The #GirlsAre campaign coordinated by The Clinton Foundation last year was so successful at galvanizing media and action for girl athletes, they are doing it again for a second year.
That’s a very good thing, because data shows that girls in the U.S. are far less likely than boys to engage in the recommended amount of physical activity. The Clinton Foundation and the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, along with a long list of foundations and nonprofits, is continuing the #GirlsAre campaign to fight against this worrisome trend for girls.
Things are really coming together for women’s funds and gender lens investing, as this new report details.
The new report is written by Joy Anderson, President and Founder of Criterion Institute, Ms. Foundation President Teresa Younger, and Elizabeth Schaffer, Chief Operating Officer of the Global Fund for Women.
I have not read the report in total yet, but from my first foray in, I am really excited to see how these advanced thinkers and leaders are putting ideas together and finding new synergy for social change and finance. This is powerful stuff!
The report is written using architectural design as an extended metaphor for how to integrate the different sectors of finance, women’s funds, and social change theory. Combining these three components, the report then makes practical suggestions about how to influence issues like domestic violence, the gender wage gap, and climate change.
For example, the paper tackles research questions such as “How viable is it to source investment opportunities through women’s funds’ current grant making process?”
Then it goes on to provide detailed steps for how to do this, using the Global Fund for Women as an example, which tested a pilot for this:
The Global Fund for Women pilot tested this approach by:
Reviewing 4,650 applications in the grant-making database
Identifying 260 research participants through keyword search
Collecting 135 responses to an online survey to assess potential investment opportunities
Identifying 16 potential candidates for follow-up interviews by analysing the survey results
Completing interviews and profiling 13 grantees, mapping the type and amount of capital that would be relevant to their work.
For more details on the findings contact Liz Schaffer at the Global Fund for Women.
Wow! I will definitely be following up with Liz Schaffer to hear more about this.
The research paper then goes on to provide detailed “floor plans” for how to create social change by melding gender lens investing with the philanthropy of women’s funds in different ways. Here is part of the “floor plan” for addressing domestic violence:
Channel Resources to Enterprises and Investment Opportunities: Move capital to efforts to support response to domestic violence or to enterprises that address the underlying causes of domestic violence
Advocate for Gender Analysis in Finance: Assign value of an investment’s potential risk or return, drawn from data patterns, around domestic violence in industries and sectors within a geography
Realign Power Through Structures and Terms: Employ specific structures to shape incentives and deterrents for businesses to respond to their own practices that may be encouraging or could be preventing domestic violence.
I am going back to reading, and I encourage everyone in the women’s philanthropy realm to do the same. Full report here.
There is nothing quite like women’s networks to help make rapid-response grants. In an environment where women’s rights are being threatened by atrocious plans such as the Trump administration’s proposed ending of the Violence Against Women Act, we need more women’s networks to come forward like the Women Donors Network and push for increased funding to fight back.
Now, the Emergent Fund, of which the Women Donors Network is a founding member, has announced its next wave of rapid-response grants to community-based organizations resisting the Trump Administration’s regressive policies. This brings the total of grants already issued by the Emergent Fund to $500,000.
As we wrote in January, the Emergent Fund was formed by the Women Donors Network and Solidaire, in order to raise funds for grassroots organization to resist discriminatory policies being proposed and enacted by the Trump administration.
I interviewed Donna Hall about the Women Donors Network (WDN) this past year and was astounded by all this network of women funders has done, and is continuing to do. WDN is particularly nimble and responsive to community concerns and emergencies, so it is great that they are forging the path on new funding to defend vulnerable people in the coming years. The Emergent Fund’s momentum appears to be very strong early on, which is a good indicator of likely ongoing solid growth.
“Everything is on the line — the lives and safety of millions of black and brown Americans, and even our Democracy itself,” said Jenifer Fernandez Ancona, Vice President for Strategy & Member Engagement at WDN.
As one of the member networks of the Emergent Fund, WDN is helping support the Emergent Fund’s ability to combat issues like deportation and Islamophobia. “These local fights are critical to building national progressive power needed for bigger wins,” added Ancona.
The Emergent Fund is now a partnership between Solidaire Network, Women Donors Network, and Threshold Foundation. Governed by an Advisory Council made up of leaders who represent communities most affected by the new administration, the Emergent Fund is making sure resources and advocacy remain available for marginalized groups.
The grantees for this $500,000 in funding are:
Council on American-Islamic Relations, California Chapter (CAIR-CA) - $30,000
For Arab, Middle Eastern Muslim, and South Asian communities, the dangers they feared during Trump's campaign have become a nightmarish reality. In the 10 days after the election, nearly a third of the nation's Islamophobic hate crimes occurred in California. When the travel ban was announced, CAIR-CA was on the forefront of organizing protests at airports all across the country. CAIR-CA will use their Emergent Fund grant to support their immediate civil rights defense work, including legal services, know your rights trainings, and ongoing organizing.
NYC #FreedomCities Campaign - $25,000
#FreedomCities is a campaign developed by frontline leaders from the New York Worker Center Federation. New York City workers—immigrants and citizens alike—realize that Trump's attacks on immigrants are only part of a larger oppressive agenda that targets Muslims, African Americans, and other communities of color. #FreedomCities takes a comprehensive approach and calls for safety beyond policing. The Emergent Fund is proud to be #FreedomCities' first funder.
Brown Boi Project - $20,000
The Brown Boi Project is committed to changing the way that communities of color talk about gender. Brown Boi wants to ensure the growth of and robust commitment to gender justice during this time of crisis. Brown Boi will use their Emergent Fund Grant to host a four-day, rapid-response training to prepare leaders to resist the current attack on rights, integrate gender justice into direct action, and ensure that women and trans/gender non-conforming people of color are in leadership across our movements.
Southeast Asian Freedom Network (SEAFN) - $15,000
In the past few weeks, Southeast Asian refugee communities have suffered an onslaught of ICE raids that are tearing families apart. SEAFN organizers are currently coordinating with families and organizers on the ground almost every day, but there are too many communities strapped for resources. Southeast Asian Freedom Network will use their Emergent Fund grant to hire a coordinator to provide support to Cambodian communities facing deportations and to provide resources for local Cambodian community leaders who are actively fighting to free their people from unjust immigration detention systems.
#LeadWithLove - $10,000
#LeadWithLove began as a pledge by more than 100 movement leaders who have committed to accelerating the transition from a world of domination and extraction to one of regeneration and interdependence. #LeadWithLove calls movements to take bold action grounded in fierce love. #LeadWithLove will use their Emergent Fund grant to host a convening this year that will bring together leaders from across the climate, food, education, racial, gender, and reproductive justice movements. To learn more about the project, visit leadwithlove.vision.
JOLT - $10,000
Jolt is a Texas-based, multi-issue organization that builds the political power and influence of Latinos in our democracy. It has become a political home base for many immigrant youth, and their programs range from Latina leadership development to civic engagement and grassroots organizing. Jolt will use their Emergent Fund grant to continue their base-building work and support organizing in Latino communities in Texas.
Movement for Justice in El Barrio - $10,000
Movement for Justice in El Barrio was founded when Latina immigrant mothers joined together to address negligence and harassment from their landlord. Over the last 12 years, these women have organized around housing issues and developed a strong cohort of immigrant women leaders. Since the election, they have seen an increase in harassment and hate crimes against immigrants. And they are fighting back. Movement for Justice in El Barrio will use their Emergent Fund grant to host a series of bilingual encuentros, or workshops, to educate East Harlem's immigrant residents about their rights and how to protect themselves from ICE raids.
Blackout for Human Rights #MLKNOW 2017 Short Film Series - $3,100
Blackout for Human Rights is a collective of artists, filmmakers, musicians, and activists who leverage cultural activism in support of human rights. Blackout has held several high-profile events in the last year, including a #JusticeforFlint concert and #BlackoutBlackFriday. Blackout is creating a series of short advocacy films incorporating content from their recent #MLKNOW 2017 event held at the historic Riverside Church in Harlem. Blackout for Human Rights will use their Emergent Fund grant to produce and distribute their films on social media.
SpiritHouse Inc/The Harm Free Zone - $25,000
SpiritHouse Inc, a Durham, North Carolina based cultural arts and organizing organization, has worked with low-wealth families and community members to uncover and uproot the systemic barriers that prevent us from gaining the resources, leverage and capacity for long-term self-sufficiency. Spirit House will use their Emergent Fund Grant to support their Harm Free Zone, rooted in the belief that oppressed people can create accountable, self-directing communities by: healing from systemic racism, eliminating reliance on law enforcement, holding policy makers accountable.
Campaign for Southern Equality | Rapid Response Initiative - $10,000
The Campaign for Southern Equality advocates across the South for LGBT rights in all areas of life. Through our Rapid Response Initiative, CSE is working on the frontlines of the LGBTQ South, led by and for LGBTQ Southerners. Nimble and bold, we work for full equality - both legal and lived - from Mississippi to the Carolinas.
Melenie Eleneke Grassroots Re-entry Program of the Transgender Gender-Variant Intersex Justice Project (TGIJP) - $20,000
TGIJP is a trans-led, Black-led organization which centers the leadership of currently and formerly incarcerated transgender women of color. Both inside and outside of prisons--TGIJOP works to create a united family in the struggle for survival and freedom.
18MillionRising - $25,000
18MillionRising uses tech and pop-culture organizing to boost Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders as a social justice force, nationwide. Leading Asian American civil rights organization — 18MR will use their Emergent Fund grant to continue their work on responding to hate crimes and developing tech for movement activists.
All of Us Initiative @ Organization United for Respect (OUR) - $30,000
OUR’s All of Us initiative will build multiracial communities of support and resistance among people working at Walmart. OUR’s All of Us project will deepen our multi-racial working class base in key areas of the country by connecting to people based on a shared set of values and class experiences and building unity around a vision of economic security. By developing cross racial relationships and exposing how White House policies that target people of color, immigrants and the safety net go against OUR shared visions and values, we will broaden the base of people working at Walmart who are committed to fight back around these policies.
In the world of philanthropy, it’s a little unusual to hear about a public debate between high level professionals. We have a lot of panel discussions, and not so many debates. But Philanthropy New York (PNY) clearly has other ideas.
PNY, “a regional association of grantmakers with global impact,” is sponsoring a debate between two very different leaders in the philanthropy sector. Picture, if you will, the matchup:
In this corner, we have David Callahan, Founder and Publisher of Inside Philanthropy, and author of the forthcoming title, The Givers, a riveting text that makes you question everything you know about philanthropy, and which lands squarely on the side of tightening up taxation and regulation of the rich. Furthermore, it makes you want to run laps around the block to vent your rage at the rampant inequality in today’s world.
In the other corner, we have Emmett Carson, President of the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, the world’s largest community foundation, where givers like Mark Zuckerberg and Jan Koum have put some of their money in recent years. SVCF has only been around since 2007, yet it has become the largest community foundation in the world, with more than $8 billion in assets.
The two will face off topics like: “Why are DAFs and other intermediaries exploding, like women’s funding networks? What are the implications?” and, “Does philanthropy need to be more accountable, broadly, to the American public? How?”
Moderating the debate will be Ana Oliveira, President of the New York Women’s Foundation. Ana Oliveira has led some of the boldest strategies for women’s funds, including being one of the founders of Prosperity Together, the partnership of women’s funds across the country that is focusing on economic empowerment for women and girls, particularly women and girls of color.
The debate will take place at the PNY offices in New York on Thursday, April 13, at 9:00 am. It will also be livestreamed online. Go here for more information and to register.
Looking forward to watching them duke it out! Of course, I’m sure it will be quite the civil occasion, where philanthropy’s spirit of generosity will reign supreme. (Right?)Read More
It gives me great pleasure to announce that Philanthropy Women has secured its first two lead sponsors, and hopes to bring on at least eight more by year’s end.
Needless to say, it is the dream of a lifetime for me to be able to write and publish on such an important topic. I am excited to begin hiring more writers and scaling up.
Our lead sponsors both possess unique expertise in the world of women’s philanthropy, so their added value is compounded mightily by their own dedication to building new ways to fund gender equity in the world. Please join me in thanking them for believing in the vision of Philanthropy Women, and for supporting more quality media by, for, and about women.
Lead Sponsors The Harnisch Foundation and Emily Nielsen Jones Provide Seed Support for Philanthropy Women
Funders Provide Media Amplification for Women Donors Network, the Global Fund for Women, and Women Thrive.
Harnisch Foundation will fund media amplification for the Women Donors Network. WDN will receive added media coverage for its campaigns and will be included in Philanthropy Women’s aggregated news and associated media campaigns.
The Women Donors Network (WDN) engages in high-impact advocacy and philanthropy for women’s empowerment. Through an annual conference, events, advocacy, and member-led donor circles, WDN members invest more than $150 million a year. Ruth Ann Harnisch, Founder and President of Harnisch Foundation, is a member of WDN.
Harnisch Foundation was established in 1998 with a vision of advancing gender equality through funding for film and media, journalism, and leadership. Since its inception in 1998, Harnisch Foundation has given over $10 million to more than 800 grantees.
Emily Nielsen Jones will fund media amplification for the Global Fund for Women and Women Thrive in order to increase knowledge about and investment in women-led social change around the world.
The Global Fund for Women is a nonprofit that has awarded over $100 million in grants to over 4,000 organizations supporting gender equality and progressive women’s rights. Headquartered in San Francisco, California, the Global Fund for Women focuses on the priorities of freedom from violence, economic and political empowerment, and sexual and reproductive health and rights.
Women Thrive, an initiative of Women Thrive Worldwide, helps women and their families across the globe with community-based solutions that reduce poverty, violence, and inequality. Women Thrive Alliance is a global network comprised of 230 member organizations in 50 countries around the globe.
Emily Nielsen Jones is a donor-activist engaged in promoting human equality, justice, and peace around the world. She is particularly passionate and engaged in the nexus of faith, gender, and development and working to mobilize our faith traditions to more fully and unambiguously embrace gender equality.
In her role as Co-Founder and President of the Imago Dei Fund, Emily has helped the foundation adopt a gender-lens in its grantmaking, with a particular focus on partnering with inspired female change agents, locally and around the world.
Emily is actively engaged in the women-led philanthropy movement, is the author of numerous articles, and is a member of Women Moving Millions and the Women’s Donor Network.
She’s young, she’s highly educated, and she likes to be involved in funding strategy — all traits that suggest Priscilla Chan will be making an enormous impact on philanthropy over the next decade and beyond.
“Chan is a hands-on leader of Chan-Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI), taking charge of many of the day-to-day operational details of scaling up a large philanthropic enterprise,” David Callahan recently told me. Callahan is founder and publisher of Inside Philanthropy, and interviewed Chan for his new book, The Givers, due out April 11th.
“Chan has spent all of her adult life as a front-line practitioner working with vulnerable families, and brings that mindset and experience to CZI,” observed Callahan. “You can see that most recently in the new housing initiative to stop low-income families from being displaced in Silicon Valley.”
Priscilla Chan is only getting started on her philanthropy journey, and yet some of ways she is doing things suggest a very different trajectory for the future. While Melinda Gates, at about age 50, arrived at a more defined plan to make gender equity central to her work, we don’t know yet where gender equality will land in Priscilla Chan’s list of priorities. In the video below, she credits Ruth Bader Ginsburg as her feminist role model, which suggests she takes seriously the progressive agenda for women, including access to health care and contraception, and equal pay for equal work.
It All Hinges on Inclusiveness — and That’s Where Feminism Comes In
The Chan-Zuckerberg vision of a better world appears to be strongly aligned with the feminist philanthropy agenda of inclusiveness and equality.
“Could we build more inclusive and welcoming communities?” asks Zuckerberg, in this video with Chan in which he talks about his “basic moral responsibility” to make investments that will move us toward this more inclusive community.
Helen LaKelly Hunt, longtime funder of women’s philanthropy and seed investor in the New York Women’s Foundation, the Dallas Foundation, and the Women’s Funding Network, also thinks Priscilla Chan is bringing something new — and important — to philanthropy: the ability to be more relational in strategic planning.
“Priscilla and Mark are modeling strategic philanthropy – not just in terms of how the funds land, but in how they are doing philanthropy. They are doing it in a relational way,” said Helen LaKelly Hunt, in a recent interview with Philanthropy Women. Helen is author of the forthcoming title, And the Spirit Moved Them, due out on April 17th, which tells the lost history of feminism’s earliest roots — finding that racial equality as well as gender equality were on the original agenda of the earliest suffragettes.
“There is great power in unleashing your money into the world toward cultural transformation. Priscilla and Mark are doing this in a way that it is also transformational, and radical – they are doing it together in partnership,” emphasized Hunt.
“Funding in partnership is not always easy, but the union of perspectives make for a richer outcome, and more vital and effective work,” added Hunt, who, along with her husband Harville Hendrix, created Imago Couples Therapy and have recently launched a new initiative to help couples called Safe Conversations.
In the interview at Forbes 2016 Women’s Summit, Priscilla described how Mark helps her stay focused on goals, and she plays a complementary role for him by giving him the context of real world people encountered as patients or students.
“I force him to learn more about — what’s the context? What are we trying to do? Who are the people involved? What are the cultures that we are trying to work with? How can we learn more from the people already doing the work?”
“In all honesty, it’s really fun, and we have a lot to learn from each other,” said Chan. Translation: Chan gets that philanthropy is pretty much the most fun you can have in life, and she’s excited that she gets to do it with Zuckerberg. This is a huge shift in how men and women in high net worth couples have traditionally functioned. What was once a conversation between couples often dominated by men is now a lively exchange where two people challenge each other’s ideas in order to reach a more informed conclusion.
“We are complementary, and we drive each other and really challenge each other to think more deeply about the questions that we’re faced with,” Chan said.
Here’s Where It All Links Up: Health Care, Feminism, and the Future of Inclusive Philanthropy
So why am I telling this story and raising the visibility of Priscilla Chan for women in philanthropy? (By the way, I did attempt to contact Priscilla Chan for an interview through LinkedIn, where she is listed as a member of the staff of The Primary School, but I did not receive a response. I will be sending her a link to this post, and I hope she will consider responding in the future.)
I am talking about this because Priscilla Chan helps illustrate the story of how feminism is changing philanthropy. Priscilla Chan comes to her philanthropy as a doctor who has already practiced for a number of years and has seen close-up what today’s problems look like. She is also a feminist, and I would argue that her feminism is destined to grow, as she becomes a mother to two girls soon, and parents them in their journey to adulthood.
Access to health care is at the top of the agenda for many progressive and feminist foundations, and I believe (full disclosure: I am also a health care provider as an LICSW therapist) health care should continue to be on top of the agenda for women in philanthropy. Leaders like Priscilla Chan get the importance of health care in a profound way, explaining why the CZI’s biohub is now investing $50 million in 47 new initiatives aimed at tackling health problems. CZI is also investing in strategies to bring more inclusiveness to education and housing access.
With leaders like Priscilla Chan giving to the fight both for health care and for gender equality, we will be more likely to move the policy agenda toward a civil society where all have are treated equally, and all have equal access to health care as a public good.
The Future of Inclusive Philanthropy
Chan embodies what could be the dawn of a new era of Inclusive Philanthropy. The market economies and the democratic systems that govern the world are beginning to recognize the importance of inclusiveness, and this is partially due to efforts of both progressives and feminists to open the door to inclusiveness of all kinds. Many multinational corporations such as Bank of America, Barclay’s, Walmart, and Coca-Cola, all supporting workplaces that are more inclusive of LGBT communitites, and have set goals for achieving gender equity in hiring and pay. More governments are recognizing same sex marriage and calling for an end to laws which discriminate based on race or gender.
In addition, organizations like CZI appear to be tasking themselves with the agenda of building more inclusive societies. But while the agenda of CZI appears very liberal and both Mark and Priscilla talk clearly about wanting to open up opportunity for all people, the agenda for Facebook is less clear. This article reports that Facebook donated $100,000 to the Conservative Political Action Committee, which funds conferences with panels like “If Heaven Has a Gate, A Wall, and Extreme Vetting, Why Can’t America?” and “Armed and Fabulous: The New Normal.” It was also willing to provide a platform for racist, sexist, homophobic Milo Yiannopoulos before he went too far, even for conservatives, and appeared to be a supporter of pedophilia.
Facebook also supported Netroots Nation, one of the largest annual gatherings of progressive activists as well as the Personal Democracy Forum, an organization which “investigates how politics and technology work together.”Read More
I recently returned from DREAM. DARE. DO. in Chicago, the every-three-year (maybe more often now!) convening of the Women’s Philanthropy Institute.
Wow. I am still reeling from the experience. It was an intense two days of immersion in conversation about women’s leadership in philanthropy, where it is coming from and where it will be going in the brave new political climate of a Trump presidency.
WPI recently received a $2.5 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to support its work, and the conference started with a video welcome from none other than Melinda Gates, talking about the “unique and powerful role” that women play in philanthropy, both nationally and globally.
The 27 speakers at the WPI conference helped to expand the conversation on women and philanthropy in several important ways. Just a few examples:
Vini Bhansali of Thousand Currents challenged members of the philanthropy women community to recognize discrimination or prejudice happening among us. “Don’t just talk about feminism – practice daily acts of sisterhood.”
Casey Harden, YWCA USA shared how the YWCA maintains inclusiveness as a core value, and that the organization does not agree with the Trump administration’s ban on Muslims.
“My dream is that saffron would replace opium as the primary crop of Afghanistan.” Kimberly Jung, CEO and Co-founder of Rumi Spice, shared her experience as a for-profit leader with a social impact agenda, and described her desire to build a for-profit business as being tied to her company’s vision of its sustainability.
Kristin Goss, Sanford School of Public Policy, Duke University, shared her knowledge about the history of women’s legislative advocacy in Washington, showing the trends over time. Goss reminded us that women win elections at the same rate as men, and if more women ran for office, we’d have more women IN office.
Jacki Zehner of Women Moving Millions spoke about the need for women to talk about money, even if it makes them uncomfortable. She alluded to the renowned Helen LaKelly Hunt, one of the founders of Women Moving Millions, who helped women to break through the barrier of their discomfort about asking for and giving a million dollars to fund gender equity initiatives.
“Let nothing stand between you and the people you are trying to connect to,” said Ruth Ann Harnisch, President of the Harnisch Foundation, while discussing the power of media to impact social change, with Dianne Lynch, President of Stephens College. Harnisch also responded to an audience question about the movie Equity by reminding participants of the double standard in film where we expect films to portray women acting heroically, but we don’t hold men to this same standard.
One of the most heartfelt moments in the conference was when Tracy Gary received the Shaw-Hardy Taylor Achievement Award. Gary, author of Inspired Philanthropy and longtime advocate for advancing women’s philanthropy, gave an impassioned plea for women to get stronger in their commitment of dollars and time to philanthropy.
In making the Award, Shaw-Hardy noted that when she and Taylor co-authored their landmark book, Women and Philanthropy, Gary was one of the chief knowledge sources they called upon to learn about the world of women’s giving.
Gary had some of the most interesting and thought-provoking things to say at the conference, which makes sense given her four decades of experience with the field. She reminded the audience that one of her big keys to success is simply showing up. She is one of those people who makes it to many conferences a year, and noted that her ongoing visibility and accessibility are essential traits to her success. She talked about the importance of setting aside money in your budget as a woman philanthropist in order to attend conferences and be part of the visible leadership of the movement.
“We need to stop letting men be in charge,” said Gary, and, “Learning to love is learning to listen,” — both timeless messages that embody Gary’s fearless persistence in advancing the causes of women’s rights, LGBT rights, and other progressive causes. Gary was bold enough to say that if she were to get hit by a bus, she would be ecstatic, because she has laid out her giving plan and is looking forward to making those large donations. She also told the audience that she lost 100 pounds in the past year by cutting wheat, dairy, and sugar out of her diet, and these big changes are partially about wanting to be around to participate in the women’s philanthropy field for another twenty years at least.
Gary helped establish the Women’s Foundation of California in 1979-1980, one of the first locally based women’s funds in the country. She also helped build out several donor networks including the Women’s Funding Network, Women Donors Network, and Women Moving Millions.
In the last breakout session of the conference, I sat with a group of about 30 women. The legendary Jacki Zehner was leading the discussion, which centered on identify next action steps for women’s philanthropy as a whole. It was time for the rubber to meet the road. What were we going to do as a group, and where were we going to get the resources to do it?
Of course, these questions can never be answered quickly, but the conversation was intense, and involved much careful listening and questioning. Some of the priorities that received the highest votes from the group were:
1.) Establishing a hub for women’s philanthropy (Hey, sounds a lot like Philanthropy Women!).
2.) Establishing a shared policy agenda for women’s philanthropy.
3.) Identifying next steps for movement activities like The Women’s March.
Unfortunately, I had to rush out of this last break-out session, since I received a text that my shuttle to the airport had arrived early. Thankfully, I just made it to the van as the driver was closing the door to drive away.
But that’s okay, because the conversation is ongoing, as it should be. I saw on Twitter that a group of millennials from the conference is planning to do monthly update calls.
Clinton Foundation President Donna Shalala headlined the phone conference roundtable with this quote from Mark Twain: “Rumors of our demise are greatly exaggerated.”
In fact, said Shalala, “We’re alive and well and thriving.”
Shalala said former President Bill Clinton’s letter, which charts the Foundation’s path forward, depicts a “re-energized foundation, better positioned for the brave new world we’re going into.”
The plan going forward, in broad terms, said Shalala is to “build on what we know works,” while also “spinning off some of the programs that have grown to maturity.”
After reading over the President’s letter, I asked Shalala about the foundation’s future priority of empowering girls and women “across all of our programs.” I asked Shalala what that was going to look like for The Clinton Foundation going forward.
“We’ve been working it already,” she said, and described how programs across the foundation, from the Haiti work to the Alliance for a Healthier Generation all have special sessions and strategies for women and girls. “Too Small to Fail is particularly focused on women because they are the major caregivers for children,” said Shalala.
With regard to the foundation’s work on empowerment for women and girls going forward, Shalala stated, “We want to go places where others don’t go in recognizing and empowering women’s lives.”
Shalala described some of the changes coming down the pike for The Clinton Foundation’s programs that are focused on women and girls. “The No Ceilings program is going to partner with Brookings and Vital Voices,” said Shalala. The letter from President Clinton provides background on what these partnerships are doing already:
“No Ceilings continued its work to advance the full participation of girls and women. This year, with Vital Voices Global Partnership and WEConnect International, No Ceilings launched a new coalition of 30 partners from the public and private sectors that seeks to increase women’s economic participation, address violence against girls and women, and promote women’s leadership. The group announced 24 new Commitments to Action at the 2016 Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting. The projects will invest more than $70 million to help nearly 900,000 people across six continents, promoting gender equality which is key to achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.”
Next up, Megan O’Neil of the Chronicle of Philanthropy asked Shalala what the plans were for the three Clinton family members involved with the Foundation. Shalala described how both President Clinton and Chelsea remain involved and helped to prepare the transition plan with the foundation’s board. But with regard to the Clinton family member last seen running for President?
“I don’t have an answer on Mrs. Clinton,” said Shalala. “She has not made any kind of announcement other than her announcement about the book she is going to work on.”
Megan O’Neil then asked Shalala about how fundraising went for The Clinton Foundation in 2016.
“As you would expect, we didn’t have the participation of the Clintons for fundraising,” due to the election, said Shalala, but she stated that the foundation did meet its goals in terms of bringing in $20 million. “We exceeded that,” she said, and mentioned that there were several donations received on December 31 from donors previously unknown to the foundation.
Regarding fundraising for the coming year, Shalala said, “I think we’ll be fine in 2017. Both Chelsea and the President are back, and the President has been in at least twice. They are certainly re-engaged with the Foundation. And we’re thinking of different strategies for fundraising. The President has a lot of friends out there, and people want to support the foundation.”
One Monday: More from the Clinton Foundation’s Media Roundtable, including plans for new initiatives, the scoop on how they didn’t touch their endowment for the past two years, and whether President Shalala sees herself continuing on with the Foundation.
Here is a recap of the Clinton Foundation’s goals spelled out in President Clinton’s letter:
Continue our efforts to combat childhood obesity and improve health across the country. This includes continued support for the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, our partnership with the American Heart Association, and increased efforts by the Clinton Health Matters Initiative that includes launching new community health work in San Diego and expanding our work to fight the opioid epidemic.
Expand our work to improve early learning through Too Small to Fail, launching a new effort to engage dads and grandparents in early learning. Increase our focus on leadership development and public service through programs like the Presidential Leadership Scholars and CGI University (CGI U).
Continue our successful economic development work in Rwanda and Malawi and our efforts to improve the lives of smallholder farmers through the Clinton Development Initiative (CDI). As part of a routine review of the efficiency of our programs, we found that we could maximize our impact in Tanzania by refocusing our programmatic efforts on those farmers closest to our commercial farm who will continue to receive support including fertilizer, pesticides, and training.
Do more to support communities on the front lines of climate change through the Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI).
Keep empowering girls and women a priority across all of our programs.
And maintain The Clinton Presidential Center and Library’s ability to provide educational and cultural opportunities to Arkansas and beyond, and manifest our belief in the value of service – whether by private citizens or public figures.
Back in April of 2016, I wrote an article for Inside Philanthropy profiling Jennifer Lockwood-Shabat, President and CEO of the Washington Area Women’s Foundation (WAWF). It was exciting to learn about how Lockwood-Shabat was leading an ambitious campaign to raise funds for the amplification of WAWF’s work.
Now, WAWF is leading a campaign to keep gender equality activism on track. The new campaign, #our100days, is an effort for gender equality advocates to claim the first 100 days of the Trump presidency as a time to complete a single task every day that will help improve the lives of women and girls in America.
Want to know more about Lockwood-Shabat and how women’s funds are building community and solidarity for women and other marginalized groups? Lockwood-Shabat will be presenting at DREAM, DARE, DO, a symposium on March 14 and 15th of the Women’s Philanthropy Institute. I will be there to learn from Lockwood-Shabat and other experts in the field of women’s philanthropy. I hope you will be there, too.
WE MARCHED. WHAT DO WE DO NOW?
We are already seeing some of the new administration’s priorities, and they will continue to become more clear as their first 100 days unfold. That’s why we’re proud to invite you to #our100days campaign — because these 100 days will be our 100 days too. Each day, we’ll give you a single task. As more join our movement, our message will be amplified across social media and throughout our communities.
There is much at stake for women and girls — health care, education, jobs, and our most basic rights. In his inaugural address, President Trump said, “This moment is your moment, it belongs to you,” and he is right. This is our moment.
Every community across the U.S. has unique features, but the challenges facing women tend to be depressingly similar. For example, in the Washington D.C. region, as in so many other places, many women are just barely getting by economically. Women make up about two-thirds of all low-wage workers in the D.C. area, earning $10.10 an hour or less.
“There is a tremendous gap between what many women in our region are earning, and what they really need to survive and take care of their families,” says Jennifer Lockwood-Shabat, President and CEO of the Washington Area Women’s Foundation, which serves as a hub for on-the-ground services and advocacy for women and girls in the greater D.C. metropolitan region.
This is a mandate that many women’s foundations take on—bridging the gap for low-income women so that they can not only get a job, but also get ahead, with child care services, housing, and asset building—all ways to build more financial stability into their lives, and the lives of their families.
As part of this work, the Washington Area Women’s Foundation is one of the 28 women’s foundations across the country collaborating in Prosperity Together, which pledged collectively to invest $100 million over the next five years to improve the economic security of women and girls of color. The funding investment was made in partnership with the White House Council on Women and Girls in November 2015.
Now, under the leadership of Lockwood-Shabat, the foundation has mapped out a five-year strategic plan called Together We Thrive, that will amp up the resources available to help women and girls, and broaden the range of practices and financial tools—including donor-advised funds—to make the foundation a more powerful giver, convener, and influencer in the D.C. area.
The Washington Area Women’s Foundation has been around since 1998, starting out with $35,000 in funds raised in the first year, with half of that redistributed as grants to the community. The foundation does not have an endowment and instead raises and redistributes its funding yearly.
In 2014, the Washington Area Women’s Foundation granted $1,015,000 in D.C., Maryland and Virginia. But this milestone is small compared to Lockwood-Shabat’s hopes for the foundation—which is to quintuple its grantmaking to $5 million a year over the next five years, essentially adding another million dollars in funding every year by persuading more donors to put their money toward funding for women and girls.
Where does Lockwood-Shabat see this funding coming from? “We’ve been taking a long look at the role of women in philanthropy, and how we connect women in our region who, in many ways, have made it—they are at the pinnacle of their careers, and they are looking for ways to give back.”
Estimates of the net worth of women in the D.C. metro region are at $253 billion, said Lockwood-Shabat. “That number is projected to grow to $500 billion in the next 10 years, so harnessing the power of those resources, and catalyzing those resources toward women and families who need a little bit of investment to lift themselves out of poverty, is our goal.”
One difference in empowering women financially is that the money is more fully reinvested in the community. “Studies show that in female-headed households, women will reinvest as much as 90 percent of their new income back into their families, so for every dollar that we’re able to raise the income of low-income women, a great deal of that is going back into their families and to their children. This is really about improving the entire community.”
The foundation has a long list of grantee organizations, many of which are providing much-needed child care, educational, and workforce development services on the ground in the community. The Women’s Foundation currently supports places such as SOME’s Center for Employment Training, which places women into good jobs, and the YWCA of the National Capital Area and College Success Foundation of D.C., partner organizations that provide academic, social-emotional, and financial support for students and their families—a two-generation approach that serves middle school-aged girls and their mothers or female caregivers.
The foundation also takes a systemic approach to social issues that impact women and girls, with funding for advocacy through organizations like Voices for Virginia Children, which fosters public policies to prepare all children, particularly those who are disadvantaged, for kindergarten, and a partnership between D.C. Appleseed and D.C. Fiscal Policy Institute to advocate for high-quality child care for low-income families in D.C..
The foundation is also looking to expand its partnerships with government, businesses, and philanthropy to encourage and influence funding programs with a gender focus.
“We have a number of corporate partners that participate in our Early Care and Education Funders Collaborative,” Lockwood-Shabat said. “These are private, family, and corporate foundations pooling their dollars, all to invest in early care and education across the region.” She added that the Early Care and Education Collaborative is just one example of a partnership designed to educate and influence others about the unique barriers faced by women in the region.
Partnerships with corporations and others are not just about funding, said Lockwood-Shabat. “Sometimes it’s about influencing how a corporation thinks about their own workplace policies and how they can better support women in their workplace. Or it’s about influencing how a government agency administers a program. That kind of education and influence is critically important—just as important as the dollars going out into the community.”
Lockwood-Shabat also wants to target the foundation’s dollars more specifically on piloting new methods of philanthropy and community engagement. She sees great potential for this coming from the unprecedented power of female philanthropy. “Women want to be very connected to the work, they want to see it, to touch it, to feel it. It’s not just about the impact today or a year from now, but a deeper focus on significant, long-term impact. Many of our donors have a deep understanding of the need for advocacy at the same time that we focus on direct service.”
Lockwood-Shabat is at the helm of a quickly evolving women’s foundation, one that is hoping to take off and fly, tapping into piles of new wealth in the hands of D.C.-area women. For Lockwood-Shabat, much of this is about cultivating the next generation of women leaders who can bring more gender equity and economic stability to our nation’s capital region.
“The more we can do to invest in young women, to strengthen their voices and their leadership skills early on, the better,” she said. “At a very grassroots level in their neighborhood or school, we can encourage young women to use their voices for greater things.”Read More