Girl Power: Helping Empower Teen Girls in Grantmaking

Girls participate in the WFG-funded Unearth storytelling project. (Image credit: BRAVE)

“Too few girls have the chance to make decisions about any aspect of their lives – whether they can stay in school, whether and what they can study, when or who they marry, accessing health care, and if and where they can see friends,” Swatee Deepak, director of With and For Girls (WFG) says. WFG is a funding collaborative that seeks to shift the scales of power in teen girls’ favor. It gives financial support to girl-led and -centered groups around the world and engages young women in participatory grantmaking panels. This means, every year, former winning organizations train teen girls to choose the next prize recipients. As we’ve pointed out, girls and young women ages 10 to 24 make up 12.5% of the world’s population — around 900 million people total. But, less than 2 cents of every international aid dollar goes to campaigns directed toward girls in this age group.

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Serena Williams Invests $3 Million in Reducing Maternal Mortality Rates

Serena Williams, world class athlete and founder of Serena Ventures, is helping to address critical health issues for pregnant women in America. (Photo credit: Serena Ventures)

After her daughter’s birth in 2017, tennis legend Serena Williams spoke out about her many postpartum complications. Williams experienced a traumatizing pulmonary embolism that forced her to undergo several surgeries after her initial C-section. The complications kept her in a hospital bed for a week after childbirth–and ruminating on the implications of her health issues for a lot longer than that. 

Although harrowing, Williams’ story is far from unusual. The U.S. has the highest maternal mortality rate in the developed world. In particular, the immediate postpartum period is considered especially high-risk, due in part to the widespread inaccessibility of adequate postpartum care for both psychological and physiological complications. 

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It’s All About Health for Women and Girls: Ghada Khan on Ending FGM

Ghada Khan (front row, far right) with U.S. End FGM/C members and other attendees of the 63rd United Nations Commission on the Status of Women in March 2019. (Image credit: Ghada Khan)

An estimated 3.9 million girls around the world are at risk of female genital mutilation or cutting (FGM/C) every year. About 513,000 women and girls in the U.S. are at risk of or have undergone this procedure. Ending FGM/C is an issue that many funders can engage in; those who are interested in gender equality, who want to end gender-based violence and child abuse, who want to defend women’s bodily autonomy, and who want to make sure all girls are safe, educated and empowered.

Dr. Ghada Khan is a health program analyst and the network coordinator for the U.S. End FGM/C Network, a collaborative group of “survivors, civil society organizations, foundations, activists, policymakers, researchers, health care providers and others committed to promoting the abandonment of [FGM/C] in the U.S. and around the world.” She spoke to Philanthropy Women about her work and how philanthropy can be more effective in the fight to end FGM/C.

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More Girls in the Game: US Soccer Foundation, Adidas Aid Participation

The U.S. Soccer Foundation is making a new effort to bring women and girls into soccer, especially in underserved communities. (Image Credit: U.S. Soccer Foundation)

The U.S. Soccer Foundation’s recently announced a new initiative called United for Girls, which aims to increase soccer opportunities for young girls and women from underserved communities.

United for Girls has an ambitious goal over the next three years: double both the number of girls impacted by the Foundation’s programs, and the number of U.S. Soccer Foundation female coach-mentors. Adidas, the initiative’s founding partner, is working with the Foundation to get more girls on the field, and combat their high athletics drop-out rate.

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Diane Ravitch Wants Philanthropy to Support Rebirth of Public Schools

Education expert Diane Ravitch (Image credit: Diane Ravitch)

Philanthropy aimed at K-12 education in the U.S. has ramped up in the past few decades and remains complex and controversial. Funders back diverse causes like delivering new learning technologies, establishing charter schools and backing professional development for public school teachers, among many others. Along with local and regional funders, major philanthropies like the Bill and Melinda Gates, Broad and Walton Family Foundations direct hundreds of millions to education annually.

Diane Ravitch says these funders should prioritize helping under-resourced American learning institutions and families by supporting traditional public schools and their teachers, and addressing income inequality. She discussed these topics as well as funding for girls and the pitfalls of charter schools with Philanthropy Women. Ravitch is an education author and historian and a former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education. She is currently a research professor of Education at New York University and president of the Network for Public Education, which she founded.

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FIFA Pledges Half Billion for Women’s Soccer, Joins with UN

The U.S. Women’s Soccer Team is currently the world champion team, and is currently competing in the Women’s World Cup to hold its title. (Photo Credit: FIFA.com)

On June 7, 2019, at the end of FIFA’s first Women’s Convention, President Gianni Infantino announced the organization’s new commitment to dedicate $500 million to women’s soccer programs over the next four years. The announcement came on the heels of FIFA’s new partnership with UN Women, focused on promoting gender equity around the world.

Held on June 6 and 7 in the days before the kickoff of the Women’s World Cup, the FIFA Women’s Football Convention was the organization’s latest foray into empowerment for female soccer players. As the first event of its kind, the Convention gathered leaders from sports and politics in an unprecedented arena to discuss key issues surrounding women’s empowerment and development in professional football.

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Tegan and Sara Want You to Be Proud of Your Feet

The Tegan and Sarah Foundation provides grants for camps serving LGBTQ+ youth. (Image credit: Tegan and Sara Foundation)

The Tegan and Sara Foundation, founded by the eponymous indie/folk/pop musical duo, has partnered with shoemaker Teva to launch a limited-edition, multi-colored sandal to support the LGBTQ+ community. The elevated rainbow sandal celebrates Pride Month, and Teva will donate a portion of sales to the Tegan and Sara Foundation (TSF).

TSF “fights for health, economic justice and representation for LGBTQ girls and women.” Launched in 2016 on a commitment to feminism and racial, social and gender justice, TSF is in solidarity with other organizations fighting for LGBTQ and women’s rights. The Foundation raises awareness and funds to address the inequalities currently preventing LGBTQ girls and women from reaching their full potential.

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Dream Big: The Film Funders Who Want Girls to Be Engineers

Two girls in school uniforms cross a bridge in Haiti.
Girls in Haiti take a new bridge to school. (Photo credit: “Dream Big – Haiti Behind the Scenes”)

The number of women in engineering (the crucial E of STEM) has risen in the last few decades, but still lags behind men — only 13% of engineers are women. A new big-screen film called, “Dream Big: Engineering Our World,” seeks to inspire the next generation of diverse female engineers. The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), MacGillivray Freeman Films (MFF) and Bechtel Corporation are the key partners driving this initiative.

A Film About Big Dreams

“Dream Big” shares exemplary feats of engineering and the stories of the contemporary engineers who bring them to life, with a focus on women in the field. Towering buildings, underwater robots, solar cars and sustainable city planning are a few of the topics covered.

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Cedella Marley Backs Reggae Girlz as They Head for World Cup

Cedella Marley, author, designer, mother, and philanthropist, has been credited as the key donor behind much-needed support for the Jamaica’s women’s soccer team, Reggae Girlz. (Photo Credit: Cedella Marley on Twitter)

The New York Times recently ran a feature on Reggae Girlz, the first national soccer team from the Caribbean to qualify for the Women’s World Cup, happening soon (June 7 to July 7) in France.

The article, entitled The Women’s World Cup’s Other Inequality: Rich vs. Poor, reports that the coach of the Reggae Girlz has worked for free for five years, and many of the female players lack funds for the costs of being a professional athlete. The coaches have to buy them things like jackets to wear for training and other basics of the sport.

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Texas Women’s Foundation Honors Seven Pioneers and Raises $600,000

Left to right: Retta Miller (event co-chair), Roslyn Dawson Thompson (TXWF president & CEO), Dee Dee Bates (Maura honoree), Ana Hernandez (Maura honoree), Sally Dunning (Maura honoree), Dr. HaeSung Han (Young Leader honoree), Ana Rodriguez (Young Leader honoree), Ashlee Kleinert (Maura honoree), Nicole Small (Maura honoree), Thear Suzuki (event co-chair), Effie Dennison (Texas Capital Bank), Brenda L. Jackson (selection committee co-chair), Sallie Krawcheck (keynote speaker). (Photo credit: TWF/Kristina Bowman)

For the Texas Women’s Foundation, 2019 has provided excellent opportunities to build on the groundwork laid by their 2018 transformation.

On May 2nd, the Texas Women’s Foundation held its annual Leadership Forum & Awards Dinner, presented by AT&T at the Omni Dallas Hotel. Like previous years, the LFAD event was an opportunity for the Foundation to look back on its achievements and work from the past year, but 2019 marked the first such event for the organization since its rebranding in 2018.

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