Here at Philanthropy Women, we started a series called Feminist Giving In Real Life (F-GIRL) to provide a platform for women leaders at all levels who are giving in a feminist way. This giving can happen through donations and funding strategy, through professional excellence, and/or through leadership efforts in the community. Feminist giving is a form of leadership that has special impact because it often combines deeply personal experience and significantly political thinking and acting.
Yesterday, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez performed what I would call a supreme act of feminist giving. When AOC spoke out against the January 6th riots and connected these riots to her experience of being sexually traumatized, she simultaneously stood up for every human who has experience sexual assault, and challenged the largest political body of our country to acknowledge how the January 6th riots are part of a continuum of pervasive violence against women, people of color, and other marginalized groups.
URI has brought on Nicole Lazarre and Deepal Chadha to help the organization in continuing to empower the underserved populations of NYC.
Urban Resource Institute (URI), the nation’s largest provider of domestic violence shelter services and a leading homeless shelter provider in New York City, has named two new senior staff members to their Office of General Counsel: Nicolaine (Nicole) Lazarre as General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer, and Deepal S. Chadha as Deputy General Counsel. The notable new hires in the legal department reflect URI’s strategic vision of growth for the organization.
“URI is building on its programmatic areas, facilities, and assets as we continue to innovate and provide the highest quality service to our clients,” said Nathaniel Fields, Chief Executive Officer of URI. “We are pleased to welcome Nicole Lazarre and Deepal Chadha to our team, where their extensive experience will provide enhanced legal capacity to support this dynamic organizational growth.”
Dr. Jaana Rehnström, Founder and President of the Kota Alliance, an organization fostering international collaboration for women-centered nonprofits, recently authored an article that struck a deep chord with me. Readers here at Philanthropy Women will also likely feel a strong resonance with Dr. Rehnström’s words.
Dr. Rehnström begins by summarizing the current status of gender equality in the world:
This past fall, feminist organization FRIDA celebrated its 10th anniversary with an event on Facebook LIVE. Calling out 2020 as “a year of highs and lows,” the organization sought to end the year on a high note with this unique online event.
According to the organization’s mission statement, FRIDA — The Young Feminist Fund provides young feminist organizers with the resources they need to amplify their voices and bring attention to the social justice issues they care about. Beginning with one staff member and a growing community, FRIDA has become a thriving organization in its own right in the 10 years of its operation. FRIDA has awarded $7.5 million in direct grants through more than 250 initiatives in 115 countries in the Global South.
Reproductive rights under Biden: what will it look like?
Since the Biden/Harris team clinched the US Presidency, feminist advocates and policy makers have begun to discuss the massive reclaiming of women’s rights that must occur to recover from the last four years of Trump-era regressions. To dig deeper into this mandate, leaders from several high profile organizations gathered recently online to make explicit what must happen to begin the recovery of rights for women and girls around the world.
Author and Attorney Jill Filipovic moderated the discussion, which featured Serra Sippel, President of the Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE), Anu Kumar, President and CEO of Ipas, and Akila Radhakrishnan, President of the Global Justice Center.
The Women’s Philanthropy Institute has put out its second iteration of the Women & Girls Index, and the news is not bad, but it’s not super good either. Charitable giving to women’s and girls’ organizations in the U.S. increased from $6.3 billion in 2016 to $7.1 billion in 2017, but the overall percentage of giving remained the same — 1.6%.
Sometimes I feel like that number — 1.6% — is going to haunt us all to our graves. It is such a glaring indicator of what is wrong with the world we live in. Ultimately, giving for women and girls remains token. Its actual number, $7.1 billion, is only a little more than half compared to the next smallest area of giving — environment and animals at $12 billion.
Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Olivia Wells, Director of Programs and Communications for Nadia’s Initiative, a nonprofit founded by Nadia Murad that supports “community-driven and survivor-centric sustainable development programs.”
1. What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession?
Bureaucracy; you learn about it in school, and you begin to see it when you enter the workforce but you don’t realize how many bureaucratic impediments there are to humanitarian work until you’re in the thick of it. You naively think that at the end of the day, we all want the same thing – to help those most vulnerable – so we should streamline processes to get those in need the help they deserve as soon as possible. Unfortunately, this is often not the case. The humanitarian sector is still saturated with top-down approaches to development. Many government and private funders insist on funding large organizations like the various UN entities, rather than investing in local NGOs. Local NGOs have a direct line to the communities they serve and are often able to implement projects more efficiently and for less money. These are the organizations we should be investing in.
On March 13th, the Louisville Metro Police executed a “no knock” warrant at the Kentucky home of Breonna Taylor and her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker. The exact events of the night have been hotly contested in and out of court, but the end result was that a young woman with a bright future lost her life, and the police who perpetrated the killing did not seem to be held accountable in any way.
In the months that followed, protests surrounding Breonna’s death and the deaths of women of color at the hands of police officers have rocked the country, even amidst the most serious pandemic of our time. Bolstered by the Black Lives Matter movement, and further aided by Kimberlé Crenshaw’s creation of the #SayHerName hashtag, Breonna’s story broke through to mainstream culture and gave America a new awareness about what racism looks like for women of color.
On Wednesday, September 30th, the ERA Coalition held a special “Meet the Chairs” event to raise awareness and funds in support of the Equal Rights Amendment. Founded in 2014, the ERA Coalition works to further along the process involved in ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment, newly focusing its efforts on Black and Indigenous women and women of color, as well as gender-nonconforming people and transgender women and girls.
Kimberly Peeler-Allen, the new Chair of the ERA Coalition, and S. Mona Sinha, the new Chair of the Coalition’s sister organization, the Fund for Women’s Equality, spoke with Alyssa Milano on their motivations, passions, and hopes for their work with the ERA Coalition and beyond.
To those on the outside looking in, the story of women and girls’ social advancement may look like a road paved with victories. To those within the sphere of feminist philanthropy, however, that road has more twists and turns than many realize. We cannot deny the progress we’ve made in recent years, but we also cannot ignore the inequality, violence, and oppression women and girls still face around the world today.
But where does this oppression come from? When did we as a society learn to value boys over girls, to treat women like property or lesser beings? Why do we have to fight against it in the first place?
Imago Dei Fund, through a free program presented by Emily Nielsen Jones and Rev. Domnic Misolo, seeks to answer these questions with a six-month reading journey through the history of patriarchy. Examining the liberation of women through historic and faith-based lenses,“The Girl Child & Her Long Walk to Freedom: Putting Faith to Work Through Love to Break Ancient Chains” offers participants six months a guided tour with readings, group discussions, and reflections centered around the emancipation of girls and women.