Difficult, Disturbing Times at Oxfam, but Gender Equality Mission Endures

Oxfam has announced a new multi-faceted effort to prevent abuse and misconduct by its employees, in the wake of reports of misconduct of employees in Haiti and Chad.

If you follow the news on philanthropy, you have probably heard about Oxfam’s troubles. One of the oldest and largest global relief and development organizations, Oxfam is now facing heavy scrutiny due to sexual misconduct by some of its staff in Haiti in 2011. The Haitian government has suspended some of Oxfam’s operations in its country for two months while it investigates how the nonprofit handled the allegations of sexual misconduct during their humanitarian response in 2011. An estimated 7,000 individual supporters have since abandoned the organization since the allegations were reported in February this year, although the nonprofit asserts that their corporate partners have not withdrawn support. (A helpful timeline of events about the Oxfam crisis is available at Third Sector.)

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Big Doings in Feminist Philanthropy For Women’s History Month

It’s hard for me to keep up with all the news these days on feminist philanthropy, which is a good thing. That means there are more stories every day (and especially during women’s history month) that are reaching people’s inboxes and getting the world thinking about turning further in the direction of a feminist vision of peace and justice.  The constancy of this news is why I publish a daily aggregate of news called Giving For Good, which I encourage you to subscribe to if you are a feminist philanthropy news junkie like me.

Sometimes the news is so big that it deserves extra attention, which is one of the reasons I created Philanthropy Women: to highlight the feminist philanthropy news that is truly game-changing and groundbreaking. Here are a few extra important stories that I wanted to pick out and share:

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Geographical Sums Up Global Gender Quandaries in November Article

Author Mark Rowe discusses the gender equality challenges that we face globally in the November 2017 issue of Geographical.

An article in the November 2017 issue of Geographical, a print publication out of the UK, does an exceptional job of summarizing the current research on gender equality globally. Geographical came to my attention after having the opportunity to talk with staff at Oxfam Great Britain (Oxfam GB), in order to learn more about the way Oxfam has approached integrating gender and development for the past two and a half decades.

The article points to research showing that making gains in gender equality could add as much as $12 trillion to the economy, but also quotes some experts who are dubious about using economic arguments for achieving political gains for women. Dr. Torrun Wimpelmann says that it’s unproductive to argue with social conservatives using this economic data. Another expert, Dr. Jeni Klugman, author of a high level UN report called Leave No-One Behind, says there is room for the economic argument, since it comes at the issue pragmatically.

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Ripple Effect: Longtime Expert to Cultivate Giving Circles Worldwide

Sondra Shaw Hardy is one of the founding thinkers behind the Women’s Philanthropy Institute at Indiana University. Author of six books on philanthropy. Shaw Hardy is now launching a new organization focused on accelerating giving circles internationally.

“I remember standing up at a conference 16 or 17 years ago and saying that my dream is that there will be a women’s giving circle in every city in America,” says Sondra Shaw Hardy. “I feel that my goal now is to take giving circles worldwide.” To that end, Shaw Hardy is starting a new organization called Women’s Giving Circles International, which will make expanding the giving circle model globally its primary goal.

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Announcing the 2018 Philanthropy Women Leadership Awards

The Philanthropy Women awards focus on leadership in the gender equality philanthropy sector.

This is our first year here at Philanthropy Women, and these our inaugural awards. They go to recipients who have demonstrated exceptional leadership in the field of gender equality philanthropy. These awards draw on the database of Philanthropy Women’s coverage, and are therefore inherently bias toward the people and movement activity we have written about so far. As our database grows each year, we will cover more ground, and have a wider field to cull from for the awards.


The People

Bridge Builders Award for Network and Collaborative Giving Leadership

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Hell No, We Won’t Go! A Guide to Repealing the Trump Tax

Expect to hear a lot more about repealing the tax law here at Philanthropy Women over the coming year. It’s time to pull out all the stops and take back our democracy.

With Christmas over, it’s now time to get down to business and develop a strong agenda for 2018. At the top of that agenda for progressive donors, in my opinion, is repealing the Trump Tax that recently passed. This legislation does more to hurt the middle class and nonprofits than can be tolerated in a society that still prides itself on equality and freedom.

Here are just a few choice details about how this law will deter giving for the middle and upper middle class. The law’s discouragement of itemized deductions by raising the standard deduction for married couples to $24,000, is estimated to reduce the number of itemized tax returns from the current 30% to only 5%. That means only 5% of people will have enough charitable and other deductions to qualify for itemizing their taxes. This change strikes a devastating blow to families in the $70,000 to $200,000 income level, who often stretch their giving in order to qualify for the charitable tax exemption at $12,000. Between the mortgage interest deduction and the charitable deduction, some middle class families would be able to qualify for the $12,000 deduction threshold. By giving an extra two or three thousand or more, they are often supporting nonprofits in the community (their local church, food bank, or domestic violence shelter) getting a tax break, too.

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From Resistance to Renaissance: Women Must Embrace their Power for Funding Social Change

Allison Fine, author and nonprofit leader, is Vice Chair of NARAL: ProChoice America Foundation.

Editor’s Note: It gives me great pleasure to welcome Allison Fine to Philanthropy Women as a guest contributor. Allison is the author of multiple books including Momentum: Igniting Social Change in the Connected Age and The Networked Nonprofit. A former Senior Fellow at Demos, Allison specializes in the intersections of online activism and democracy-building. 

Exactly a year ago, millions of women across the country created the Resistance. We have marched and protested, shared our outrage using hashtags such as #metoo, #yessallwomen #nastywomen and called (and called and called) Congress. Now it’s time to shift from powering the Resistance to creating the Renaissance. However, there is one huge barrier, the “final frontier” as philanthropist Ruth Ann Harnisch calls it: our discomfort with money and power.

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Putting Women on the Map: New NGO for Women Launches at Georgetown

Tomorrow at Georgetown University, a new nonprofit called Women on the Map will launch. WOMAP is a digital network which seeks to advance women in technology and digital affairs.

It’s always good to start the week learning about the launch of a new gender equality nonprofit. Tomorrow at Georgetown University, Women on the Map (WOMAP), an international, nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the role of women and girls in fields of technology and foreign affairs, will officially launch. To celebrate the launch, WOMAP will host an expert panel discussion on how technology can empower women and girls. Following the panel, a photo exhibition will be unveiled which celebrates the history of female trailblazers from around the world who have contributed to women’s rights, peace and security as well as international business, development, diplomacy, and public service.

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Today at 11 EST: MacArthur Finalists Plan to End Orphanages by 2050

Today at 11 am EST, I’m going to be tuning in to Lumos and its partners, Catholic Relief Services and Maestral International, as they hold a Facebook event where they will talk about their plans as finalists in the MacArthur Foundation #100andchange global competition, which will make a $100 million grant to one of four finalists.

As a supporter of Lumos, I’m thrilled to see that the organization has teamed up with other powerful partners to move forward on its goal of ending orphanages by 2050. If they receive the $100 million grant from MacArthur, that would make a huge difference in their ability to carry out their ambitious plans.

The author (without makeup and still not good at selfies) wearing her Lumos t-shirt which she received with her donation.

The Finalist Friday event today is hosted by Sheilah Kast of On The Record. Discussing the plans for how the grant would impact the future of child welfare globally will be Georgette Mulheir, CEO of Lumos, Shannon Senefeld, Vice President of Program Impact and Quality Assurance at Catholic Relief Services, and Philip Goldman, President of Maestral International.

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Why We Must All Care About the SDGs – And What They Are

The Global Goals for Sustainable Development lay out key parameters for creating a more just, humane, and environmentally sustainable planet.

Do you know all 17 of the sustainable development goals adopted by the UN in January of 2016?  If so, good for you. Up until today, I was mainly familiar with SDG 5: “Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.” Now that I read Equal Measures 2030’s research showing that many policy leaders in the development sector do not know very much about the SDGs, I decided it was time to do my homework and learn more about the SDGs myself.

So here they are. They read kind of a like a very long human rights mantra.  Let’s break it down and start with the first five:

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