Editor’s Note: This post urging passage of the Equal Rights Amendment was originally published on September 3, 2020.
Three weeks ago, I was elected as Board Chair of the Equal Rights Amendment Fund for Women’s Equality. As a funder and champion of women’s rights and economic justice, this call to step up could not have come at a more urgent time.
Each one of us has had many moments of reckoning during COVID-19. But as women of color, we have seen that COVID has treated us differently from the rest. Race has been identified as a co-morbidity and a risk factor, just like diabetes or heart disease. Our healthcare systems, our educational systems, and our systems for protecting essential workers are all struggling mightily against a dangerous and mysterious disease. Basic rights and systems have been demolished for women, and women of color are being particularly hard-hit, facing higher rates of job loss while also being expected to bear more responsibility for caregiving and educating children.
When last we spoke with Megha Desai of the Desai Foundation, it felt like the sky was the limit. But like so much else during the pandemic, critical need forced the Foundation to pivot away from their ambitious campaign goals around mask-making, and toward medical aid on the ground.
Like so many other nonprofit organizations, the Desai Foundation has been prompted to learned unexpected (but no less impactful) lessons during COVID. When one door closes, another opens, right? The Desai Foundation, however, also decided to build new doors.
Pivoting from Mask-Making to Other Areas of COVID Response in India
At the beginning of the pandemic, Megha Desai hoped to create a “Masks of Hope” campaign in India and the United States. The plan was to transition the Foundation’s production machines, ordinarily used to manufacture inexpensive menstrual hygiene products for communities in India, into mask manufacturing tools. Once the technique and designs were honed, the plan was to bring those machines back to the United States, bolstering the supplies of PPE moving to first responders and essential workers.
The Ms. Foundation’s 33rd Annual Gloria Awards featured renowned feminists Gloria Steinem, Amanda Gorman, Amanda Nguyen, and more.
On May 20th, the Ms. Foundation for Women, the nation’s first and oldest women’s foundation, hosted The 33rd Gloria Awards: A Salute to Women of Vision, which paid tribute to the remarkable achievements of those whose courage and leadership move our society toward a more just and inclusive world, and raised funds that will help support women-led nonprofits and community organizations in the nation’s most impacted communities.
The Living Equality Gala, an event organized by the ERA Coalition, started with Broadway singer Rebecca Naomi Jones singing a rousing rendition of “Ain’t it Good.”
“It is in fact really good,” said Caroline Clarke, who, along with Debra Messing, co-hosted the event. “We are all gathered here tonight to celebrate that for the first time in 99 years, our congress has unflinchingly declared that women’s equality is a priority in the United States of America.”
Both Messing and Clarke discussed the pivotal year we are in for the landmark Equal Rights Amendment, with 2021 being seen as the year that the Amendment will finally be added to the U.S. Constitution.
In a recent episode of Flashpoint Podcast with Cherri Gregg, Kiersten Marek joined women’s philanthropy leaders to discuss the power of women’s giving and the research showing that women philanthropists are more giving than men, and their strategy is often quite different.
In a recent episode by the Flashpoint podcast, the role of women in Philanthropy was discussed with three key members of the community. The podcast panel, led by Cherri Gregg talked about the impact of women philanthropists and how they stack up against their male counterparts.
Kiersten Marek, social worker and founder of Philanthropy Women, was accompanied by Mary Broach, the co-founder of Impact100 Philadelphia and Mary Bentley LaMar, the North Atlantic Regional director of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.
The funding platform Kickfurther has awarded a considerable amount of funding to Spinster Sisters, a women-led small business.
Funding for women led small businesses has often had a gender gap that has proven to be detrimental to them. In recent years, large strides have been made to close this gap and more funding has been allocated for women run businesses.
Recently, a no-cost financing giveaway held by Kickfurther was awarded to a women owned business called Spinster Sisters. This win for one small business signals the progress being made for all women owned businesses.
Kickfurther aims to help small businesses through the pandemic
Kickfurther is a platform for inventory funding that is supported by investors behind Robinhood, Tesla, Twitter and other investors. The platform allows for small businesses to be supported by those who like their product while allowing these supporters to make a profit when the inventory is sold.
On Tuesday, March 16th, representatives from the Women’s Philanthropy Institute hosted a virtual event to reveal the findings of the first new data in 15 years on household charitable decision-making. The findings came down to a key point: 61.5% of couples make giving decisions together, representing a drop from 73.4% in 2005.
So, what does this mean for feminist giving, women’s giving, and the power of household giving?
Women Give 2021 kicked off with an introduction from Jeannie Sager, Director of the Women’s Philanthropy Institute. “We are so grateful to have allies and advocates in our work,” said Sager. She also introduced the day’s panelists, Yolanda F. Johnson (YFJ Consulting; Women of Color in Fundraising and Philanthropy); Adrienne Penta (Center for Women & Wealth at Brown Brothers Harriman); and Marty Cordes (Cordes Foundation).
On Wednesday, March 10th, girls, funders, parents, activists, and leaders all over the country gathered for Girls Leadership’s 12th anniversary celebration. The “Power of Voice” Benefit featured honorees and speakers Billie Jean King, Marley Dias, Meena Harris, Samhita Mukhopadhyay, and Suni Harford.
The all-ages event opened with Alicia Menendez, television host and past intern with Girls Leadership, offering thanks and celebration to the event’s sponsors. Menendez also introduced the theme of the evening, “power of voice,” which honors women’s suffrage and collaborative efforts for social and gender justice.
Following an introductory video from the Co-CEOs, Takai Taylor and Simone Marean, J-Rey Soul (who you might know from the Black Eyed Peas and The Voice: Philippines) performed an original song in honor of Girls Leadership.
On Wednesday, February 3rd, Philanthropy Together hosted the second part of their webinar series surrounding giving circles and social justice. Moderated by LiJia Gong of Radfund, the panel featured Sarah David Heydemann (Radfund), Mario Lugay (Justice Funders Giving Side), Marsha Morgan (Community Investment Network), and Sian Miranda Singh ÓFaoláin.
Sara Lomelin, Executive Director of Philanthropy Together, introduced the day’s moderator and panelists, and encouraged attendees to share their locations and organizations.
The Social Justice Giving Circle Project
Gong began by introducing The Social Justice Giving Circle Project, which explores the relationship between giving circles and today’s social justice movements, both how it currently exists and what’s possible in the future.
Margaret Atwood, a leader in modern feminism, will be the keynote speaker for the annual celebration for the Fund for Women & Girls.
Award-winning author of The Handmaid’s Tale and The Testaments, Margaret Atwood, will be the keynote speaker for the Fairfield County’s Community Foundation’s (FCCF) annual celebration for its Fund for Women & Girls in April. “Unite & Rise: A Virtual Celebration for the Fund for Women & Girls,” will begin at 5:30 p.m. on April 16th. Individual tickets and sponsorship packages are available for purchase here.