A Novel About a Feminist Foundation: How Interesting is That?

The Female Persuasion by Meg Wolitzer takes readers into the world of feminist philanthropy, and captures powerfully the dilemmas and difficulties of the work. (Cover: Riverhead Books. Author photo: Nina Subin)

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.

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Feminism’s Evolution: Helen LaKelly Hunt and Rebecca Walker

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. Issues of sisterhood and how they relate to feminism are an engaging topic to delve into more deeply.

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.”

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New York Women’s Foundation Announces Additional $4 Million in Grants for 2017

The New York Women’s Foundation granted an additional $4 million in 2017.

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.

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LPAC Brings Anti-Freeze to Boston With Feminist Comic Kate Clinton

LPAC will hold February 15th fundraiser with special guests Maura Healy and Kate Clinton.

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 cathy@targetcue.com for media credentialing or teamlpac.com/boston-party to donate.

For more information go to www.teamlpac.com


From Resistance to Renaissance: Women Must Embrace their Power for Funding Social Change

How Are Women More or Less Free? And What Can We Do About It?

This Graph Speaks Volumes on Loss of Women’s Leadership Under Trump

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Smithsonian Curates History of Feminism With Museum-Feel Book

feminist revolution
The Feminist Revolution: The Struggle for Women’s Liberation provides an extensive history many major contributions to global feminism, including the 1966 founding of the National Organization for Women.

A new volume for feminism history buffs has arrived on the shelves — and it’s a biggee. The Feminist Revolution is 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.

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Rapid Response for Resistance: Emergent Fund to Fight Injustice

emergent fund
The Emergent Fund, a collaboration of Women Donors Network, Solidaire, Threshold Fund, and Democracy Alliance, has published a report detailing their strategy in deploying funds rapidly to address human rights and social justice.

“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.

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CGI Convenes in Boston, Sexual Assault and LGBTQ on the Agenda

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

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



Clinton Foundation Brings Together Over 40 Partners for Girl Athletes

The Clinton Foundation is Alive and Well and Looking to Expand Some Programs

What Happened: Clinton’s Account Reveals Our Broken Democracy



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Xiomara Corpeño: Fascism Grows As Trans People Lose Human Rights

Xiomara Corpeño
Xiomara Corpeño is the Director of Capacity Building for the Groundswell Fund.

Editor’s Note: The following opinion piece by Xiomara Corpeño 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.

Trump’s transgender ban is bigger than the right to serve in the U.S. military.  It is part of a longer trajectory by right-wing forces aiming to further oppress and denigrate trans people.

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Which Inclusive Funder is Being Honored by NCRP for Smashing Silos?

Groundswell Fund is a 2017 award winner of the National Committee on Responsive Philanthropy’s IMPACT Award.

On August 29, Groundswell Fund announced its selection by the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy as a 2017 recipient of NCRP’s Impact Award.  On September 18, Groundswell Fund will join three other Impact Award recipients in New Orleans at the sold-out CHANGE Philanthropy Unity Summit to receive the “Smashing Silos” Award for intersectional grantmaking.

“Receiving the Smashing Silos award means the tides are turning,” said Groundswell Executive Director Vanessa Daniel. “The leaders and organizations we support are on the front lines of every major issue we face right now. They bring the lived experience, the knowledge, the strategy and the vision our movements need.”

The “Smashing Silos” Award is validation of Groundswell’s fast-growing approach, which prioritizes women of color, low-income women and transgender people. Groundswell Fund is one of four recipients of the prestigious NCRP award. The other awardees are the Foundation for Louisiana which will receive the “Mover and Shaker” award for bold peer organizing, Meyer Memorial Trust will receive the “Changing Course” Award for incorporating feedback, and Solutions Project will receive the “Get Up, Stand Up” Award for rapid-response grantmaking.

This is the 5th Anniversary of NCRP’s Impact Awards. NCRP’s mission is to promote philanthropic responsiveness to the needs of underserved communities, as well as to enhance philanthropic accountability and effectiveness.  The Impact Awards honor top grantmakers committed to diversity and inclusion that strengthens marginalized communities. NCRP has given out 19 Impact Awards since 2013. A full list of past NCRP Impact Awardees is available here.

Based in Oakland, California, Groundswell Fund has made major advances for funding the resistance, particularly around the needs of women of color and LGBTQ people of color. Its Liberation Fund, which we wrote about here, has now secured $500,000 in funding for its first set of grants, and has recruited “15 prominent advisors from across environmental, racial and economic justice, to immigrant, Native and transgender rights,” according to the press release about the award. Groundswell plans to announce its first set of grantees this Fall 2017.


New “Liberation Fund” Aims to Bolster Reproductive Justice and Gender Equality

Can’t Get Promoted in Nonprofits? Maybe It’s Because You’re an LGBTQ Person of Color

Ms. Foundation to Philanthropy: Grow Local Economies by Supporting Low Wage Workers and Childcare Access

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This Trans-Led Fund is Blazing New Trails for Gender Justice

Rye Young, Executive Director, Third Wave Fund

While awareness about gender and racial bias has been growing in nonprofits and foundations, particularly over the past 30 years, the leadership of those organizations has primarily remained white, straight and male. One foundation has been steadily fighting to change that, though, and now, its fight is more important than ever.

Third Wave Fund has been around for over 25 years, and is celebrating its 20-year anniversary as a foundation. The fund was founded by Rebecca Walker, daughter of renowned writer Alice Walker, and Dawn Lundy Martin, Catherine Gund, and Amy Richards, who recognized the extreme underfunding of grassroots feminist activism, and set out to remedy this funding gap.

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