Verizon Commits $7.5 Mil to Small Business Recovery Fund

Another corporate funder has stepped in to help small business in this time of economic uncertainty. Verizon recently announced another $2.5 million commitment to small businesses, bringing total funding for the Verizon Small Business Recovery Fund to 7.5 million dollars.

The Verizon Small Business Recovery Fund supports diverse businesses impacted by COVID-19 with the facilitation of Local Initiatives Support Corporation. (Image Credit: LISC)

“Small businesses across the country are confronting extreme economic challenges as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic,” writes the communications giant in the description of the program. “Financial support at this critical time can make the difference between staying in business or closing permanently, leading to lost income, jobs and economic stability.”

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Gates Foundation Appoints First Gender Equality President

SEATTLE, June 11, 2020 – Today the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation named Anita Zaidi, currently director, Vaccine Development & Surveillance (VD&S) and Enteric & Diarrheal Diseases (EDD), as the first president of Gender Equality. In this new role, Anita will oversee a division comprised of the foundation’s Gender Equality program team and Gender Program Advocacy and Communications team.

Anita Zaidi
Anita Zaidi, a pediatric infectious-diseases physician, joins the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as its first president of gender equality. (Image Credit: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation)

Zaidi will also take on responsibility for the foundation’s broader gender integration agenda, working with and across all program teams to ensure gender is being incorporated in a smart, thoughtful way to increase impact. Anita will report directly to CEO Mark Suzman and will join the Executive Leadership Team (ELT). She will assume her new role effective November 2, 2020.

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Is Melinda Influencing MacKenzie Toward Feminist Giving?

In the world of feminist giving, we have to celebrate the wins, both the small ones and the big ones. One of those big wins is happening right now, as Melinda Gates and MacKenzie Bezos team up to distribute $30 million through the Equality Can’t Wait Fund.

With Equality Can’t Wait, Melinda Gates and MacKenzie Bezos, two of the richest women in the world, are teaming up to accelerate gender equality. It’s a big win for feminist philanthropy. (Image Credit: Equality Can’t Wait)

The more Melinda and MacKenzie can collaborate, the more the world of feminist philanthropy has to celebrate, since these two women hold more assets than many small countries combined.

Really, it’s hard to imagine a more positive development for the feminist giving sphere than Melinda Gates’s incorporation of MacKenzie Bezos right into the frontlines of feminist philanthropy. Yet this is also a searing indictment of how far inequality has advanced in our nation, that the coming together of two megabillionaires could have so much influence.

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Global Resilience Fund Offers Flex Funding for Women and Girls

COVID-19 puts pressure on all of us, but many women and girls are at higher risk of danger and oppression during these unprecedented times. A crisis like COVID-19 makes the widespread effects of issues like abuse, domestic violence, and rising barriers to educational, financial, and social survival much more intense–and often, much more deadly. The new Global Resilience Fund for Girls and Young Women seeks to answer this understated emergency with rapid, flexible funding to activist groups led by girls and young women.

The Global Resilience Fund is a worldwide collective of funders committed to supporting young women and girl activists with emergency funding as they respond to the COVID-19 crisis. (Image Credit: Global Resilience Fund)

The Global Resilience Fund supports informal collectives, registered organizations, and unregistered community groups led by girls, young women, and trans and intersex young people around the world. To reach populations that may otherwise have a difficult time obtaining funding, the Global Resilience Fund only offers grants to organizations with a budget of less than $50,000 per year. Successful applicants can receive “fully flexible rapid response grants” worth up to $5,000.

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Gates Leaders on COVID: Liveblogging New IUPUI Series

On May 21st, attendees gathered for IUPUI’s first webinar in the Perspectives on Philanthropy Discussion Series. The series asks, “As we search for context in our transforming world, what role does philanthropy play? Broadly understood to encompass the human voluntary spirit, philanthropy is responding in a variety of ways to the current global crisis today. How is it doing and what role will it have in the world that is emerging?”

Gates leaders on COVID
Jennifer Alcorn and Victoria Vrana were the first guests on the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy’s new discussion series, Perspectives on Philanthropy. (Image Credit: IUPUI)

Today’s webinar started with an introduction from Amir Pasic of IU Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. The morning’s guests were Jennifer Alcorn (Deputy Director, Philanthropic Partnerships) and Victoria Vrana (Deputy Director, Giving By All) of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

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As NoVo Downsizes, What Next for Women and Girls?

A bombshell was dropped today on feminist funding: Marc Gunther reports on the Chronicle of Philanthropy that NoVo Foundation has laid off half its staff, backed out of the Women’s Building project, and is otherwise downsizing its operations in the gender equality funding arena. “It’s about time other people ponied up,” said Peter Buffett in the Chronicle interview.

Novo downsizes what next

Yes, it is about time for others to pony up. If only there were tons of donors standing in line to pony up for women and girls. As it turns out, that’s not quite the case. And certainly no one knows that better than Peter Buffett.

The fact is, most male donors don’t share Peter Buffett’s former sense of enlightenment about the need to fund with a gender lens — not even close. So for one of the few men who truly gets it to be walking away from the table at this particular moment in history, all I can say is, wow. Just wow. Some leaders have a tendency to overpromise and underdeliver. Apparently, Peter Buffett is one of them.

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Ms. Foundation Hosts May 20 Feminist Block Party

On May 20th, get ready for a one-of-a-kind online event honoring female movers and shakers with some moving and shaking of your own. The first-ever Feminist Block Party is an online dance party and fundraiser for critical nonprofits and community organizations run by women of color, supporting those organizations in the nation’s communities most heavily impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.

The Ms. Foundation for Women will host Roar for Women: A Feminist Block Party, the first online event of its kind, on May 20, 2020. (Image Credit: Ms. Foundation for Women)

Hosted by the Ms. Foundation for Women, Roar for Women: A Feminist Dance Party will include notes from guest speakers, leaders from the Ms. Foundation, influencers, and organization spokespeople from across the country, including the 2020 Women of Vision Honorees.

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Stacy’s Rise 2020 Opens Applications for Female Founders

If you’re a fan of hummus and veggie dip, you’re probably a fan of Stacy’s Pita Chips, too. However, like most businesses, the snack brand wasn’t always a familiar fixture in grocery stores. A combination of smart advertising tactics, mentoring, and financial support brought the female-founded brand from its origins in sandwich carts to its place in grocery stores (and our pantries!).

In honor of the brand’s rise to fame, Stacy and Frito-Lay partnered to create the Stacy’s Rise Project, a grant program designed to elevate female-founded brands. The 2020 application cycle is now open, the fourth in the Stacy’s Rise program, and it offers $10,000 grants to 15 women-owned businesses.

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New Report Shows How Comfortable Harvard Made Jeffrey Epstein

Time for a break from COVID and a return to a discussion that was a big deal in the land before pandemics: Jeffrey Epstein, and the way he simply glided through high society as if there was nothing wrong with being a convicted sex offender. A new report from Harvard discussed in today’s Boston Globe tells of how Epstein “had his own office in a Harvard University department and visited there more than 40 times after he was released from jail in 2010 up until 2018.”

sex offender enabling, gender based violence, Jeffrey Epstein
Harvard University’s General Counsel, in consultation with an outside law firm, has produced a 27 page report on Epstein’s involvement with the university. (Image Credit: Boston Globe) Read the full report here.

Epstein had key cards to enter the buildings at Harvard, helpfully provide by math professor Martin Nowak, and this allowed Epstein to host dinners and other meetings there with area political figures and academics. Epstein also used the office to meet with young women, described as being in their 20’s, who “acted as his assistants.”

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How Donors Can Support Survivors of DV During COVID

 The COVID-19 pandemic and current isolation at home of the majority of people across the globe has led domestic violence incidents to skyrocket. In Australia, Google reports a 75% increase in online searches for help with domestic violence. In China, the number of calls to helplines has tripled, according to the U.N., and here in the US, police departments and hotlines are reporting a 20%-35% increase in cases. Couple this data with the fact that many shelters nationwide are currently closed or not accepting new clients in order to protect the health and safety of staff and current residents, and the picture of this crisis quickly becomes much bleaker. 

support survivors
Sonya Passi, founder and CEO of FreeFrom (www.freefrom.org), a national organization in the US working with and for survivors, shares her advice for how feminist givers can support survivors during COVID. (Image credit: Glen Carrie at Unsplash)

However, COVID-19 itself is not the problem. The number one reason survivors in the US stay in or go back to abusive situations is financial insecurity. The Center for Disease Control estimates that domestic violence will cost a female survivor almost $104,000 in medical bills, legal fees, property damages, and other related costs. This six-figure debt is exacerbated by the fact that economic abuse (which can take many forms such as not being allowed to work, having little or no access to cash, and being forced to take on debt through physical threats) occurs in 99% of domestic violence cases. Survivors are trapped in violence because it is overwhelmingly expensive to overcome both the cost of being harmed and the devastatingly intricate impact of being financially abused. 

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