Sustainable Harvest International Founder and President Florence Reed did not encounter many other women leaders in philanthropy when she started the organization in 1997. “I was flying by the seat of my pants. I literally went to a library and checked out a book on how to start a non-profit, and went through it chapter by chapter,” she recalled in a recent interview with Philanthropy Women. Who knew then how successful her initiative would be: Sustainable Harvest International (SHI) was recently named by Charity Navigator as one of the “six highest-ranking charities in the sector making major strides to increase sustainable food production.”
For Helen LaKelly Hunt, three central passions drive her work: funding for gender equality, changing the culture of intimate relationships, and rethinking the historical roots of American feminism. These three passions all come together in a new way with the publication of her latest book.
“Jennifer Baumgardner gets much credit. After all, she published this book.” said Helen, in a recent interview with Philanthropy Women. “And as a result of Jennifer’s passion, I always remind her, this book has two mothers.” Baumgardner is the Publisher at The Feminist Press, which released Helen’s book this past May.
Young feminists have been organizing across the globe for decades, but their work, particularly in the media sector, has been woefully underfunded. I know, since I was one of them. In 1969, when I co-founded Women Make Movies, women’s funds didn’t exist.
Over the decades, thousands of young activists have gathered at events like the International Forum on Women’s Rights and Development, the flagship event of AWID (Association of Women’s Rights in Development), and have talked about the need for more funding for young feminists, particularly in media. As the last decade closed, many young activists lamented that no women’s fund specifically addressed their youthful organizing needs. So they decided to start their own, with AWID and Fondo Centralamericano de Mujeres (Central America Women’s Fund) incubating this spark of an idea.
Tracy Gary says she starts every day as a “grateful activist.” That’s a good way to approach the morning, and an attitude that infuses the 66-year old Gary’s now 40-year career as philanthropy advisor, non-profit leader, donor and consultant.
A founder of nearly two dozen non-profits, Gary heads Unleashing Generosity and Inspired Legacies, and is on the road 40 days per year working with non-profits, foundations, and donors. That’s down from the 200 days away from home she used to log, but in the last few years she has reduced her workload (which used to run to 60-80 hours per week) and dropped 100 pounds. It’s a matter of staying healthy, and staying on the planet, so that she can continue mentoring the next generation of inheritors and philanthropy professionals.
“We have been very intentional to make sure that organizations that are connected to communities and girls of color are at the table,” said C. Nicole Mason, Ph.D., Vice President of Programs for the Washington Area Women’s Foundation (WAWF), when talking with Philanthropy Women recently about the launch of the Young Women’s Initiative (YWI).
This connectedness to the community is a big factor in what makes YWI a powerful vehicle for youth empowerment for girls of color as well as for transgender and non-gender conforming youth.
I have spent the past few years observing, writing about, and getting more involved in the world of women’s philanthropy. During that time, multiple experts have referred to the work of Kimberlé Crenshaw as being essential to the changes we now see going on in philanthropy, with more efforts to apply both a gender and race lens when framing problems and funding new strategies.
Indeed, with her scholarship, advocacy, and legal expertise, Crenshaw has helped build and disseminate whole new areas of knowledge including critical race theory and intersectional theory. These concepts have helped philanthropists like Peter Buffett and organizations like the NoVo Foundation apply an inclusive gender and race lens that values and addresses the needs of women and girls of color in the United States.
The world of gender lens investing has yet to be even marginally explored for all its potential, especially given that only 1.1% of assets under management in the asset industry are controlled by women and minorities.
That’s why it’s exciting to learn that the Women’s Fund of Rhode Island is hosting an event on June 7, 2017 featuring Jackie VanderBrug, gender lens investing expert. I featured Jackie VanderBrug in my list of 9 leaders to know in gender lens investing. Here is my capsule on her:
“We know Minnesotans have many shared values, including equality and opportunity,” says Lee Roper-Batker, CEO of the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota. But getting those shared values to manifest in support for policies that advance women and girls is sometimes a task that feels comparable to scaling the world’s highest mountain. “We have to meet people where they are and bring them with us,” she says, which can often be a daunting task.
Lee Roper-Batker spoke to me by phone from her office at the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota (WFM) in downtown Minneapolis, a stone’s throw from the Mississippi River. The WFM is the oldest and largest statewide women’s foundation in the U.S., and its mission is to engage in “systems change” affecting individual, cultural and community attitudes and behaviors. The goal is to move institutions and public policies toward gender equity, something that Roper-Batker describes as “Our Everest.” A Minnesota native, Roper-Batker has headed the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota, which started in 1983, since 2001.
A veteran powerhouse of women’s philanthropy, Ana Oliveira, is scheduled to receive one of the most prestigious awards for leaders forging new paths to address poverty and inequality in the world.
On May 22, Ana Oliveira, along with four other (all male) honorees, will be receiving NYU’s McSilver Award. The McSilver Awards are given out by the McSilver Institute for Poverty and Policy Research, which is part of NYU’s Silver School of Social Work.
Ana Oliveira has been leading the New York Women’s Foundation as President and CEO since 2006. Her leadership has sparked massive growth for the foundation, in is strategy, its research, and its dollars to deploy for the cause of gender equality.
As the fate of Michelle Obama’s signature philanthropy program, Let Girls Learn, hangs in the balance, the Women’s Foundation of Colorado is planning a live conversation with the Former First Lady to discuss ways to advance empowerment for girls and women worldwide.
Former First Lady Michelle Obama is headlining for the Women’s Foundation of Colorado’s 30th Anniversary Celebration on July 25th, a public event called TOGETHER, which will raise cash to support the educational and economic advancement of Colorado women and their families.