Editor’s Note: This interview in ourFeminist Giving IRL series features Najada Kumbuli, the new Head of Investments for the Visa Foundation.
1. What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession?
I was fortunate to start my career in the field I was passionate about – impact investing. At the time, impact investing, or investing to generate a measurable, beneficial social and/or environmental impact alongside a financial return, was nascent, which provided both an opportunity to shape the trajectory of the industry and a challenge, as there were few companies leading the way, yet tremendous need to accelerate and scale their work.
Nike, Inc. has announced that it will begin a partnership with Black Girl Ventures to support the economic empowerment of women of color.
Expanding the NIKE, Inc. Black Community Commitment to support organizations focused on social justice, education and economic opportunity for Black Americans, Nike announces a new partner focused on economic empowerment, Black Girl Ventures. The $500,000 investment from NIKE, Inc. will support Black Girl Ventures in its efforts to provide Black and Brown women-identifying founders with access to community, capital and capacity-building to support entrepreneurship. This contribution builds on the commitments to Black Girls CODE, NAACP Empowerment Programs and the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF) announced in July 2020.
Is repeating space/moon travel a more pressing issue than addressing gender equality on earth?
Jeff Bezos seems to think so. The world’s richest man appears to be in something of a billionaire space-nerd contest with Elon Musk to see who can make the biggest cyber-splash with their private space travel enterprises.
Meanwhile, here on earth, we’re having much more pedestrian problems, such as mass deaths due to a preventable disease ravaging our populace, largely due to the extreme negligence of our country’s leadership.
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.
One thing COVID has shown us is new ways to appreciate women’s economic value and professional contributions to the world. A case in point that directly impacts me: many insurance companies during COVID have waived copays for psychotherapy (I’m a psychotherapist in my other day job), essentially granting many people an open door to emotional care, unrestricting access to an area of health care that had been previously blocked by confusing and expensive deductibles and co-pays. In doing so, this action also added economic value to mental health counseling, which is primarily done by women, in a new way.
Another case in point: the need for nurses, a profession comprised mostly of women. Suddenly this profession, which has always been sort of taken for granted, is front and center and absolutely vital to our survival. The result: the need for nurses has driven up wages and bonuses for the work.
On September 10th and 11th, 2020, Women Moving Millions holds its annual summit. The 2020 theme–The Power of Us–has particular resonance in a year blighted by pandemic, recession, and political struggle, and speaks to the ways we can do so much more when we work together.
The two-day virtual event offers sessions for WMM members only on September 10th, followed by an action-packed day open to invited non-members and prospects on September 11th. What’s more–the event is completely free!
Sponsored by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and PJT Partners, the 2020 summit will focus on community, connection, and collaboration as tools to working toward a more just and equitable world.
On Tuesday, August 4th, the organizers of the Equality Can’t Wait Challenge hosted a Q&A via Zoom webinar. The discussion focused on the contest itself: what it was, how to enter, and more. Starting with an introductory presentation on the Challenge application and finishing with a lengthy Q&A, this webinar focused on audience participation and a clear explanation of the contest rules and goals.
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.
“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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.