Female Entrepreneurs: Apply to Red Backpack Fund by April 12

Fashion and feminist philanthropy find a new intersection with The Spanx by Sara Blakely Foundation. In response to COVID-19’s impact on woman-owned small businesses, the Foundation donated $5 million to GlobalGiving to establish the Red Backpack Fund.

1,000 female entrepreneurs, majority women-owned businesses, and nonprofits in the United States will receive a $5,000 grant, totaling $5 million in funding from The Spanx by Sara Blakely Foundation. Funds go toward majority women-owned small businesses’ immediate needs in the face of coronavirus, as well as supporting their long-term recovery once the crisis has passed.

On April 3, 2020, SPANX’s Sara Blakely announced her $5 million commitment to supporting female entrepreneurs through the Red Backpack Fund. (Image Credit: GlobalGiving and Sara Blakely)

“My hope is that this gift will help alleviate some of the pressures caused by this horrible pandemic,” Blakely wrote in her Instagram announcement. “I know first hand what it’s like to be a small business owner. As a woman it can be lonely and scary, especially during a time like this. Small business is the backbone of our culture and I want to help.”

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How’s Rhode Island Managing the COVID Crisis?

Editor’s Note: The following interview is with Melissa Jenkins Ph.D., clinical neuropsychologist and clinical assistant professor at Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University.

How would you describe Rhode Island’s response to the crisis?

Melissa Jenkins, PhD, shares her perspective as a psychologist and community leader on COVID-19 in Rhode Island. (Photo credit: Angelina Rose Photography)

Rhode Islanders are amazingly interconnected. Even when we can’t be physically close to one another, I see all of my neighbors and friends reaching out to donate whatever assets and unique talents they have to help neighbors get through this crisis. We have incredible leadership in this fight. Right now, in living rooms across Rhode Island, little girls are setting up pretend podiums to play ‘Giving the Daily Briefing’, and they’re all saying the same thing. “Knock It Off.”

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Riki Wilchins: Gender Norms and Intersectionality

Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Riki Wilchins, executive director of the nonprofit TrueChild and author of, “Gender Norms & Intersectionality: Connecting Race, Class and Gender.”

Riki Wilchins, courtesy: Riki Wilchins

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

I wish I’d realized how difficult and slow social change is. I think when you’re younger, you’re a bit more optimistic. But, any kind of real change takes years, maybe decades, of constant effort and attention. 

What is your current greatest professional challenge?

Our goal is getting people to think intersectionally, so they connect race, class and gender norms. The challenge is two-fold: most organizations don’t know how to talk about gender norms, or if they do, they disconnect it from factors like race and class.

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Lesbians Who Tech Launches Online Series in Response to COVID

Lesbians Who Tech & Allies Announce: Your (Not IRL) Squad Series 

(March 25, 2020) — Lesbians Who Tech & Allies announces its “ (Not IRL) Squad Series,” bringing its community the content it loves in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis. The Squad Series will bring together Lesbians Who Tech & Allies’ favorite speakers for intimate conversations, workshops and sessions focused on technology trends, career growth, and personal wellness. This comes weeks after Lesbians Who Tech & Allies made the difficult decision to postpone its flagship San Francisco Summit. 

Lesbians Who Tech is launching a new streaming series after the difficult decision to cancel its annual San Francisco Summit. (Image credit: Lesbians Who Tech)

“It’s important that LGBTQ people have a direct connection to the larger queer community, and we are helping make that happen with our Squad Series. It’s never been more vital,” said Leanne Pittsford, Founder and CEO of Lesbians Who Tech & Allies. “We made the difficult decision to postpone our San Francisco Summit and immediately got to work on how we can bring our community the programming and connection they need right now in this difficult time.”

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Dominika Kulczyk Commits $5 Mil to COVID Response in Poland

Dominika Kulczyk commits millions for COVID-19 response in Poland

Dominika Kulczyk, a Polish philanthropist, journalist and entrepreneur, has today announced an approximately $5 million commitment (PLN 20 million) in support of Polish doctors and health workers working in response to the global coronavirus public health emergency. 

Dominika Kulczyk, President of the Kulczyk Foundation (Image Credit: Kulczyk Foundation)

Funding will be made available through the Doctors for Doctors Foundation (Fundacja Lekarze Lekarzom), created by the official trade body – the Chief Medical Council – representing doctors in Poland. 

This vital financial support will promote further testing, and build capabilities and capacity to identify and mitigate the spread of the disease in the country, ultimately helping the global health community to minimise the effects of the pandemic. 

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Rihanna’s Foundation Donates $5 Million to Fight COVID-19

Editor’s Note: The following announcement is from the Clara Lionel Foundation, founded by singer/songwriter Rihanna.

When we first began this year, never could we have imagined how COVID-19 would so dramatically alter our lives. It doesn’t matter who you are or where you’re from, this pandemic will affect us all. And for the world’s most vulnerable, the worst may be yet to come.

The Clara Lionel Foundation, started by Rihanna in 2012 and named after her grandparents, Clara and Lionel Braithwaite, is giving $5 million to an array of global organizations to address the COVID-19 crisis. (Image Credit: CLF)

Over the past five years CLF has been one of the first organizations to respond to some of the world’s most devastating natural disasters, and we’ve seen firsthand the profound and unintended consequences of not being prepared.

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How Canada is Pushing for Better Mental Health Care for Women

Editor’s Note: This edition of our Feminist Giving IRL (in real life) series features Dr. Vicky Stergiopoulos, Clinician Scientist and Physician-in-Chief at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH), Canada’s largest mental health hospital and a global research leader. She is the clinical lead of CAMH womenmind, a new effort from CAMH to close the gender gap in mental health.  She is also a Professor and Vice Chair Clinical and Innovation in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Toronto. 

Dr. Vicky Stergiopoulos, Clinician Scientist and Physician-in-Chief at the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health (CAMH) (Photo credit: CAMH)

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

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Vote for the G.O.A.T! Join in the Fun and Build Women’s Leadership

Plan International USA is inviting young people ages 13-22 to “Vote for the GOAT (Greatest of All Time).” While this acronym usually applies to football stars and other sports legends, Plan is using the acronym in a much for fun, purposeful, and world-changing way. Specifically, Plan’s GOAT competition refers to the greatest female, femme or nonbinary person advancing gender equality across the categories of visibility or representation, women’s health, equal opportunity, and gender-based violence.

Plan International is helping to stimulate more awareness about gender equality with its Vote for the GOAT competition. (Image credit: Plan International)

Plan International USA—an independent development and humanitarian organization advancing children’s rights and equality for girls—established the “Vote for the G.O.A.T” competition to heighten awareness about those working on behalf of gender equity, and to benefit needy women and families in the developing world.

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WPI Cancels Plugged In Conference, Plans to Move Content Online

Editor’s Note: The following message is from Andrea Pactor, Associate Director, Women’s Philanthropy Institute, Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.

Dear Friends,

Thank you for your patience as we wrestled with whether or not to move forward with Philanthropy Plugged In in light of the rapidly spreading COVID-19 situation.  Yesterday, the Indiana University President made the decision to cancel the symposium easier.  At Indiana University, as at several universities and businesses across the country, all travel outside the state is suspended through April 5 and we are discouraged from scheduling events with more than 100 attendees.  Sad as we are not to see you in Chicago, we know, as one speaker mentioned, that this is the right thing to do. 

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ReflectUS Hires New CEO to Increase Women in Texas Politics

ReflectUS, the nonpartisan coalition of the nation’s leading women’s representation organizations, is pleased to announce the hire of Tiffany Gardner as the coalition’s new CEO.

Tiffany Gardner has been appointed as CEO of ReflectUS. (Image Credit: ReflectUS)

“Tiffany’s hire comes at a pivotal moment for the organization, and her leadership will help us capitalize on the heightened civic engagement of a presidential election year and advance the number of women in public office across America,” says Madalene Mielke, ReflectUS Board of Directors Chair and CEO of Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies (APAICS). 

Tiffany brings a decade of extensive international experience in human rights advocacy and domestic public interest. She has worked on women’s rights, human rights and grassroots organizing throughout Africa, Southeast Asia, and the United States. She worked with the South African Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the United Nations International Law Commission and Human Rights Watch and recently was the co-founder and director of the One World Exchange Program for under-represented U.S. college students and organized international solidarity coalitions. She is a former Mergers & Acquisitions associate at the New York law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP. She received a B.A. from Yale University, a J.D. from New York University School of Law and a LL.M. in human rights law from Columbia University Law School. 

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