International Breastfeeding Week is August 1-7, so we’d like to take the opportunity here at Philanthropy Women to emphasize the importance of breastfeeding to human health, and to ask women givers to do more to support breastfeeding initiatives. If you want to know my opinion, breastfeeding should be a celebrated activity. What a different world it would be if, every time a woman breastfed in public, people around her paused and admired what is one of the miracles of human health.
But instead, we shame women who breastfeed in public. We eye them with disgust. If women post pictures of themselves breastfeeding, they get trolled online. Recently, Aliya Shagieva, the youngest daughter of the president of Kyrgyztan, posted a picture of herself breastfeeding her baby on Instagram, with the caption, “I will feed my child whenever and wherever he needs to be fed.” She was accused of immoral behavior, and trolled until she took the picture down.
David Callahan, editor and publisher of Inside Philanthropy, will participate in a forum at the 2017 Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy honorees announcement today. The forum is entitled A New Landscape of Giving: Power, Policy, and Philanthropy and will also include Boston Globe investigative reporter Sacha Pfeiffer and Karl Zinsmeister, vice president of publications, The Philanthropy Roundtable, as panelists,with Stacy Palmer, Chronicle of Philanthropy editor, as moderator.
This will be a chance to see some of the most knowledgeable people in philanthropy discuss the trends and events that they see reshaping the landscape of giving. It sounds like a great recipe for some thought-provoking conversation, plus you can stay tuned for the announcement of the winners of Carnegie Medal of Philanthropy, which is given to honor individuals dedicating private wealth to the public good. The awards are made by an international selection committee made up of leaders from over 20 organizations established by Carnegie.
An article from Barista Magazine brings good news for women and coffee aficionados worldwide: the launching of a new program aimed at improving coffee quality and productivity for female farmers in Colombia. The new program is a partnership of Strauss Coffee, Sustainable Harvest and the Relationship Coffee Institute. From the article:
A lot of things make coffee better—for example, better growing practices, a deeper understanding of soil quality, or more advanced machinery for depulping coffee cherries. Time and again, one of the single biggest contributors to an increase in both coffee quality and outcomes for farmers is investment in women. That’s why Strauss Coffee, one of the largest coffee companies in the world, in partnership with Sustainable Harvest Coffee Importers and the Relationship Coffee Institute (RCI), are taking part in a new incentive program aimed at improving the lives of female farmers in Colombia.
“There are men who mistreat and abuse girls and women who have no place to live,” says one 19-year-old female shelter resident in Afghanistan, who ran away from home when her father tried to trade her for a young bride for himself after her mother died.
It’s stories like these that suggest timing could not be better for donors to pay more attention to the needs of marginalized women in developing nations. Helpfully, some big foundations are entering the fray and deploying funds to help preserve human rights for women in Afghanistan. Five big foundations, Carnegie, Hewlett, Ford, Packard, and MacArthur all recently pledged a package of $750,000 to support Afghan women in the conservative country where women’s rights are limited.
As the NoVo Foundation gets into its grantmaking from the $90 million in funds established to support young women and girls of color, one of its first big grants will go to help young women and girls of color involved in the juvenile justice system.
The Young Women’s Freedom Center, which has been organizing around juvenile justice for young women and girls in California since 1993, will be the recipient of new funding from the NoVo Foundation to support its work. The NoVo Foundation, which began in 2006, made a commitment last year to deploy $90 million in the service of supporting self-led organizing by young women who have “directly experienced poverty, violence, addiction, and incarceration.”
In this new grant move, the Young Women’s Freedom Center will receive $615,000 over three years. These funds will enable the expansion of its work to “reduce the incarceration of young women, challenge out of home placements, and limit the power of juvenile probation departments,” according to a press release announcing the grant.
In addition, the Young Women’s Freedom Center also plans to organize town halls throughout California, and participate in policy advocacy on the state and local levels. Sounds like this group might end up collaborating with Stronger California (if they aren’t already), another organizing effort to put gender equality into legislative action.
“It’s imperative that directly impacted young women and girls are at the center of any efforts to change the very systems that have marginalized and criminalized them,” said Jessica Nowlan, Executive Director of the Young Women’s Freedom Center. “These young women have enormous knowledge and experience and are fully capable of using their voices to change public perception of who they are and advocate for policy changes they need.”
In committing to work with Young Women’s Freedom Center, the NoVo Foundation is carrying out part of its mission to empower young women and girls of color across the country. Other announcements about the strategy of its grantmaking include a recent announcement that NoVo will primarily support the US Southeast in its efforts to address the disparities faced by women and girls of color.
With this grant, however, NoVo is demonstrating that although it is enhancing its efforts in the Southeast US, it is still making major commitments in other parts of the country, such as California. These efforts in California might pay off in terms of legislative gains that can later be applied to other states that are further behind in empowering young women and girls of color.
From the press release:
As part of this new effort, Young Women’s Freedom Center will get $205,000 in general support over three years to cultivate leadership and increase advocacy efforts of young women and girls who have experienced inter-generation impacts of poverty, violence, addiction, incarceration, and systems involvement. It will focus its work around reducing the incarceration of young people, challenging out of home placements, and limiting the power of juvenile probations departments.
Young Women’s Freedom Center will create a Bill of Rights for young women and girls around these issues, organize town halls throughout California, and issue local and state policy recommendations intended to stem the cycle of young women who are pipelined from poverty to incarceration and systems involvement. In addition, it will also conduct long-term research to determine the needs of system-involved young women who are being pushed out of the Bay Area, which has been heavily impacted by gentrification. The young women the organization works with will lead all of this work.
“Given the current political climate, it is critical that we challenge the increasing racism, sexism, and economic inequity in our country, and create alternative pathway to power and self determination for all of our sisters,” said Nowlan. “We’re thrilled to partner with the NoVo Foundation to create opportunities for these young women and bring transformative changes that will positively impact not just their lives, but the lives of everyone who strive for freedom.”
Of the $71.4 trillion dollars controlled by the asset management industry, only 1.1 percent of total assets under management are with firms owned by women and minorities.
You heard that right. Although the number of firms that are women- or minority-owned can range from 3 to 9% across the four different asset categories in the industry, assets controlled by those firms account for only 1.1% of all assets under management.
A press release from the Knight Foundation, which commissioned the study, states that this is the most in-depth study to date about ownership diversity in asset management. Additional analysis revealed that the 1.1% managed by women and minorities had no difference in performance from the 98.9% non-diverse asset management industry.
“The more that philanthropy can do to encourage and support women in running for office, the better,” says Kate Coyne-McCoy, CEO of The Campaign Fixer, who has spent much of her career trying to bring more women into American politics. Coyne-McCoy has trained over 9,000 women to run for office, and she has a message for philanthropy.
“Do more politically, period,” she said in a recent interview with Philanthropy Women, when asked what her message would be to progressive women donors and their allies. “Until you make an investment in the electoral and political process, you’re never going to see the change you want.”
Great private wealth is nothing new, but reading David Callahan’s The Givers will convince you that there is a different game at play today, with staggering fortunes and unprecedented elite hubris. Some fortunes are so big, and growing so fast, that even a dedicated philanthropist can’t give the money away fast enough. To cite just one example, Michael Bloomberg was worth around $5 billion when he became mayor of New York in 2002; he’s now worth more than $45 billion. With this figure in mind, the over one billion dollars he has given Johns Hopkins University to date doesn’t seem so big. Still, it’s an astonishing sum for most of us to contemplate. And that’s not all. Bloomberg has also given hundreds of millions to reduce smoking and traffic deaths globally, and combat climate change.
Given that Walmart is the largest employer in America, second only to the government, the fact that they are taking an active stance in addressing women’s empowerment is particularly important.
We want to make sure Walmart’s grantmaking gets talked about here on Philanthropy Women because they are such a large and influential company, not just in America, but globally. Because of their size, their ability to influence both the economy and the culture is great, and will likely have a growing impact on issues related to women as time goes on.