The 12 Most Promising Trends in Women’s Philanthropy

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on August 3, 2020.

Since I launched Philanthropy Women in 2017, and even before then, I have been paying close attention to the trends, as well as the big plays and strategy shifts, happening in feminist giving. For that reason, I thought it might be helpful to enumerate some of those gender equality giving trends and other happenings, and flesh out what they mean both now and for the future of philanthropy.

feminist giving trends
State-based women’s funds such are getting more powerful as large foundations like the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation begin to recognize the value of their existing infrastructure to leverage social change. (Image credit: Women’s Foundation California)

1. Women Funders Are Getting More Ambitious With Their Strategies

I see women funders getting more ambitious with their strategies in many different ways, both in terms of the subjects they will fund as well as the approaches they are willing to try. This means they are doing bolder things with their money, which often translates into helping our culture to become more inclusive and knowledgeable about difference. For example, Mona Sinha, Chair of the Women Moving Millions Board, has done some amazing work lately supporting the documentary Disclosure. This film does groundbreaking work in terms of exploring the growing world of gender transition, helping this community to be seen and valued by society. Being unafraid to cross the barrier and fund the LGBTQ community is just one of the many bold strategies that more feminist funders are adopting more frequently.

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Rajasvini Bhansali: Democratic Future of US Not Guaranteed

Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Rajasvini Bhansali, Executive Director of Solidaire Network.

Rajasvini Bhansali
Rajasvini Bhansali, Executive Director of Solidaire Network (courtesy of Rajasvini Bhansali)

1. What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession?

I wish I had known to counter any external and internalized messages about individual leadership accomplishments with the recognition that we are deeply interdependent on others for our success. I would have been even more vulnerable and drawn strength from my community and led in a way that created conditions for even greater connectedness amongst different organizations, networks, and alliances. Sometimes I focused on my own team and organization’s needs over all sectoral, movement building and ecosystem level concerns.  But if the ecosystem doesn’t thrive then each organism within it also suffers. So as feminist leaders, we have to continuously nurture the whole ecosystem.

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Plan Awarded Sizable Grant to Fight Child Trafficking in Burkina Faso

On June 1st, Plan International USA was granted $2 million in funds to aid child trafficking survivors in Burkina Faso. The project, aptly named Strengthening Assistance for Child Trafficking Survivors, is funded by the U.S. Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons. Plan International USA is joining forces with a local NGO in Burkina Faso, The Keoogo Association, to implement this much needed undertaking.  

Plan International USA will work to keep children attending school in Burkina Faso, where child sex trafficking is prevalent. (Photo credit: Plan International USA)

The project to end child trafficking

Strengthening Assistance for Child Trafficking Survivors aims to not only assist those victims of child labor and sex trafficking but also to stop it from happening in the first place. Dr. Tessie San Martin, President and CEO of Plan International USA, states, “due to underfunded education systems, poverty and a lack of employment opportunities, children in Burkina Faso are vulnerable to sexual exploitation, forced labor and recruitment by armed groups.”

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Due Diligence and Risk-Taking in Gender Lens Investing (Liveblog)

On Thursday, May 20th, the Philanthropy Women staff teamed up with Roslyn Dawson Thompson and Rehana Nathoo to discuss the importance of gender lens investing: what it is, how it works, and why we should focus our efforts on it.

gender lens investing

Guests Rehana Nathoo, Founder and CEO of Spectrum Impact, and Roslyn Dawson Thompson, President and CEO of Texas Women’s Foundation, discussed gender-lens investing with Philanthropy Women’s Editor-in-Chief, Kiersten Marek.

The conversation opened with a welcome to the day’s speakers and attendees, as well as a general thanks to Invest for Better for facilitating our conversation with Rehana and Roslyn. Citing the male-dominated nature of finance and corporate life, Kiersten shared her experiences in investing in a gender lens Exchange Traded Fund (EFT) called SHE.

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Activating Philanthropy – Part Four: How to Start a Giving Circle

Editor’s Note: This article is Part Four in our four-part Activating Philanthropy series. In this series, we explore ways to bring your philanthropic ideals into your everyday life, activating the lessons we’ve learned along the way. For the rest of the series, check out Part One: Philanthropy in Daily Routines, Part Two: How to Call Your Congresswoman, and Part Three: Talking to Family Members About Giving. 

giving circle
The Women’s Giving Circle of Harford Count presented TasteWise Kids a $5,000 grant for its Days of Taste Program. The check presentation included Kim Malat, Sherifa Clarke, Riva Kahn, Ennise Bloom and Alice Welsh Leeds. In 2019, the Women’s Giving Circle of Harford County awarded 13 grants to nonprofits serving women and children, totaling nearly $45,000. (Image Credit: Jessica Moser / Baltimore Sun)

We’re almost finished with our Activating Philanthropy series! Thanks for joining us for this four-week series on activating philanthropy in your everyday life. Now that we’ve covered the basics, we’re tying everything together with one of the simplest and most effective forms of collaborative philanthropy: the giving circle

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NEID Gala Highlights Gender Lens Approaches to Global Justice

New England International Donors (NEID) held their annual Gala on April 8th, virtually of course. This gathering of international philanthropists was to celebrate the incredible work accomplished by the cohort throughout 2020. NEID is a rapidly growing community of engaged individuals and organizations whose aim is to “address the world’s big problems” by “living and giving boldly.”

NEID held a vibrant annual gala that included many noteworthy guests. (Photo Credit: New England International Donors)

Their mission is to learn from one another, join forces, and through this strategic network of collaboration, tackle inequity, climate change, and many of the world’s challenges that would’ve been insurmountable otherwise. This community is effective, to say the least, as around 45% of their members collaborate on projects together and 30% of their network support projects discovered directly through NEID.

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Activating Philanthropy – Part Two: How to Call Your Congresswoman

Editor’s Note: This article is Part Two in our four-part Activating Philanthropy series. In this series, we explore ways to bring your philanthropic ideals into your everyday life, activating the lessons we’ve learned along the way. For the rest of the series, check out Part One: Philanthropy in Daily Routines, Part Three: Talking to Family Members (Who Don’t Want to Talk to You), and Part Four: How to Start a Giving Circle. 

Yup, sometimes it really is as simple as looking up a phone number! (Graphic Credit: ProgressOhio)

Welcome back to Activating Philanthropy with Philanthropy Women! This week, we’re exploring a common theme in the giving world that isn’t often clearly explained. During election seasons and high-stakes activism cycles, there are typically calls to “call your Congresswoman,” “write your representatives,” or otherwise engage with the American democratic system as a concerned citizen.

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What Does Peggy Dulany Know about Philanthropy?

Listening first, before doing anything else as a philanthropist, is essential, according to Peggy Dulany (Rockefeller), one of the most prolific philanthropists of our time. I recently had the honor of sitting down with Dulany for a conversation on topics ranging from cross-cultural allyship to meditation to accepting the growing pains that come with diversity and inclusion. 

Peggy Dulany (Rockefeller) spoke with Yolanda F. Johnson about the meaning of philanthropy and how to find one’s deeper purpose in life. (Image credit: Peggy Dulany)

“Listen, listen, listen–with an open mind and an open heart. Because if we haven’t started with that, then what we’re liable to do will probably come from our own experience or lack of experience or misconceptions or biases,” Dulany said.

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Activating Philanthropy – Part One: Philanthropy in Daily Routines

Editor’s Note: This article is Part One in our four-part Activating Philanthropy series. In this series, we explore ways to bring your philanthropic ideals into your everyday life, activating the lessons we’ve learned along the way. For the rest of the series, check out the upcoming installments: Part Two: What It Means to “Call Your Congresswoman”, Part Three: Talking to Family Members (Who Don’t Want to Talk to You), and Part Four: How to Start a Giving Circle. 

activating philanthropy
Adding philanthropy into your daily routine can start with no cost to you. (Image Credit: Katt Yukawa)

Welcome to Philanthropy Women’s “Activating Philanthropy” series! This four-part series will explore ways to bring your philanthropic ideals into your everyday life, activating the lessons we’ve learned along the way. We invite you to take action in your own way, utilizing the guidelines in these articles, and sharing your experiences with your community!

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(Liveblog) Women’s Giving Circles: The Future of Latin America

On Thursday, March 19th, team members from Empatthy and a robust panel of speakers gathered online to celebrate the growing women’s giving circle movement in Latin America. Featuring Jeannie Sager (Women’s Philanthropy Institute), Carmen Stevens and Sondra Shaw-Hardy (Women’s Giving Circles International), Sara Lomelin (Philanthropy Together), and Rosa Madera (Fundadora Empatthy), the event was half celebration, half lively discussion of the future of collaborative giving in the Latin American region.

Juan Carlos Diaz Bilbao (BMW Foundation Responsible Leaders Network), the day’s moderator, introduced the event with thanks to the attendees, participants, and sponsors making the event possible.

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