This summer saw the return of events around the world dedicated to feminist funding, and chief among them was the annual #GenerationEquality Forum, held online and in Paris from June 3oth to July 2nd.
Topics ranged from progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to the pandemic’s impact on women’s empowerment to notes on our progress from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The ultimate attitude of the Forum was one of anticipation and excitement: as the impact of the pandemic lessens around the world, we can look forward to a time of progress toward #GenerationEquality goals and recoup the social losses from COVID-19.
When last we spoke with Megha Desai of the Desai Foundation, it felt like the sky was the limit. But like so much else during the pandemic, critical need forced the Foundation to pivot away from their ambitious campaign goals around mask-making, and toward medical aid on the ground.
Like so many other nonprofit organizations, the Desai Foundation has been prompted to learned unexpected (but no less impactful) lessons during COVID. When one door closes, another opens, right? The Desai Foundation, however, also decided to build new doors.
Pivoting from Mask-Making to Other Areas of COVID Response in India
At the beginning of the pandemic, Megha Desai hoped to create a “Masks of Hope” campaign in India and the United States. The plan was to transition the Foundation’s production machines, ordinarily used to manufacture inexpensive menstrual hygiene products for communities in India, into mask manufacturing tools. Once the technique and designs were honed, the plan was to bring those machines back to the United States, bolstering the supplies of PPE moving to first responders and essential workers.
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.
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!
What would happen if we helped communities get deeply engaged in the conversation around fossil fuels? Climate Access, a nonprofit organization dedicated to facilitating the dialogue around climate change, seeks to answer this question through the power of collective advocacy.
Founded in 2011 to be driving force behind shifting societal awareness, Climate Access generates political and public support and involvement in the fight against climate change. Where other nonprofits focus on on-the-ground solutions, Climate Access works to guarantee that legislature and logistics are in place for grassroots organizations.
On June 1st, Plan International USA was granted $2 million in funds to aid child trafficking survivors in Burkina Faso. The project, aptly named Strengthening Assistance for Child Trafficking Survivors, is funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons. Plan International USA is joining forces with a local NGO in Burkina Faso, The Keoogo Association, to implement this much needed undertaking.
The project to end child trafficking
Strengthening Assistance for Child Trafficking Survivors aims to not only assist those victims of child labor and sex trafficking but also to stop it from happening in the first place. Dr. Tessie San Martin, President and CEO of Plan International USA, states, “due to underfunded education systems, poverty and a lack of employment opportunities, children in Burkina Faso are vulnerable to sexual exploitation, forced labor and recruitment by armed groups.”
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.
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.
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.
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:
Editor’s Note: COVID-19 has exposed the everyday struggles of the most vulnerable like never before. LGBTQIA+ activists are facing homophobia, transphobia and biphobia everyday as they continue to organize and support their community bearing the brunt of a pandemic. What does philanthropy need to do more? How can it better support LGBTQIA+ communities in the present moment? As we advance in the second year of the pandemic, Deepa Ranganathan and Juliana Camara, from FRIDA | The Young Feminist Fund, facilitate an engaging roundtable discussion with LGBTQIA+ members of the FRIDA ecosystem.
The first year of COVID-19 made donors run to provide immediate response to grantee partners navigating through it in different contexts. Learnings and reflections from this have been widely shared. However, as the pandemic continues to create havoc and shows little signs of stopping, we are acutely aware of stepping into Pride Month amidst this crisis. For philanthropy, this is an opportunity to elaborate further on how to resource LGBTQIA+ communities in ways that allow them to thrive and go beyond merely surviving in these times.
Melinda French Gates Receives Shaw-Hardy Taylor Achievement Award for Advancing Women’s Philanthropy
(Thursday, June 3, 2021) Philanthropist Melinda French Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, today received the Shaw-Hardy Taylor Achievement Award from the Women’s Philanthropy Institute (WPI) at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.
The Shaw-Hardy Taylor Achievement Award recognizes philanthropists, nonprofit leaders, volunteers, change agents, fundraisers and researchers who have moved women’s philanthropy forward and demonstrated significant impact on the field. The award has been presented triennially since 2008, with the exception that conferral of the award to French Gates, which had been slated for last year, was deferred due to the pandemic.
In honor of Menstrual Hygiene Day on 5/28, Global G.L.O.W. has been working to fight against period stigma and poverty.
Global G.L.O.W. is an international non-profit organization that works with its partners in 23 countries on achieving gender equity. Mentoring young girls plays a large role in their activism. They feature three key initiatives in these mentorship programs.
GirlSolve focuses on the disparities that girls face in formal economic opportunities. GLOW Club helps girls to progress their ability to advocate for themselves, their emotional wellbeing, educational and community engagement and impact. The final initiative is Healthy GLOW, which works to educate girls on maintaining healthy bodies and relationships.