WFN’s Cynthia Nimmo Reflects on 2018 and Future of Feminism

Cynthia Nimmo, CEO of the Women’s Funding Network, shares her epiphanies about this past year, and her vision of a more feminist future to come.

Like many organizations in the women’s funding community, Women’s Funding Network had a robust year of working on the issues most important to women, including financial empowerment, collaborating with men as allies, and strategic leveraging as a donor and an advocate.

To go a little deeper into this past year of activity in feminist philanthropy, we decided to talk to Cynthia Nimmo, CEO of the Women’s Funding Network, and hear about what it felt like to run one of the most important organizations in the women’s funding space.

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New ED and Board Chair of Women Moving Millions Bring Financial and Legislative Power

Sarah Haacke Byrd, Executive Director of Women Moving Millions, played a key role in addressing gender-based violence and the backlog of unprocessed rape kits in the U.S.

After an extensive search and interview process, Women Moving Millions (WMM) recently announced the appointment of Sarah Haacke Byrd as its new Executive Director. Byrd is an influential rising star of the feminist philanthropy community known for being a “joyful warrior” in the ongoing battle for gender equality. Byrd also comes to her new position at WMM with a history of leadership focused on legislative changes that would make the processing of rape kits a necessity in all police investigations of sexual assault.

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The Growing Influence and Diversity of Giving Circles: Two New Reports

Two new reports from the Women’s Philanthropy Institute explore the forms and functions of giving circles today in America. (graphic courtesy of WPI report infographic.)

Two new reports from the Women’s Philanthropy Institute point to the increasing influence and diversity of giving circle (GC) members, and the challenges present when established foundations serve as “hosts” for GCs.

The reports are authored by the Collective Giving Research Group (CGRG) which was formed in 2015 as a collaborative “to explore and understand the dynamics of giving circles and other forms of collective giving.” Its members include scholars and consultants in the areas of philanthropy, public affairs and public administration, and it has institutional support from the Women’s Philanthropy Institute (WPI), which is part of the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy. Funding for the reports came from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation via the WPI, and the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation.

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Another Women’s Giving Circle is Born: Waterbury Giving Circle Makes Inaugural Grants

Butterflies with Voices is one of the inaugural grantees of the newly formed Women’s Giving Circle serving Greater Waterbury and Litchfield Hills, Connecticut. This photo depicts staff members from Butterflies with Voices helping Women’s Giving Circle members learn about their project at a circle meeting. (Photo courtesy of Connecticut Community Foundation.)

While women’s giving circles are a growing phenomenon in the United States, we thought it would be interesting to touch down in the real world with a giving circle that has newly arrived on the scene: Waterbury, Connecticut’s Inaugural Women’s Giving Circle. 

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WFN Summit Explores What it Will Take to Get More Women Into Office

Women’s Funding Network recently hosted a summit in New York, bringing together thought leadership to grow the movement for women’s equality.

Feminist leader and journalist Marianne Schnall’s eight-year-old daughter had a striking question after the election of Barack Obama in 2008. Why have we not had a woman president?

The question wouldn’t go away for Schnall, and soon she found herself bringing it up to thought leaders and scholars, trying to figure out what it would take to put a woman in the highest governmental office in America.

One thing Schnall realized in this process was the need for stronger coalition-building across progressive movements. “This isn’t a women’s issue. It’s a human issue. It’s an issue of having a reflective democracy, and that’s why we need to have men be part of these conversations,” said Schnall.

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UPDATE: Big Win for Progressives as RI Dems Rescind Endorsements

Moira Jayne Walsh, Incumbent Democratic candidate for Rhode Island State Legislature, District 3, Providence. In an interview with Philanthropy Women, Walsh stated she does not want the endorsement of a party the endorses John Carnevale, who has been accused of sexual assault and domestic violence.

Great news for progressives in Rhode Island, as Moira Jayne Walsh and Bridgett Valverde prevail in their efforts to correct the Democratic party after it veered off course and endorsed some decidedly unfit candidates. From WPRI:

Bowing to heavy pressure from progressives locally and nationally, the Rhode Island Democratic Party on Thursday rescinded its endorsement of two controversial General Assembly candidates.

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Continuing the Legacy of African American Giving: HERitage Giving Circle

Guest Author and Philanthropist, Dr. Froswa Booker-Drew

Editor’s Note: The following guest post is written by Dr. Froswa Booker-Drew, philanthropist and founding officer of the HERitage Giving Fund.

As a child, I saw my parents in Shreveport, Louisiana helping others.  At the time, I didn’t realize that the trips to visit the sick, the donations to those in need or even delivering cooked meals, were part of philanthropy in my community.  My involvement in service began as a teen volunteering and has not stopped.  I have made a life of giving.  I now call myself a philanthropist, something I would not have called myself years ago because I didn’t realize that, like my parents, I was a part of this work.

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A Healthy World for All: Rachel’s Network Integrates Environmental and Gender Equality Philanthropy

Rachel’s Network distributes $60 million annually to address both climate change and gender equality.

Funders for social progress appear to be increasingly recognizing the intersection of women’s rights and climate change. For example, the million dollar Roddenberry Prize, recently discussed on Philanthropy Women, seeks to support organizations with new solutions to both gender inequality and climate change. Additionally, substantial research, such as  this recent issue of Gender and Development, highlights how environmental issues are closely related to gender equality problems.

Here’s where Rachel’s Network comes in.  One of the most significant funding networks in the ecofeminist space, Rachel’s Network has a mission of promoting women as the leading strategists in addressing environmental issues and climate change. Rachel’s Network is made up of female advocates for environmental justice and women’s empowerment, many of whom work in major environmental organizations across the globe. These women  annually donate about $60 million to organizations and projects that are helping our planet and addressing gender inequality.

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Cheers for the Winners. Now Help Us Meet More Women Candidates

Stacey Abrams, House Minority Leader in the Georgia Legislature, successfully bested her primary opponent, and is headed for the mid-term Gubernatorial elections in November. (Image Credit: Kerri Battles, Creative Commons license 2.0)

These are exciting times we live in, as record numbers of women run for political office all over the country. And, of course, there have already been some fabulous victories in the last few weeks including, but not limited to Stacey Abrams and Jacky Rosen  (from this former temple president to another, brava!)

But those candidates are just the tip of the iceberg. There are so many other interesting women running in important races that don’t get as much press. For instance, Deidre DeJear is running for Secretary of State in Iowa and Veronica Escobar running for Congress in Texas. These are amazing women running in tough places for important positions.

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LPAC Brings Anti-Freeze to Boston With Feminist Comic Kate Clinton

LPAC will hold February 15th fundraiser with special guests Maura Healy and Kate Clinton.

Looks like there is some fun to be had in Boston on February 15th, as the Lesbian Political Action Committee (LPAC) holds its first fundraiser of 2018. The event will feature political humorist Kate Clinton, as well as Attorney General Maura Healy.

“This is a critical year for LGBTQ people, women, people of color and all progressives, and we hope the Boston community joins us to learn how we can support progressive candidates and advance positive policy outcomes,” said Diane Felicio, a Boston-based member of LPAC’s National Board, in a press release announcing the fundraiser.

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