Female Entrepreneurs: Apply to Red Backpack Fund by April 12

Fashion and feminist philanthropy find a new intersection with The Spanx by Sara Blakely Foundation. In response to COVID-19’s impact on woman-owned small businesses, the Foundation donated $5 million to GlobalGiving to establish the Red Backpack Fund.

1,000 female entrepreneurs, majority women-owned businesses, and nonprofits in the United States will receive a $5,000 grant, totaling $5 million in funding from The Spanx by Sara Blakely Foundation. Funds go toward majority women-owned small businesses’ immediate needs in the face of coronavirus, as well as supporting their long-term recovery once the crisis has passed.

On April 3, 2020, SPANX’s Sara Blakely announced her $5 million commitment to supporting female entrepreneurs through the Red Backpack Fund. (Image Credit: GlobalGiving and Sara Blakely)

“My hope is that this gift will help alleviate some of the pressures caused by this horrible pandemic,” Blakely wrote in her Instagram announcement. “I know first hand what it’s like to be a small business owner. As a woman it can be lonely and scary, especially during a time like this. Small business is the backbone of our culture and I want to help.”

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Platforms for Good: Summer Sanders and Plan International USA

On February 20, 2020, global development organization Plan International USA announced its newest Ambassador, Summer Sanders Schlopy.

An Olympic athlete and most decorated U.S. swimmer in the 1992 Olympics, Summer is known for using her platform for good. She rose to precedence as a member of Stanford’s swimming team, taking on the 1992 National Championship and Olympic Games. In Barcelona, Summer became the most decorated U.S. swimmer with one bronze, one silver, and two gold medals.

Summer Sanders Schlopy joins Plan International USA as their newest celebrity ambassador. (Photo Credit: Outside Online)

In the early 1990s, Summer turned to television, commentating the NCAA Swimming Championships for CBS Sports, and hosting MTV’s surf-and-sun competition show Sandblast. Her numerous television accolades include correspondent, co-host, and host for a range of sporting events, TV series, and competition shows.

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Own Your Power: Elizabeth Yntema on Gender Equality in Dance

Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Elizabeth Yntema, president and founder of the Dance Data Project (DDP), which promotes “equity in all aspects of classical ballet by providing a metrics-based analysis through our database while showcasing women-led companies, festivals, competitions, venues, special programs and initiatives.” 

Elizabeth Yntema, president and founder of the Dance Data Project (courtesy: Elizabeth Yntema)

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

I wish I had had a female mentor, and she had reassured me that success isn’t defined by a linear path. I have been a corporate attorney, a lobbyist, worked as the Director of Governmental Affairs of the Chicagoland Chamber of Commerce, was employed part-time as a consultant, opened an art gallery and, with three small children, focused on volunteering for a time. Now, I use every single one of my experiences and skills acquired over the decades. 

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How Can Feminist Funding Help Shift Games Culture?

The game development world is changing. And it’s changing for the better.

At PAX Unplugged, held in Philadelphia from December 6-8, developers and fans alike gathered for a weekend of celebrating one of our favorite pastimes: analog board games. The atmosphere at this convention was different from others I’ve been to in the past. The excitement was there, of course, as was the kid-in-a-candy-shop feeling that permeated the Expo Hall, but there was an edge to the proceedings that I haven’t felt before, a conversation that started a few years ago and is turning into one of the most compelling threads in game development today.

From L to R: Developers and freelancers Clio Yun-Su Davis, Misha Bushyager, Kira Magrann, John Stavropoulos, and Jabari Weathers gather for “Lesbisnakes, Orcs, and Vampires: Who are TTRPGs’ Monsters?” (Photo Credit: Maggie May)

For generations, games were seen as something of a “boy’s club,” an industry dominated by white, male players consuming games and media designed by white, male-dominated studios. While there is still much work to be done in this arena, progress is on its way.

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#GivingTuesday2019 Reports Nearly $2 Billion in U.S. Donations

Another #GivingTuesday is one for the books! According to the organization that created the international day of generosity, this year’s online and offline donations crushed a monumental milestone: almost $2 billion in donations in the United States alone, with $511 million in online donations.

According to statistics collected by GivingTuesday, United States donors gave nearly $2 billion on December 3, 2019. (Photo Credit: GivingTuesday)

“Generosity is a core trait and value that brings people of all races, faiths, and political views together,” said Asha Curran, Co-founder and CEO of GivingTuesday. “GivingTuesday creates a shared space where we can see the radical implications of a more generous world.”

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Could Feminist Funding have Saved the Kamala Harris Campaign?

On December 3, 2019, California Senator Kamala Harris announced her decision to drop out of the 2020 presidential race.

“I’ve taken stock and looked at this from every angle, and over the last few days have come to one of the hardest decisions of my life,” Harris wrote in a Medium article, which was also sent out to supporters through email and social media. “My campaign for president simply doesn’t have the financial resources we need to continue.”

Kamala Harris, the second African American woman to be elected to the U.S. Senate, announced her decision to withdraw from the presidential race in December 2019. (Photo Credit: Kamala Harris For The People)

The Harris campaign’s inability to fund itself raises important questions about the future of political campaigns in the United States. Could the Harris campaign have been saved by a last-minute large-dollar donation?

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Women’s Foundation of California Celebrates 40 Years of Social Change

On October 17th, 2019, the Women’s Foundation of California (WFoC) celebrated its fortieth anniversary with a major announcement: the organization pledged $40 million to gender justice, and began its groundbreaking campaign to raise the funds to facilitate another forty years of gender justice grantmaking.

Surina Khan, CEO of the WFoC, celebrates her 5-year anniversary as CEO alongside the Foundation’s 40th birthday. (Photo credit: Women’s Foundation of California)

Less than a month later, the WFoC is more than halfway to its goal of $40 million. This stunning fundraising effort is the result of a steadfast community of donors, supporters, and activists, which the Foundation has built over forty years of campaigning for social change.

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Expanding the Ripple Effect: Giving Circles Convene on Equity, Inclusion

Editor’s Note: The following piece is co-authored by Laura Midgley and Bo Lee, board members of Catalist and co-chairs of the Catalist’s upcoming conference. Catalist is an innovative organization working to enhance collective giving by and for women.

For the past decade, Catalist has supported the creation, development, and expansion of women’s collective giving groups, sometimes referred to as giving circles. Open to all women’s collective grantmaking organizations, the network connects and inspires a fast-growing movement of community-minded women who recognize the exponential power of collectively sharing of the experience of giving for social change. The network currently has over 75 affiliates nationwide. Globally, with the addition of groups in Melbourne and London, the movement’s combined giving is over $125 million and has involved more than 17,000 women since 1995. 

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Magic Awaits: Swatee Deepak on Girl-Led Change

Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Swatee Deepak, director of With and For Girls (WFG), a collective that gives financial support to girl-led and -centered groups around the world and engages young women in participatory grantmaking panels.

Swatee Deepak (courtesy of Swatee Deepak)

What is your current greatest professional challenge?

How to best support mergers in the philanthropic sector adhering to the same values and care we place across our work.   

With and For Girls was initially incubated within a private foundation, Stars Foundation. In 2018, as a collective, we worked together with adolescent girls to identify a new home and chose Purposeful. What followed was a merger of WFG from Stars to Purposeful. Progressive philanthropy is filled with discussions about shifting power. Here we are, a funder collaborative, working globally across the global north and south and made up of established funders now being held by a grassroots-based organization with headquarters in Sierra Leone. 

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“The Need Is So Great” – Feminist Philanthropy with Loreen Arbus

Loreen Arbus, producer, writer, author, and disability rights activist. (Photo courtesy of Loreen Arbus.)

Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Loreen Arbus, producer, writer, author, and disability rights activist. She is the Founder of the Loreen Arbus Foundation, President of the Goldenson-Arbus Foundation, and sponsor of the WMC Loreen Arbus Journalism Program, among other projects. On October 21st, Loreen received the Eagle Award at the Disability Rights Advocates’ 2019 Gala at the American Museum of Natural History. Her work as an advocate for people with disabilities, including her commitment to inclusion and integration of differently-abled people and minorities, spans a lifetime of exemplary philanthropic efforts.

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