Heavy Hitters Collaborate on New Blueprint for Social Change

Things are really coming together for women’s funds and gender lens investing, as this new report details. The new report is written by Joy Anderson, President and Founder of Criterion Institute, Ms. Foundation President Teresa Younger, and Elizabeth Schaffer, Chief Operating Officer of the Global Fund for Women.

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I have not read the report in total yet, but from my first foray in, I am really excited to see how these advanced thinkers and leaders are putting ideas together and finding new synergy for social change and finance. This is powerful stuff!

The report is written using architectural design as an extended metaphor for how to integrate the different sectors of finance, women’s funds, and social change theory. Combining these three components, the report then makes practical suggestions about how to influence issues like domestic violence, the gender wage gap, and climate change.

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Kate Coyne-McCoy and the Rise of Women in Politics

“The more that philanthropy can do to encourage and support women in running for office, the better,” says Kate Coyne-McCoy, CEO of The Campaign Fixer, who has spent much of her career trying to bring more women into American politics. Coyne-McCoy has trained over 9,000 women to run for office, and she has a message for philanthropy.

kate coyne-mccoy
Coyne-McCoy has trained over 9,000 women to run for office. She wants to know what is still holding many women back.

“Do more politically, period,” she said in a recent interview with Philanthropy Women, when asked what her message would be to progressive women donors and their allies.  “Until you make an investment in the electoral and political process, you’re never going to see the change you want.”

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Distributive By Design: How New Economics Helps Build Gender Equality

Kate Raworth has written a very compelling article about the need to redesign economies to address inequality. The change requires relinquishing old economic thinking, which said something like, “Inequality has to get worse before it can get better in a growing economy,” and replacing it with new thinking that builds on “a network of flows” which are distributive by design.

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Image: Kate Raworth and Christian Guthier/The Lancet Planetary Health

Raworth is a Senior Visiting Research Associate at the Environmental Change Institute at Oxford University and the author of Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st Century Economist.

More from the article:

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Want Gender Equality in Your City? Join This Call.

Do you, like me, live in a city where girls softball teams have names like “The Dolls” and very few women make it into elected office? Then you might want to join this call being held by It’s Time Network next Tuesday, May 2nd at 3 PM EST. This will be an opportunity to learn about how to take action in your local community to protect and advance women’s rights.

It’s Time Network brought together a number of important organizations to formulate their Mayors Guide: Accelerating Gender Equality including the San Francisco Department on the Status of Women, Institute for Women’s Policy Research Center for American Women in Politics, Jobs with Justice,  Forward Together, Equal Rights Advocates, Global Fund for Women, Women Donors Network, Girls Inc.,  MomsRising, The Grove Foundation, St. Vincent De Paul Society of San Francisco, Astrea Foundation and Women’s Earth Alliance.

The Mayors Guide is the first ever “how to” manual for mayors who want to focus on improving the status of women and girls. It spans 11 issue areas and provides general recommendations, as well as specific recommendations for each of the 11 issue areas.

One of the first steps that the Guide recommends is going to the U.S. Factfinder site of the Census Bureau and learning about your home city, so you can correctly identify the gender equality issues in your locality.

Number two on the list is to ask your city to establish a permanent commission on the status of women. Friends with legislative experience in Cranston, has this ever been done? If not, we will need to look into it.

So that’s why I’m planning to dial into the call on Tuesday. The call will also help participants to connect with people in their local area and develop networks of support to carry forward this agenda.

For some more recommendations to chew on as you consider calling in, here are the rest of the general recommendations from the Guide:

GENERAL RECOMMENDATIONS

  1. Adopt a city ordinance on The Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).
  2. Establish a permanent Commission (or Department) on the Status of Women in your city.
  3. Fully fund that Commission.
  4. Commission a Status of Women and Girls report for your city to establish a baseline from which to set measurable goals and specific actions.
  5. Create a city task force for women, composed of private sector, nonprofit and government members to support the Commission and/or to stand in its place until one is developed.
  6. Strengthen relationships between nonprofit organizations and government agencies and provide more opportunities to partner.
  7. Analyze, identify and change existing policies that discriminate against women and girls.
  8. Ensure gender equality is embedded in the culture and goals of your administration and is reflected in your messaging.
  9. Report on gender and racial diversity for city hires to ensure gender equality at every level of staffing, including top positions.
  10. Look at tax benefits and incentives to support and encourage the private sector.
  11. Use traditional women’s venues (i.e. women’s colleges, community centers, etc.) for conducting outreach, advocacy and convenings.
  12. Utilize multiple sources of funding for women’s programs and initiatives, including private funding, foundations, municipal bonds, federal tax credits, federal grants, state grants, general-purpose city funds, etc.
  13. Engage people across political lines to build a collaborative and inclusive approach.
  14. Engage leaders at the grassroots level to ensure broad representation and perspectives.
  15. Create annual awards and establish annual improvement levels for those who accelerate gender equality.
  16. Ensure women and girls have equal access to quality, affordable education.
  17. Encourage STEM education for girls, women and mid-career women.

Betsey McKinney and the It’s Time Network are doing groundbreaking work with researching and creating this structure for bringing gender equality to cities across America. It would be amazing for our city to make these recommendations a reality.

 

 

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Zero to Three: Parents and Babies to March for Better Care

It’s like the biggest play group ever, but political. On Tuesday, May 2, parents and babies from every state are converging on Capitol Hill and urging Congress to “Think Babies.”

Whenever there is a new initiative for babies, you can be sure there is a lot of woman power behind it. Man power, too, to be sure. But let’s face it: women still change more diapers, read more stories, and attend to more preschool dramas than men.

There is no doubt that women and entire communities benefit when babies are well taken care of. So this should be an important march, with a powerful feminist message: babies matter. Think Babies. 

From ZERO TO THREE, the organizing leading families in advocating for policies that support the littlest humans:

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Givers, or Takers? Callahan’s Book Takes a Hard Look at Alpha Donors

Great private wealth is nothing new, but reading David Callahan’s The Givers will convince you that there is a different game at play today, with staggering fortunes and unprecedented elite hubris. Some fortunes are so big, and growing so fast, that even a dedicated philanthropist can’t give the money away fast enough. To cite just one example, Michael Bloomberg was worth around $5 billion when he became mayor of New York in 2002; he’s now worth more than $45 billion. With this figure in mind, the over one billion dollars he has given Johns Hopkins University to date doesn’t seem so big. Still, it’s an astonishing sum for most of us to contemplate. And that’s not all. Bloomberg has also given hundreds of millions to reduce smoking and traffic deaths globally, and combat climate change.

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This Funder is Growing Quickly, and Giving Out Rapid-Response Grants to Fight Trump

The Emergent Fund is making rapid-response grants to push back on Trump’s discriminatory policies.

There is nothing quite like women’s networks to help make rapid-response grants. In an environment where women’s rights are being threatened by atrocious plans such as the Trump administration’s proposed ending of the Violence Against Women Act, we need more women’s networks to come forward like the Women Donors Network and push for increased funding to fight back.

Now, the Emergent Fund, of which the Women Donors Network is a founding member, has announced its next wave of rapid-response grants to community-based organizations resisting the Trump Administration’s regressive policies. This brings the total of grants already issued by the Emergent Fund to $500,000.

As we wrote in January, the Emergent Fund was formed by the Women Donors Network and Solidaire, in order to raise funds for grassroots organization to resist discriminatory policies being proposed and enacted by the Trump administration.

Related: Women Donors Network and Solidaire Join Forces to Create New Fund

I interviewed Donna Hall about the Women Donors Network (WDN) this past year and was astounded by all this network of women funders has done, and is continuing to do. WDN is particularly nimble and responsive to community concerns and emergencies, so it is great that they are forging the path on new funding to defend vulnerable people in the coming years. The Emergent Fund’s momentum appears to be very strong early on, which is a good indicator of likely ongoing solid growth.

“Everything is on the line — the lives and safety of millions of black and brown Americans, and even our Democracy itself,” said Jenifer Fernandez Ancona, Vice President for Strategy & Member Engagement at WDN.

As one of the member networks of the Emergent Fund, WDN is helping support the Emergent Fund’s ability to combat issues like deportation and Islamophobia. “These local fights are critical to building national progressive power needed for bigger wins,” added Ancona.

The Emergent Fund is now a partnership between Solidaire Network, Women Donors Network, and Threshold Foundation. Governed by an Advisory Council made up of leaders who represent communities most affected by the new administration, the Emergent Fund is making sure resources and advocacy remain available for marginalized groups.

The grantees for this $500,000 in funding are:

Council on American-Islamic Relations, California Chapter (CAIR-CA) - $30,000

For Arab, Middle Eastern Muslim, and South Asian communities, the dangers they feared during Trump's campaign have become a nightmarish reality. In the 10 days after the election, nearly a third of the nation's Islamophobic hate crimes occurred in California. When the travel ban was announced, CAIR-CA was on the forefront of organizing protests at airports all across the country. CAIR-CA will use their Emergent Fund grant to support their immediate civil rights defense work, including legal services, know your rights trainings, and ongoing organizing.

NYC #FreedomCities Campaign - $25,000

#FreedomCities is a campaign developed by frontline leaders from the New York Worker Center Federation. New York City workers—immigrants and citizens alike—realize that Trump's attacks on immigrants are only part of a larger oppressive agenda that targets Muslims, African Americans, and other communities of color. #FreedomCities takes a comprehensive approach and calls for safety beyond policing. The Emergent Fund is proud to be #FreedomCities' first funder.

Brown Boi Project - $20,000

The Brown Boi Project is committed to changing the way that communities of color talk about gender. Brown Boi wants to ensure the growth of and robust commitment to gender justice during this time of crisis. Brown Boi will use their Emergent Fund Grant to host a four-day, rapid-response training to prepare leaders to resist the current attack on rights, integrate gender justice into direct action, and ensure that women and trans/gender non-conforming people of color are in leadership across our movements.

Southeast Asian Freedom Network (SEAFN) - $15,000

In the past few weeks, Southeast Asian refugee communities have suffered an onslaught of ICE raids that are tearing families apart. SEAFN organizers are currently coordinating with families and organizers on the ground almost every day, but there are too many communities strapped for resources. Southeast Asian Freedom Network will use their Emergent Fund grant to hire a coordinator to provide support to Cambodian communities facing deportations and to provide resources for local Cambodian community leaders who are actively fighting to free their people from unjust immigration detention systems.

#LeadWithLove - $10,000

#LeadWithLove began as a pledge by more than 100 movement leaders who have committed to accelerating the transition from a world of domination and extraction to one of regeneration and interdependence. #LeadWithLove calls movements to take bold action grounded in fierce love. #LeadWithLove will use their Emergent Fund grant to host a convening this year that will bring together leaders from across the climate, food, education, racial, gender, and reproductive justice movements. To learn more about the project, visit leadwithlove.vision.

JOLT - $10,000

Jolt is a Texas-based, multi-issue organization that builds the political power and influence of Latinos in our democracy. It has become a political home base for many immigrant youth, and their programs range from Latina leadership development to civic engagement and grassroots organizing. Jolt will use their Emergent Fund grant to continue their base-building work and support organizing in Latino communities in Texas.

Movement for Justice in El Barrio - $10,000

Movement for Justice in El Barrio was founded when Latina immigrant mothers joined together to address negligence and harassment from their landlord. Over the last 12 years, these women have organized around housing issues and developed a strong cohort of immigrant women leaders. Since the election, they have seen an increase in harassment and hate crimes against immigrants. And they are fighting back. Movement for Justice in El Barrio will use their Emergent Fund grant to host a series of bilingual encuentros, or workshops, to educate East Harlem's immigrant residents about their rights and how to protect themselves from ICE raids.

Blackout for Human Rights #MLKNOW 2017 Short Film Series - $3,100

Blackout for Human Rights is a collective of artists, filmmakers, musicians, and activists who leverage cultural activism in support of human rights. Blackout has held several high-profile events in the last year, including a #JusticeforFlint concert and #BlackoutBlackFriday. Blackout is creating a series of short advocacy films incorporating content from their recent #MLKNOW 2017 event held at the historic Riverside Church in Harlem. Blackout for Human Rights will use their Emergent Fund grant to produce and distribute their films on social media.

SpiritHouse Inc/The Harm Free Zone - $25,000

SpiritHouse Inc, a Durham, North Carolina based cultural arts and organizing organization, has worked with low-wealth families and community members to uncover and uproot the systemic barriers that prevent us from gaining the resources, leverage and capacity for long-term self-sufficiency. Spirit House will use their Emergent Fund Grant to support their Harm Free Zone, rooted in the belief that oppressed people can create accountable, self-directing communities by: healing from systemic racism, eliminating reliance on law enforcement, holding policy makers accountable.

Campaign for Southern Equality | Rapid Response Initiative - $10,000

The Campaign for Southern Equality advocates across the South for LGBT rights in all areas of life. Through our Rapid Response Initiative, CSE is working on the frontlines of the LGBTQ South, led by and for LGBTQ Southerners. Nimble and bold, we work for full equality - both legal and lived - from Mississippi to the Carolinas.

Melenie Eleneke Grassroots Re-entry Program of the Transgender Gender-Variant Intersex Justice Project (TGIJP) - $20,000

TGIJP is a trans-led, Black-led organization which centers the leadership of currently and formerly incarcerated transgender women of color. Both inside and outside of prisons--TGIJOP works to create a united family in the struggle for survival and freedom.

18MillionRising - $25,000

18MillionRising uses tech and pop-culture organizing to boost Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders as a social justice force, nationwide. Leading Asian American civil rights organization — 18MR will use their Emergent Fund grant to continue their work on responding to hate crimes and developing tech for movement activists.

All of Us Initiative @ Organization United for Respect (OUR) - $30,000

OUR’s All of Us initiative will build multiracial communities of support and resistance among people working at Walmart. OUR’s All of Us project will deepen our multi-racial working class base in key areas of the country by connecting to people based on a shared set of values and class experiences and building unity around a vision of economic security. By developing cross racial relationships and exposing how White House policies that target people of color, immigrants and the safety net go against OUR shared visions and values, we will broaden the base of people working at Walmart who are committed to fight back around these policies.

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New Report: UN Lacks Credibility to Enact Gender Equality Goals

Ever wonder why progress for gender equity remains incremental, and constantly faces regression? Well, it might have something to do with our institutions being so entrenched in patriarchy that they aren’t able to effectively carry out a gender equality agenda.

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The UN logo. (Image credit: UN)

That appears to be the argument of an open letter from the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom (WILPF) and 25 MENA Women Civil Society Organizations, sent to UN Secretary-General António Guterres. The letter cites a of a growing lack of trust in the Security Council throughout the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). To counter this lack of credibility and action, the group of women’s civil society NGO’s is proposing bold measures “to advance women’s rights and set the UN back on track as an Organization that works for the common interests of our shared humanity.”

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Toranj: Check Out this New App to Protect Iranian Women from Abuse

“Today, there are more than 40 million smartphones in Iran and a million more are added every month,” said Firuzeh Mahmoudi, executive director of United for Iran (U4I). Today, Mahmoudi  announced that he and his organization are planning to make those smartphones into powerful tools of self-agency for marginalized women. “Given all of these regressive efforts by Iran’s rulers to limit the rights of women, they still fail to understand that technology and social media apps will continue to expand the boundaries of what is socially acceptable in Iranian society. This is why Toranj has the potential to be such a vital tool for Iranian women.”

Screenshot from Toranj, a new app that helps women who are victims of domestic violence.

Today, United for Iran, a Bay-Area NGO working to promote civil liberties and civil society in Iran, and NetFreedom Pioneers, a nonprofit committed to expanding information accessibility, announced the launch of Toranj, an app to increase safety for domestic violence survivors and help them access legal and health services.

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At Philanthropy Debate, Big Issues Discussed, Including Women’s Philanthropy

On a bright April Thursday morning in New York City, David Callahan and Emmett Carson took each other on in a “spirited debate” about the future of philanthropy. In particular, they differed in opinion about whether there are dangers to the lack of transparency and accountability for the new billionaire class.

David Callahan and Emmett Carson

Discussion time was given to some very rich (no pun intended) topics, including the influence of philanthropy on health care. Callahan discussed a section from his book that shows how right-wing billionaires have essentially used philanthropy to ensure that they win court battles, such as the court battle which allowed states to opt out of Obamacare. This is the kind of civic inequality that Callahan calls out in The Givers as a dangerous new way philanthropy can be used for political gain.

“Thousands of people died because of that court decision. And people are still dying. That’s the hard edge of political philanthropy today,” said Callahan. Callahan also referenced the rising size of right wing billionaire money arsenals to carry out civic agendas, such as the Koch brothers fortune, which has grown to over $80 billion, and the Waltons fortune,  which is now estimated at $150 billion.

Ana Oliveira moderates debate between David Callahan and Emmett Carson.

Carson opened with a more personal approach to discussing the topic. He referenced a changing dynamic in the donor-grantee relationship, where donors want to be partners with the organizations they fund, infusing their knowledge on a topic into the philanthropy strategy. He compared the old way of donors and grantees relating to his step-daughter having a health issue and being prescribed a remedy by the doctor and his wife being told, “Call me if she turns purple.” He suggested that today, people like his wife take a much more partnering approach to medicine, questioning the doctor and choosing which medication to accept. Similarly in philanthropy, Carson suggested, donors now expect to have more input into how problems are treated.

Callahan kept his focus on the real changes in trends for philanthropy, noting a recent shift in alumni giving where larger gifts to universities are rising while gifts from middle class alumni have dropped. Carson questioned whether this trend might be partially the result of middle class people see the very rich making the big donations, and figure that their alum school does not need their small donation.

Carson again took a personal approach to discussing the issue and differentiated how he makes his own alumnus donations to maximize impact. As both a graduate of Princeton University and Morehouse College, Carson said he gives a minimal donation to Princeton and the maximum donation he can to Morehouse, because the smaller college needs it more, and its history as a black liberal college is particularly important to him.

Callahan made the case that it is time for a major revisiting of the charitable tax code, noting that it was last revisited in 1969, and “a lot has changed since then. Since then we’ve have seen the rise of massive ideological infrastructure — on the left and right — and fueling this infrastructure is a growing flow of tax deductible dollars,” said Callahan.

“Democracy is tough stuff,” Carson said emphatically, as a prelude to his arguments for why donors still need privacy. He argued that forcing all philanthropic donations to be disclosed could cause many people to opt out of philanthropy, for fear of repercussions from groups that oppose the work they support.

Ana Oliveira, President of the New York Women’s Foundation

Moderator Ana Oliveira spoke about the need for philanthropy to look more closely at gender issues, and how philanthropy is only just beginning to recognize how the sector itself is impacted by gender inequality.

“There hasn’t been enough shift in purpose of [philanthropic] giving to address issues confining to the lives of women,” said Oliveira, President of the New York Women’s Foundation. Oliveira asked the speakers to comment on philanthropy to invest more in understanding how gender plays a role in reducing opportunity, and to do more strategically to bridge this gender opportunity gap.

David Callahan spoke to the frustration that some women donors in couples feel when their male partner gets all the credit for their hard work. And he briefly discussed the way women are known for being “super networkers,” referencing Women Moving Millions as an example of an extraordinary women’s philanthropy network.Read More