Here’s some good news for global feminist donors, particularly those focused on giving for LGBTQ issues. The Thomson Reuters Foundation – the charitable arm of the global news and information provider – has won funding for more media reporting on marginalized populations, as an award from the People’s Postcode Lottery, a UK-based organization that devotes “a minimum of 32% from each subscription” to charities and causes in Great Britain and around the globe.
The Foundation has received a £400,000 ($523,560 US Dollars) grant from the Postcode Heroes Trust, to expand its reporting on social justice issues related to labor and sex trafficking and other forms of modern slavery, as well as LGBTQ rights. These funds will be particularly focused on increasing media coverage of these topics in Southeast Asia and Eastern Africa.
The NoVo Foundation is one of the largest private foundations to advocate for gender equality and has specifically focused much of its funding on reducing violence against girls and women globally. In their most recent initiative, the Radical Hope Fund, the foundation donated $34 million in grants to 19 different organizations around the world.
The Radical Hope Fund began as a response to the 2016 election. Seeing the increase in attacks on women and girls as well as LGBTQ populations, immigrants, people of color, and refugees, the foundation felt compelled to take action in a new, bolder way. Thus, the Radical Hope Fund was born, initially pledging to donate $20 million to selected grantees, but eventually deciding to deepen that commitment to $34 million.
As Executive Director Pamela Shifman explains, “It’s an experiment — one that seeks to support new collaborations that are imaginative and focused on building the movements we need, not simply what we think is possible right now. Radical Hope aims for transformation rather than solely incremental change.”
Since inception in 2006, the NoVo Foundation has emphasized the way in which systemic change needs to evolve out of the communities affected by the problem. The NoVo Foundation reviewed over 1,000 applications to find the 19 best candidates for this new funding, particularly looking for organizations that are community-based and that bring transformational strategies to the table.
To help the public learn more about this new approach to grantmaking, NoVo also launched the Radical Hope Blog Series. This will allow partners of NoVo’s Radical Hope grantmaking to document their work, share what they have learned, and grow their audiences and support teams.
The 19 grantees NoVo selected all have strong agendas, and many have already accomplished significant work for women. One of these is the African Women’s Development Fund (AWDF), a grant-making foundation that works to support women and women’s organizations in Africa, moving closer to gender equality in the process. The mission of AWDF is guided by five main values: Respect: A basic respect for human rights of all African women; Diversity: An allegiance to non-discrimination and inclusiveness; Feminist Leadership: A dedication to upholding feminist principles and ethics; Professionalism, Accountability and Stewardship: A commitment to be transparent and prudent in administering funds; and Solidarity and Partnerships: A determination to link with other organizations to effect change.
AWDF’s initiative, the Flourish Project, for which they received $985,090, will strengthen feminist movements across Africa. Over the next three years, the Flourish Project plans to accomplish several goals. These goals include inspiring the next generation to be strong proponents of feminism. The initiative also plans to collaborate with AIR, an African professional network addressing trauma and mental health, to implement a pilot model that will allow stressed African feminist leaders to take leave to reflect and heal. The Flourish Project will also work on making connections between feminist activists and organizations working locally and nationally with the African Feminist Forum.
Another grantee is Masimanyane Women’s Rights International, a social justice organization working on gender equality and rights for women on local, regional, and international levels. This organization has worked for over 20 years to make allies in the movement for gender equality across the globe. Much of their work is focused on decreasing crimes against women and girls, providing support to survivors of violence, and helping women affected by HIV and AIDS.
Masimanyane’s project receiving support from the Radical Hope Fund is called International Network to End Violence Against Women and Girls. Novo’s grant will allow this program to continue and grow as it works alongside other organizations to increase awareness and about the problem of violence against women and girls. INEVAWG identifies failing state accountability as a major contributor to violence against women and will work with government systems to help address this failure. The project will also continue advocacy to increase society’s understanding of violence against women and other crucial issues of women’s well-being.
These two organizations, as well as Novo’s other grantee partners for Radical Hope, have done impressive work for women globally. The grantee partners appear to have clear missions and are taking many creative paths leading toward accomplishing those missions. Many of the grantee organizations also have strong connections with other partners and a commitment to core feminist values like diversity and transparency.
A novel about a feminist foundation is incredibly rare. A novel about a feminist foundation that is both compelling and reifying is even rarer still. I think it’s safe to say that The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer is the first of its kind: an adventure and social critique novel about feminist philanthropy.
At one point Faith Frank, the central feminist in the story, talks wearily about how saying the words “feminist foundation” usually causes most people to stop listening immediately. But as many of us know, some of the most important and fascinating work is happening in the gender equality funding sector. The Female Persuasion helps to elucidate this strange and powerful world where money and idealism collide.
The story follows the life of Greer Kadetsky, a young woman who discovers feminism through her best friend at college, Zee. Greer goes on to become so passionate about the work that she takes a job with her feminist idol, Faith Frank. Through Greer’s experience, we get to see a foundation for feminism in all its administrative imperfection and human foibles.
The book also explores the many and varied ways that people can live feminist lives. After a series of unfortunate events, Greer’s high school boyfriend, Cory, ends up living a different version of feminism, resigning himself to a life as a caretaker for his mother. And at one point, Zee reflects on her career as a trauma specialist for abused women, realizing that her feminism is the kind that doesn’t get special treatment or attention.
Meanwhile, Greer goes on to the Big Apple and takes a job with Loci, Faith Frank’s feminist foundation. Loci provides Greer with opportunities to be part of new forms of feminism, including rescuing girls from trafficking in Ecuador.
In The Female Persuasion, feminist women both empower each other and undermine each other, just like in real life. The story returns us to themes of weighing ethical compromise in the face of potential personal, and feminist movement, gains. We see story lines that show how women often end up feeling unable to lift up others, for fear of losing opportunities for themselves.
The story also reveals the moral compromises that those working in philanthropy face. The difficulties of seeing how the sausage sometimes gets made in philanthropy can be painful. In the case of Loci, the foundation featured in the book, they end up mismanaging some funds in the process of rescuing girls from trafficking in Ecuador. Loci decides to give the mentoring contract to a consultant recommended by the investment firm supporting them, and this consultant walks off with the funding for hiring mentors for the girls. Greer gets saddled with holding up the facade that a mentoring program actually happened.
Overall, the book is rich in exploring the difficulties of relationships, particularly in our current age with its new wave of feminism. I recommend it to anyone who works in feminism or gender equality giving, since it contains excellent food for thought.
With so much going on in women’s philanthropy, we love it when gender equality thought leaders come together to talk about where the movement for women’s rights has been, and where it’s going in the future.
Riffing on the 1970’s anthology edited by Robin Morgan entitled Sisterhood is Powerful, Union Theological Seminary, in partnership with The New York Women’s Foundation and the Feminist Press, are presenting a conversation on April 11th featuring longtime women’s philanthropy pioneer Helen LaKelly Hunt, and one of Third Wave feminism’s leading thinkers, Rebecca Walker. Hunt and Walker will be focusing the discussion on healing some of the divisions within feminism, particularly related to race and class. The goal of this event is to “offer tools to build an affirmative culture that can contain difference and meaningfully address white supremacy.”
Biographical notes on both of the speakers from the event page at Union Seminary:
Rebecca Walker is an American writer, feminist, and activist. Walker has been regarded as a prominent feminist voice since she published an article in 1992 in Ms. magazine in which she proclaimed, “I am the Third Wave.” Walker’s writing, teaching, and speeches focus on race, gender, politics, power, and culture. In her activist work, she co-founded the Third Wave Fund that morphed into the Third Wave Foundation, an organization that supports young women of color, queer, intersex, and trans individuals to find the tools and resources they need to be leaders in their communities through activism and philanthropy.
Helen LaKelly Hunt is one of a small army of women who helped to seed the women’s funding movement. She co-founded The Dallas Women’s Foundation, The New York Women’s Foundation, The Women’s Funding Network and Women Moving Millions. She is the author of Faith and Feminism: A Holy Alliance and her latest release, And the Spirit Moved Them, shares the radical history of the abolitionist feminists. Her private foundation, The Sister Fund, focuses on faith, feminism and relationship, all three intrinsic to women’s wholeness. Helen was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 2001. In addition, she has co-authored several books with her partner, Harville Hendrix, on Imago Relationship Therapy. They are now working to disseminate Safe Conversations, a new relational technology, that can help manifest the feminist vision to create a more relational culture.
Philanthropy Women will be there. We hope you will be there, too! To learn more about the event and register to attend, go here.
Good news for progressive women’s organizations in and around New York City, as the New York Women’s Foundation today announced that they made an additional $4.21 million in grants in 2017, bringing the total for their grantmaking in 2017 to $8 million, the largest amount ever given out by the foundation in a single year.
Recipients of the grants span a wide range of issue areas related to women’s health and well-being. Grants are provided through a model of grantmaking that is achieves added impact by using community engagement, advocacy, and networking to produce significant social change.
The Foundation also provided an additional $2,525,000 from The NYC Fund for Girls and Young Women of Color to 41 “emerging groups” — groups that are working to build the leadership and influence of young women, transgender people, and gender non-conforming youth of color.
Looks like there is some fun to be had in Boston on February 15th, as the Lesbian Political Action Committee (LPAC) holds its first fundraiser of 2018. The event will feature political humorist Kate Clinton, as well as Attorney General Maura Healy.
“This is a critical year for LGBTQ people, women, people of color and all progressives, and we hope the Boston community joins us to learn how we can support progressive candidates and advance positive policy outcomes,” said Diane Felicio, a Boston-based member of LPAC’s National Board, in a press release announcing the fundraiser.
Given the political climate since Trump’s election for LGBTQ folks, it’s no surprise that organizers and fundraisers are getting out front to support pro-LGBTQ, pro-women’s equality candidates.
The event has a long list of hosts, and comes on the heels of LPAC announcing its first candidate endorsements for 2018. LPAC endorsed Dana Nessel in Michigan, Angie Craig in Minnesota, Kate Brown for Governor of Oregon, and Joy Silver for California State Senate. LPAC will be making further endorsements as the political season unfolds.
Event hosts include: Naomi Aberly, Susan Bernstein, Steven Cadwell & Joe Levine, Elyse Cherry, Julian Cyr, Diane Felicio, David Goldman, Julie Goodridge, Catherine Guthrie & Mary Gray, Caitlin Healey, Tom Huth, Lynn Kappelman & Kate Perrelli, Ruth Lewis, Neal Minahan, Bette Warner & Patty Larkin, Shari Weiner, Julie Smith & Polly Franchot, and Urvashi Vaid & Kate Clinton.
The event will be held on Thursday, February 15th from 5:30-7:30 pm in Boston’s South End. If you would like to attend you must RSVP prior, by emailing email@example.com for media credentialing or teamlpac.com/boston-party to donate.
A new volume for feminism history buffs has arrived on the shelves — and it’s a biggee. And while based in history, the book reflects the current zeitgeist of the women’s movement, which is continuing to grow and become more intersectional. Roxane Gay, who gives the forward to the book, credits Kimberlé Crenshaw (one of our top posts is an interview with Crenshaw exploring her work to fund women and girls of color) with helping keep feminism “alive and well” and advance the movement in recognizing the complexity of identity in modern culture.
The book starts out at The Oxford Conference, where author D-M Withers, a museum curator and respected proponent of women’s cultural history, makes the argument that this was one of the notable beginning points to modern feminist organizing. The conference was meant to be on women’s history, but discussions at the conference ranged into home and family, capitalism, and psychology. Toward the end of the conference, Selma James, an activist since the 50’s, talked about feminism within the context of the anti-imperialist struggle, and recognized that “women [were] just a sector within that.” Hence, some of the roots of intersectionalism can be traced back to the Oxford Conference. As a point of interest, men ran the childcare at the Oxford conference to enable women to participate more fully — an excellent way for them to serve as allies to the early movement.
The book discusses in detail pivotal historical events like the Vietnam War, and provides tons of pictures from the early era — giving the reader a visceral sense of the way early feminists used media to present their ideas to the public. For a feminist like me whose mother subscribed to Ms. and who remembers seeing the Battered Wives edition of Ms. with the woman’s bruised face, the book is also an interesting walk down memory lane, helping me to recall how that image broke through the silence about violence against women.
The Feminist Revolution comes right up to modern times, with pictures from the 2017 women’s march ending the book. “In an era of rising right-wing nationalism, militarism, capitalist intensification, and border violence, the resources provided by feminist activism and thought are invaluable and more necessary than ever,” says the final chapter, Liberation Without Limitation.
Now that the Women’s Marches are bringing the struggle for gender equality back to the streets, The Feminist Revolution is making a timely debut. With more than 200 color illustrations as well as essays and oral histories, the book is a creative and diverse new resource for the feminist community.
“The Emergent Fund started as a plane built in mid-air. We moved faster than comfort allowed in developing a funding response to the new threats posed by the 2016 election because the scale of the crisis that loomed was so large, multidimensional, and immediate. Resources were urgently needed in many places and without much time for deliberation.”
So begins Visionary Resistance, a new report reviewing how several donor networks came together to invest $ 1 million rapidly for efforts to protect those most marginalized and targeted by a Trump presidency. Aptly named the Emergent Fund, this new resource is funded through a partnership between the Women Donors Network, Solidaire, Threshold Foundation, and the Democracy Alliance.
“This rapid-response model works to build up a new future in funding alternatives for communities facing injustice.” said Donna P. Hall, president and CEO of the Women Donors Network. In particular, Hall noted in a press release about the new report, the Emergent Fund worked to defend those “belittled, criminalized and attacked during the presidential campaign – immigrants, women, Muslim and Arab-American communities, Black people, LGBTQ communities, and all people of color.”
The new report helps to identify specific ways that philanthropists can change hierarchical systems of grantmaking and work expediently to empower communities to create their own solutions to problems.
Some key takeaways from the report? One is simply that with more intentional communication and accelerated deadlines, grantmaking can be more strategic and expedient. Another key takeaway: redefining the funder’s role from “expert” to “curator” of relationships with community members working at the grass roots.
And which organizations are getting funding from the Emergent Fund? Organizations working to protect the most vulnerable among us. Here is a small sampling:
United We Dream: Working to protect undocumented youth from deportation, United We Dream is the “largest immigrant-led national community” with over 400,000 members.
It Takes Roots: It Takes Roots is a “national multiracial alliance” focused on racial, housing and climate justice in both the US and Canada.
CAIR-CA: Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is the nation’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization.
Today at Northeastern University in Boston, Chelsea and former President Bill Clinton are convening CGI U 2017 with the theme, “Students Turning Ideas Into Action.”
Sounds like great stuff from beginning to end, with sessions on building communities, migrants and refugees, designing projects, raising money, and increasing organizational capacity, to name just a few of the happenings taking place over the three day conference. A full press release is here.
Because of our interest here at Philanthropy Women in attending to marginalized populations and vulnerable groups, I would like to call attention to the sessions on Sunday, which include LGBTQ equality, homelessness, and campus rape and sexual assault. These three focus areas are particularly important and timely subjects to be discussing, given that the social safety net of health insurance for vulnerable groups is being threatened, the President has taken direct aim at trans people serving in the military, and much concern has been raised about Betsy De Vos’s actions in dismantling protections for sexual assault victims on campuses.
So check out the agenda below on these three issues, and tune in via lifestream.
LGBTQ Equality: Overcoming the Backlash LOC: Curry Student Center, Ground Floor, WETAddition
The LGBTQ community has made historic progress in achieving greater rights and visibility: there are now 22 countries in the world where same-sex couples can marry, up from zero in 2000. A record number of openly LGBTQ athletes participated at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Yet this progress has also yielded a disturbing backlash: in the U.S., LGBTQ people are more likely to be targets of hate crimes than any other minority group, while three in four LGBTQ students on college campuses reported experiencing sexual harassment. Internationally, 76 countries have laws against sexual relations between people of the same sex. To create and sustain more inclusive and equitable environments around the world, it is essential for communities to support victims of abuse and violence and to speak out against discrimination, homophobia, and transphobia.
In this session, panelists and CGI U commitment-makers will explore how to:
Respond effectively to discrimination, hate speech and incidences of violence by creating an environment of safety and equality through safe spaces, support services and displays of public solidarity with LGBTQ coalitions and ally groups, Develop social media tools and effective storytelling techniques that increase awareness and raise the profile of ongoing challenges and issues affecting the LGBTQ community, and Support efforts to promote LGBTQ rights around the world, change discriminatory laws and amplify LGBTQ voices to move beyond established workplace protections and transform public attitudes in order to build a true culture of inclusion.
Rebecca Adams, senior editor, Refinery29 Nadine Smith. CEO, Equality Florida Sam Dorison, chief of staff, The Trevor Project Blair Imani, executive director, Equality for HER Schuyler Bailar, first transgender NCAA D1 men’s athlete
Addressing Youth Homelessness in the US Fenway Center, Ground Floor
On any given night, there are over 500,000 Americans living on the streets, in emergency housing, or in homeless shelters. Twenty-three percent of them are young people under 18, and nine percent are between the ages of 18-24. Many of these youth have fled family trauma or sexual abuse, have aged out of foster care, or have been thrown out of their homes because they identify as gay or transgender. In response, a wide range of social enterprises, volunteer networks, and public-private partnerships are launching initiatives to better address the complex needs of this population. In addition to providing short-term emergency shelter, advocates are looking to connect youth with trauma-informed and gender-responsive services, mental health counseling, and programs that help adolescents stay in school, graduate from high school, and access financial aid for college.
In this session, panelists and CGI U commitment-makers will explore how to:
Ensure that vulnerable youth and their families have access to permanent supportive housing, in order to provide health care, education, and job training services in addition to immediate shelter, Create individualized, needs-based mentorship programs that are relevant to homeless youth and those transitioning out of the foster care system, and Expand services and support networks that can enable homeless youth to reunite with their families, including crisis hotlines, street outreach programs, transportation vouchers, and in-home family counseling Participants:
Sixto Cancel, CEO, Think of Us Mariuma Ben Yosef, founder and CEO, Shanti House Association Nan Roman, president, National Alliance to End Homelessness Elisabeth Jackson, executive director, Bridge Over Troubled Waters
Preventing and Responding to Sexual Assault on Campus East Village, 17th Floor Ballroom
Almost 20 percent of female students will experience rape or a sexual assault during their time at college, with the majority of student victims knowing their attacker. Yet under 15 percent of sexual assault victims on campus ever report the crime to law enforcement. While less common, and even more underreported, male students are also victimized. Several factors make the university environment distinct in terms of responding to and preventing sexual assault. Universities have a special responsibility to protect their students– whether in partnership with, or independent of, law enforcement. Throughout the process, they must consider the impact of an assault on the victim, the attacker, and the entire school community.
In this session, panelists and CGI U commitment-makers will discuss how to:
Create a culture in which sexual assault is not tolerated, promoting effective bystander intervention, self-defense training, and access to university resources and comprehensive care that support survivors of sexual assault, Utilize technology designed to provide a confidential reporting platform for college sexual assault survivors and to help schools facilitate the identification of repeat assailants, and Ensure that campaigns and initiatives against sexual assault on campus are student-driven and rooted in the experiences and perspectives of young people.
Amelia Harnish, senior features writer, Refinery29 Amy Ziering, documentary filmmaker, Chain Camera Pictures Kim Kirkland, executive director, Oregon State University Amanda Nguyen, founder and CEO, Rise
Editor’s Note: The following opinion piece is part of a series being provided by Philanthropy Women to help identify and address growing threats to global human rights, particularly for vulnerable groups.
Several weeks ago, I woke up to the sound of my mother’s TV broadcasting the local morning news. “Breaking News! President Trump has reinstated a ban on Transgender troops this morning.” The White House later issued policy guidelines titled, A Guidance Policy for Open Transgender Service Phase Out, which would impact 15,000 trans service members.
These policies do not just keep trans people out of certain places or institutions, they are acts that sustain a consistently hostile culture toward transgender people.
As funders and allies, we cannot afford to stand in the shadows of these fights. We must elevate our level of boldness to end the growing wave of violence against transgender people. And, to protect our nation’s humanity and dignity, we must center leadership and grassroots organizing in communities directly impacted by transphobia and gender-based violence.
Of the $52 billion awarded each year by U.S. foundations, transgender people see less than 1%. This means that transgender leaders need more resources to build trans power and drive necessary change for greater freedom and justice. This requires that funders and donors prioritize trans issues as they stand on their missions to empower and protect the human rights of all people.
How do we inspire unflinching support for the human rights of transgender people and acknowledge the pain caused by institutions, including the U.S. military? How do we go beyond political statements and mobilize people to action? How do we support trans leaders?
Answers to these questions will not be found in board room meetings among our cisgender colleagues. In fact, a pathway forward, and the strategies to build a world without transphobia, have already been offered by bold trans leaders of color and organizations nationwide.
One of those leaders, Bamby Salcedo, a trans woman of color, founding president and CEO of the Trans Latin@ Coalition, and an advisor to theLiberation Fund, questioned the commitment of supporters who claim they stand with trans communities. In a Facebook response to Trump’s initial ban announcement, Salcedo pointed out that so-called supporters remain silent with regard to backing transgender people on issues, including inclusive legislation, economic justice, barriers in transgender education and academics, and increasing hate crimes and murders of transgender people.
Salcedo is correct – as a funder community we fail to support trans leadership, organizations, and issues at the scale that this work deserves.
Here is what philanthropy can do right now to support transgender justice:
Fund grassroots organizing of transgender of color communities led by Transgender folks of color. At Groundswell, we have increased the number of trans-led groups on our docket, with plans to continue increasing. We must support the voices of those most affected.
Invest in trans-friendly and inclusive HR policies, workforce development opportunities, and benefits. Be aggressive in recruitment of transgender people in leadership positions and on organization boards. Discrimination of transgender people contributes to high unemployment rates for this community. Review your hiring process and criteria to allow for different models of leadership to shine.
Don’t let fear of failure stop you from funding a new group! In philanthropy, we are too tied to “return on investment.” Because funding to trans-led organizing has been so scarce, we have yet to imagine the great success.
With fair and equitable funding and leadership, LGBTQ people of color-led organizations can increase capacity and effectively put anti-transgender policies to rest.
This support translates into concrete policy changes. In Los Angeles, the Trans Latin@ Coalition, which serves as a national leadership development model of transgender people, recently opened the Center for Violence Prevention & Transgender Wellness. Center staff worked with State Senator Ricardo Lara (D-Bell Gardens)to introduce the nation’s first transgender rights training, to combat discrimination and promote greater workforce inclusion for transgender Californians. The training is part of theTransgender Work Opportunity Act (Senate Bill 396). Itwould require some businesses to train employees on transgender identity, expression and sexual orientation as part of already-required sexual harassment training.
Progressive funders have a duty to support the trans leadership and organizations already giving us a road map. At Groundswell, our mission is to follow the lead of those most affected by these issues, especially concerning resources. Consequently, we must be willing to make mistakes, to take critical feedback, and to grow into stronger partners for trans liberation. Because we believe in the power of grassroots leadership to transform cultural and political landscapes, we take this approach seriously.