“The power imbalance in philanthropy—often maintained by those without intimate knowledge of a community’s historical context, the needs on the ground, and the most urgent issues—spurs activists in marginalized communities, especially Black women and girls, to call for more input in determining what should be prioritized, how it should be funded, and who gets the money.” This is the opening paragraph of Feminist philanthropy: Dismantling silos and raising long-term funding (link).
Feminist giving, especially that focusing on women and girls, and especially women and girls of color, faces a dilemma. On one side, traditional philanthropic organizations are often hampered by a “white savior” mindset and scrutiny from the patriarchy; on the other, Black women face access issues, and are often not granted adequate trust to control large gifts.
Hello Feminist Giving friends! This week at Philanthropy Women brings some exciting news for us. As it turns out, a male ally to gender equality givers is retiring after 33 years as a business analyst, and he is going to be joining us as a writer at Philanthropy Women. This new writer and thinker will be adding fuel to our fire as the only funding news outlet in the world exclusively devoted to women. And who is this exciting addition to our team?
Why, it’s none other than my husband of over 25 years, Kevin Marek! As of May 26, he will be taking off the corporate shackles and rejoining the rest of the world to pursue all of his many interests and hobbies, and one of those interests is in being a male ally to the cause of gender equality.
Greetings, my dear friends in the feminist giving community and beyond. I’m here to talk to you today about a very serious problem: editors and publishers who will not allow women to have their own voice.
I think part of the issue comes down to the fact that we are changed by the people we love. Along with being changed by the people we love, I also believe we are changed by writing that impacts us emotionally. In the editorial world, that translates into being changed by a piece of writing because it is written in a new way and does not adhere to outdated concepts. Margaret Atwood is famous for saying something to the effect of, “if your writing is not making anyone angry, you’re not really writing,” and I tend to agree. Real writing makes both friends and enemies because real writing can change the game. It can cause people to think differently, to make new connections in how their thoughts align with their behaviors day-to-day.
Greetings friends and feminist giving peeps! Welcome to February of 2023, which promises some big new things for gender equality funding.
Before we get into the top happenings in philanthropic giving for women, I want to call attention to a new gender lens investing product. We all know philanthropic giving matters, but there is also a great deal of progress that can be made by bringing gender lens thinking to the realms of business and finance.
New Gender Lens ETF: WCEO
On that topic, I’d like to share about Hypatia Capital’s new exchange-traded fund (ETF), WCEO. This ETF is specifically designed to generate revenue from companies led by women. The fund and its founder, Patricia Lizarraga, recently had a feature in Fox Business discussing the ETF and its potential to impact gender equality. “You can’t change the world, but you can reach gender equality in your domestic equity allocation today,” Lizarraga said in the article. In its first month, WCEO outperformed the S&P 500.
The wait is over for Philanthropy Women Editor-in-Chief Kiersten Marek’s new book, Feminist Giving: Creating New Frontiers in Social Change! Critics are describing the book as “alarming, affirming, and challenging,” and an “important new resource” for philanthropy and social justice movements.
Out TODAY as an eBook on Kobo and Lulu, Feminist Giving features some of the best research and insights from the feminist giving sphere in the last five years. Hard copy and Amazon editions are coming soon (cheer on those processors!), and we’ll be sure to let the whole world know as soon as they are available.
Editor’s Note: The following article is by Emily Brown, feminist activist and Oxfam’s former Lead for Transformative Leadership for Women’s Rights.
Long before the COVID-19 pandemic emerged as a terrifying reality worldwide, Southern feminist activists have organized together to provide both immediate local services and long-term support to those affected by poverty, violence and oppression. They have effectively organised environmental, anti-racist, labour, peace and political movements across communities to promote and protect women’s rights and social justice.
As Afghan women join in the streets of Kabul to mark one year since the Taliban’s return to power and call for ‘bread, work and freedom’ – here’s MADRE on the sophisticated organising of local women’s rights networks last year – barely mentioned in mainstream media coverage of recent events:
Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Jessica Ryckman, Director of Fellowships at Equal Justice Works.
Q: What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession?
A: Right now our nation is facing an unprecedented wave of setbacks that threaten basic human rights previously protected by law. Millions of Americans cannot afford legal assistance when facing life-changing situations, and a 2020 study found that there is only one legal aid attorney for every 10,000 people living at or below the poverty line. This is leaving a gap in our justice system at a time when access to legal aid is more needed than ever.
When I began my career, I was aware of so many attorneys who dreamed of working in public service but were hindered by finances, equity, and accessibility. The cost of a legal education precluded many from entering public interest law upon graduation – or even discouraged attending law school at all. There were also fewer resources at law schools for first generation graduates, like me, who were interested in public interest law but lacked familiarity and mentors to help navigate the legal landscape and make educated choices about how to achieve a career in public service.
Along with all of the other forms of oppression that a world without access to abortion brings, a particularly stark example of the violence that women face in the patriarchy occurred here in Rhode Island recently. Jennifer Rourke, who is part of the Rhode Island Cooperative, an alliance of progressive democratic candidates running for state office, was punched repeatedly by her opponent in the Senate race, Jeann Lugo.
Jennifer Rourke was speaking at a rally to protest the end of Roe V. Wade in Providence. After speaking, she was standing in the audience with friends. According to Matt Brown, candidate for Governor in Rhode Island and co-founder of the Rhode Island Co-op, three right-wing counter-protesters showed up. Jennifer, as one of the leaders there, approached the situation to try to de-escalate and defuse any possible conflict or disruption to the event. But moments later, Lugo, who is a Providence police officer and was off-duty, punched her in the face. The incident was caught on video by Bill Bartholomew.
I recently took the time to read Lighting the Way, a new report from Shake the Table and The Bridgespan Group. These two entities came together to enhance our understanding of the connections between feminist movements and global philanthropy, and to provide some strategic guidelines on how to expand this work.
In order to formulate these guidelines, the group conducted 43 conversations with high-net-worth individuals, institutional funders, and leaders of feminist movements. Here is a quick summary of the five guidelines they created:
Editor’s Note: The following opinion piece by Jeannie Infante Sager, Director of the Women’s Philanthropy Institute at Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, explores the implications of recent philanthropic giving from MacKenzie Scott.
MacKenzie Scott’s recent round of donations brings her total giving to more than $12 billion, benefitting 1,257 nonprofit organizations since 2020. With 60% of her gifts supporting women-led organizations, this is a transformational moment for the visibility of women’s roles in philanthropy and is redefining what it means to give.