MDRC Confirms: Grameen Loans Help Fight Poverty for U.S. Women

A Grameen America borrower with child. (Photo credit: Grameen America)

Micro-loans, in which poor people are provided small loans so that they can jump-start or grow an enterprise, are often associated with least developed countries, but, according to a new study, this model has proved highly effective when applied to poor American women over the last decade.

The Grameen Bank model was pioneered in Bangladesh during the 1970s and 80s, and aimed to reduce poverty through the provision of loans, financial training, and peer support to those unable to access traditional credit mechanisms. It turned out a that small amount of funds enabling the purchase of such basics as tools, seeds, and livestock enabled many to lift themselves out of the most desperate kinds of poverty.

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How’s the Obama Foundation Doing with Building Global Girls Alliance?

The Obamas launched Let Girls Learn during Obama’s presidency, and are now continuing the work through their own foundation’s program, Global Girls Alliance. (Photo Credit: Global Girls Alliance.)

When we last checked in at the newly formed Obama Foundation, the former First Lady Michelle Obama and her husband, President Barack Obama were laying the groundwork for cultivating a new coalition of organizations focused on girls globally.

Through a collaboration with GoFundMe, the Obama Foundation has established the Global Girls Alliance Fund, helping to raise funds for grassroots organizations to make more headway with educating girls. The initiative accepts applications from eligible nonprofits already working to increase educational opportunities for girls.

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What is Feminist Foreign Policy? How Can Donors Support More of It?

Sweden’s feminist foreign policy is helping to define key strategies for addressing gender equality worldwide.

In 2014, Sweden made waves by becoming the first country across the globe to adopt an explicitly feminist foreign policy. Drawing both controversy and acclaim, the foreign policy was the first of its kind to focus so pointedly on international gender equality across every level of government. Since Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven was confirmed to a second term on Jan. 18, 2019, activists have called for even more emphasis on continuing the successes of the feminist foreign policy.

But what exactly is a feminist foreign policy? In Sweden’s case, the policy focused on funding initiatives across the three “Rs” in which women tend to be underserved and neglected: resources, representation, and rights. Donors who are interested in promoting gender equality through their efforts and outreach can look to the Swedish model of feminist foreign policy to know where to begin.

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This Gender Lens Expert Sees Big Potential for DAF Giving Circles

Katherine Pease, Managing Director and Head of Impact Strategies for Cornerstone Capital, shares her expertise on the growing use of Donor Advised Funds by women’s funds and giving circles.

“There’s a time and place just for grants, and there’s a time and place for gender lens investing, but if you can find that sweet spot where they come together, that’s what gets me going,” says Katherine Pease, Managing Director and Head of Impact Strategies for Cornerstone Capital.

For Pease, the two strategies of gender lens grantmaking and gender lens investing can play a complementary role, particularly when using the Donor Advised Fund (DAF) as an investment vehicle. For women’s funds and foundations, Pease sees an expanding use of DAFs to create new ways to reach women at all levels of society with resources to grow their power.

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How This Investment Advisor Wants to Build Financial Power for Women

Linda Davis Taylor, CEO of Clifford Swan Investment Counselors, shares her vision of the growing influence of women in philanthropy and finance.

If there’s one thing Linda Davis Taylor thinks there’s too much of, it’s women taking concessions in salary negotiations. As the CEO and Chairman of Clifford Swan Investment Counselors, Taylor is calling on all women to create a culture where women ask for what they deserve at their jobs.

“I still hear so many women say they don’t know how to negotiate their salary, even women in top leadership positions,” said Taylor, in a recent interview with Philanthropy Women. She wants to see women get much more comfortable with having those difficult conversations that ensure equal pay and benefits for work at all levels and in all industries. She also wants to find more ways to ensure that “we start early enough in encouraging women to understand their role in salary negotiation.”

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Prince Charles Debuts $100 Million Gender Lens Fund for South Asia

Prince Charles announced the launch of a new $100 million fund to support women and girls in South Asia at Buckingham Palace. (Photo courtesy Clarendon House)

The Prince of Wales, Prince Charles, announced this week the launch of a new $100 million fund that aims to reach half a million women and girls in South Asia with education and professional opportunities in five years.

“The sustainable development goals endorsed by 193 member states at the United Nations cannot be achieved unless radical new approaches are developed,” said Prince Charles, upon unveiling the new fund. “I am very proud that the British Asian Trust is at the forefront of developing such innovations.”

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Women Leaders Convening to Build Election Power in Dallas

ReflectUS is a bipartisan coalition of leaders working to get more women elected to public office.

One of the largest public women’s foundations in the country is hosting a convening of leaders in Dallas to address the lack of gender equality in local government.

The Texas Women’s Foundation will host 60 women leaders from diverse backgrounds to work on getting more women elected to public office in Dallas County. On February 6, these leaders will come from many organizations we have talked about here at Philanthropy Women, including IGNITE, Vote Run Lead, and She Should Run.

All of these organizations are part of a larger network called ReflectUS.  Reflect.US is a nonpartisan coalition of seven leading women’s organizations: Represent Women, She Should Run, Empowered Women, Women’s Public Leadership Network, IGNITE, Vote Run Lead and Latinas Represent.

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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.

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Take the Lead Delves into Gender Parity in Journalism

Guests on tomorrow evening’s Virtual Happy Hour with Gloria Feldt include Reshma Gopaldas, Mira Lowe, and Amy Emmerich.

Tomorrow evening’s Take the Lead Virtual Happy Hour will feature an exciting group of women talking about one of my favorite topics: journalism. Tomorrow’s event is called The Real Story: Women in Journalism Finding Fair Solutions.

The web call will discuss ways to promote change that will make for more equal representation and pay of women journalists.  Given that Philanthropy Women is a journalism endeavor, I am planning to be on that call to see what I can learn for my work, and to discuss philanthropy’s current and future impact on these issues.

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As Gender Lens Investing Grows, the Social Impact Dividends Expand

Impact Alpha is a digital media company that describes its mission as “redefining business journalism around social and environmental value.”

Recently, I listened in on a call hosted by Catalyst at Large Suzanne Biegel, and author David Bank of Impact Alpha. Guests on the call included Luisamaria Ruiz Carlile of Veris Wealth Partners, which specializes in gender lens investing and research.

The call provided fascinating insights into the world of gender lens investing. Though in its early formative years, gender lens investing is a growing area of financial investment that is destined for big things.

Biegel began the call by giving an overview of both the expanding language and the expanding financial investments in the gender lens investing sector. “Gender lens investing is still small in the relative scheme of things, but it’s so much bigger than it was,” said Biegel. She shared the latest statistics from Project SAGE at the Wharton School of Business Social Impact, which turned up a record 87 funds that are now investing with a gender lens, with 46 of those funds being new creations that occurred between 2017 and 2018.

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