Harvesting Female Empowerment: Florence Reed and the Business of Food

Florence Reed, Founder and President, Sustainable Harvest International

Sustainable Harvest International Founder and President Florence Reed did not encounter many other women leaders in philanthropy when she started the organization in 1997. “I was flying by the seat of my pants. I literally went to a library and checked out a book on how to start a non-profit, and went through it chapter by chapter,” she recalled in a recent interview with Philanthropy Women. Who knew then how successful her initiative would be: Sustainable Harvest International (SHI) was recently named by Charity Navigator as one of the “six highest-ranking charities in the sector making major strides to increase sustainable food production.”

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Built on Partnership: How This Power Couple Champions Gender Equality

Jennifer and Peter Buffett, Co-Founders, Novo Foundation (Photo Credit: Taylor Crothers)

If a foundation’s mission is to build more healthy partnerships in the world, what better place to start than with their own internal partnerships?

In fact, for Peter and Jennifer Buffett of the NoVo Foundation, developing their own partnership as a couple coincided with developing the mission of their foundation, which is to transform relationships across the globe from “domination and exploitation” to “collaboration and partnership.”

I had approached NoVo wanting to talk to either Jennifer or Peter individually, but,  apropos of their partnership approach to philanthropy, I got them both. They spoke to me by phone from their home in the Hudson Valley, about two hours north of New York City.

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

Emily Nielsen Jones, President and C0-Founder of Imago Dei Fund, examines the status of gender equality within the larger context of freedom.

Fourth of July, 2017 came and went, but Lady Liberty’s vigil continues, reminding us of the brave work required in every generation to truly live as a free people.

As we turn the page on the 4th of July this year, report after report like the Freedom in the World 2017 and the 2017 Social Progress Index confirm a feeling in the air today: freedom is not currently advancing but rather is in decline. According to these reports, 2016 marked the 11th consecutive year of decline in global freedom.

“In past years we generally saw declines in freedom among autocracies and dictatorships,” describes Arch Puddington, one of Freedom In the World 2017’s co-authors, “but in 2016 it was established democracies that dominated the list of countries suffering setbacks.” The US was among a list of “Free” countries – including Brazil, the Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Hungary, Poland, Serbia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, and Tunisia – where freedom was found to be in decline as “populist and nationalist forces made significant gains.”

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This Changes Everything: Early American Feminists Were Deeply Religious, Relational, and Race-Conscious

Helen LaKelly Hunt, Author of And the Spirit Moved Them, and movement builder for both gender equality and safe relationships.

For Helen LaKelly Hunt, three central passions drive her work: funding for gender equality, changing the culture of intimate relationships, and rethinking the historical roots of American feminism. These three passions all come together in a new way with the publication of her latest book.

“Jennifer Baumgardner gets much credit. After all, she published this book.” said Helen, in a recent interview with Philanthropy Women. “And as a result of Jennifer’s passion, I always remind her, this book has two mothers.” Baumgardner is the Publisher at The Feminist Press, which released Helen’s book this past May.

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Bloomberg and Partners Support Philanthropy Strategy Aimed at Female Coffee Farmers

Sustainable Harvest has a wide array of supporters including The Clinton Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, and the Lemelson Foundation. It reports leveraging more than $4 million in development grants from foundations and academic, corporate and institutional partners, to deliver programs that help coffee farmers.

An article from Barista Magazine brings good news for women and coffee aficionados worldwide: the launching of a new program aimed at improving coffee quality and productivity for female farmers in Colombia. The new program is a partnership of Strauss Coffee, Sustainable Harvest and the Relationship Coffee Institute. From the article: 

A lot of things make coffee better—for example, better growing practices, a deeper understanding of soil quality, or more advanced machinery for depulping coffee cherries. Time and again, one of the single biggest contributors to an increase in both coffee quality and outcomes for farmers is investment in women. That’s why Strauss Coffee, one of the largest coffee companies in the world, in partnership with Sustainable Harvest Coffee Importers and the Relationship Coffee Institute (RCI), are taking part in a new incentive program aimed at improving the lives of female farmers in Colombia.

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New Study Funded by Global Coalition Sheds Light on Violence Against Women in the Middle East

The new study, called IMAGES MENA for short, is funded by governments, the UN, and the Arcus and Oak Foundations.

A coalition of international and UN organizations, private foundations and governments have come together to produce startling new research on the state of gender norms in the Middle East. The study, entitled Understanding Masculinities: Results from the International Men and Gender Equality Survey (IMAGES) for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), helps to clarify how cultural norms for both men and women contribute to hostility and violence against women, specifically in the nations of Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, and Palestine.

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Are Conservatives Taking Over the UN? What are the Implications for Gender Justice?

OURS, which sponsored the new report, Rights at Risk, is a working group that included Planned Parenthood Global, Asian-Pacific Resource and Research Centre for Women, Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID), and many other global nonprofits.

Recently, one of our lead sponsors, Emily Nielsen Jones, philanthropist and Co-founder of Imago Dei Fund, raised the warning flag about the growing conservative Christian influence on religious culture in the U.S. Now, a new report has come out that warns of a growing conservative religious influence on the United Nations. The report, entitled Rights at Risk and produced by The Observatory on the Universality of Rights (OURS), argues that  “the universality of human rights is under attack by an increasingly coordinated and agile set of anti-rights actors operating in the international human rights sphere.”

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What’s up with this New Philanthropy Hub, and How Will It Involve Women’s Philanthropy?

Giving Compass aggregates philanthropy news and information by topics, including news and information about women’s philanthropy.

Recently, I got an email from Stephanie Gillis, Senior Advisor at the Raikes Foundation, wanting to “explore potential synergies” with the work we are doing at Philanthropy Women. Naturally, I was eager to do so, and soon learned about Givingcompass.org, a new team effort of several foundations and nonprofits, aimed at drawing on the chops of the tech sector in order to provide more resources for the philanthropy sector, particularly around how to assess the quality of philanthropy and get the most impact per philanthropy dollar.

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New Initiatives Launch for Women and Girls of Color in DC and Beyond

A Fair Chance, a new report from the Washington Area Women’s Foundation, provides key statistics that map out the problems needing to be addressed for women and girls of color, such as high suspension rates in school.

“We have been very intentional to make sure that organizations that are connected to communities and girls of color are at the table,” said C. Nicole Mason, Ph.D., Vice President of Programs for the Washington Area Women’s Foundation (WAWF), when talking with Philanthropy Women recently about the launch of the Young Women’s Initiative (YWI).

This connectedness to the community is a big factor in what makes YWI a powerful vehicle for youth empowerment for girls of color as well as for transgender and non-gender conforming youth.

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Business Worldwide Aligns with Global Goals, But Trump Rejects New Economy

Launched in January of 2016, The Business and Development Commission makes the  case for achieving a sustainable economy that will also address environmental issues. The Commission helps businesses align with the Global Goals, and track the economic gains of adhering to these goals.

Because of the importance of addressing climate change for women worldwide (as well as for all other manner of human and other species), it is important to take note of the economic activity that other countries are poised to engage in as a result of the Paris Accord. It’s also important to note how the U.S. will miss out on these economic opportunities because of our current poor (and non-representative) presidential leadership.

Recently, a new international commission formed to encourage more businesses to see the sustainable development goals as a smart business move — one that will generate an estimated $5 trillion and 230 million jobs in Asia alone by 2030.

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