Rachelle Suissa on Increasing Women in Public Office

Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Rachelle Suissa, Founder and President of Dare to Run. Dare to Run is a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit organization whose mission is to educate and empower women with the skills necessary to run for public office at the local, state and national level of government. The organization offers female college graduates the chance to participate in a one-year certificate program in pursuit of a career path in public service. Dare to Run gives women the opportunity to be a voice for their communities by committing to run campaigns in search of elected office within two years of graduation from the program.

Rachelle Suissa is the Founder and CEO of Dare to Run, an organization that provides women the leadership skills and training they need to run for office in New York State. (Image Credit: Dare to Run/Rachelle Suisa)

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

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Sports 4 Life Grants Aim to Increase Sports for Girls of Color

Sports 4 Life, a national initiative co-founded by the Women’s Sports Foundation (WSF) and espnW (“a voice for the woman who loves sports”), was established in 2014 to increase participation of girls of color in youth sports. Recently, Sports 4 Life announced their 2020 grants which will help African American and Latino girls overcome barriers to sports participation.

Twenty-five organizations based in 13 states and Washington, D.C. received the awards which totaled $175,000. The grants aim to augment and diversify sports opportunities for more than 7,700 middle and high school girls, and included funding for programs representing 23 different sports.

(Photo Credit: Sports 4 Life)

The impetus for Sports 4 Life is the recognition that the benefits of participation in sports—which include improved physical and mental health, as well as better grades and improved leadership skills—often disproportionately exclude African American and Latino girls. Historic racial injustices lie at the root of disparities in access to sports participation, and these gaps have been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

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July 23 Webinar: Lack of Funding for Women & Girls of Color

Join us at 2:00 PM ET on Thursday, July 23rd for the next iteration of our new Philanthropy Women webinar series: “Lack of Funding for Women and Girls of Color: What Donors Can Do.”

The Ms. Foundation for Women has produced a new report showing how rarely funders show up for women and girls of color. In this webinar, we bring three expert opinions in to discuss how to increase funding for this population, both in the United States and globally. Guests for this webinar are Roz Lee, Vice President of Strategy and Programs for the Ms. Foundation for Women, Tessie San Martin, PhD, President and CEO, Plan International USA, and Suzanne Lerner, Donor Activists and President and Co-Founder, Michael Stars Clothing.

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Beyoncé: “Vote like our life depends on it, because it does.”

“We have to vote like our life depends on it, because it does,” said Beyoncé in her pre-recorded acceptance speech for the 2020 BET Awards. The performer and philanthropist is 2020’s recipient of the Humanitarian Award, bestowed for her work through the BeyGOOD Initiative and other campaigns.

International superstar Beyoncé is the recipient of the 2020 BET Humanitarian Award. (Image Credit: BET/Twitter)

“Thank you so much for this beautiful honor,” she said. “I want to dedicate this award to all of my brothers out there, all of my sisters out there inspiring me, marching and fighting for change. Your voices are being heard and you’re proving to our ancestors that their struggles were not in vain.”

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Plan International Details COVID’s Impact on Latina and Caribbean Girls

COVID-19 is imperiling the safety and education of many Latin American and Caribbean girls, reports Plan International, an independent development and humanitarian organization advancing children’s rights and equality for girls. With the closure of schools, many girls have been trapped at home and subject to increasing gender-based violence. Moreover, for some, their education may be derailed permanently with lasting generational effects.

Lucía hopes that at the end of the pandemic, girls will have a better quality of life, be free from violence, and have equal access to all services. Photo Credit: Plan International

Ninety-five percent of girls have been out of school since mid-March, and this has made them highly vulnerable. Amalia Alarcón, Plan’s Regional Head of Gender Transforming and Influencing, explains how the pandemic has a clear gender component. “The control measures for the disease do not take into account the specific vulnerabilities of girls, adolescents and women as the risk of suffering gender-based violence at home, increases. According to Plan International, “There has been a significant rise in reports of physical, sexual and psychological abuse directed towards girls and adolescents, with many more cases likely going under the radar.”

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Ms. Foundation: Donors Must Step Up for Women and Girls of Color

As feminist giving strategies have evolved, an awareness about intersectional factors for women and girls of color has grown. With that growth has come bold new imperatives to earmark funding specifically for women and girls of color, in order to ensure maximum impact. Now, Ms. Foundation for Women and Strength in Numbers Consulting Group (SiNCG) have come out with research that gives more information about how these intersectional strategies are progressing and where they stand in relation to the rest of philanthropy.

Pocket Change–How Women and Girls of Color Do More With Less” examines the funding crisis for organizations that serve, are led by, or are founded by women and girls of color. (Image Credit: Ms. Foundation/Strength in Numbers Consulting Group)

Pocket Change–How Women and Girls of Color Do More With Less tells us just how little funding women and girls of color receive, and how often their survival is threatened due to this chronic underfunding.

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Tech Giants Partner with UN Women on Gender-Based Violence

Editor’s Note: This post was previously published by UN Women on June 25, 2020.

As billions of people are still under COVID-19 lockdown, the shadow pandemic of violence against women has been growing within homes around the world.

UN Women is partnering with Google, Facebook, and Twitter to get public health messages to women across the world about how to access safety if they are experiencing gender-based violence. (Image Credit: UN Women)

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, violence against women and girls, a gross human rights violation, impacted one in three women worldwide. Recent data from multiple countries already show a spike in reporting of domestic violence through helplines since COVID-19 lockdowns started. As countries now contend with economic crisis, service shortfalls and high levels of stress, many women find themselves trapped in isolation with abusive partners, without access to information and support services that they need.

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Merck Seeks Grantees to Improve U.S. Childbirth Safety


Americans often think of high childbirth mortality rates as a problem plaguing low-income countries, but U.S. maternal mortality rates, particularly for African American and Native women, are high. Merck for Mothers’ “Safer Childbirth Cities” initiative is combating this trend, and its latest call for proposals is expanding its efforts beyond its initial ten-city cohort.

Merck for Mothers has issued an important new report on maternal mortality called “Insights from the States Report.” (Image Credit: Merck for Mothers)

While the U.S. maternal mortality rate is substantially lower than most countries of the Global South, according to the World Health Organization, the U.S. maternal death rate of 19 deaths per 100,000 live births it is substantially higher than Canada (10 per 100,000), the United Kingdom (7), Japan (5), Spain (4) and Italy (2). Countries comparable to the U.S. include Russia (17), Turkey (17) and Romania (19). Moreover, the U.S. is the only high-income country with a rising level of maternal mortality.

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Verizon Commits $7.5 Mil to Small Business Recovery Fund

Another corporate funder has stepped in to help small business in this time of economic uncertainty. Verizon recently announced another $2.5 million commitment to small businesses, bringing total funding for the Verizon Small Business Recovery Fund to 7.5 million dollars.

The Verizon Small Business Recovery Fund supports diverse businesses impacted by COVID-19 with the facilitation of Local Initiatives Support Corporation. (Image Credit: LISC)

“Small businesses across the country are confronting extreme economic challenges as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic,” writes the communications giant in the description of the program. “Financial support at this critical time can make the difference between staying in business or closing permanently, leading to lost income, jobs and economic stability.”

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Liveblog: Funding to End Violence Against Women of Color

Kiersten Marek, editor and publisher of Philanthropy Women, opened up today’s webinar, “Funding to End Violence Against Women of Color,” with a welcome to the speakers and audience.

She introduced the webinar with a discussion on the idea behind Philanthropy Women. Partially inspired by NoVo Foundation’s bold commitment of $90 million in funding for women and girls of color in 2016, Philanthropy Women launched in January of 2017 to cover this kind of intersectional feminist giving approach and others like it. However, with NoVo’s recent shuttering of programs for women and girls of color, the funding landscape for addressing domestic violence against women of color is facing some big changes.

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