Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving In Real Life series featuresElodie Read, Program and Community Partnerships Lead at Subak, the first global non-profit tech accelerator dedicated to combatting the climate emergency.
1. What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession?
I’m pretty early on in my career so this is quite a tricky question to answer. At university and grad school, everyone is full of conviction, zeal and a healthy dose of naivety about how the world is and how it should be. When you start working, it can be easy to get bogged down in reality, but I think it’s important to remember why we got into this kind of work and to keep working with our values and goals at the front of our minds.
Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series featuresDeb Markowitz, director of the Nature Conservancy in Massachusetts.
1. What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession?
I come to the position of director of the Nature Conservancy in Massachusetts after a long career in public service. I was in my mid-30s, with three very young children when I was first elected Vermont’s Secretary of State. After serving for 12 years, I ran for Governor of Vermont, and although I lost the primary election by less than 500 votes, the person who won appointed me to serve as his environmental secretary. From this experience I learned a couple of things. First, if you stay grounded in mission and purpose, you can withstand the ups and downs of ones’ career. Second, nothing great is ever accomplished alone. Ask for help, cultivate trusted partners, and use your power and privilege to lift others.
Rachel’s Network just announced the 2021 award cycle of its initiative honoring women of color fighting for the environment: The Rachel’s Network Catalyst Award recognizes women of color across the country who are leveraging their activism for environmental impact.
With applications and nominations due by June 17th, now is the ideal time to make your voice heard in the world of eco-activism.
Winners of the Rachel’s Network Catalyst Award receive a $10,000 prize, networking opportunities with the full network, and public recognition within the environmental, philanthropic, and women’s leadership communities.
Roll up your sleeves and get ready to get to work — the WILD ELEMENTS Foundation has arrived! Just in time for Earth Day, this planet-focused grantmaking organization is leading the conservation conversation with a three-pronged “kindness” approach. And what’s more, WILD ELEMENTS is helmed by two incredible women: Nikki Eslami and Heidi Nel.
WILD ELEMENTS is Eslami’s brainchild: as the CEO and Founder of the organization, Eslami is also a Board Member of the WILD ELEMENTS Foundation, alongside the Foundation’s President and fellow board member Heidi Nel.
WILD ELEMENTS is a purpose-first platform, which consists of three unique organizations – a nonprofit corporation (the WILD ELEMENTS Foundation), a storytelling studio, and mindfully made brands. Beginning with a $3 million investment, the WILD ELEMENTS Foundation will support the stories and innovations of leaders around the world through grantmaking, advocacy, network building, and other charitable activities.
So, What’s Been Going on So Far with The Hive Fund?
What we were initially so excited about was the Hive Fund’s unique approach to fixing a very prevalent problem: The conspicuous funding gap for women’s climate organizations in the American South. And so far, the Hive Fund has proven to be a wave-making, impact-oriented force for the greater good.
What a stressful, challenging, and world-view altering year. Between COVID, the free-fall of the economy, and the ongoing lack of clarity from the election, it feels like there’s no end to the new harm and instability in the world, particularly for women and girls. Here’s a look at what went wrong, and right, for gender equality funding strategies this past year, as represented by our Top 10 posts here at Philanthropy Women.
Listed below are the top 10 posts on Philanthropy Women for 2020, factoring in page views and social media shares, as well as stats on high-authority backlinks for each post. These are the posts that produced the most reverberations across the culture, from what we could tell.
Along with the Hive Fund for Climate and Gender Justice, another important feminist climate fund also received support from Bezos Earth Fund: The Solutions Project. The Solutions Project, like the Hive Fund, will be receiving $43 million in unrestricted funding over three years.
Among the Solutions Project’s board of directors are many familiar faces in the social justice arena, including Leah Hendrix-Hunt and Sharon Alpert. There are also stars of stage and screen including Mark Ruffalo and Don Cheadle.
The Solutions Project’s President and CEO, Gloria Walton, is already being described as a “superstar” of the ecofeminist scene, with clear vision and strategies already in place to fund us toward a more sustainable climate and a culture centered on gender and racial equality.
The Hive Fund for Climate and Gender Justice is among a group of equity-focused climate re-granting organizations that received grants from the Jeff Bezos Earth Fund, a $10 billion effort to fight climate change. We are thankful for this investment in our grantmaking program. These grants signal the beginnings of a shift as many philanthropists start to recognize the critical role that frontline groups and leaders of color play in addressing the climate crisis.
The grant from the Bezos Earth Fund, totaling $43 million over three years, will help The Hive Fund expand grantmaking to organizations led by Black, Brown, and Indigenous women and other frontline leaders. The work these groups do is essential to addressing the intersecting climate, gender, and racial justice crises in the U.S. Hive Fund grantee partners are engaging a record number of people in democracy; elevating climate, racial, and gender justice issues to the top of policymakers’ agendas; and bringing creativity, culture, joy, and power to growing social movements.
Women’s beauty brand Love Beauty and Planet recently announced a $100,000 grant cycle for The Love Beauty and Planet Project. This grant project offers funding ranging from $1,000 to $20,000 for projects that improve the wellbeing and health of the planet, specifically those that focus on reducing, avoiding, or sequestering carbon.
Ranging from $1,000 to $20,000, the Love Beauty and Planet grants focus on projects that improve recycling rates, reduce plastic waste, and/or sequester carbon emissions. What’s more, the company has expressed a preference for applications focusing on marginalized and underserved communities, which are often the most adversely affected–and the least able to recuperate–from carbon emissions that harm the environment.
What the world needs now more than ever is more funders who understand and address the deep intersectionalities of human experience. Recently, a new funder launched to do just that. The Hive Fund is dedicated to supporting climate, gender and racial justice, with a focus on the U.S. Southeast. Launched in 2019, it recently released its Spring 2020 grant recipients.
Hive supports Black, Indigenous, and women of color leaders who traditionally have had limited access to philanthropic and other resources. The fund’s mandate is to fund “visionary and strategic efforts of leaders and organizations working at the intersections of climate justice, gender equity, democracy, cultural power and economic justice.” Moreover, Hive aims to embed participatory decision-making in it grant-making process.