s discouragement of itemized deductions by raising the standard deduction for married couples to $24,000, is estimated to reduce the number of itemized tax returns from the current 30% to only 5%. That means only 5% of people will have enough charitable and other deductions to qualify for itemizing their taxes. This change strikes a devastating blow to families in the $70,000 to $200,000 income level, who often stretch their giving in order to qualify for the charitable tax exemption at $12,000. Between the mortgage interest deduction and the charitable deduction, some middle class families would be able to qualify for the $12,000 deduction threshold. By giving an extra two or three thousand or more, they are often supporting nonprofits in the community (their local church, food bank, or domestic violence shelter) getting a tax break, too.
“The Emergent Fund started as a plane built in mid-air. We moved faster than comfort allowed in developing a funding response to the new threats posed by the 2016 election because the scale of the crisis that loomed was so large, multidimensional, and immediate. Resources were urgently needed in many places and without much time for deliberation.”
So begins Visionary Resistance, a new report reviewing how several donor networks came together to invest $ 1 million rapidly for efforts to protect those most marginalized and targeted by a Trump presidency. Aptly named the Emergent Fund, this new resource is funded through a partnership between the Women Donors Network, Solidaire, Threshold Foundation, and the Democracy Alliance.
The Time Magazine article, by Jay Newton Small, explains that when women reach 20 to 30% of the critical mass in an industry, change starts to happen. Women begin to take the risk of revealing their #MeToo stories. Men begin to talk about how they felt pressured to fulfill gender norms with aggressive sexual behavior. People of all genders begin to open up about how their lives were impacted by sexual trauma.
I’m excited about the #FundWomen Twitter Chat, starting tomorrow at 11 AM EST. Also joining the conversation: clothing company Michael Stars, which has a foundation and uses its philanthropy to effect positive change for women.
Below is a sneak peek of a few of my upcoming tweets!
Here’s part of my answer for Question #2: How and why do you opt to fund women’s rights organizations?