Today, Grantmakers for Girls of Color will hold its second annual convening, with more than 125 funders meeting in New York for a day-long dialogue about girls of color and safety.
Grantmakers for Girls of Color (GGOC) is an unprecedented collaboration of philanthropic funders that are particularly focused on challenges faced by girls of color.
From the press release:
At the convening we will learn how girls of color are most impacted by interpersonal and state violence and how movements are responding. Together, this is a chance for funders to focus on intersecting safety concerns facing girls of color, as prioritized by those leading movements, and to explore how we can best support efforts working to create safety.
I have spent the past few years observing, writing about, and getting more involved in the world of women’s philanthropy. During that time, multiple experts have referred to the work of Kimberlé Crenshaw as being essential to the changes we now see going on in philanthropy, with more efforts to apply both a gender and race lens when framing problems and funding new strategies.
Indeed, with her scholarship, advocacy, and legal expertise, Crenshaw has helped build and disseminate whole new areas of knowledge including critical race theory and intersectional theory. These concepts have helped philanthropists like Peter Buffett and organizations like the NoVo Foundation apply an inclusive gender and race lens that values and addresses the needs of women and girls of color in the United States.
American women have not generally been celebrated for their philanthropic activity, so it shouldn’t be surprising that African-American female philanthropists are especially invisible in contemporary culture.
But that wasn’t always the case. In the early 20th century, African-American women were engaged in a literal battle for survival in a segregated and violently racist nation. One African- American woman, however, managed to go from being a laundress who sometimes earned less than one dollar a day to becoming one of the first self-made female millionaires in the United States. Her name was Sarah Breedlove, but she was known far and wide as Madam C. J. Walker, the founder of a hair care empire and a noted philanthropist. Walker used her fortune to champion the YMCA, the Tuskegee Institute, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and other important civic and educational organizations.
If you’ve ever had the notion that your big strong male partner is going to protect you and provide for you, you are not alone. This cultural norm runs particularly deep in Latin cultures, where the term machismo is positively identified by traditional men who see it as their duty to protect and provide for their families. But the negative implications of machismo — violence, rigid gender roles, and the expectation that men should maintain financial control of the family — can have devastating impacts for women and children.
This article about The City of Women, a place on the outskirts of the Colombian city Turbaco, is a fascinating window into how women can come together to protect and care for other, more marginalized women in their communities.
“There are men who mistreat and abuse girls and women who have no place to live,” says one 19-year-old female shelter resident in Afghanistan, who ran away from home when her father tried to trade her for a young bride for himself after her mother died.
It’s stories like these that suggest timing could not be better for donors to pay more attention to the needs of marginalized women in developing nations. Helpfully, some big foundations are entering the fray and deploying funds to help preserve human rights for women in Afghanistan. Five big foundations, Carnegie, Hewlett, Ford, Packard, and MacArthur all recently pledged a package of $750,000 to support Afghan women in the conservative country where women’s rights are limited.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
“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.
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.”