MacKenzie Scott’s Newest Batch of Culture-Challenging Donations

Very few of us can get away with challenging the capitalist and male-dominated values of our country. Unless you have a lot of money, you generally make more headway in American society if you watch every word you say and every move you make to ensure they remain within the lines of the men-first, pro-business, money-above-everything mentality that surrounds us. But MacKenzie Scott is able to challenge these ideas by sharing her resources with organizations that are doing the work on the ground for a better quality of life in America.

MacKenzie Scott with husband Dan Jewett. (Image credit: The Giving Pledge)

This week, MacKenzie Scott put organization names and faces to the recent $3.8 billion she distributed. The money went to a vast array of organizations that support the social and economic fabric of our culture. Here on PW, we are going to provide the gender-lens pull-out list of organizations receiving funding, with the proviso that there are other layers in her funding that satisfy feminist giving values around equity and inclusion but are not explicitly addressing gender bias. These organizations are helping us navigate new territory as a society, a place where we can prioritize healthier relationships, personal wellness, and quality education and healthcare experiences. Almost all of the organizations on this list have been covered in articles here at Philanthropy Women over the past five years.

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Natasha Brown’s Powerful Debut Novel + Feminist Philanthropy News

Well, hello my donor activist friends! Welcome to another week of exciting feminist philanthropy news, as well as my weekly discussion of happenings related to gender equality at large.

Natasha Brown is the author of Assembly, a fascinating novel about working in the c-suite of financial services in London. (Image credit: Elise Brown)

This week I took a deep excursion into literary culture and read Assembly by Natasha Brown. This novel caught my eye because it was by an author who had a background in financial services and math, yet when I picked up the book and read a few lines, I felt a deep sense of kinship with the words.

I don’t want to give away any spoilers about this book because it’s really a wonderful process to absorb the story without any preconceptions in mind. The story takes a narrative path that I can only describe as an anti-romance, and yet it felt strangely rich and satisfying to me as a reader.

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Plan Report: Girls Fear For Safety from Misinformation Online

As our young women come up in the world, they face a deluge of information online, much of which is contributing to their sense of safety, or lack thereof. A new report from Plan International helps to break down the ways that online disinformation is impacting the lives of girls ages 15 to 24 around the world.

The Truth Gap, a new report from Plan International, helps identify the ways that young women and girls are being impacted by online disinformation. (Image credit: Plan International)

The report, The Truth Gap, helps to explain how girls and young women in 33 countries are experiencing information they find online. The report discovered that one in five girls (20%) feels unsafe due to false information that comes from the internet.

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Marsha Morgan on How Collective Giving Can Uplift Women and Girls

Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Marsha Morgan, a founding member of the Birmingham Change Fund and past Chair of the Community Investment Network.

Marsha Morgan, courtesy of Marsha Morgan

1. What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession?

I wish I had started my journey in philanthropy with a proper understanding of the true definition of philanthropy: love of humanity. Having this knowledge and perspective would have allowed me to take more ownership of my power and would have changed how I leveraged my resources as a philanthropist when I first started working in collective giving.

2. What is your current greatest professional challenge?

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Favianna Rodriguez on the Power of Art to Heal Polarization

Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Favianna Rodriguez, President of The Center for Cultural Power, a national organization investing in artists and storytellers as agents of positive social change.

Favianna Rodriguez, courtesy of Favianna Rodriguez
  1. What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession?

I wish I’d known more about the racial and gender barriers that exist for women of color leaders in the non-profit sector, particularly the arts and culture space. I knew how to pitch my ideas and raise money, but I lacked information on how to navigate situations in which I was experiencing unequal treatment due to my gender and racial identity. I was in many spaces where the safety of women was not prioritized. Unfortunately, over the last 20 years of being an institutional leader, I’ve experienced numerous uncomfortable situations including sexual harassment, the theft of my ideas by male leaders, being bullied by men when I challenged sexist assumptions, and being trained to lead in a boy’s club type of approach. Before, I didn’t have the language or tools to navigate these situations. But that has since changed, and I’m incredibly thankful for that because it gives me the opportunity to create safe spaces for other female and gender non-confirming leaders to thrive.

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New Nonprofit Seeks To Find The Lost Women Of Science

The Lost Women of Science Initiative, started by Katie Hafner and Amy Scharf, is on a mission to fund and raise awareness about women in STEM.

The Lost Women of Science Initiative was launched to support women in STEM and advocate for their work throughout history and in the future. (Image credit: Lost Women of Science)
The Lost Women of Science Initiative was launched to support women in STEM and advocate for their work throughout history and in the future. (Image credit: Lost Women of Science)

Journalist and author Katie Hafner, and bioethicist Amy Scharf, announced the launch of the Lost Women of Science Initiative, a new educational nonprofit organization created to research and promote the stories of the forgotten women of science. The initiative’s mission is to raise awareness of the pivotal role women have played in scientific discoveries and innovations, and to promote interest in STEM education and careers – especially among girls and young women. Harvey Mudd College, long a leader in STEM education, has signed on as fiscal sponsor, and early funding has come from The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation and Schmidt Futures. The initiative will also partner with Barnard College, one-third of whose graduates are STEM majors.

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A Leader in Women’s Health Urges Donors to Lean Into Discomfort

Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Dr. Anu Kumar, President and CEO of Ipas, an international reproductive health and rights organization.

Anu Kumar
Dr. Anu Kumar, courtesy of Dr. Anu Kumar

1. What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession?

That the issues that I have chosen to work on, reproductive health and rights including access to abortion, are ones that will take generations to resolve. I naively thought that since Roe v. Wade was decided well before I came of reproductive age and the public health data were so clear about the health benefits of contraception and abortion for women, families, communities, and countries that logic would prevail and I would simply be running programs to scale up these programs. Little did I know that I would become a warrior for abortion rights!

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Blake Bailey and the Rise of Survivor Activists in Academia

Over 200 faculty and alumni at Old Dominion University have signed a statement denouncing the school’s response to allegations of sexual misconduct by Blake Bailey. UPDATE: Since this post was written, Old Dominion has announced they will do an independent investigation of Blake Bailey’s alleged sexual misconduct while holding the Mina Hohenberg Darden Chair for Creative Writing at Old Dominion University from 2010 to 2016.

Blake Bailey, who wrote a biographer of Philip Roth which was removed from print by Norton, stands accused of multiple acts of sexual misconduct. (Image credit: Norton)

From 2010 to 2016, Old Dominion University in Virginia hosted a visiting professor by the name of Blake Bailey. In addition to being a teacher, he was an author and the biographer for several esteemed male literary figures including John Cheever and, more recently, Philip Roth. But upon publication of his biography of Philip Roth, much has come to light about Blake Bailey’s history of alleged sexual misconduct, both during his time as a professor and in his professional life outside the school. As a result of some of these accusations, Blake Bailey’s biography of Philip Roth was removed from print, his literary agent dropped him, and the biography’s original publisher, Norton, has pledged six-figures for sexual assault survivor advocacy.

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Sex Workers in India Need Our Help. Here’s What Donors Can Do

Editor’s Note: The following post from Katarzyna Rybarczyk, a Political Correspondent for Immigration News, details the increased danger for sex workers in India, and provides ways for donors to step in with support.

Despite India being home to some of the most significant populations of sex workers globally, sex workers in India have very few protections and are alienated from the government’s responses. Even before the pandemic, sex workers in India would face unfair treatment, discrimination, and poverty. Now, these problems have intensified to the point where for the majority of sex workers every day is a struggle to survive. 

sex workers in India
Photo by Sara Bakhshi on Unsplash

The Pandemic Exacerbated Sex Workers’ Vulnerabilities

Because of the nature of their profession, sex workers rely on physical contact and in-person meetings with clients to earn a living. As red-light districts have been recognised as one of the primary sources of new COVID-19 infections, they have experienced repeated closures and a significant decrease in the number of people using sex workers’ services. Their former clients not only fear contracting the virus, but many have also lost their jobs because of the pandemic and thus can no longer pay for regular meetings. 

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Gender Lens Analysis of MacKenzie Scott’s $2.7 Billion in New Giving

She’s done it again — outstripped all of philanthropy with her massive capacities to spread capital in the nonprofit realm. Today, MacKenzie Scott announced $2.7 Billion in new giving — funds that will go to those generally underfunded and overlooked. MacKenzie describes her process as “Seeding by Ceding” — seeding social change by ceding her priveleged role to those who need the power more.

mackenzie scott
MacKenzie Scott blew the doors off philanthropy again by giving $2.7 billion in new funding for overlooked and underfunded organizations. (Image credit: MacKenzie Scott)

The gender lens analysis of this new batch of giving turns up several organizations that we discuss frequently here at Philanthropy Women, including our fiscal sponsor, Women’s Funding Network (woot! woot!), as well as a long list of other organizations taking a range of approaches, including intersectional approaches, to addressing the gender issues in our culture. The list of lucky grantees in this batch include:

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