Feminist Giving IRL: Next Gen STEM Innovators

Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Talia Milgrom-Elcott, Executive Director of 100Kin10, an initiative that aims to train 100,000 excellent STEM teachers in U.S. classrooms by 2021.

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

Talia Milgrom-Elcott (courtesy of 100Kin10)

I wish I had understood why it’s important to sweat the small stuff. Sweating the small stuff really matters. It means you care, it differentiates you, and it helps you learn about what you’re doing and how to get it done. I double-checked links, proof-read press releases and went over agendas minute-by-minute. But what I’ve learned, with perspective, is that the small stuff itself really is small. It only matters because, in total, it signals something bigger: that you care, that you’ve made the project your own, that you’re committed to excellence. It means you can be trusted to get your stuff done and get it done right. This doesn’t mean you won’t make mistakes. You can, and you will. And, that’s just fine. Because it’s about the trendline, and you’ve proven yourself someone who can be trusted. Realizing this makes it easier to see the big picture and experience joy in the work, too. 

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Back to School: Women Donors and Higher Education

Roberta “Bertie” Buffett Elliott, who donated $100 million to fund the Roberta Buffett Institute for Global Studies at Northwestern University, recently visited the campus. (Photo credit: Buffett Institute for Global Studies)

Institutions of higher learning are major recipients of philanthropic gifts, and received donations totaling nearly $47 billion in 2018 (a more than seven percent increase from the year previous). This rise is fueled in part by an increasingly wealthy, educated and philanthropically active group of women who are willing to make big ticket donations to colleges and universities.

Major female donors to higher education have included Roberta “Bertie” Buffett Elliott, who in 2015 gave her alma mater Northwestern University $100 million to fund the Roberta Buffett Institute for Global Studies. The gift from Elliott, a member of Northwestern’s class of 1954, represents the single largest gift in the Evanston, Illinois school’s history.

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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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Walker’s Legacy: Partnering to Launch Women of Color in Tech

Walker’s Legacy Foundation, the charitable arm of Walker’s Legacy, works to promote and support women of color entrepreneurs. (Photo Credit: Walker’s Legacy Foundation)

In recent years, foundations, corporations, and individuals alike have paid significant attention to closing the gender gap in the tech industry. We have made progress — but not as much as some may think. Female representation in the tech industry is staggeringly low, and this is especially true for women of color. To combat these statistics, Walker’s Legacy, Comcast, and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund are joining forces with the Women of Color in Tech event series.

The Women of Color in Tech tour is a new national event series that highlights multicultural women in technology. Sponsored by Walker’s Legacy, in partnership with Comcast and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, this speaker series highlights the accomplishments and career paths of multicultural female entrepreneurs. Through the program, women of color will find new opportunities, resources, and programs that can bolster entrepreneurship around the country.

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Laura Dern Backs Gender Parity with Code-a-Thon, $350k in Scholarships

Actress Laura Dern, posing for a photo supporting the @thelipsticklobby, a social justice beauty brand partnering with Brady, the country’s first gun safety organization, to reduce gun violence in America. (Photo Credit: Laura Dern, Instagram) 

From whip-smart dino doctor Ellie Satler to tech-savvy businesswoman Renata Klein, Laura Dern’s passion shines through in her roles on screen. Behind the scenes, Dern’s commitment to philanthropy, empowerment, and equality for all add up to something just shy of a revolution — and the tech industry is her next target.

As part of Booking.com’s first Women in Tech Code-a-thon, Dern announced $350,000 in grants that will benefit STEM education for young women and girls.

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With Support of Founding Sponsors, WE Takes On Nonprofit Structure

Jackie Mattox, president and founder of Women in Electronics (Photo Credit: WE)

In 2017, what was planned as a 45-minute lunch turned into an hours-long planning session as Jackie Mattox and Monica Highfill, later in collaboration with Amy Keller, laid the groundwork for what would become the First Annual Women in Electronics Leadership Conference.

Now, with the support of its founding sponsors, Women in Electronics (WE) is taking the next leap into the philanthropic field with its establishment as a nonprofit organization, dedicated to empowering women in the electronics industry.

“At Arrow, we see the incredible benefits of being inclusive,” said Alan Bird, president of the global supply chain at Arrow Electronics, one of WE’s founding sponsors. “We are proud to be helping Women in Electronics fulfill its mission to expand inclusion throughout the industry through awareness, networking and training.”

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Dream Big: The Film Funders Who Want Girls to Be Engineers

Two girls in school uniforms cross a bridge in Haiti.
Girls in Haiti take a new bridge to school. (Photo credit: “Dream Big – Haiti Behind the Scenes”)

The number of women in engineering (the crucial E of STEM) has risen in the last few decades, but still lags behind men — only 13% of engineers are women. A new big-screen film called, “Dream Big: Engineering Our World,” seeks to inspire the next generation of diverse female engineers. The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE), MacGillivray Freeman Films (MFF) and Bechtel Corporation are the key partners driving this initiative.

A Film About Big Dreams

“Dream Big” shares exemplary feats of engineering and the stories of the contemporary engineers who bring them to life, with a focus on women in the field. Towering buildings, underwater robots, solar cars and sustainable city planning are a few of the topics covered.

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Vodafone’s June Sugiyama Unveils New Mission for Women and Girls

Vodafone Americas Foundation celebrates ten years of winners from its Wireless Innovation Project. (Photo Credit: Vodafone)

The empowerment of women is going to require more intentional efforts to close the gender gap across all sectors of society. In the technology industry, corporate philanthropy has the potential to play a significant role in driving solutions to gender inequality.

On May 8th, 2019, the Vodafone Americas Foundation announced its new commitment to empowering women and girls through technology, utilizing new corporate philosophy, employee support, and a partnership with MIT Solve.

This is not Vodafone’s first foray into philanthropy: for the past ten years, the Foundation has committed itself to transforming communities around the world with technology solutions.

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Why Men Got Picked Over Women in a Blind Review of Science Grants

A new study finds men use broad language in grant proposals that leads them to win more science funding. (Images credit: National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, National Bureau of Economic Research)

A recent study of a science grant application process at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation found male applicants received higher scores than women, even in a blind review. At the foundation’s request, a team from the U.S. National Bureau of Economic Research analyzed this imbalance and reported that factors like scientific discipline and position, publication record, and grant history were not factors — the main difference was in the language used in proposal titles and descriptions. According to their working paper, men were found to use more words described as “broad,” while women chose more words labelled “narrow.” The broader word choices were preferred, especially by male reviewers. But, as in most research relating to complex issues of sex, bias and language, the story is more nuanced.

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More Than Survivors: Developing the Next Generation of Tech Workers

The Foundation for Gender Equality is launching a new initiative aimed at helping female survivors of gender-based violence learn tech skills. (Image Credit: The Foundation for Gender Equality)

The Foundation for Gender Equality aims to foster opportunities and remove obstacles for women and girls facing inequity, and its latest initiative targets female survivors of violence and sexual abuse with a program that teaches them tech skills. The goal is to enable victims to go beyond simple survival to earning a living wage. The Westport, Connecticut-based non-profit, which was founded in 2016 by Richard and Jill Fitzburgh and Theresa Boylan, has partnered with Tech Up for Women to develop the “Give Back” program to achieve this goal.

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