The conversation below explores Lerner’s experience as a philanthropist, business leader, and activist entrepreneur, as well as what other funders and company leaders can do to advance an intersectional focus in their approaches to philanthropy.
Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series featuresShira Ruderman, Executive Director of the Ruderman Family Foundation, a private family foundation that invests in three primary areas of focus: advocating for and advancing the inclusion of people with disabilities throughout our society, strengthening the relationship between Israel and the American Jewish community, and modeling the practice of strategic philanthropy worldwide.
1. What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession?
I wish I knew philanthropy is a life journey that you cannot get separated from. I view it like parenthood, you learn as you go. Philanthropy makes you recognize your passions, skills, views on life.
If this last year taught us anything, it’s that qualified healthcare workers are needed now more than ever. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the healthcare industry is expected to add 2.4 million new jobs, which is more than any other occupational group. And as we know, healthcare jobs are predominantly held by women, with women representing about 76% of healthcare professionals.
As we recover from the pandemic in America, Goodwill is teaming with the Anthem Foundation to introduce Rising Together and the Goodwill Healthcare CareerLaunch.
The Anthem Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Anthem, Inc., focuses on funding critical initiates that improve lives and communities. Anthem is committing $750,000 for providing the necessary resources and training needed for individuals interested in working in the healthcare industry. The program is part of the new Rising Together coalition, which gives people support to access healthcare jobs that will lead to sustaining careers.
Spotify, one of the world’s largest and fastest-growing music streaming platforms, believes that music and audio have the power to change the world. As a catalyst for that change, Spotify aims to empower women creators by giving them a place to share their content globally. The company is committed to fostering equity for women and has recently launched two new campaigns, Frequency and EQUAL. These new campaigns will work to amplify the voices of emerging female creators who in the past have been under-appreciated and underrepresented.
Raising the Frequency
Frequency is an extension of Spotify’s ongoing commitment to and investment in Black voices. The new global initiative cultivates a holistic destination for celebrating Black art, entertainment, creativity, culture and community both on and off-platform. Through a rollout of new content, cultural partnerships and an ambassador program, Frequency aims to further connect the Black community to established and emerging Black artists, all while fostering community and appreciating the culture that has made an impact across fashion, tech, business, and music.
One the founding benefactors of the Women’s Philanthropy Institute, Lorna Jorgenson Wendt, has a fascinating backstory, and I’m thankful to Sondra Shaw-Hardy for bringing her to my attention. This weekend, I did some reading and learned how Lorna was able to shake up the entire nation in the late 1990’s by fighting for her right to an equal share of the assets in divorcing her corporate CEO husband.
Lorna Jorgenson Wendt was married to Gary Wendt for 32 years. The two had been high school sweethearts in the Midwest, went to college together at the University of Wisconsin, and then married and moved to Cambridge, MA, where Lorna put Gary through business school for his MBA from Harvard. At the time, in a ceremony conducted by a Harvard Dean, Lorna and other Harvard student wives were awarded Ph.T certificates — honorary awards for “Put Hubby Through” college.
Editor’s Note: With the crisis of COVID comes the opportunity to see the world in a different light: one that values people of all genders and progresses toward greater economic and social justice. Here, Joy Anderson, President and Founder of Criterion Institute and Teresa Younger, CEO and President of the Ms. Foundation for Women, urge us to respond to the crisis by taking guidance from gender justice movement-builders.
Imagine a world where financial actors actively sought out and paid gender experts to advise them on lending criteria and the terms attached to stimulus loans. Imagine gender justice organizations weighing in on reports produced by banks and consulting firms, shaping the narrative of where asset holders should be investing. Imagine if a key indicator of economic recovery was not how large-cap US stocks are trading, but how many women, nonbinary individuals, and people of color have returned to work in safe jobs that pay a fair wage and offered benefits.
In an ongoing series, the fashion brand HEX aims to highlight the work of female photographers.
The video series, entitled Women in Focus, tells the stories of five female photographers at different stages in their careers. The content spotlights their individual stories, challenges, workplace practices, and advice that they offer about their experiences as women in a predominantly male field.
HEX themselves are responsible for producing various photography bags that feature innovative technologies, antimicrobial fabrics and patented designs ideal for the photographer at work. They wish to support creators in the field through this series by connecting women creatives through hearing each other’s stories.
The 2022 Gay Games in Hong Kong have acquired essential support from both Marriott Bonvoy and YouTube, the new main sponsors.
(June, 2021) Gay Games 11 Hong Kong 2022 today announced iconic global brands as their first sponsoring partners. Marriott Bonvoy and YouTube have proudly pledged their Platinum Level support for the Games, the largest inclusive sporting and cultural event of its kind.
“We are proud to be one of the main sponsors for the Gay Games 11,” said Bart Buiring, Chief Sales and Marketing Officer, Marriott International, Asia Pacific. “With Marriott Bonvoy’s portfolio of more than 800 properties and 24 exciting brands across Asia Pacific, our doors are always open to welcome all. This sponsorship is just one way we showcase our long-standing commitment to celebrate diversity and inclusion, inspiring travelers to be their true authentic selves whoever and wherever they are.”
Pearl Milling Company has launched a multi-year program, P.E.A.R.L. Pledge, to empower black women and girls across the U.S.
Pearl Milling Company, maker of the 132-year-old pancake mix and syrup products previously found under the Aunt Jemima name, announced its community funding initiative as part of the brand’s commitment to support the Black community. P.E.A.R.L. Pledge is a multi-year program focused on championing the empowerment and success of Black women and girls across the country. In its inaugural year, the brand will award $1 million in grants to nonprofit organizations helping to fulfill this mission.
Play Academy with Naomi Osaka is expanding to Los Angeles and Haiti to continue to change the lives of girls through play and sport.
Announced in August of 2020, Play Academy with Naomi Osaka was created in partnership with Laureus Sport for Good with the goal to help change young girls’ lives through play and sport. Building on its work in Japan, Play Academy is expanding to Los Angeles and Haiti, collaborating with local sport-based organizations that are helping encourage a new definition of movement for the next generation of girls.
Essential to Play Academy is Osaka’s personal experiences as an athlete, set by a rich transcontinental heritage that has shaped her views on sport, racial and gender equality and mentorship. With a mission so close to her heart, Osaka wanted to champion those causes in communities she knows and is deeply connected to – starting in Japan, where she was born, and continuing to Los Angeles and Haiti, where she currently lives and where her father is from, respectively.