Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features President and CEO of The New York Women’s Foundation Ana Oliveira. This interview was completed in late 2020.
What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession?
From the time I began my journey at the New York Women’s Foundation to now, I’ve learned the challenges you can face in philanthropy when being most responsive to transformation and justice. I came to The Foundation because it is an inclusive place with a commitment to equity and justice, with an emphasis on centering the needs of our grantee partners and the communities they serve. Those elements have allowed me to fundamentally understand how to carry out our philanthropy with transparency, respect and partnership.
A new record has been hit for the number of women across the United States that hold leadership roles in state legislatures.
(Associated Press, 2/24/21) Nevada state Sen. Pat Spearman, shown here at the 2016 Democratic convention, has led legislation to passage as the party’s chief majority whip. A record number of women have taken leadership roles in state legislatures, meaning they can not only add to the conversation, but in many cases control which conversation is being had.
Nevada state Sen. Pat Spearman, a Democrat and chief majority whip, successfully shepherded legislation in 2020 requiring pharmacists to honor 12-month doctors’ prescriptions for birth control pills, over the objections of some male lawmakers.
IRL has created a new category to highlight events that advocate for gender equality through education and celebration.
As more and more women take positions of leadership across industries, their roles and responsibilities have paved a new path for young women everywhere to pursue their interests, career goals, dreams and aspirations. Thanks to women like Sarah Thomas, the first female to referee the Super Bowl, and other prominent female leaders such as Kamala Harris or Megan Thee Stallion, International Women’s Day will be a global day to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements from women and how much more there is to be done for equality and inclusion.
When the world stops, life keeps going — especially for communities where social isolation and living off of savings are not viable options.
It’s a well-known fact that COVID-19 has made life at the bottom of the social pyramid even harder. Women and girls around the world, particularly in communities of color, are among the hardest hit by the ripple effects of the pandemic. The news reports address loss of income, life, and community, but the lesser-known impacts should not be forgotten.
Access to healthcare, particularly for women, was already a commodity difficult to come by in certain parts of the world. Now, in the wake of the pandemic, women and girls’ access to contraceptives, feminine hygiene products, and maternity care hangs more precariously than ever before.
Sarah Goody’s work in environmental activism has been honored by Prince William and Harry, The Duke of Sussex, recognized with awards from Blume, SheKnows, the Center for Volunteer & Nonprofit Leadership, and more.
She has led weekly Friday demonstrations at San Francisco’s City Hall and the Ferry Building, and has been published in Forbes and Teen Vogue.
She is the founder of Climate NOW and Broadway Speaks Up, two organizations dedicated to putting a face on climate action, and is Chair of the Corte Madera Climate Action Committee, where she leads a team of 15 in the carbon neutrality efforts of her California hometown.
When it comes to maximizing our financial impact, there is often an “either/or” approach to leveraging wealth. Do we use our dollars to fund a philanthropic effort, like a campaign or organization dedicated to women and girls, or do we turn our funds toward investment opportunities, like supporting companies with a strong commitment to diversity?
As new forms of giving spring up to meet the challenges — and opportunities — of a digital society, we are able to move further away from that attitude of “either/or.” There are ways to stretch our donor dollars further — through two types of collectives that maximize impact.
The newly established Gender Policy Council is anticipated to work across the board on governmental policy related to gender.
It has been roughly a month since the announcement from the Biden-Harris administration of its White House Gender Policy Council. As announced, the council is spearheaded by co-chairs, Jennifer Klein and Julissa Reynoso. During the Obama administration, a similar council called the White House Council on Women and Girls was created. Shortly after taking the presidency in 2016, Donald Trump disbanded that council. Now, Biden has reinstated a new council explicitly dedicated to working toward gender equality.
Many in the Democratic leadership heralded the new Council and its leaders as an important breakthrough. “Congratulations to Jen Klein, who’s long been by my side on domestic and global women’s issues, and Julissa Reynoso, a dynamo who served with me in the State Department,” said Hillary Clinton, in a post on Twitter regarding the Gender Policy Council leadership. “Great to have this team on the front lines fighting for women and girls everywhere.”
In the same ways that traditional philanthropy has been historically dominated by white, older, high net worth men, feminist philanthropy has a noticeable population gap in younger age groups. Young women, in particular, in an era of crushing student loans, underemployment, and uncertainty in the face of COVID-19, are noticeably absent from a movement dedicated to their wellbeing.
This is not to say that the younger generations aren’t pulling their weight. In fact, it’s just the opposite. Young activists like Greta Thunberg and Sarah Goody are leading the way to revolutions in social justice and culture change. LGBT+ and POC youth are standing vanguard against discrimination, homophobia, and rollbacks of minorities’ legal rights.
This past summer, before the announcement of Kamala Harris as the nominee for Vice President, Latosha Brown received a phone call from the soon-to-be Vice President. The phone call was in response to an article Brown had published in Essence called Reimagining An America That Uplifts Black Girls. Vice President Kamala Harris wanted Latosha Brown to know that she shared her hope that America could reimagine the country so that all girls will be lifted up.
“Vice President Kamala Harris called me to say she had read the article, and that she too was committed to women and girls all across the country,” said Brown, in a recent phone interview with Philanthropy Women.
We are always looking for new ways to spotlight the talented folks who do the hard work of building a more gender equal world. This year, we’ve decided to launch a new contest to do some of that spotlighting. It’s called the Top Tier Feminist Giver Award, and YOU get to vote for the winners!
Twenty-four women were featured in Philanthropy Women’s Feminist Giving In Real Life (F-GIRL) series this past year. We’ve decided to nominate all 24 remarkable women leaders for this contest and have voters choose their top three favorites from now until February 28, 2021. The top three vote-getters will be crowned a Top Tier Feminist Giver by Philanthropy Women and will receive $100 each. Winners will be announced on March 1, 2021 — the first day of Women’s History Month.