Getting to Work for Ecofeminism with WILD ELEMENTS

Roll up your sleeves and get ready to get to work — the WILD ELEMENTS Foundation has arrived! Just in time for Earth Day, this planet-focused grantmaking organization is leading the conservation conversation with a three-pronged “kindness” approach. And what’s more, WILD ELEMENTS is helmed by two incredible women: Nikki Eslami and Heidi Nel.

WILD ELEMENTS is Eslami’s brainchild: as the CEO and Founder of the organization, Eslami is also a Board Member of the WILD ELEMENTS Foundation, alongside the Foundation’s President and fellow board member Heidi Nel.

The WILD ELEMENTS Foundation launched its first initiatives in April 2021. (Image Credit: WE Foundation)

WILD ELEMENTS is a purpose-first platform, which consists of three unique organizations – a nonprofit corporation (the WILD ELEMENTS Foundation), a storytelling studio, and mindfully made brands. Beginning with a $3 million investment, the WILD ELEMENTS Foundation will support the stories and innovations of leaders around the world through grantmaking, advocacy, network building, and other charitable activities.

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Activating Philanthropy – Part 3: Talking to Family About Giving

Editor’s Note: This article is Part Three in our four-part Activating Philanthropy series. In this series, we explore ways to bring your philanthropic ideals into your everyday life, activating the lessons we’ve learned along the way. For the rest of the series, check out Part One: Philanthropy in Daily Routines, Part Two: What It Means to “Call Your Congresswoman”, Part Three: Talking to Family About Giving, and Part Four: How to Start a Giving Circle. 

Talking to family about social giving can sometimes feel like a daunting task — but it doesn’t have to be. (Image Credit: Bewakoof)

Giving can strengthen a relationship between family members — but more often than not, “political talk” can cause major strain at the dinner table. So how do we balance our desire for collaborative philanthropy with not getting into unnecessary tangles with family members?

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(Liveblog) #GenerationEquality and a Blueprint for a Gender Equal World

On St. Patrick’s Day, Women Moving Millions led a lively discussion as part of its 2021 #GenerationEquality Series. Entitled “Building a Blueprint for a Gender Equal World,” the virtual event featured Latanya Mapp Frett (Global Fund for Women), Michelle Milford Morse (UN Foundation), and Kavita Ramdas (Open Society Foundations).

On March 17th, 2021, Women Moving Millions, the UN Foundation, the Global Fund for Women, and Open Society Foundations gathered to discuss #GenerationEquality. (Image Credit: Women Moving Millions)

Executive Director Sarah Haacke Byrd began the day’s event with a moment of silence for the Asian-American community in Atlanta, where violent attacks in local spas have recently taken place. She also shared context for the day’s conversation, following the 25th anniversary of the Beijing agreement for gender equality. New legislation is due to be created and ratified within the United Nations, all designed to gather the world’s powers to advance gender equality.

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New Campaign Aims to End Period Stigma and Poverty

Plan International USA (Plan) and Always have joined forces to address the period poverty crisis faced by women and girls in a new campaign.

Plan International USA Campaign Image (Image Credit: Plan USA)

Fear and shame are often the emotions most closely associated with menstruation. This has, unfortunately, led to the development of related issues that have yet to be properly addressed. The campaign is devised to raise awareness of these and work towards their betterment

The campaign is spurred on by a report that delves into the multi-faceted issue of menstruation. The report, entitled Menstrual Health & Hygiene “It’s Time to Talk”, details the various insecurities that come along with periods. 

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Increasing Women’s Food Security: Jessamyn Sarmiento of WFP USA

Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Jessamyn Sarmiento, Chief Marketing Officer of World Food Program USA. 

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

Sometimes it’s good to break the rules. When you first start a career, everyone tells you how things are done. That’s the way it is. Here are your parameters. Don’t color outside the lines. I learned over time not to take this so seriously. There’s a lot to be said for trusting your own judgement. You can do things differently and will end up being much more creative. Instead of adhering 100 percent to “the right way” all the time, focus on what you believe to be your best ideas. Make your mistakes and learn from them. Don’t let others box you in. 

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Sex Doesn’t Stop for a Pandemic: Maverick Collective Pivots in COVID

When the world stops, life keeps going — especially for communities where social isolation and living off of savings are not viable options.

Maverick Collective connects women and girls around the world with essential sexual and reproductive healthcare. (Image Credit: Maverick Collective/PSI)

It’s a well-known fact that COVID-19 has made life at the bottom of the social pyramid even harder. Women and girls around the world, particularly in communities of color, are among the hardest hit by the ripple effects of the pandemic. The news reports address loss of income, life, and community, but the lesser-known impacts should not be forgotten.

Access to healthcare, particularly for women, was already a commodity difficult to come by in certain parts of the world. Now, in the wake of the pandemic, women and girls’ access to contraceptives, feminine hygiene products, and maternity care hangs more precariously than ever before.

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Lead With Love: Elena Marszalek on the Feminist Climate Movement

Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Elena Marszalek, Managing Director of Del Mar Global Trust, a private foundation dedicated to the environment. 

Elena Marszalek
Elena Marszalek, courtesy of Elena Marszalek

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

I started my career in philanthropy as the only employee of Del Mar Global Trust, a newly established family foundation focused on the natural environment. Although I had previous experience working in climate change, I had little experience in philanthropy. I felt both hopeful and overwhelmed. 

Joining Rachel’s Network, a community of women environmental philanthropists, broadened my knowledge of complex environmental issues, and significantly improved my ability to select and monitor grant recipients. Networking with other women with similar goals and interests helped my career in numerous other ways, for example sharing information about projects that as individuals we would not be aware of. Perhaps most importantly, I have access to other members with many years of experience who offer advice and mentorship. As in all professions, you learn through experience. 

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Jaana Rehnström: Bigger Not Always Better, Especially for Women

Dr. Jaana Rehnström, Founder and President of the Kota Alliance, an organization fostering international collaboration for women-centered nonprofits, recently authored an article that struck a deep chord with me. Readers here at Philanthropy Women will also likely feel a strong resonance with Dr. Rehnström’s words.

Dr. Rehnström begins by summarizing the current status of gender equality in the world:

Dr. Jaana Rehnström, Founder and President of the Kota Alliance, discusses the need for funders to step up for women and girls if we are to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. (Image Credit: Kota Alliance)

Gender equality has been talked about in Europe and the United States since the late 1800s. The Equal Rights Amendment was passed by Congress in 1972, falling short of state ratifications by the original deadline. The CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women) was adopted in 1979. The 4th World Conference on Women in Beijing in 1995 and SDG #5 commits governments to take measures to comply by 2030.

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Briefing Biden for Bold Action on Reproductive Rights

Reproductive rights under Biden: what will it look like?

Since the Biden/Harris team clinched the US Presidency, feminist advocates and policy makers have begun to discuss the massive reclaiming of women’s rights that must occur to recover from the last four years of Trump-era regressions. To dig deeper into this mandate, leaders from several high profile organizations gathered recently online to make explicit what must happen to begin the recovery of rights for women and girls around the world.

Leaders gathered recently online to examine the necessary steps for the Biden administration to take to restore reproductive, sexual and health rights for women around the world. (Image credit: December 10, 2020 webinar)

Author and Attorney Jill Filipovic moderated the discussion, which featured Serra Sippel, President of the Center for Health and Gender Equity (CHANGE), Anu Kumar, President and CEO of Ipas, and Akila Radhakrishnan, President of the Global Justice Center.

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Hive Fund Gets Huge Gift from Bezos Climate Pledge

The Hive Fund for Climate and Gender Justice is among a group of equity-focused climate re-granting organizations that received grants from the Jeff Bezos Earth Fund, a $10 billion effort to fight climate change. We are thankful for this investment in our grantmaking program. These grants signal the beginnings of a shift as many philanthropists start to recognize the critical role that frontline groups and leaders of color play in addressing the climate crisis.

The Hive Fund for Climate and Gender Justice is one of the first recipients of funding from the Bezos Earth Fund. (Image Credit: Bezos Earth Fund)

The grant from the Bezos Earth Fund, totaling $43 million over three years, will help The Hive Fund expand grantmaking to organizations led by Black, Brown, and Indigenous women and other frontline leaders. The work these groups do is essential to addressing the intersecting climate, gender, and racial justice crises in the U.S. Hive Fund grantee partners are engaging a record number of people in democracy; elevating climate, racial, and gender justice issues to the top of policymakers’ agendas; and bringing creativity, culture, joy, and power to growing social movements.

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