Reporting Live from The Feminist Factor, Women Funded 2021

The Women’s Funding Network (WFN) is back this year with another exciting convening on the many forms of feminist changemaking happening in today’s world. This year’s Women Funded 2021 virtual conference, The Feminist Factor, focused on a wide range of philanthropic and social justice topics as we continue to fight the tide of inequality in a post-COVID world.

Carmen Perez spoke at The Feminist Factor about Latinx feminist giving. (Image Credit: WFN)

The conference’s mainstage plenary introduced some of the superstars of the feminist philanthropy world.

Monica Ramirez and Carmen Perez on Latinx in Feminist Giving

The mainstage event began with a conversation between Mónica Ramírez (Justice for Migrant Women) and Carmen Perez-Jordan (The Gathering for Justice) on the importance of Latinx feminism. Perez described her journey as a Chicana feminist, starting with her realization that her own mother was a feminist and had passed those ideals on to her.

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How Carmen Randolph’s Revolutionary WFS will Transform Philanthropy

As the Founding President and CEO of Women’s Foundation of the South (WFS), Carmen James Randolph will create huge change in philanthropy.

Carmen James Randolph, former VP for Programs of the Greater New Orleans Foundation, will take on a new role as the Founding President and CEO of WFS. (Image credit: Women's Foundation of the South)
Carmen James Randolph, former VP for Programs of the Greater New Orleans Foundation, will take on a new role as the Founding President and CEO of WFS. (Image credit: Women’s Foundation of the South)

Carmen James Randolph, noted philanthropy leader and former Vice President for Programs of the Greater New Orleans Foundation, has been announced as the Founding President and CEO of Women’s Foundation of the South (WFS), a revolutionary first-of-its-kind foundation founded by and created for women and girls of color in the South to advance gender and racial justice. As President and CEO, she will stand up this exciting new entity, build its team, broker partnerships with women of color leaders across the South to inform WFS’ work and investments, and oversee the strategic direction and day-to-day operations.

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The Feminist Factor: How is Feminism Changing the World?

On September 23rd, The Women’s Funding Network will host The Feminist Factor, a virtual conference to discuss feminism across the globe.

The Feminist Factor will take place on September 23rd, 2021 from 10:30AM EDT to 6PM EDT. (Image credit: WFN)
The Feminist Factor will take place on September 23rd, 2021 from 10:30AM EDT to 6PM EDT. (Image credit: WFN)

Women Funded 2021 is a virtual gathering of all gender and racial justice funders, allies, and individuals committed to place-based solutions across the globe for gender equity. Women Funded ‘21 will explore the intersectional nature of feminism as a driver of our work, of the values that we hold, and how we are collectively building a more equitable future. 

This gathering is open to the broader philanthropic and movement community as well as the WFN membership.

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Equal Rights Amendment Can’t Wait in Time of COVID

Editor’s Note: This post urging passage of the Equal Rights Amendment was originally published on September 3, 2020.

Three weeks ago, I was elected as Board Chair of the Equal Rights Amendment Fund for Women’s Equality. As a funder and champion of women’s rights and economic justice, this call to step up could not have come at a more urgent time. 

equal rights amendment
The ERA Coalition is the sister organization to the Equal Rights Amendment Fund for Women’s Equality. (Image Credit: ERA Coalition)

Each one of us has had many moments of reckoning during COVID-19. But as women of color, we have seen that COVID has treated us differently from the rest. Race has been identified as a co-morbidity and a risk factor, just like diabetes or heart disease. Our healthcare systems, our educational systems, and our systems for protecting essential workers are all struggling mightily against a dangerous and mysterious disease. Basic rights and systems have been demolished for women, and women of color are being particularly hard-hit, facing higher rates of job loss while also being expected to bear more responsibility for caregiving and educating children.

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Philanthropy or Investing: Why Not Both?

Editor’s Note: The following article was originally published on February 17, 2021.

When it comes to maximizing our financial impact, there is often an “either/or” approach to leveraging wealth. Do we use our dollars to fund a philanthropic effort, like a campaign or organization dedicated to women and girls, or do we turn our funds toward investment opportunities, like supporting companies with a strong commitment to diversity?

Ellen Remmer is a Senior Partner at The Philanthropic Institute (TPI) and Champion of Invest for Better. (Image Credit: Invest for Better/Ellen Remmer)

As new forms of giving spring up to meet the challenges — and opportunities — of a digital society, we are able to move further away from that attitude of “either/or.” There are ways to stretch our donor dollars further — through two types of collectives that maximize impact.

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Sexual Assault Prevention Orgs and Funders: A New Updated List

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on October 19, 2017 and has been updated to include more organizations and funders addressing sexual assault prevention.

It’s On Us is one of the organizations that receives NFL support to help educate the public about how to take responsibility for consensual sex. (Image credit: It’s On Us)

In the age of #MeToo, it will probably come as little surprise to learn that I am also a survivor of sexual assault. I don’t want to go into the details here (if you want the full story on that, you can watch this video). When I became a social worker, I chose to build my professional life around helping survivors both heal and fight for justice. Over the past 25 years, I have treated hundreds of sexual assault survivors and their families. I have helped people achieve justice, and I have also seen many survivors choose not to engage with the justice system for fear of being further traumatized. Sadly, that fear is not unrealistic.

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The 12 Most Promising Trends in Women’s Philanthropy

Editor’s Note: This post on feminist giving trends 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 feminist giving 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
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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