Raising the Value of Communities by Investing in Girls of Color

Editor’s Note: Happy Juneteenth! In celebration, we are sharing the words of Dr. Monique Couvson, president and CEO of G4GC and the author of six books, including “Charisma’s Turn” (The New Press, 2023), a graphic novel about girls and their gifts.

As we navigate through this pivotal moment in history of rollbacks to civil rights, gender justice, and social progress, we are also seeing a generational transfer of wealth boosting women’s economic power and  women taking bold measures to move capital into the hands of other women.

Dr. Monique Couvson, president and CEO of G4GC  (Image credit: G4GC)

While we recognize and applaud how women are poised to shape a new type of philanthropy, it is imperative that in this effort girls —and in particular girls and gender-expansive youth of color, receive a robust and intentional investment. These young people are at the forefront of all social justice movements, and yet their contributions go overlooked and erased. As we move funds to women-serving organizations, we must also move money explicitly to organizations that center and are led by girls of color. That is how we can combat the erasure of Black girls and girls of color, and create opportunities for their courageous activism and leadership to thrive.

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New: Convicted Felon Trump Tries to Roll Back Climate Justice

Maya Angelou famously said: “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.” She may not have been talking about Donald Trump, but the advice seems especially pertinent to him.

There is no distinction between social justice and climate justice. The poorest suffer from a deteriorating climate and the majority of those suffering are women. They are often women with children who do not have the means to relocate to a safer location.

Donald Trump has taken extreme positions on climate action both in the past and today. (Image credit: We Don’t Have Time)

We Don’t Have Time is the world’s largest media platform for climate action. The organization was created after the election of Trump in 2016. This event made it plain that world leaders were not going to take significant action that would even slow down climate degradation. “Trump digs coal” was a slogan and an election pitch that helped him get elected. 

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Dr. Janet Wormack is the New CFO and COO of The Steve Fund

Since women are both the primary producers and consumers of mental health services, it’s heartening to see women being elevated into positions of leadership and influence in this arena.

Dr. Janet Wormack, new Chief Financial and Operations Officer at The Steve Fund. (Image credit: The Steve Fund)

The Steve Fund announced the appointment of Dr. Janet Wormack as the organization’s new Chief Financial and Operations Officer. The Steve Fund is a leading nonprofit organization focused on promoting the mental health and emotional well-being of young people of color.

“Dr. Janet Wormack brings a wealth of experience in public and higher education administration to The Steve Fund,” said David McGhee, CEO of The Steve Fund. 

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Institutional Shake-Up: WPI Names New Interim Director

Following the resignation of Director Jeannie Infante Sager, The Women’s Philanthropy Institute (WPI) has announced a new Interim Director.

Jacqueline Ackerman has been named to the role of Interim Director. Ackerman has been associated with WPI since 2012 and has held roles as Assistant and Associate Director of Research at WPI. Most recently, she served as Associate Director for WPI. 

Outgoing Director of Women’s Philanthropy Institute, who recently participated in a webinar with Kiersten Marek and other women’s philanthropy experts. (Image credit: KLM)

‘Jaquie has been instrumental to the growth and evolution of WPI for close to a decade,” said outgoing director Jeannie Infante Sager. “[She has] led our research agenda, managed research reports and roll outs, served as primary author on many of our reports, and supervised grants and sponsorships. Her commitment to our mission and her enthusiasm for our work are evident, and I have no doubt that they will continue to make significant contributions women’s philanthropy.”

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Janiece Evans-Page: Daring to Double Down on Racial Equity

With racial justice programs and DEI initiatives under threat, philanthropic organizations face an important decision – double down in the fight for justice or back down. Janiece Evans-Page, the CEO of Tides, is taking the harder road. She won’t back down, and she won’t let others shut her down. As the leader of an organization managing as much as $1.25 billion in assets at any given time, Evans-Page is carrying out a critical mission that other funders might want to emulate: upholding the American values of racial and gender equality.

Janiece Evans-Page, the CEO of Tides. (Image credit: Tides)

We were fortunate enough that Janiece Evans-Page was willing to share her time and her thoughts on the attacks on organizations like the Fearless Fund. Janiece shares her insights here on how philanthropy can prioritize racial and gender justice, and use core values as the building blocks to a healthier democracy.

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Blaustein: Create New Global Systems by Funding Local Women

Dear Readers: This essay is written by Susan M. Blaustein, Founder/Executive Director, WomenStrong International.

As we witness the world aflame with conflict- and climate-fueled disasters, it is urgent this International Women’s Day that we support and strengthen the peacemakers, the healers, the teachers, advocates, the community-builders: of course, I mean the women.

WomenStrong International supports Projet Jeune Leaders in Madagascar. (Image credit:  Projet Jeune Leader)

In climate-related emergencies, we see over and over that local women leaders and the organizations they lead are best-positioned to know who is most vulnerable, where those individuals and families are living, which forms of relief are most urgent, and where those relief services can be safely and reliably located. 

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WPI Webinar: Women’s Political Giving Will Surge in 2024

On January 30, 2024, the Womens’ Philanthropy Institute (WPI) of Indiana University hosted a webinar to look into a crystal ball and discuss what members of the giving community believe is coming our way in the coming year.

Jeannie Sager of WPI kicked off the conversation with a thorough review of relevant topics. (Image Credit: WPI)

The moderator was Jeannie Sager, Executive Director of WPI. Panelists included 

  • Elizabeth Barajas Romắn, President and CEO of the Women’s Funding Network (WFN);
  • Latanya Mapp Frett, President and CEO of Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors (RPA); and 
  • Kiersten Marek, Founder and CEO of Philanthropy Women (PW)

To start, Jeannie Sager established five key trends as identified by research of WPI:

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Attack on Fearless Fund Goes National in Time and Newsweek

As we reported both in October and December of 2023, the good work of the  Fearless Fund has come under attack from right-wing extremists. The American ​​Alliance for Equal Rights (AAER) which is led by anti-affirmative activist Edward Blum, is the same conservative organization that convinced the Supreme Court to reject affirmative action criteria for college admissions in June 2023.

(Image credit: Fearless Fund)

Since the Supreme Court decision, AAER has expanded its scope to target seemingly all efforts to promote social justice and equity. The Fearless Fund is a venture capital fund that provides pre-seed, seed-level, or Series A financing to businesses led by women of color. As their website states, “Our mission is to bridge the gap in venture capital funding for women of color founders building scalable, growth aggressive companies.” 

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Climate Gender Equity Fund Debuts with First Grants in Africa

The Climate Gender Equity Fund (CGEF) is a public-private partnership focused on catalyzing gender equity in climate finance. A year after launching, CGEF has announced the first cohort of women-led organizations selected to receive grants, each of which is focused on advancing gender-equitable climate action in Africa.

Women participate in Clean Tech Hub’s incubation program. (Image credit: Amazon news)

The three organizations selected include:

  • The Clean Technology Hub, a women-led acceleration hub in Nigeria that is scaling new climate technologies; 
  • WomanHub, an accelerator in South Africa that supports female science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) business founders; and 
  • M-Kayla Ventures, an incubator in Kenya that focuses on women entrepreneurs working on climate-smart agriculture solutions.

The founding members of CGEF include USAID, Amazon, Reckitt, Visa Foundation, and The UPS Foundation. Combined, they have committed $20 million to the fund; in addition, USAID announced an additional $5 million during the COP28 climate change conference. 

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Leah Hendrix-Hunt and Family Featured in New Yorker

At Philanthropy Women, we pride ourselves on being able to stay ahead of the curve in recognizing ideas, discovering significant trends, and identifying the people who make these things happen. We are pleased to note that the The New Yorker is now following our lead. Several years ago, PW ran an interview with Leah Hunt-Hendrix. As a reminder, Hunt-Hendrix is a scion of Hunt Oil, founded by her maternal grandfather. 

Dr. Kimberlé Crenshaw’s book, “#SayHerName: Black Women’s Stories of State Violence and Public Silence” was recently released. More details below. (Image credit: #SayHerName)

The August issue of The New Yorker ran a story that touches on many of the issues discussed on these pages. Attached below is a link to the interview with Leah that PW published previously. Our interview focused more on the hard news angle, discussing her foundation, Solidaire, and the work it does while the New Yorker article is a bit more chatty, with anecdotes of her family, social status, and the problems presented by being a progressive who happens to be the heir to an oil fortune.  

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