Greetings, everyone in the Philanthropy Women community, and welcome to a New Year! 2023 promises to offer some very special events, including more readings and discussions of Feminist Giving. The book is doing well on sales and Lauren Brathwaite of Candid wrote a very comprehensive review of the book, which is a wonderful read if you are thinking of picking up the book. You can read the review here.
One of my favorite things about Lauren’s review is that she referred to Feminist Giving as a “tome” and got into the big arguments that I make in the book. As she suspects in her review, I am very interested indeed in how MacKenzie Scott is beginning to go more public about her giving. However, I notice on her website she says that they currently “don’t participate” in media stories about their work. That gave me pause to think. It seems to me that it’s a sign of a certain level of privilege to be able to decide not to participate in media stories about oneself. As a social worker who has been public facing and accountable for her behavior and practice as a professional, I cannot fathom taking such a position. But obviously, she has her reasons.
Well, hello my feminist giving friends! I hope you all enjoyed your Thanksgiving holiday and it gave you a chance to reflect on some of the things you are thankful for. That was my focus this Thanksgiving, as my family and I went for a hike at Stoppleworth Conservation Area in Tolland, Connecticut.
This conservation area was created by my mother in 2004, by selling a 55 acre parcel of land that my father bought in the 1970’s and used to harvest wood for the wood-burning stoves of our house. It was a bold decision for my mother to move this land into open space, and I was proud to be the daughter helping facilitate the deal. Every year around Thanksgiving, we try to visit the land and appreciate its supreme beauty and the amazing strength of my mother to part with this precious land and put it into the public trust.
Along with all of the other forms of oppression that a world without access to abortion brings, a particularly stark example of the violence that women face in the patriarchy occurred here in Rhode Island recently. Jennifer Rourke, who is part of the Rhode Island Cooperative, an alliance of progressive democratic candidates running for state office, was punched repeatedly by her opponent in the Senate race, Jeann Lugo.
Jennifer Rourke was speaking at a rally to protest the end of Roe V. Wade in Providence. After speaking, she was standing in the audience with friends. According to Matt Brown, candidate for Governor in Rhode Island and co-founder of the Rhode Island Co-op, three right-wing counter-protesters showed up. Jennifer, as one of the leaders there, approached the situation to try to de-escalate and defuse any possible conflict or disruption to the event. But moments later, Lugo, who is a Providence police officer and was off-duty, punched her in the face. The incident was caught on video by Bill Bartholomew.
“This gift is about supporting the next generation of women entrepreneurs,” said Kendra Scott, philanthropist, designer and professor of practice at University of Texas at Austin College of Fine Arts. Since 2019, when Scott first started an institute for women’s leadership in business at the school, she has enjoyed seeing women expand their horizons. “I’ve loved seeing UT create a space where women are inspired and motivated to be leaders in business and to use their knowledge, skills, and energy to keep changing the world and outdated business stereotypes.”
Kendra Scott started her company in 2002, just three months after her first son was born. With $500 and a love for dynamic design and good quality materials, she grew a start-up jewelry business into a company with over 2,000 employees (96% women) and expanded the product line to include home décor and beauty.
Well hello, my philanthro-lovelies! I hope you are doing well, and are ready to dive into some more feminist giving news!
Today I’d like to start with a quote from MacKenzie Scott, who has outstripped her ex-husband’s lifetime of giving in just two years. Here are her words from when she made her promise to fulfill The Giving Pledge:
It seems, in the feminist philanthropy community, everyone is waiting for that tipping point to come, when women’s leadership finally establishes its value to the world. COVID, it seems, is helping to accelerate our awareness of the added value of women’s leadership. By showing that countries led by women having strikingly better COVID survival and containment rates, we should finally be at that point where you could practically pour the product of women’s leadership into a bottle and sell it on the open market.
Well, think again. I have been on my own quest to establish the value of women’s leadership, particularly women’s leadership in philanthropy, over the past five years. I went in with the theory that feminist strategies are more powerful strategies, and once people get to know more about them, lots of folks would flock to our website and build up our subscriber base to the point where, eventually, it might even turn into a for-profit market product. Though fiscally sponsored by the Women’s Funding Network, our budget and strategy is built around the idea that only a small portion of our funding should come from grants, and that as our subscriber base grows, eventually, we could become attractive to a regular small business publication or larger progressive media platform.
“As a leader of a nonprofit, I strongly encourage folks to select one or more local organizations whose mission they love, whose leadership they know and trust, and to give to operations or unrestricted funds,” says Shanna Cox, President and CEO of the Lewiston Auburn Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce. Cox oversees daily operations, events, and strategies for the Chamber, and believes in the power of giving to women and girls.
Cox leads with a “learn what people want and deliver it” mentality at the Chamber, and has a reputation for being honest, approachable, and ready to dive in to solve problems. When it comes to helping women business owners in her community, she references listening and mentoring as important keys to build women up in the process of helping them succeed in business.
As many of you know, along with founding and editing Philanthropy Women, I am also a psychotherapist. So today I am offering something new here for readers: a chance to explore your inner wellness through hypnosis.
One of my specialties as a therapist is identity development. I have spent many years studying and writing about the archetypes — the different dimensions of human identity that come into play across the lifespan. In 2018, I also trained and became certified as a hypnotherapist. This is a hypnosis session to help you get a deep night’s sleep, and to give you a chance to experience your inner Innocent.
It’s finally happening: America is charting its course as a nation to remedy our problems with gender equity and equality. What is contained in the momentous document, and how will it affect funding for gender issues?
The President and Vice President begin the document by locating the issue in our current context of heightened stakes for women and girls in the US and across the globe:
This document, the first-ever United States government strategy on gender equity and equality, is a part of that noble American tradition [of valuing equality]. It comes at an inflection point for the economic security, safety, health, and well-being of women and girls in our nation and around the globe. COVID-19 has exacerbated preexisting economic, health, and caregiving crises that disproportionately impacted women and girls long before the pandemic struck. Following the worst economic collapse since the Great Depression, women’s participation in the American labor force plummeted to its lowest level in over 30 years. Rates of gender-based violence have risen significantly, and racial and ethnic inequity has deepened.