Gates Foundation Appoints First Gender Equality President

SEATTLE, June 11, 2020 – Today the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation named Anita Zaidi, currently director, Vaccine Development & Surveillance (VD&S) and Enteric & Diarrheal Diseases (EDD), as the first president of Gender Equality. In this new role, Anita will oversee a division comprised of the foundation’s Gender Equality program team and Gender Program Advocacy and Communications team.

Anita Zaidi
Anita Zaidi, a pediatric infectious-diseases physician, joins the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as its first president of gender equality. (Image Credit: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation)

Zaidi will also take on responsibility for the foundation’s broader gender integration agenda, working with and across all program teams to ensure gender is being incorporated in a smart, thoughtful way to increase impact. Anita will report directly to CEO Mark Suzman and will join the Executive Leadership Team (ELT). She will assume her new role effective November 2, 2020.

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Empowering Black Women Entrepreneurs with the Doonie Fund

Kathryn Finney didn’t learn her grandmother’s real name until she turned 10 years old. Doonie Hale was an entrepreneur, a single mom, and the owner/operator of her own business as a seamstress in Milwaukee. Her story, her spirit, and her work inspire Kathryn Finney’s work today as the Founder of digitalundivided and The Doonie Fund.

digitalundivided (DID) serves as a catalyst for Black and Latinx women entrepreneurs. The Doonie Fund, created by DID Founder Kathryn Finney, has offered micro investments of $100 to more than 500 Black women entrepreneurs since April 2020. (Image Credit: DID)

“I was 10 years old when I learned that my grandmother’s real first name is Kathryn,” says Finney. “The lessons the original Kathryn taught me about being a Black woman entrepreneur, about creating beauty, is the reason why I’m here today.”

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Promoting Awareness, Funding, and Women’s Art with Nurse Heroes

How can we properly honor healthcare professionals risking their lives on the front lines of COVID-19? Philanthropist and art collector Sandi Nicholson, and her husband Bill Nicholson, recently announced the launch of “Nurse Heroes,” an art contest and fundraising campaign to support the healthcare heroes of 2020.

A New York nurse celebrates during the city’s daily 7:00 clap for healthcare heroes. (Image Credit: Nurse Heroes)

“This year we celebrate the bicentennial of the birth of Florence Nightingale, founder of modern nursing and the first nursing college,” the Nicholsons announced in a press release. “Today, the legacy of Florence Nightingale continues, with people all over the world opening their doors and windows to show appreciation for our health care workers on the front lines. With ‘Nurse Heroes’ we recognized an opportunity to do more.”

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Pascale Sykes Foundation on COVID and Sunsetting

The number of small businesses facing hardship due to COVID-19 continue to rise every day. In partnership with New Jersey Community Capital (NJCC), the Pascale Sykes Foundation is building a safety net for local New Jersey businesses impacted by the pandemic. The announcement comes alongside the Foundation’s intention to sunset operations in the next few years–and their intention to make as big of an impact as possible before closing their doors.

Frances P. Sykes (right) speaks with staff members at the Pascale Sykes Foundation. (Photo Credit: Pascale Sykes Foundation)

On April 23, the Foundation announced its commitment to the expansion of the THRIVE South Jersey Initiative, a program designed to combat economic hardship in four South Jersey counties. In light of COVID-19, NJCC and the Foundation introduced zero-based interest rate loans for small businesses in Gloucester, Cumberland, Salem, and Western Atlantic Counties.

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Trust Women: Desiree Flores of the Arcus Foundation

Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Desiree Flores, Arcus Foundation U.S. Social Justice program director.

Desiree Flores
Desiree Flores, courtesy Desiree Flores

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

I grew up in a large Mexican-American family with farm worker roots in the rural Central Valley of California. I started out as a young program assistant right out of college at the Ms. Foundation for Women, excited for the job but not having a clue what the philanthropic sector was! What I wish I had known is the exact lesson I learned early and often in that position: that those closest to a problem know best how to solve it. We supported women of color organizing their local communities and creating national networks for systemic policy change. Black and brown women know how to shift cultural attitudes in support of reproductive rights, while HIV-positive women know how to structure data gathering to best test, treat and prevent the transmission. Invest in those who live it, and you will change the world.

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Ms. Foundation Hosts May 20 Feminist Block Party

On May 20th, get ready for a one-of-a-kind online event honoring female movers and shakers with some moving and shaking of your own. The first-ever Feminist Block Party is an online dance party and fundraiser for critical nonprofits and community organizations run by women of color, supporting those organizations in the nation’s communities most heavily impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.

The Ms. Foundation for Women will host Roar for Women: A Feminist Block Party, the first online event of its kind, on May 20, 2020. (Image Credit: Ms. Foundation for Women)

Hosted by the Ms. Foundation for Women, Roar for Women: A Feminist Dance Party will include notes from guest speakers, leaders from the Ms. Foundation, influencers, and organization spokespeople from across the country, including the 2020 Women of Vision Honorees.

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Stacy’s Rise 2020 Opens Applications for Female Founders

If you’re a fan of hummus and veggie dip, you’re probably a fan of Stacy’s Pita Chips, too. However, like most businesses, the snack brand wasn’t always a familiar fixture in grocery stores. A combination of smart advertising tactics, mentoring, and financial support brought the female-founded brand from its origins in sandwich carts to its place in grocery stores (and our pantries!).

In honor of the brand’s rise to fame, Stacy and Frito-Lay partnered to create the Stacy’s Rise Project, a grant program designed to elevate female-founded brands. The 2020 application cycle is now open, the fourth in the Stacy’s Rise program, and it offers $10,000 grants to 15 women-owned businesses.

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Funding the World We Want to See: Sonal Sachdev Patel

Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Sonal Sachdev Patel, writer, activist and CEO of GMSP Foundation.

sonal sachdev patel
Sonal Sachdev Patel, CEO of God My Silent Partner Foundation (GMSP) Foundation. (Photo courtesy Sonal Sachdev Patel)

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

So much. I wish I had known to go straight to the grassroots. The civil society leaders on the frontlines know what their communities need and know how to deliver it. But they’re constrained by a funding environment that is too often inflexible, impatient and imperialistic in terms of who drives the agenda. When we started in 2006, we were giving project-based funds. After listening to our local partners, we shifted to unrestricted funding.

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How Donors Can Support Survivors of DV During COVID

 The COVID-19 pandemic and current isolation at home of the majority of people across the globe has led domestic violence incidents to skyrocket. In Australia, Google reports a 75% increase in online searches for help with domestic violence. In China, the number of calls to helplines has tripled, according to the U.N., and here in the US, police departments and hotlines are reporting a 20%-35% increase in cases. Couple this data with the fact that many shelters nationwide are currently closed or not accepting new clients in order to protect the health and safety of staff and current residents, and the picture of this crisis quickly becomes much bleaker. 

support survivors
Sonya Passi, founder and CEO of FreeFrom (www.freefrom.org), a national organization in the US working with and for survivors, shares her advice for how feminist givers can support survivors during COVID. (Image credit: Glen Carrie at Unsplash)

However, COVID-19 itself is not the problem. The number one reason survivors in the US stay in or go back to abusive situations is financial insecurity. The Center for Disease Control estimates that domestic violence will cost a female survivor almost $104,000 in medical bills, legal fees, property damages, and other related costs. This six-figure debt is exacerbated by the fact that economic abuse (which can take many forms such as not being allowed to work, having little or no access to cash, and being forced to take on debt through physical threats) occurs in 99% of domestic violence cases. Survivors are trapped in violence because it is overwhelmingly expensive to overcome both the cost of being harmed and the devastatingly intricate impact of being financially abused. 

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Liveblogging WPI Plugged In: Women, Giving, and Tech

This year’s signature series from the Women’s Philanthropy Institute (WPI) focuses on a vast area of study — gender and technology. This subject is just beginning to get explored, and for good reason — it turns out there are significant differences in how women use technology to conduct their philanthropy. There are also key spaces online where women network and build on their work in philanthropy, and those spaces are influencing the direction of philanthropy writ large.

Today, WPI is launching its Plugged In Podcast series, which will explore different aspects of how gender and technology influence philanthropy. Speakers today include:

-Asha Curran, CEO, #GivingTuesday
-Elizabeth Gore, President, Alice
-Beth Kanter, Author and nonprofit innovator
-Walle Mafolasire, Founder, Givelify
-Teresa Younger, CEO and President, Ms. Foundation for Women

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