Have you ever wondered why, if we care so much about gender equality in the US, we make no progress on basic indicators like wage equality, which has been at a virtual standstill since 1994?
One of the themes that my book, Feminist Giving, explores is the question of what makes certain ideas valuable, so valuable that they enter the mainstream of culture and become practiced in significant behavior changes.
The book demonstrates that what philanthropy does to change its behavior is very much a mirror of the rest of society. Sadly, the book concludes that it’s still a man’s world, and philanthropy remains a part of that problem.
Big news! My book, Feminist Giving: Creating New Frontiers in Social Change, is finally coming out!
I had been circulating a book proposal for a while and was not getting any good bites, so have finally decided to go with a “hybrid publisher” — where you can get maximum circulation prospects and also maintain copyright ownership of your work. In large part, I will be assembling my own team for marketing and distribution.
Publishing a Book is Hard, and Doesn’t Leave Much Time for Other Work
As you can imagine, it has been challenging to balance working on the book, my 75+ open caseload as a therapist, and finding time for Philanthropy Women. Lots is still happening in feminist philanthropy and I will be writing a round-up of the latest big doings next week.
One of the reasons I started Philanthropy Women in 2017 was because I was so impressed by the NoVo Foundation and its commitment of $90 million in new funding for women and girls of color. It seemed to me that if mainstream philanthropy could make that big and sudden of a footprint on helping women and girls of color, there was hope for the world after all.
Now, five years and over 1,100 articles later, I am thrilled to announce a new partnership between Alliance magazine, the first and only major philanthropy magazine with a global focus, and Philanthropy Women. I believe Alliance magazine has the potential to be an important ally to Philanthropy Women, since Alliance takes the most inclusive lens with which to view the complex problems of humanity — the global lens — when providing journalism about donors and social change.
Very few of us can get away with challenging the capitalist and male-dominated values of our country. Unless you have a lot of money, you generally make more headway in American society if you watch every word you say and every move you make to ensure they remain within the lines of the men-first, pro-business, money-above-everything mentality that surrounds us. But MacKenzie Scott is able to challenge these ideas by sharing her resources with organizations that are doing the work on the ground for a better quality of life in America.
This week, MacKenzie Scott put organization names and faces to the recent $3.8 billion she distributed. The money went to a vast array of organizations that support the social and economic fabric of our culture. Here on PW, we are going to provide the gender-lens pull-out list of organizations receiving funding, with the proviso that there are other layers in her funding that satisfy feminist giving values around equity and inclusion but are not explicitly addressing gender bias. These organizations are helping us navigate new territory as a society, a place where we can prioritize healthier relationships, personal wellness, and quality education and healthcare experiences. Almost all of the organizations on this list have been covered in articles here at Philanthropy Women over the past five years.
Well, hello my donor activist friends! Welcome to another week of exciting feminist philanthropy news, as well as my weekly discussion of happenings related to gender equality at large.
This week I took a deep excursion into literary culture and read Assembly by Natasha Brown. This novel caught my eye because it was by an author who had a background in financial services and math, yet when I picked up the book and read a few lines, I felt a deep sense of kinship with the words.
I don’t want to give away any spoilers about this book because it’s really a wonderful process to absorb the story without any preconceptions in mind. The story takes a narrative path that I can only describe as an anti-romance, and yet it felt strangely rich and satisfying to me as a reader.
As we continue to celebrate Black History Month, one of the highlights so far has been the February 2022 edition of Meet the Philanthropist, my virtual interview series with leading women philanthropists and leaders in philanthropy.
This time, I had the distinct pleasure of a discussion with Chief Program Officer of California’s Rosenberg Foundation, Kendra Fox-Davis. I was thrilled to speak to Kendra, who is returning to have this conversation as a bit of a follow-up from the WOC Symposium in November. Everything she shared was so inspiring, and I knew she was the perfect person with whom to explore, remember, and embrace for Black History Month, particularly in the realm of fundraising and philanthropy.
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:
Editor’s Note: I wrote this post a year ago, but I 100% endorse it again as the best use of your Giving Tuesday resources.
Since starting Philanthropy Women, we have chosen to embrace Giving Tuesday each year in different ways, but always as a great opportunity to give back to women. This year we are celebrating Giving Tuesday by naming our Top 10 Picks for feminist giving for the day. We hope you enjoy the list and relish the experience of making an intentional gift to one or all of them on Giving Tuesday.
#1 Women’s Fund of Rhode Island or Your State’s Women’s Fund
There is really no better bang for your charity buck than your own local women’s fund. Ours here in Rhode Island does a fantastic job of gender equality education and training, civic engagement, and grantmaking. Imagine if every adult in Rhode Island (roughly 800,000 people) gave just $1 to the Women’s Foundation of Rhode Island? That would mean $800,000 in resources that would exponentially increase the education, engagement, and grantmaking for one of the most influential women’s organizations in the state. Then we could really see what WFRI is capable of in terms of helping our state move toward gender equality. If you don’t live in Rhode Island, you can find your local women’s fund by visiting the Women’s Funding Network where most state and regional women’s funds are members.
1. What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession?
When I switched careers 12 years ago, I didn’t understand the power dynamics and barriers that exist for grassroots nonprofits. I wish I knew the intricacies of philanthropy and why such large gaps exist between those who need funding and those who receive. I now see that collectively, we are moving the needle to shift philanthropy, but it’s happening very slowly.
While I wish I’d entered on this path sooner, I am proud to now devote my career to giving circles because I believe this model is the most dynamic way to liberate capital to nonprofit leaders who know what solutions are best for their communities. Giving circles are filled with everyday givers coming together to diversify and democratize philanthropy. These are the voices that have historically been excluded by mainstream philanthropy and the voices that will break down these existing power dynamics and eliminate barriers to much-needed funding for grassroots leaders.