Plan Gets Largest Donation Ever, Announces Deeper Focus on Girls

One of the most significant trends in the women’s philanthropy, and in philanthropy in general, is an increased focus on girls. Particularly on the global level, a growing strategy in philanthropy involves helping girls recognize and actualize their potential to lead, and by doing so make the world a better place for everyone.

Plan International is using its largest donation in history to scale up and deepen its work that places girls at the center of social change across the globe. (Image Credit: Plan International USA)

Into this evolving context comes an exciting new development: Plan International USA (Plan) recently announced a $12 million gift that will support the launch of programs to that will reach the lives 10 million girls globally over the next four years with improved access to education, opportunity, and health care. This is the largest private gift to date that Plan has received, and comes as a bequest from an anonymous donor. The historic donation will help support GirlEngage, Plan’s new programmatic model aimed particularly at girls.

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US Plays Hostile, Obstructive Role at UN, More of Same Likely in 2020

Editor’s Note: This opinion piece was written by Barbara Crossette of PassBlue and was originally published on November 26, 2019.

It did not take long after the 74th General Assembly session opened this fall for the Trump team to signal that its strategy in key United Nations meetings would be to act as uncooperative and obstructive as possible, especially on human-rights agendas.

Valerie Huber, a senior adviser to the Department of Health and Human Services, is one of the UN delegates appointed by Trump who is working to restrict reproductive health care for women. (Image credit: Youtube Point of View talk show)

The 2019-2020 UN year — September to September — is likely to be remembered as eventful. It includes the 25th anniversaries of two landmark international conferences that greatly advanced the rights of women, making those gains targets of Republican politicians in Washington, D.C. Plans are being made to celebrate the UN’s 75 birthday next autumn, with much uncertainty surrounding American financial and political commitments to the organization.

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BIG NEWS: Allison Fine Announces 2020 Congressional Run

2020 is gearing up to be a landmark election year. The American Presidential election is well underway, and new faces and standing politicians alike are finding ways to come together on issues surrounding women’s rights, LGBTQIA+ rights, climate change, and the economy.

Allison Fine has officially announced her 2020 run for Congress, where she hopes to represent New York’s 17th District. (Photo Credit: Allison Fine For Congress)

Adding to the potential for some great progressive victories in 2020, activist Allison Fine has announced her official run for Congress, where she intends to represent New York’s 17th District, and her hometown of Sleepy Hollow, New York.

A pioneer of online activism and a self-described “unapologetic feminist,” Fine is an author, a social change thought leader, and the founder of the Network of Elected Women (NEW), which connects women who hold local office around the country. She has also served as chair of the national board of NARAL Pro-Choice America Foundation, as well as the president of her synagogue, Temple Beth Abraham.

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The Legacy of Jennifer Schlecht and the Tragedy of her Loss

The global reproductive rights community is reeling with the tragic and untimely death of Jennifer Schlecht on November 6, 2019. A devoted and dedicated friend to women and girls everywhere, Schlecht had spent her entire career fostering family planning efforts for women across the globe. In recent years, she directed special attention to the need to provide family planning services for women drawn into humanitarian crises.

Jennifer Schlecht with her daughter Abaynesh. The child’s name means “you are the Nile” in Amharic. (Photo credit: Women’s Refugee Commission)

In April of 2018, Jennifer Schlecht took a new position as Senior Advisor on Emergency Preparedness and Response at Family Planning 2020. For Family Planning 2020, housed under the umbrella of United Nations Foundation’s activities, Schlecht collaborated with CARE on these issues as well as the Inter-Agency Working Group on Reproductive Health in Crisis.

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RI Democratic Party Seeks to Muzzle Women: Sign the Petition!

Editor’s Note: The following call to action comes from the Chair of the Rhode Island Women’s Caucus, an activist network that spearheaded Rhode Island’s landmark 2019 legislation protecting reproductive rights.

Early last week, the Rhode Democratic State Party released changes to their bylaws that would severely inhibit the Rhode Island Democratic Party Women’s Caucus. Our official statement on the proposed changes can be found here, but in summary the Caucus would not be allowed to speak, raise funds, organize or participate in democracy in any meaningful way.

Elizabeth Gledhill, Rhode Island Women’s Democratic Caucus Chair, urges women activists to support the Caucus as they fight against new legislation that would restrict their ability to fundraise and advocate independently. (Photo credit: Elizabeth Gledhill)

We are the branch of our state’s Democratic Party specifically working to engage, recruit, train, and support women candidates. Our members fill the halls of the State House in support of legislation critical to the vitality of Rhode Island women and hundreds of our volunteers canvass neighborhoods in support of women candidates each election cycle. We have demonstrated our ability to mobilize and elect democratic women and their allies. Yet, the party leadership distances itself from us at every opportunity.

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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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Georges Provide $5 Mil for Mayo Clinic Center for Women’s Health

The new Center for Women’s Health at Mayo Clinic will be tailored to serving the medical needs of women of all ages. A new gift of $5 million from the George Family Foundation will expand this work. (Photo Credit: Mayo Clinic Women’s Health on Facebook)

On June 25, 2019, Mayo Clinic announced its upcoming grant from The George Family Foundation to fund the all-new Center for Women’s Health. The center aims to combat some of the problems women face in receiving adequate healthcare, offering tailored health services for women of all ages.

Penny George, board chair of the George Family Foundation, accomplished psychologist, and renowned philanthropist, has spent her career championing reform for women’s healthcare.

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L’il Rhody Smashes the Patriarchy, Protecting Roe and Repro Rights. How Did They Do It?

Donors and advocates used art to help the state pay attention to women’s reproductive rights. (Photo Credit: Steve Alquist)

Yesterday was a very big day for the feminist community in Rhode Island. With votes of 21-17 in the Senate and 45-29 in the House, last night Rhode Island passed the Reproductive Privacy Act, guaranteeing all people access to reproductive rights as defined by Roe v. Wade, no matter what the Federal Government does.

There were many women’s funds leaders, volunteers and donors who helped make this happen, including Kelly Nevins, Executive Director of the Women’s Fund of Rhode Island. In an email to her constituents, Nevins offered extra special thanks to our women legislators who fought this battle to the finish. “An extra special thank you to our elected officials who worked tirelessly to make this happen, including House Sponsor Representative Anastasia Williams, Senate Sponsor Senator Gayle Goldin and Senator Erin Lynch Prata who worked to ensure the bill made it to the Senate floor for a full vote.”

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Shaping the Shapers: How WMM Trains Women in Social Change

Sarah Haacke Byrd is the Executive Director for Women Moving Millions, where she is responsible for building strategy and scale around WMM’s mission for greater impact on gender equality. (Photo credit: Women Moving Millions)

Feminist philanthropy is designed to change the world.

Sometimes it works slowly, dollar by dollar, woman by woman and girl by girl, as we each come to realize that there are issues in this world we strongly disagree with — issues that we can take a stand against. In other cases, feminist philanthropy finds huge momentum in large-dollar donations, and campaigns leap forward with the assistance of celebrity women and female pioneers who hold significant amounts of the world’s wealth.

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Women Givers: Support Female Empowerment through UN’s CEDAW

CEDAW, the Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) is underfunded, and its fourth quarter meeting for 2019 is threatened by budget shortfalls. (Image Credit: CEDAW)

The rights of women, girls, and LGBTQA+ people around the world are once again coming into question, based on countries’ like the U.S.’s reluctance to commit to championing those rights in the United Nations.

On May 27, 2019, the Women’s UN Report Network (WUNRN) drafted an open letter to United Nations representatives, urging the protection of the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) session scheduled for later this year.

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