It’s always great to see your name up in lights, particularly at such a highly esteemed publication as Women’s eNews. Alyssa Fisher, the 2020 fellow in the Sy Syms Journalistic Excellence Program at Women’s eNews called me up and let me have a great riffing session on what it’s like to be at the helm of our small but mighty publication, Philanthropy Women, and what I see feminist donors doing for the world that no one else is doing.
From the article:
The idea to launch a website dedicated to women in philanthropy first came to Kiersten Marek in 2016, when Hillary Clinton was anticipated to win the presidential election and become the United State’s first woman president. When she launched it the following year, it felt even more pertinent.
On Wednesday, September 30th, the ERA Coalition held a special “Meet the Chairs” event to raise awareness and funds in support of the Equal Rights Amendment. Founded in 2014, the ERA Coalition works to further along the process involved in ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment, newly focusing its efforts on Black and Indigenous women and women of color, as well as gender-nonconforming people and transgender women and girls.
Kimberly Peeler-Allen, the new Chair of the ERA Coalition, and S. Mona Sinha, the new Chair of the Coalition’s sister organization, the Fund for Women’s Equality, spoke with Alyssa Milano on their motivations, passions, and hopes for their work with the ERA Coalition and beyond.
There are many things I could write about Ruth Bader Ginsburg. I could tell you stories about my college friends chanting “Notorious RBG strikes again!” and wearing black tee shirts embroidered with lace collars. I could talk about her support for the LGBT community, people with disabilities, women and girls, and women’s right to choose. I could recite her many groundbreaking victories, not just as a Supreme Court justice but as a woman paving the way for future generations of female leaders.
As we face a world without Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and the implications of her empty seat on the Supreme Court, it’s far too easy to fall into a habit of despair and disaster omens. Instead, what’s important to remember is the legacy of RBG: a legacy of doing what is right, rather than what is easy, and standing up for what we believe in so that we give courage to others to follow our lead.
In the United States, Black, Latinx, and Native American women make up 18% of our population. However, this same group represents only 4% of computing degree recipients. And in an industry that relies so heavily on the holding of degrees and training certificates, these statistics create a major hiring gap for women of color in tech-focused careers.
The Reboot Representation Tech Coalition, a partnership of 17 companies working together to improve representation in the technology industry, aims to increase the number of Black, Latinx, and Native American women employed in tech. This September, Cognizant U.S. Foundation became the next member of the Coalition with a $1.5 million grant–the first step in the Foundation’s announced $5 million commitment to communities of color.
On Thursday, September 10th, representatives from Girls Leadership joined a panel of youth leaders to discuss the findings of the new report Ready to Lead. The webinar facilitators included report author Dr. Charlotte Jacobs and report foreword author Dr. Monique W. Morris, Morgan Stanley’s Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion Susan Reid, and Girls Leadership’s Chief Program Officer, Kendra Karr.
This interactive event included accounts from the young leaders’ lived experiences of the findings from the Ready to Lead report, which centers on the readiness of girls in Black and Latinx communities to step forward as leaders. The event drew out some fascinating and emotionally charged conversations, along with frequent encouragement from audience members in the comments.
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.
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.
On Thursday, August 27th, we gathered for this month’s Philanthropy Women webinar: Women in Media Changing the Game. With guests Lori Sokol, Ruth Ann Harnisch, and Johanna Derlega, we discussed the under-funding and under-representation of female journalists and women’s media outlets, as well as ways funders can work to fix this under-representation.
How To Increase Funding for Women in Media
Editor-in-Chief Kiersten Marek kicked off the call with a reminder to breathe, and introduced today’s theme: Women in Media Changing the Game.
“We know now more than ever how important women’s leadership is,” she said. “COVID has taught us that women leaders in countries around the world have had much better success with managing COVID. And that’s just one example of the women’s leadership differential—the ability to prioritize health and the well-being of others.”
The Women’s Philanthropy Institute (WPI) at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy is partnering with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on a new nearly two million dollar grant whose goal is to “advance actionable, global research on women’s giving to inform and equip donors and nonprofits.”
The funding will fuel WPI’s ongoing research on domestic and global women’s giving, and empower organizations, donors and fundraisers to put these research insights into practice. Since 2015, WPI has conducted research on gender and philanthropy that helps inform the foundation’s Giving By All initiative, which is focused on growing giving and helping donors give more effectively and strategically.
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.
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.
“Our hope in this application cycle was to better understand what innovations are out there reimagining the kinds of support workers lean on to make it all work,” said Tiffany Ferguson, program director at The Workers Lab. “That could mean services, tools, or programs – any range of ideas that, with an investment from The Innovation Fund, could make it easier for workers to access and use their full potential.”