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.
It seems, in the feminist philanthropy community, everyone is waiting for that tipping point to come, when women’s leadership finally establishes its value to the world. COVID, it seems, is helping to accelerate our awareness of the added value of women’s leadership. By showing that countries led by women having strikingly better COVID survival and containment rates, we should finally be at that point where you could practically pour the product of women’s leadership into a bottle and sell it on the open market.
Well, think again. I have been on my own quest to establish the value of women’s leadership, particularly women’s leadership in philanthropy, over the past five years. I went in with the theory that feminist strategies are more powerful strategies, and once people get to know more about them, lots of folks would flock to our website and build up our subscriber base to the point where, eventually, it might even turn into a for-profit market product. Though fiscally sponsored by the Women’s Funding Network, our budget and strategy is built around the idea that only a small portion of our funding should come from grants, and that as our subscriber base grows, eventually, we could become attractive to a regular small business publication or larger progressive media platform.
Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving In Real Life series featuresElodie Read, Program and Community Partnerships Lead at Subak, the first global non-profit tech accelerator dedicated to combatting the climate emergency.
1. What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession?
I’m pretty early on in my career so this is quite a tricky question to answer. At university and grad school, everyone is full of conviction, zeal and a healthy dose of naivety about how the world is and how it should be. When you start working, it can be easy to get bogged down in reality, but I think it’s important to remember why we got into this kind of work and to keep working with our values and goals at the front of our minds.
Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series featuresphilanthropist, fundraiser and advocate Akilah S. Wallace, who serves as Executive Director ofFaith in Texas.
What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession?
When I started out in the nonprofit sector and philanthropy, I wish I knew the diversity of career paths available and how both work and volunteer experiences in private and public sectors provided much-needed, transferable skills. Additionally, I wish I knew how valuable my lived experiences as a Black woman, single mother, volunteer and more, could help shape culturally-relevant programs, policies and how resources are distributed.
The Women’s Funding Network (WFN) is back this year with another exciting convening on the many forms of feminist changemaking happening in today’s world. This year’s Women Funded 2021 virtual conference, The Feminist Factor, focused on a wide range of philanthropic and social justice topics as we continue to fight the tide of inequality in a post-COVID world.
The conference’s mainstage plenary introduced some of the superstars of the feminist philanthropy world.
Monica Ramirez and Carmen Perez on Latinx in Feminist Giving
The mainstage event began with a conversation between Mónica Ramírez (Justice for Migrant Women) and Carmen Perez-Jordan (The Gathering for Justice) on the importance of Latinx feminism. Perez described her journey as a Chicana feminist, starting with her realization that her own mother was a feminist and had passed those ideals on to her.
Old Navy is setting a new standard for size inclusivity with BODEQUALITY, offering a wider range of sizes than any other value retailer.
Old Navy is revolutionizing the shopping experience with the launch of BODEQUALITY. Beginning on August 20, Old Navy will redefine size inclusion, offering every one of its women’s styles, in every size, with no price difference. As a brand committed to the democracy of style, Old Navy will be the first value retailer to offer sizes 0-30 and XS-4X for all women’s styles at price parity. With this launch, the brand is reimagining the shopping environment in all stores and online to be more size inclusive, giving women everywhere the fashion and experience that they deserve.
The Women’s Funding Network has announced the addition of Leela Bilmes Goldstein, PhD, Kelly Nevins, and Gina Jackson to its Board.
Women’s Funding Network announced the appointments of three new additions to its board of directors: Leela Bilmes Goldstein, PhD, Gina Jackson, and Kelly Nevins. The newly appointed members lead community-based women’s funds with national impact for gender equity and justice advocacy. They will have taken their seats on September 7th, 2021.
Irene Stepanenko, CEO of AskGrowers, reflects on gender equality in the cannabis industry as a celebration of Women’s Equality Day.
Women’s Equality Day is celebrated annually on August 26 to commemorate the adoption of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits states and the federal government from denying citizens the right to vote based on sex. The right of women to vote and participate in society and various industries was first enshrined at the state level. In practice, women still continue to struggle for equal opportunities and privileges. This sentiment was echoed in former President Obama’s Proclamation on August 25, 2016, “Today, as we celebrate the anniversary of this hard-won achievement and pay tribute to the trailblazers and suffragists who moved us closer to a more just and prosperous future, we resolve to protect this constitutional right and pledge to continue fighting for equality for women and girls.”
The Women’s Philanthropy Institute (WPI) has launched a new initiative to honor black women and their contributions to philanthropy.
On August 31st, the Women’s Philanthropy Institute (WPI), part of the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, announced the honorees of the Black Women Give Back List, a new initiative to spotlight the important work and contributions of Black women philanthropists. Created in partnership with The Women Invested to Save the Earth (WISE) Fund, the backbone organization for Black Philanthropy Month, the list spotlights 10 outstanding Black women philanthropists from diverse backgrounds who use their time, talent, treasure, testimony and ties to make the world a better place.
Editor’s Note: This dual interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Bridgit Antoinette Evans and Tracy Van Slyke, who are, respectively, the Chief Executive Officer and Chief Strategy Officer of the Pop Culture Collaborative, a philanthropic resource and funder learning community.
1. What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession?
Bridgit Antoinette Evans: I wish that I’d been introduced to Octavia E. Butler much earlier in life. Octavia wrote about this concept of “positive obsession,” which she described as “not being able to stop just because you’re afraid and full of doubts.” My mother and her siblings were leaders in the Civil Rights movement in Savannah, and while she fiercely believed that her daughters could be anything we wanted to be in the world, she was very clear that we needed to be improving the world while doing it. I wanted to be an artist, and so, as a teen, I became obsessed with one question: “What is the relationship between a great story and widespread cultural change?”