Funders: Support New Student Strikes to Reform Gun Laws

It’s hard to render me speechless. I am accustomed to speaking and responding frequently. As a healthcare provider, it is a big part of my job. And when COVID happened, as an editor and writer, I took extra time and energy to create a COVID 19 special edition to call attention to women’s leadership at that critical juncture.

gun violence
Students gather at a student strike to end gun violence in Pawtucket, Rhode Island on June 1, 2022. (Image credit: Carlos Munoz, Boston Globe)

But as a writer and as an American, I have been rendered speechless over the last week since the massacre of children and teachers in Uvalde, Texas.

It is impossible to imagine the horror of the parents and families of these innocent children and teachers. And to read that one fourth grade girl called multiple times begging for the police to come — it just brings me to a place of utter speechlessness for the degraded state of our country. We are truly a nation of savages. Or perhaps even worse than savages — people who will knowingly and willingly put children in harm’s way.

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When Women’s Leadership Has Market Value, the World Changes

It seems, in the feminist philanthropy community, everyone is waiting for that tipping point to come, when women’s leadership finally establishes its value to the world. COVID, it seems, is helping to accelerate our awareness of the added value of women’s leadership. By showing that countries led by women having strikingly better COVID survival and containment rates, we should finally be at that point where you could practically pour the product of women’s leadership into a bottle and sell it on the open market.

And now a few words from our Editor in Chief, Kiersten.

Well, think again. I have been on my own quest to establish the value of women’s leadership, particularly women’s leadership in philanthropy, over the past five years. I went in with the theory that feminist strategies are more powerful strategies, and once people get to know more about them, lots of folks would flock to our website and build up our subscriber base to the point where, eventually, it might even turn into a for-profit market product. Though fiscally sponsored by the Women’s Funding Network, our budget and strategy is built around the idea that only a small portion of our funding should come from grants, and that as our subscriber base grows, eventually, we could become attractive to a regular small business publication or larger progressive media platform.

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The Ascend Fund Grants $600 K for Electing Women in States

Pilot to accelerate gender parity in politics launched in Michigan, Mississippi, and Washington

(Image Credit: The Ascend Fund)

 Today, The Ascend Fund, a collaborative fund dedicated to accelerating the pace of change toward gender parity in U.S. politics, announced $600,000 in grant awards to 13 nonpartisan, nonprofit organizations in Michigan, Mississippi, and Washington as part of a pilot project designed to increase the number of diverse women serving in state legislatures.  

“Recent debates in state legislatures over abortion, voting rights, and other critical issues illustrate the increasing power of state lawmakers in politics. We want to ensure that everyone affected has a seat at the table in crafting such foundational bills,” said Abbie Hodgson, Director of The Ascend Fund.   

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When Will Women be Safer? When the 1% Has Less Power

The ugly truth is that more people are still motivated by the desire to prioritize men’s income-generating and reputations than they are by the desire to ensure women’s rights and safety.” — Soraya Chemaly, Rage Becomes Her

women's rights
Photo by Michelle Ding on Unsplash

Prioritizing women’s rights and safety in today’s world is not easy, and it won’t become any easier as long as our culture puts men’s earnings and men’s reputations first, which it almost always does. Think of any number of powerful men whose reputations and money-generating capacities completely undermined women’s rights and safety: Harvey Weinstein, R. Kelly, Donald Trump, Bill Cosby, Jeffrey Epstein….and the list goes on and on. It’s a list that defines our culture, a culture of men and money first, and women and safety last, in our public and private lives, in government, business, and the non-profit sector.

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Reporting Live from The Feminist Factor, Women Funded 2021

The Women’s Funding Network (WFN) is back this year with another exciting convening on the many forms of feminist changemaking happening in today’s world. This year’s Women Funded 2021 virtual conference, The Feminist Factor, focused on a wide range of philanthropic and social justice topics as we continue to fight the tide of inequality in a post-COVID world.

Carmen Perez spoke at The Feminist Factor about Latinx feminist giving. (Image Credit: WFN)

The conference’s mainstage plenary introduced some of the superstars of the feminist philanthropy world.

Monica Ramirez and Carmen Perez on Latinx in Feminist Giving

The mainstage event began with a conversation between Mónica Ramírez (Justice for Migrant Women) and Carmen Perez-Jordan (The Gathering for Justice) on the importance of Latinx feminism. Perez described her journey as a Chicana feminist, starting with her realization that her own mother was a feminist and had passed those ideals on to her.

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Favianna Rodriguez on the Power of Art to Heal Polarization

Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Favianna Rodriguez, President of The Center for Cultural Power, a national organization investing in artists and storytellers as agents of positive social change.

Favianna Rodriguez, courtesy of Favianna Rodriguez
  1. What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession?

I wish I’d known more about the racial and gender barriers that exist for women of color leaders in the non-profit sector, particularly the arts and culture space. I knew how to pitch my ideas and raise money, but I lacked information on how to navigate situations in which I was experiencing unequal treatment due to my gender and racial identity. I was in many spaces where the safety of women was not prioritized. Unfortunately, over the last 20 years of being an institutional leader, I’ve experienced numerous uncomfortable situations including sexual harassment, the theft of my ideas by male leaders, being bullied by men when I challenged sexist assumptions, and being trained to lead in a boy’s club type of approach. Before, I didn’t have the language or tools to navigate these situations. But that has since changed, and I’m incredibly thankful for that because it gives me the opportunity to create safe spaces for other female and gender non-confirming leaders to thrive.

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Anticipating Philanthropy’s Ability to Fully Fund Gender Equality

Philanthropy Women May be Winding Down Due to Lack of Support for Feminist Media about Donor Leadership, Strategies and Practices.

With nearly 1,100 posts published, an unusually high and rising domain authority, and hundreds of feminist leaders and strategies highlighted, Philanthropy Women is simultaneously a feminist media powerhouse and running out of resources. And it’s not for lack of trying to find those resources, or generate them on our own.

Photo by Valentina Conde on Unsplash

What happened to us? It’s a case of what I can only describe as our strategy anticipating a time when philanthropy is ready to fully invest in equality for women and other marginalized groups. We’re not there yet.

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2020 Elections Diversified State Legislatures Like Never Before

A report from the Donors of Color Network and The Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee (DLCC) reveals major improvements in representation for BIPOC in government.

donors of color
Photo by Gayatri Malhotra on Unsplash

In the past, a prevalent political myth has been that white candidates have more electability and viability than candidates of color. This has led to a dangerous narrative that perpetuates subpar amounts of investment in candidates of color and their campaigns. Additionally, it pushed that white candidates were presumed to win elections.

A new report from Donors of Color and DLCC shows how the 2020 elections more than disproved this narrative. In 2020, we had the highest number of candidates of color elected into state legislator positions in the entire history of the country. This is no small feat to have accomplished, and quite a few factors went into making it possible.

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Marisa Franco on Leadership: Marginalized People Must Seize the Stage

Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Marisa Franco, Director and Co-founder of Mijente, a hub for Latinx/Chicanx organizing and movement building.

marisa franco
Marisa Franco, courtesy of Marisa Franco

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

I would reemphasize the importance of relationships, staying curious, and seeking joy and pride in one’s work.

2. What is your current greatest professional challenge?

The leadership development of folks who are looking to get more involved and learn new skills while responding to the many changing conditions we deal with. We have finite time and resources, and it can be a challenge to balance between moving externally to respond to opportunities and crises and doing the development work.

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Marguerite Casey CEO on Resourcing Abolitionist Feminism

Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features President and Chief Executive Officer of the Marguerite Casey Foundation, Dr. Carmen Rojas.

carmen rojas
Carmen Rojas, courtesy of Carmen Rojas

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

I spent a lot of time in this sector trying to make sense of power relationships — specifically, those with undue influence, limited imaginations and proximity to the people who have long been excluded from our democracy and economy. I wish I had known that this is a feature in the design of philanthropy, and that it doesn’t need to be this way. I spent so much time trying to convince people in positions of power and people closest to the most resources that the communities I care about lack power in our democracy or representation in our economy, not as a result of individual choices but as a result of systemic design.

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