WMM Summit: Laverne Cox and Netflix Exec Discuss Being Seen in Film

How many girls see themselves in office because of characters like Leslie Knope and Selina Meyer? How many teenagers cheer on their on-screen counterparts in movies like The Half of It, which features a queer, Chinese-American leading lady, and TV shows like Sex Education, where the beautifully diverse cast of high school characters has captured hearts around the world?

Laverne Cox
Laverne Cox poses in the press room during the 22nd Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards at The Shrine Auditorium on January 30, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Image Credit: Getty Images, Frazer Harrison)

During the second day of the Women Moving Millions annual summit, Laverne Cox took the virtual stage with Darnell Moore, Director of Inclusion Strategy for Content and Marketing at Netflix, to discuss the power inherent in seeing people who look, talk, and live like us in the TV shows and movies we watch.

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By Moving Online, PAX Diversifies and Gets New Funding

Convention cancellations across the world rocked the games industry this year. In the era of COVID-19, gamers and developers alike have had to find new and creative ways of coming together to play games, share their stories, and shine a light on the opportunities the industry has to make positive, collaborative change.

We miss the convention floor, but gamers are still coming together to celebrate with PAX Online. (Image Credit: Penny Arcade Expo)

In lieu of PAX West, PAX Australia, and EGX — three of the biggest games conventions in the world, cancelled this year because of COVID-19 — PAX Online offers 12 days of nonstop, 24-hour gaming content, streamed through the PAX website. From September 12 to September 20, the online event provides all the fun of panels, workshops, game demos, competitions, and more, from the comfort of our living rooms instead of the aggressively air conditioned convention halls. Even more exciting, the event is completely free, bringing the convention experience to an enormous international community of gamers, developers, and funders.

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Liveblog: Women in Media Changing the Game

On Thursday, August 27th, we gathered for this month’s Philanthropy Women webinar: Women in Media Changing the Game. With guests Lori Sokol, Ruth Ann Harnisch, and Johanna Derlega, we discussed the under-funding and under-representation of female journalists and women’s media outlets, as well as ways funders can work to fix this under-representation.

How To Increase Funding for Women in Media

Editor-in-Chief Kiersten Marek kicked off the call with a reminder to breathe, and introduced today’s theme: Women in Media Changing the Game.

“We know now more than ever how important women’s leadership is,” she said. “COVID has taught us that women leaders in countries around the world have had much better success with managing COVID. And that’s just one example of the women’s leadership differential—the ability to prioritize health and the well-being of others.”

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Sheri West on Getting Closer to an Inclusive, Equal World

Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Sheri West, the Founder, CEO & Chairperson of LiveGirl, a nonprofit organization that builds confident leaders.

Sheri West is the Founder, CEO, and Chairperson of LiveGirl, a nonprofit organization that builds confident leaders. (Image Credit: Sheri West/LiveGirl)

1. What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession?

Prior to founding LiveGirl, I worked at a large, multi-national company for almost seventeen years. So, I had to “unlearn” corporate bureaucracy in order to embrace the competitive advantage of nimbleness in a small organization. Yes, we vet ideas and have approval processes, but we focus on moving fast when responding to the world. We mine for ideas that our team feels passionately about, and then we make them happen. I feel it’s more important to do what you truly believe in and pursue what makes you happy and excited.

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MacKenzie’s Pledge: Leaders Driving Change to Fix Inequality

Last June, MacKenzie Bezos (now MacKenzie Scott)’s $37 billion divorce settlement made headlines — as did her signing of the Giving Pledge, committing to give away at least 50% of her wealth while still alive.

MacKenzie Scott has pledged to donate at least 50% of her wealth within her lifetime. (Image Credit: The Giving Pledge)

This $18.5 billion commitment bodes well for philanthropy (although the true 50-50 split that was rumored would have boosted that number to something like $69 billion for MacKenzie and $34.5 billion for philanthropy). To date, MacKenzie appears to be putting her money where her mouth is when it comes to fulfilling the Giving Pledge.

On July 28, MacKenzie published a list of her contributions to 116 nonprofits around the world. This list is exciting not only because of her deep-set and clear commitment to feminist philanthropy, but because a number of the nonprofits and NGOs on MacKenzie’s list are organizations we’ve worked with here at Philanthropy Women.

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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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Heidi Gonzalez: “Every Day is an Opportunity to Do Better”

Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Heidi Gonzalez, Executive Director of Adoptions From The Heart (AFTH). In addition to her duties as the new Executive Director, Heidi is the Regional Supervisor of Wynnewood, PA, Allentown, PA, and Wilmington, DE for AFTH.

Heidi Gonzalez is the Executive Director of Adoptions From The Heart, the first open adoption agency on the East Coast. (Image Credit: AFTH)

1. What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession?

I never really thought about it. In fact, I take each day as it comes. I try not to look back and get caught up in a “woulda shoulda coulda” mentality. Instead, I focus on the future and what I can do to improve my agency and myself. Every profession has its challenges: it’s all in how you handle them, and if I don’t think I did a bang up job the first time, I try to look at where I made mistakes and try to correct them the next time. Every day is an opportunity to do better–so that’s what I aspire to do.

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Liveblog: Funding to End Violence Against Women of Color

Kiersten Marek, editor and publisher of Philanthropy Women, opened up today’s webinar, “Funding to End Violence Against Women of Color,” with a welcome to the speakers and audience.

She introduced the webinar with a discussion on the idea behind Philanthropy Women. Partially inspired by NoVo Foundation’s bold commitment of $90 million in funding for women and girls of color in 2016, Philanthropy Women launched in January of 2017 to cover this kind of intersectional feminist giving approach and others like it. However, with NoVo’s recent shuttering of programs for women and girls of color, the funding landscape for addressing domestic violence against women of color is facing some big changes.

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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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Trust Women: Desiree Flores of the Arcus Foundation

Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Desiree Flores, Arcus Foundation U.S. Social Justice program director.

Desiree Flores
Desiree Flores, courtesy Desiree Flores

1. What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession? 

I grew up in a large Mexican-American family with farm worker roots in the rural Central Valley of California. I started out as a young program assistant right out of college at the Ms. Foundation for Women, excited for the job but not having a clue what the philanthropic sector was! What I wish I had known is the exact lesson I learned early and often in that position: that those closest to a problem know best how to solve it. We supported women of color organizing their local communities and creating national networks for systemic policy change. Black and brown women know how to shift cultural attitudes in support of reproductive rights, while HIV-positive women know how to structure data gathering to best test, treat and prevent the transmission. Invest in those who live it, and you will change the world.

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