Imagining What Is Possible: This Young Feminist Funder is Growing Women’s Media Globally

FRIDA is a global feminist funder dedicated to social change. It has made $1.3 million in direct grants to over 150 groups in over 80 different countries.

Young feminists have been organizing across the globe for decades, but their work, particularly in the media sector, has been woefully underfunded. I know, since I was one of them. In 1969, when I co-founded Women Make Movies, women’s funds didn’t exist.

Over the decades, thousands of young activists have gathered at events like the International Forum on Women’s Rights and Development, the flagship event of AWID (Association of Women’s Rights in Development), and have talked about the need for more funding for young feminists, particularly in media. As the last decade closed, many young activists lamented that no women’s fund specifically addressed their youthful organizing needs. So they decided to start their own, with AWID and Fondo Centralamericano de Mujeres (Central America Women’s Fund) incubating this spark of an idea.

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New Study Funded by Global Coalition Sheds Light on Violence Against Women in the Middle East

The new study, called IMAGES MENA for short, is funded by governments, the UN, and the Arcus and Oak Foundations.

A coalition of international and UN organizations, private foundations and governments have come together to produce startling new research on the state of gender norms in the Middle East. The study, entitled Understanding Masculinities: Results from the International Men and Gender Equality Survey (IMAGES) for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), helps to clarify how cultural norms for both men and women contribute to hostility and violence against women, specifically in the nations of Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, and Palestine.

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Are Conservatives Taking Over the UN? What are the Implications for Gender Justice?

OURS, which sponsored the new report, Rights at Risk, is a working group that included Planned Parenthood Global, Asian-Pacific Resource and Research Centre for Women, Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID), and many other global nonprofits.

Recently, one of our lead sponsors, Emily Nielsen Jones, philanthropist and Co-founder of Imago Dei Fund, raised the warning flag about the growing conservative Christian influence on religious culture in the U.S. Now, a new report has come out that warns of a growing conservative religious influence on the United Nations. The report, entitled Rights at Risk and produced by The Observatory on the Universality of Rights (OURS), argues that  “the universality of human rights is under attack by an increasingly coordinated and agile set of anti-rights actors operating in the international human rights sphere.”

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What’s up with this New Philanthropy Hub, and How Will It Involve Women’s Philanthropy?

Giving Compass aggregates philanthropy news and information by topics, including news and information about women’s philanthropy.

Recently, I got an email from Stephanie Gillis, Senior Advisor at the Raikes Foundation, wanting to “explore potential synergies” with the work we are doing at Philanthropy Women. Naturally, I was eager to do so, and soon learned about Givingcompass.org, a new team effort of several foundations and nonprofits, aimed at drawing on the chops of the tech sector in order to provide more resources for the philanthropy sector, particularly around how to assess the quality of philanthropy and get the most impact per philanthropy dollar.

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The Global Women’s Philanthropy Network Aligning Health with Human Rights for Women and Girls

Maverick Collective, co-chaired by Melinda Gates and H.R.H. Crown Princess Mette-Marit of Norway , is poised to deploy millions more in philanthropy with a gender lens.

Some of the wealthiest women in the world deploying vast fortunes with gender lens grantmaking: This is the future of philanthropy.

But gender norms of the past still haunt many women philanthropists. “Women told us that they would be at a cocktail party, and people would come talk to their husbands, but not them,” said Kate Roberts, Senior Vice President for Corporate Partnerships with Population Services International (PSI). A global nonprofit “focused on the encouragement of healthy behavior and affordability of health products,” PSI is the host organization for The Maverick Collective.

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Will the Trump Administration Let Girls Learn, or End One of Philanthropy’s Most Successful Campaigns?

Confusion reigns in Trumpland. And lack of awareness in decision-making appears to be rampant in the Trump Administration.

The latest example is the Trump Administration’s internal memo ending “Let Girls Learn,” Michelle Obama’s signature philanthropic endeavor. On May 1st, CNN opened up the can of worms with the headline, “Trump administration memo calls for ending Michelle Obama’s girls education program.” Hours later, CNN would post another headline, “Despite memo, White House says Michelle Obama program unchanged.”

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Distributive By Design: How a New Economic Model Helps Build Gender Equality

Image: Kate Raworth and Christian Guthier/The Lancet Planetary Health

Kate Raworth has written a very compelling article about the need to redesign economies to address inequality. The change requires relinquishing old economic thinking, which said something like, “Inequality has to get worse before it can get better in a growing economy,” and replacing it with new thinking that builds on “a network of flows” which are distributive by design.

Raworth is a Senior Visiting Research Associate at the Environmental Change Institute at Oxford University and the author of Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st Century Economist.

More from the article:

Instead of focusing foremost on income, 21st-century economists will seek to redistribute the sources of wealth too – especially the wealth that lies in controlling land and resources, in controlling money creation, and in owning enterprise, technology and knowledge. And instead of turning solely to the market and state for solutions, they will harness the power of the commons to make it happen. Here are some questions that 21st century economists have already taken on to help create an economy that is distributive by design:

Land and resources: how can the value of Earth’s natural commonwealth be more equitably distributed: through land reform, land-value taxes, or by reclaiming land as a commons? And how could understanding our planet’s atmosphere and oceans as global commons far better distribute the global returns to their sustainable use?

Money creation: why endow commercial banks with the right to create money as interest-based debt, and leave them to reap the rents that flow from it? Money could alternatively be created by the state, or indeed by communities as complementary currencies: it’s time to create a monetary ecosystem that can fulfill this distributive potential. 

Enterprise: what business design models – such as cooperatives and employee-owned companies – can best ensure that committed workers, not fickle shareholders, reap a far greater share of the value that they help to generate?

Knowledge: how can the potential of the creative commons be unleashed internationally, through free open-source hardware and software, and the rise of creative commons licensing? 

Technology: who will own the robots, and why should it be that way? Given that much basic research underlying automation and digitization has been publicly funded, should a share of the rewards not return to the public purse? 



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How Funding for a New App is Helping Lift Up Communities Around the Globe

Courtenay Cabot Venton, an economist working in global development, helped developed a new app that brings communities together to solve problems.

From Emily: At Imago Dei Fund, we are honored to discover inspiring people with ideas that make cool things happen in the world. One such example is Courtenay Cabot Venton, the author of this post and an economist working in global development, who has spearheaded the development of an app being used around the world through a web of partnerships. This app helps people develop“self help groups” in impoverished places, making use of technology to empower and uplift their members. In many ways, Courtenay’s story of creating this app to empower women shows how the very nature of empowerment is changing. 

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Check Out this Call for Applications for Women Peacemakers

The Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice trains women as international peacemakers.

University of San Diego’s Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice just announced a call for application to its Women PeaceMakers fellowship program. The 10-month fellowship will bring on four women peacebuilders to work in high conflict areas internationally, engaging with four international peace partners on the goal of reducing violence in the community. Each fellow will also be followed by a Peace Researcher who will “document her peacebuilding journey, and specifically, how she engages the security sector.”

From Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice:

Each year, an urgent peacebuilding issue is identified and participants are selected based on their work in that area. During the 2017-18 academic year, the program will focus on Women PeaceMakers working with the local security sector (police, military and other state security forces) to advance peacebuilding, human security, and women’s rights in pre-, during or post-conflict settings. The guiding question that the fellows will work on is:

How can Women PeaceMakers and international partners build more effective local/global collaborations in their peacebuilding efforts to engage the security sector?

Examples of civilian-led engagement with the security sector to ensure legal mechanisms are upheld and human rights are protected include the following:

● Efforts to enhance accountability (e.g. civilian-led reporting mechanisms and efforts to combat impunity);

● Facilitation of security sector reform (e.g. civilian-supported disarmament, demobilization, and reintegration campaigns of certain military, police or militias);

● Building community-security partnerships

● The work of former female combatants to reintegrate and rehabilitate fellow fighters

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Vini Bhansali: On Growing Underfunded Change Agents in the Global South

Rajasvini Bhansali, Executive Director, IDEX, soon to be renamed Thousand Currents. (Photo credit: Rucha Chitnis)

Rajasvini “Vini” Bhansali spoke to me by phone from Mumbai, India, where she was working and visiting family, the trip to her homeland compelled by a family illness.

“We attract donors and ambassadors that are thinking about local and global connections,” says Bhansali, Executive Director of IDEX (soon to be renamed Thousand Currents). Bhansali notes that 60 percent of IDEX’s budget comes from family foundations, 20 percent from individual donors, and 20 percent from earned income. Last year, IDEX recorded a 45 percent increase in new individual donors, and as it morphs into Thousand Currents, the organization has added staff positions, including a grants coordinator, a community engagement manager, and directors of “donor organizing” and “diaspora partnerships.”

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