The Domino Effect of Women Leaders: Fern Shepard, Rachel’s Network

Fern Shepard (Image credit: Fern Shepard)

Editor’s Note: Fern Shepard is the first participant in our new interview series: “Feminist Giving IRL” (in real life).

“Feminist Giving IRL” features leaders in philanthropy and the nonprofit realm who are outstanding advocates for gender equity. Our first featured leader, Fern Shepard, is President of Rachel’s Network, a non-profit organization named after Rachel Carson that empowers women funders in environmental protection.

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

I began my career 30 years ago as an environmental lawyer with Earthjustice, where I quickly learned the importance of strong laws in protecting vulnerable populations. Courts are where powerless people and voiceless wildlife and wildlands can be protected from harm. Yet our environmental problems have only grown in complexity and severity since I started.

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Laura Dern Backs Gender Parity with Code-a-Thon, $350k in Scholarships

Actress Laura Dern, posing for a photo supporting the @thelipsticklobby, a social justice beauty brand partnering with Brady, the country’s first gun safety organization, to reduce gun violence in America. (Photo Credit: Laura Dern, Instagram) 

From whip-smart dino doctor Ellie Satler to tech-savvy businesswoman Renata Klein, Laura Dern’s passion shines through in her roles on screen. Behind the scenes, Dern’s commitment to philanthropy, empowerment, and equality for all add up to something just shy of a revolution — and the tech industry is her next target.

As part of Booking.com’s first Women in Tech Code-a-thon, Dern announced $350,000 in grants that will benefit STEM education for young women and girls.

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How Women’s Funds Accelerate Gender Equality with 2Gen Approach

The Aspen Institute developed a 2Gen approach to improving the lives of women and girls, which the Women’s Funding Network uses to create a cohort of women’s funds applying this approach. (Image Credit: The Aspen Institute)

Editor’s Note: Women’s Funding Network Chief Strategist Marcia Coné is passionate about the Two-Generation (2Gen) Approach to breaking the cycle of poverty for women and their families. Here, she talks about WFN’s efforts to support its members in implementing the 2Gen philosophy and theoretical framework, as well as the work of the 2Gen Advocacy Cohort and their recent wins.

What is a 2Gen Approach?

When we think about poverty, programs are typically targeted to the needs of different members within the family. For example, you might have a child in a Head Start Program, while the parent is getting job training. This is helpful, but the 2Gen approach—which was developed by the Aspen Institute—looks at ways of addressing the family as a whole system and meeting their individual needs simultaneously, through multi-generational programming and policies. Two-generation approaches draw from findings that the well-being of parents is crucial to their children’s well-being and conversely, parents’ ability to succeed in school and in the workplace is substantially affected by how well their children are doing. 

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Diane Ravitch Wants Philanthropy to Support Rebirth of Public Schools

Education expert Diane Ravitch (Image credit: Diane Ravitch)

Philanthropy aimed at K-12 education in the U.S. has ramped up in the past few decades and remains complex and controversial. Funders back diverse causes like delivering new learning technologies, establishing charter schools and backing professional development for public school teachers, among many others. Along with local and regional funders, major philanthropies like the Bill and Melinda Gates, Broad and Walton Family Foundations direct hundreds of millions to education annually.

Diane Ravitch says these funders should prioritize helping under-resourced American learning institutions and families by supporting traditional public schools and their teachers, and addressing income inequality. She discussed these topics as well as funding for girls and the pitfalls of charter schools with Philanthropy Women. Ravitch is an education author and historian and a former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Education. She is currently a research professor of Education at New York University and president of the Network for Public Education, which she founded.

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Female Film Force: Bumble’s Grants to Women Behind the Camera

Feminist dating site Bumble is making grants to women filmmakers with its Female Film Force competition. (Image Credit: Bumble)

Bumble—the self-proclaimed feminist dating, lifestyle and career app—recently announced the five winners of its 2019 “Female Film Force” competition.

The competition, now in its second year, provides grants to female filmmakers in France, Germany, Ireland and the UK. Female Film Force received over 1,300 pitches by teams of women filmmakers (writers, directors, or producers) and awarded £20,000 (about $25,000 USD) to each winner.

The initial candidates had submitted their applications in March, and were subsequently reduced to a short list, following which ten teams pitched a film industry panel, and then that group was winnowed to the five victors. In addition to the grant, the winners will receive support and guidance from industry experts; the completed films will be released in January 2020.

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Founded in Diversity, Texas Women’s Foundation Expands with Participatory Approach

Roslyn Dawson Thompson, President and CEO, Texas Women’s Foundation. (Photo credit: TWF)

Here in the Northeast, we don’t tend to envision Texas as having a culture of diversity and women’s empowerment. But Texas is actually one of the most diverse states in the union. Currently, 68% of women ages 15 to 24 are women of color. The reality for the biggest state in the union is that the minority is the majority among young people. Texas is also home to one of the country’s largest women’s foundations, the Texas Women’s Foundation (TWF). Previously known as the Dallas Women’s Foundation, in 2018, it rebranded as a statewide endeavor with plans to increase its impact across all regions of the Lone Star State.

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With Support of Founding Sponsors, WE Takes On Nonprofit Structure

Jackie Mattox, president and founder of Women in Electronics (Photo Credit: WE)

In 2017, what was planned as a 45-minute lunch turned into an hours-long planning session as Jackie Mattox and Monica Highfill, later in collaboration with Amy Keller, laid the groundwork for what would become the First Annual Women in Electronics Leadership Conference.

Now, with the support of its founding sponsors, Women in Electronics (WE) is taking the next leap into the philanthropic field with its establishment as a nonprofit organization, dedicated to empowering women in the electronics industry.

“At Arrow, we see the incredible benefits of being inclusive,” said Alan Bird, president of the global supply chain at Arrow Electronics, one of WE’s founding sponsors. “We are proud to be helping Women in Electronics fulfill its mission to expand inclusion throughout the industry through awareness, networking and training.”

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Benny Bonsu and GiveMeSport Team Up To Boost Women’s Sports Media

Benny Bonsu, award-winning sports journalist and advocate, who founded the Girls in Sports Foundation, will be Head of Women’s Sports for GiveMeSport. (Photo credit: Benny Bonsu, Twitter)

It’s another win for women in sports media!

On May 29, 2019, GiveMeSport announced their decision to appoint Benny Bonsu as the new Head of Women’s Sport, building the foundation for the company’s new media outlet dedicated to covering women in sports.

GiveMeSport (GMS), a division of Bragg Gaming, is an online sports media outlet that provides real-time news and interviews for sports fans, focusing on exclusive content like interviews with players and managers. GiveMeSport Women will be GMS’s latest foray into female-focused media management, dedicated to complete coverage of women in sports.

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The Free Black Mamas Fellowship: Bailed-Out Black Moms Organize

(Image credit: public domain)

This year for Mother’s Day, incarcerated mothers and caregivers in 36 U.S. cities had their bails paid through public donations. The Black Mamas Bail Out brings together givers and organizers from across the country to free imprisoned moms who can’t afford bail.

Bailing Out Black Moms and Caregivers

Today and every day, tens of thousands of people are imprisoned in the U.S. because they cannot pay bail. Most of the about 2.3 million people in American prisons and jails are people of color. While they are primarily male, women are now the fastest-growing incarcerated population. And, Black women are imprisoned at a rate double that of white women.

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#WomenFunded2019: WFN Opens Registration for Annual Conference

Women Funding Network’s Executive Director Cynthia Nimmo. (Photo Credit: WFN)

The Women’s Funding Network (WFN) recently opened registration for their September conference, Women Funded 2019: Leadership for a Changing World.

The event, held from September 11-13 at Hotel Kabuki in San Francisco’s Japantown neighborhood, is the next iteration in WFN’s successful conference series. You may remember last September’s Seattle takeover with Women Moving Millions and the Gates Foundation — WFN’s WOMEN+POWER conference was held in Seattle, Washington, in an incredible weekend for feminist thought leaders.

The San Francisco conference is gearing up to be WFN’s biggest event yet, featuring more than 80 speakers across more than 40 sessions. This year’s four themes — On The Frontlines, It’s Personal, The Power of Voice, and How Money Moves — focus on resolving complex social issues, leading with power across sectors, shaping stories, policy, and solution, and re-shaping philanthropy by redefining investment.

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