Can Philanthropy Do More to Impact Gender Norms for Women and Girls?

It’s always interesting to drill down on a specific population, such as young Latina women, and consider the implications both for that community and for other marginalized communities.

A new report, Gender Norms: A Key to Improving Outcomes Among Young Latinas does just that. The report, prepared in partnership with Hispanics in Philanthropy and Frontline Solutions, takes on the issue specifically of Latina women and how gender norms put them at risk for lower life outcomes.

The paper begins by telling the story of how philanthropy has begun to approach gender in different ways, but still does not integrate gender awareness as broadly as it could.

From the paper:

Few social justice foundations today would seek to create portfolios that were race and class blind, and fewer still fund grantees that offered race- or class- blind programs, particularly in communities of color. That’s because they know that addressing underlying structures of oppression like race and class race and class makes efforts more effective.

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Clinton Foundation Aligns Partners for Girl Athletes

The Clinton Foundation provides research and information on how to get youth, and particularly girls, more physically active.

The #GirlsAre campaign coordinated by The Clinton Foundation last year was so successful at galvanizing media and action for girl athletes, they are doing it again for a second year.

That’s a very good thing, because data shows that girls in the U.S. are far less likely than boys to engage in the recommended amount of physical activity. The Clinton Foundation and the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, along with a long list of foundations and nonprofits, is continuing the #GirlsAre campaign to fight against this worrisome trend for girls.

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Millennial Women Beg to Differ: Generational Differences in Women’s Giving

These are the top three issues for Millennial giving. What if one of the top three was gender equality? What kind of a difference would that make?

Fidelity Charitable has come out with a new report on trends in women’s giving, and it is definitely food for thought for anyone in the women’s philanthropy field.

The report delves into generational differences in giving between Millennial women and Boomer women.

Before talking about the report’s findings, I want to draw attention to the methodology, so we know specifically who we are talking about when we talk about Millennials and Baby Boomers. The report used survey data from Millennials, which they defined as women age 17 to 37, and Baby Boomers, which they defined as women age 51 to 71. So women in the 37 to 51 range (like me!) are not being talked about in the report.

One thing these two populations have in common is not prioritizing gender equality as an issue area for their giving. “Hunger and Access to Nutritious Food” is the number #1 giving issue for both Millennial and Baby Boomer women. Giving Issues #2 and 3 are mainly focused on health care for both generations of women, with Millennials putting environmental concerns in the #3 spot. That makes a lot of sense, given that younger people have had more experiences of the negative environmental effects of global warming, and the science about the problem has become clearer in recent decades.

One finding that struck me as most significant was about the meaning of philanthropy for Millennials, and how they weave it into every aspect of their life, including their love lives. As the report puts it, “Both generations discuss donations with their partner, but 46 percent of Millennials view giving as a way to deepen their relationships, compared with just 16 percent of Boomer women.”

Millennial women expect their partners to go deep with them into strategy around their giving.  And perhaps even more significant: Millennials are willing to voice their differences of opinion about giving with their partner and face conflict about it. According to the report, 37% of Millennials women have disagreed with their partner/spouse, compared to only 26% of Baby Boomer women.

This may sound like a small finding, but it has huge implications. Theoretically, if you can tolerate conflict about something (like the partners/spouses of millennial women givers must do, according to this data) you are one step closer to real change. This means younger women may have an important new channel for impacting the world, by having more say over philanthropic giving.

Now if only Millennial and Baby Boomer women (and Generation X women in between) would consider the value of supporting philanthropy for gender equality, we might be able to effect some significant social change.

Read the full report here.

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Hear from Denver Leaders on Creating a Common Agenda for Women and Girls

Betsy McKinney, Founder and CEO of It’s Time Network

This week, It’s Time Network is hosting another call to help inform, engage, and activate gender equality advocates nationwide. This call will feature Kim Desmond, Director of the Denver Office of Women and Girls, and Nancy Reichman, Professor of Sociology and Director of Socio-Legal Studies at University of Denver.

Related: What’s Stronger California Doing for Gender Equality?

This call will be held tomorrow, May 16 at 3 pm EST, and will discuss the upcoming May 31 Summit held by It’s Time Network. This call will specifically address “the importance of having a common agenda” and ways to organize and take action in order to protect the rights of women and girls. Register for the call here. 

It’s Time Network, headed by Founder and CEO Betsy McKinney, 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.Read More

Why NoVo is Funding Young Women’s Freedom in California

The Young Women’s Freedom Center in California fights for the rights of system-involved girls.

As the NoVo Foundation gets into its grantmaking from the $90 million in funds established to support young women and girls of color, one of its first big grants will go to help young women and girls of color involved in the juvenile justice system.

The Young Women’s Freedom Center, which has been organizing around juvenile justice for young women and girls in California since 1993, will be the recipient of new funding from the NoVo Foundation to support its work.  The NoVo Foundation, which began in 2006, made a commitment last year to deploy $90 million in the service of supporting self-led organizing by young women who have “directly experienced poverty, violence, addiction, and incarceration.”

In this new grant move, the Young Women’s Freedom Center will receive $615,000 over three years. These funds will enable the expansion of its work to “reduce the incarceration of young women, challenge out of home placements, and limit the power of juvenile probation departments,” according to a press release announcing the grant.

In addition, the Young Women’s Freedom Center also plans to organize town halls throughout California, and participate in policy advocacy on the state and local levels. Sounds like this group might end up collaborating with Stronger California (if they aren’t already), another organizing effort to put gender equality into legislative action.

Related: What’s Stronger California Doing for Gender Equality?

“It’s imperative that directly impacted young women and girls are at the center of any efforts to change the very systems that have marginalized and criminalized them,” said Jessica Nowlan, Executive Director of the Young Women’s Freedom Center. “These young women have enormous knowledge and experience and are fully capable of using their voices to change public perception of who they are and advocate for policy changes they need.”

In committing to work with Young Women’s Freedom Center, the NoVo Foundation is carrying out part of its mission to empower young women and girls of color across the country.  Other announcements about the strategy of its grantmaking include a recent announcement that NoVo will primarily support the US Southeast in its efforts to address the disparities faced by women and girls of color.

Related: NoVo Announces Major New Effort in U.S. Southeast to Support Women and Girls of Color

With this grant, however, NoVo is demonstrating that although it is enhancing its efforts in the Southeast US, it is still making major commitments in other parts of the country, such as California. These efforts in California might pay off in terms of legislative gains that can later be applied to other states that are further behind in empowering young women and girls of color.

From the press release:

As part of this new effort, Young Women’s Freedom Center will get $205,000 in general support over three years to cultivate leadership and increase advocacy efforts of young women and girls who have experienced inter-generation impacts of poverty, violence, addiction, incarceration, and systems involvement. It will focus its work around reducing the incarceration of young people, challenging out of home placements, and limiting the power of juvenile probations departments.

Young Women’s Freedom Center will create a Bill of Rights for young women and girls around these issues, organize town halls throughout California, and issue local and state policy recommendations intended to stem the cycle of young women who are pipelined from poverty to incarceration and systems involvement. In addition, it will also conduct long-term research to determine the needs of system-involved young women who are being pushed out of the Bay Area, which has been heavily impacted by gentrification. The young women the organization works with will lead all of this work.

“Given the current political climate, it is critical that we challenge the increasing racism, sexism, and economic inequity in our country, and create alternative pathway to power and self determination for all of our sisters,” said Nowlan. “We’re thrilled to partner with the NoVo Foundation to create opportunities for these young women and bring transformative changes that will positively impact not just their lives, but the lives of everyone who strive for freedom.”


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Supporting the Resistance: Over 50 Grants for Trans Advocacy

The Fund for Trans Generation, created by Borealis Philanthropy, gave out over 50 grants to support community advocacy for transgender people.

Nonprofits development folks looking to build community advocacy for trans people have a new source to tap. The Fund for Trans Generation (FTG), created by Borealis Philanthropy, just gave out its first round of grants, with an initial deployment of over 50 grants ranging from $15,000 to $30,000.

Borealis Philanthropy reports that it received 130 letters of inquiry for this initial grant cycle. 69% of these grantees has a budget of $75,000 or less, so these grants are going to make a huge contribution to the overall funding of these essential community groups.

The grants will focus on improving the quality of life for trans people in a variety of ways, and sought to include those facing multiple forms of exclusion, such as “girls and women, youth of color, rural activists, people with disabilities, from indigenous groups, elders, incarcerated and/or formerly incarcerated,” according to a press release announcing the grants.

A wide range of strategies are being employed by these organizations, including challenging the criminalization, incarceration, and deportation of trans people, seeking to change the public discourse around gender, offering trans people access to healing and support, and leadership development in the sector.

An Advisory Committee of 5 trans and gender non-conforming organizers was created as part of the grantmaking process, so that leaders and activists from across the country could contribute to the grantmaking decisions. 

The Fund’s page on the Borealis website provides more information on the grantmaking process, as well as information about FTG’s “Rapid Response” fund, which deploys grants to respond to “unanticipated events and strategic opportunities.” Download the FTG Rapid Response FAQ for details. For additional updates on FTG, you can follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

Here is a full list of the grantees with links to more information about the projects:

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Join Michelle Obama Conversation at CO Women’s Foundation 30th Anniversary Celebration

Let Girls Learn raised $3 million in 18 months with its inclusive branding that helped nonprofits and donors get on board.

As the fate of Michelle Obama’s signature philanthropy program, Let Girls Learn, hangs in the balance, the Women’s Foundation of Colorado is planning a live conversation with the Former First Lady to discuss ways to advance empowerment for girls and women worldwide.

Related: Will the Trump Administration Let Girls Learn, or End One of Philanthropy’s Most Successful Campaigns?

Former First Lady Michelle Obama is headlining for the Women’s Foundation of Colorado’s 30th Anniversary Celebration on July 25th, a public event called TOGETHER, which will raise cash to support the educational and economic advancement of Colorado women and their families.

“Mrs. Obama has inspired many girls with her story and her fierce commitment to creating access to education for girls. We are thrilled that she is joining us,” said WFCO President and CEO Lauren Y. Casteel, in a recent press release about the event. Ms. Casteel, who was inducted into the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame in 2014, will serve as moderator for the live conversation with Mrs. Obama.

Appearing in New Hampshire in 2016, Michelle Obama encourages girls to “push past those doubters” and pursue education.

Over the course of her eight years as First Lady, Mrs. Obama was a persistent advocate for gender equality, stressing the importance of women and girls pursuing higher education and job training. One of the most successful initiatives that Mrs. Obama championed was Let Girls Learn, an international effort to help adolescent girls access education.

Colorado’s 30th anniversary celebration plans to bring together thousands of diverse community members to raise money for the WFCO to pursue its mission of raising the educational and financial status of women and girls.  Since its inception in 1987, WFCO has granted more than $16 million to advance gender equality in Colorado.

More details about the event can be found here.

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What’s Stronger California Doing for Gender Equality?

It’s Time Network hosted a conference call this past week that gave a window for states across the country to learn about California’s efforts to grow gender equality movements. The call featured Jessica Stender of Equal Rights Advocates, who has been coordinating and enacting many steps of a legislative agenda for women in California. The call was well-received nationally, with people registered from 16 states.

From Betsy McKinney and the It’s Time Network team:

Thank you for joining us for Tuesday’s virtual convening to learn about how we can support policy agendas that lift women and children out of poverty, ensure fair pay and family-friendly workplaces, and more, focusing on the Stronger California legislation.

Here are some actions you can take now to build momentum around action for women’s rights:

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New “Liberation Fund” Aims to Bolster Reproductive Justice and Gender Equality

As every day brings new questions regarding the rights and protections of marginalized populations in the U.S., word of an additional fund that will support progressive rights for women of color and transgender folks is heartening news.

Today, Groundswell Fund announced the funding of a new grassroots organizing effort that will be led by women of color and transgender people of color.

The new funding stream, dubbed the Liberation Fund, will “aim to ensure reproductive and gender justice by supporting women of color,” according to a press release announcing its launch.

Groundswell describes itself as the largest funder of the U.S. reproductive justice movement. Headquartered in Oakland, CA, the organization provides leadership in the effort to hold public officials accountable at the local level for their responsibility to protect the rights of all people. In the age of Trump, this kind of accountability is more important than ever.

Two marginalized groups that face the greatest danger from a government enacting white supremacist and misogynist policies are women of color and transgender people of color. With an initial deployment of $500,000 in funding, the Liberation Fund will begin the process of identifying its first grantees. A panel of 15 advisors, all prominent women of color leaders coming from a broad array of sectors, will guide the fund.

“Millions of Americans are hungry for leadership that ignites our political imagination and offers clear, concrete pathways forward,” said Fund Advisor Linda Sarsour and CEO of MPower Change. Sarsour called on funders and donors to “meet that level of boldness in their giving strategies” by further empowering  women of color and LGBTQ people.

Alicia Garza, co-founder of Black Lives Matter and another of the fund’s advisors added, “To elevate women of color and trans people of color at a time when our communities are under extreme duress is not only smart, but essential for our survival. There’s never been a better time for donors and funders to put their money directly where change is happening.”

Vanessa Daniel, Groundswell Fund’s Executive Director, put it this way: “The greatest force in any fight against fascism is solidarity. The Trump Administration is trying to divide us. If there is one thing that grassroots organizing efforts run by women of color and trans people of color understand better than anyone else, it’s that, as Audre Lorde once said, none of us live single-issue lives. Our fates are intertwined.”

The first grants from the new Liberation Fund are scheduled to be awarded in summer 2017.

Full list of the Fund’s Advisors:

Ai-Jen Poo, National Domestic Workers Alliance
Alicia Garza, National Domestic Workers Alliance & Black Lives Matter
Angelica Salas, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA)
Bamby Salcedo, The TransLatin@ Coalition
Charlene Sinclair, Center for Community Change
Cindy Wiesner, Grassroots Global Justice Alliance
Chrissie Castro, Native Voice Network
Denise Perry, Black Organizing for Leadership and Dignity (BOLD)
Elle Hearns, Marsha P. Johnson Institute
Isa Noyola, Transgender Law Center
Linda Sarsour, Mpower Change
Mary Hooks, Southerners On New Ground
Miya Yoshitani, Asian Pacific Environmental Network
Sarita Gupta, Jobs With Justice
Saru Jayaraman, Restaurant Opportunity Center (ROC) United

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Will the Trump Administration Let Girls Learn, or End One of Philanthropy’s Most Successful Campaigns?

Confusion reigns in Trumpland. And lack of awareness in decision-making appears to be rampant in the Trump Administration.

The latest example is the Trump Administration’s internal memo ending “Let Girls Learn,” Michelle Obama’s signature philanthropic endeavor. On May 1st, CNN opened up the can of worms with the headline, “Trump administration memo calls for ending Michelle Obama’s girls education program.” Hours later, CNN would post another headline, “Despite memo, White House says Michelle Obama program unchanged.”

“The Administration supports policies and programs to empower adolescent girls, including efforts to educate them through the completion of secondary school,” said Heather Nauert, of the Trump Administration’s State Department, referring to Let Girls Learn. “We are committed to empowering women and girls around the world and are continuing to examine the best ways to do so.”

Hmmmm. Confused much?

Let Girls Learn was a collaboration with the Peace Corp, which, because of its branding, “enabled the Peace Corps to raise $3 million in funding for Let Girls Learn in a year and a half,” said Tina Tschen, Michelle Obama’s former chief of staff.

The name of the program itself, the branding, is an important part of the strategy. Ending the name will seriously disable the program.

I wonder what they will change the name to. Keep Girls Down? Shut Girls Up? Let Girls Die?

Would be funny if it weren’t so scary.

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