Knock Down the House: The Mainstreaming of Women’s Political Rise

Rachel Lears is Director, Producer, and Cinematographer of Knock Down the House. (photo credit: International Documentary Association)

I am always keeping an eye out for instances of feminism breaking through to mainstream culture. So when Netflix decided to make its biggest payment ever of $10 million to buy the rights to Knock Down the House, I was eager to learn about how this film came about. How did this relatively new film team suddenly find itself poised to reach Netflix’s estimated 148 million subscribers?

Knock Down the House follows four progressive women who made it into the U.S. Congress in the 2018 elections, inviting viewers to witness the progression of their historic journeys into politics. Just weeks ago, it won Best Documentary Film for 2019 at the Sundance Film Festival.

Read More

What Philanthropy Must Do to Protect Reproductive Rights

Staff of the National Abortion Federation joined Kathy LeMay to talk about the problems facing abortion providers in today’s increasingly hostile environment.

With the fight to keep abortion safe and legal increasingly under threat, fundraising expert Kathy LeMay of Raising Change recently hosted a webinar with leaders from the National Abortion Federation. The goal of the webinar was to help philanthropists take action to support the abortion providers, during increasingly hostile times for providing these vital services.

Kathy introduced the Very Reverend Katherine Ragsdale, former President of the Episcopal Divinity School and Interim President and CEO of the National Abortion Federation. (Longtime CEO of NAF, Vicki Saporta, who put in 23 years at the helm of NAF, announced her retirement this past year.)

Read More

Melinda on Colbert: Cell Phones as Tools for Women’s Empowerment

Stephen Colbert recently hosted Bill and Melinda Gates to discuss “surprises” — the theme of their annual letter this year. (Image credit: Youtube)

Starting with a joke about who would be the word hog between the couple, Stephen Colbert recently interviewed Bill and Melinda Gates. The couple talked about their philanthropy in the context of larger political issues such as growing inequality, and shared some of their “surprises”  — the theme of their annual letter this year.

Colbert remarked that Bill Gates used to be the richest man in the world, but has now fallen into the number two spot for the world’s most wealthy person.  “Well, we’re trying to give it away faster,” said Bill.

Read More

Women Leaders Convening to Build Election Power in Dallas

ReflectUS is a bipartisan coalition of leaders working to get more women elected to public office.

One of the largest public women’s foundations in the country is hosting a convening of leaders in Dallas to address the lack of gender equality in local government.

The Texas Women’s Foundation will host 60 women leaders from diverse backgrounds to work on getting more women elected to public office in Dallas County. On February 6, these leaders will come from many organizations we have talked about here at Philanthropy Women, including IGNITE, Vote Run Lead, and She Should Run.

All of these organizations are part of a larger network called ReflectUS.  Reflect.US is a nonpartisan coalition of seven leading women’s organizations: Represent Women, She Should Run, Empowered Women, Women’s Public Leadership Network, IGNITE, Vote Run Lead and Latinas Represent.

Read More

How One Feminist Scholar is Putting Corporate Philanthropy On Notice

The Gender Effect: Capitalism, Feminism, and the Corporate Politics of Development is by Kathryn Moeller.

So much of what I worry about with corporate philanthropy is just how much it is used to grease the pill, so to speak, of the public swallowing all the damage that corporations do in the world. Corporate philanthropy asks us to believe, for example, that Nike cares about gender equality, even as much of its subjugation of labor in developing countries puts added pressure on women as both workers and providers, with very little given in wages in return.

Such is the subject of Kathryn Moeller’s book, The Gender Effect: Capitalism, Feminism, and the Corporate Politics of Development, which makes the case that even feminism can be co-opted by corporations and turned into a tool for shifting more of society’s burdens onto women and girls without addressing the structural factors that produce poverty.

Read More

Cheyenna Weber: Creating a Solidarity Economy Giving Project

Attendees at the Solidarity Giving Project annual party. (Photo credit: Zachary Shulman)

Editor’s Note: Fascinating things are going on in the realm of giving circles and community giving projects. We are pleased to share this piece by Cheyenna Layne Weber, one of the founders of Solidarity Economy Giving Project in New York City, which aims to bring together donors in new ways. 

From Cheyenna Layne Weber:

There are more than 2,000 solidarity economy organizations in New York City, most of them founded and maintained by women. These democratic, member-led groups take different legal forms, but hold certain values in common—social and racial justice, ecological sustainability, mutualism, and cooperation. They include low-income credit unions; cooperatives providing food, affordable housing, and childcare; cooperatives of farmers and workers; community gardens and land trusts; and community-supported agriculture. Together, these form a solidarity economy based on meeting material needs rather than making profits. (Explore these models in this short video.)

Read More

How to be a Courageous Philanthropist

Paula Hodges is founder of Anchor Strategies and was the founding Executive Director of New Hampshire Progress Alliance, New England’s first pooled investment fund for incubating durable, permanent progressive infrastructure.

Admittedly, I am not a philanthropist. But managing the money of philanthropists for progressive social change has given me a unique appreciation for the essential role of people and organizations that connect philanthropy and political strategy.

I’ve spent most of my career as that staff person expected to change the world $1,000 at a time, one issue at a time.  In roles such as manager of young organizers, volunteer coordinator, lobbyist to fickle legislators, major gifts director, and Executive Director, I have worked to change political decision-making systems, often while holding up woefully under-staffed legislative and advocacy initiatives. As a single person Public Affairs or Program Director, I sometimes served in the role of five people, and was seen as a savior if I could project-manage a couple coalitions on the side – you know, for the good of the cause.

Read More

Jean Case Explores Fearlessness in Business and Philanthropy

Jean Case, CEO of the Case Foundation, and author of Be Fearless: Five Principles for a Lifetime of Breakthrough and Purpose.

Recently I interviewed Jean Case for Inside Philanthropy and learned about how her early years as a survivor of hardship helped her prepare for a lifetime of success in business and philanthropy. We  also discussed how to maintain a fearless attitude in both business and philanthropy, so that you don’t become afraid of all the risks, hassles and pitfalls that drive a lot of people to drop out of pursuing plans in both spheres.

Toward the end of the interview, I asked Case about her perception of women in philanthropy and how their influence is shifting the landscape:

Read More

Progressive Investors Decry Digital Breaches of Facebook, Google

The companies listed above have all been issued the Investor Statement on Corporate Accountability for Digital Rights from the Investor Alliance for Human Rights. This Alliance wants Google, Facebook, and other tech companies to know that they will withdraw their investments if these companies do not take action to address human and digital rights abuses.

A powerful coalition of investors is taking action to steer the tech industry toward better practices that protect human rights in the digital age.

This coalition contains some familiar names in the socially responsible investing field such as Pax World Funds and Cornerstone Capital Group, but the largest number of signatories are Sisters of various religious orders: Sisters of Saint Joseph of Chestnut Hill, Sisters of St. Francis of Philadelphia, Sisters of the Holy Names of Jesus and Mary, and this is only a few of the religious funds signing on to this statement. 

Read More

Third Wave Fund’s Sex Worker Giving Circle Announces First Grantees

Third Wave Fund’s new Sex Worker Giving Circle has made its first $200,000 in grants to organizations across the U.S.

With $200,000 in new funding, sex worker organizations and advocates across the U.S. will have more resources to address safety, worker’s rights, and political power in the new year. Third Wave Fund, a 20-year-old foundation, recently announced its inaugural grantees from the first and only Sex Worker Giving Circle, a new collective created by the fund in 2018.

This new giving circle is unique in many ways. The Sex Worker Giving Circle (SWGC) is the first sex worker-led fund housed at a U.S. foundation. SWGC consisted of 10 Fellows who were trained and supported by Third Wave Fund in order to raise more than $100,000 of the grant funding, design the grant-making process, and decide which organizations would receive funding grants, which ranged from $6,818 to $21,818.

Read More