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UPDATE: Thank you to all who have responded to our survey. We are getting a lot of good ideas for how to expand and sharpen our strategy. Those who haven’t joined in, get busy! Think of it as free therapy — your chance to vent about all your hopes and fears for gender equality movements.

Below is a survey we are are asking readers to respond to. With so many advanced thinkers and leaders in our audience, Philanthropy Women wants to make sure we have your needs covered when it comes to gender equality funding news. We also want to be able to share insights and honest observations from the community about gender equality movements and strategies, particularly ideas that might not otherwise surface in public discourse. Please let us know your thoughts!

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Voting is a Feminist Issue: Register before Deadlines and Help GOTV

Are you registered to vote?

This year promises to be a landmark year for American politics. The Presidential campaign, paired with the current impeachment proceedings and an upsurge in female and minority candidates for seats in Congress, makes this one of the most anticipated campaign seasons in recent history. In some states, however, it is already too late to register to vote in the 2020 primary elections.

For the primary elections, many states’ voter registration deadlines have already passed. Are you registered to vote? (Photo Credit: Annie Bolin)

It’s no secret that America’s voting system is flawed. Voter registration systems and deadlines are often difficult to understand–or to find in the first place. Most states offer voter registration systems by mail, in person, or online, and a small minority offer registration on Election Day with the right materials.

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WFN Announces Leadership Transition as CEO Steps Down

WOMEN’S FUNDING NETWORK BOARD OF DIRECTORS ANNOUNCES LEADERSHIP TRANSITION 

San Francisco, Calif. ― After six years at the helm of one of the oldest women’s philanthropy organizations in the world, Cynthia Nimmo will be stepping down from her role as President and CEO of the Women’s Funding Network (WFN), effective Feb. 17, Julie Castro Abrams, Governance Chair of the organization’s Board of Directors announced today. 

Elizabeth Barajas-Roman will be the incoming President and CEO of the Women’s Funding Network (Image Credit: WFN)

“I am so proud of what we have accomplished at WFN,” Nimmo said. “We are on a strong trajectory for continued growth and expansion. After 13 years with the organization, the last six as President and CEO, I believe that this is the right moment to create space for new leadership to build off of this momentum and take WFN into 2020 and beyond.”

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Abortion as an Act of Love: Network of Funds Announces New Campaign

National Network of Abortion Funds and Forward Together Unveil Art Campaign Illustrating Multigenerational Support for Abortion as an Act of Love 

On Roe anniversary, new artwork envisions the power of compassionate abortion support because everyone loves someone who had an abortion

Art created by Kenya Martin, Jasmine Burnett and Micah Bazant as a collaboration between National Network of Abortion Funds and Forward Together. (Image Credit: National Network of Abortion Funds)

As this week marks the 47th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, the National Network of Abortion Funds and Forward Together are launching an art campaign that envisions multigeneration love and support during abortion. Forty-seven years after Roe, and in light of attacks attempting to block abortion access at the state and federal level, it’s apparent that Roe was never a promise to abortion access. The recent wave of attacks on abortion have left community members confused about where and if they can access abortion services. Many people are left facing increased attacks, intimidation at clinics, and stigma from their communities for accessing the care that they need—all pushing abortion access even further out of reach.

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Vermont Women’s Fund Helps Girls’ Soccer Team Open #EqualPay DAF

Burlington High School Soccer Players Score First Youth-Led Fund at Vermont Community Foundation

Members of the Burlington High School girls’ varsity soccer team have collaborated with the Vermont Women’s Fund to open the first youth-led donor advised fund at the Vermont Community Foundation. The young players’ new #EqualPay Fund will increase access for girls to soccer programs and accelerate progress to close the wage gap in Vermont—where, on average, women earn 84 cents to every dollar earned by men.

Burlington High School girls’ varsity soccer players have collaborated with the Vermont Women’s Fund to open the first youth-led donor advised fund at the Vermont Community Foundation (Photo Credit: Vermont Women’s Fund)

Initially, the project started as a local fundraiser selling #EqualPay jerseys to support the Greater Burlington Girls Soccer League (GBGSL). The soccer players wanted to emulate their heroes on the U.S. Women’s National Team and amplify their #EqualPay message. The young players sought out logistical and strategic support from Change The Story VT, an initiative fueled by the Vermont Women’s Fund, Vermont Commission on Women, and Vermont Works for Women that is committed to fast-tracking women’s economic security to benefit women, their families, and the Vermont economy. Change The Story helped source and produce the special-label jerseys similar to the USWNT uniforms and advised the team on fundraising strategy.

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Top 10 Posts of 2019 on Philanthropy Women

The Top 10 Posts of 2019 covered a wide range of topics including domestic violence, giving circles, women in finance, and more.
The Legacy of Jennifer Schlecht and the Tragedy of her Loss

Today, we want to believe we are so connected and empowered as women, and yet, Jennifer Schlecht was not connected enough to be protected from the brutal murder of herself and her precious daughter at the hands of her husband. We got many times the average number of page views for this post. Ariel Dougherty did an excellent job of combining resources and analysis in the piece, but the fact that it got so many page views also suggests that this story was vastly under-reported in the mainstream news. While I’m proud to hold up the banner and call attention to this terrible domestic violence tragedy, I also urge other publishers and news outlets to take up the discussion of domestic violence by publishing articles about victims like Jennifer Schlecht, so that we can find more solutions that address violence against women.
At $37 Billion, Did MacKenzie Bezos Get a Fair Divorce Settlement?

This post also got a much higher number of page views than most of our posts. It seemed to hit a nerve, with several commenters dissenting from my opinion that MacKenzie Bezos may have deserved more. It’s an important question that needs further exploration from funders: how to ensure that women are adequately compensated in divorce. The Bezos divorce could have produced billions and billions more for philanthropy, had the financial settlement been a more 50/50 arrangement. In any case, it got people talking, and paying attention to, the philanthropy of MacKenzie Bezos.
L’il Rhody Smashes the Patriarchy, Protecting Roe and Repro Rights. How Did They Do It?

With women’s reproductive rights being stolen away in parts of the country, it was heartening to report on Rhode Island’s successful passage of protections for access to reproductive health care. We hope this article provides a template that other states can consider as they find ways to protect a woman’s right to choose.
We Are Unstoppable: Giving Circles Organize Into a Movement

This piece started out on PW and was later reshared with some changes on Ms. Magazine. It tells the story of how women are finding new ways to fund social change with networks and circles. Since this article was published, the Gates Foundation has invested $2 million more in building the infrastructure for giving circles to continue to expand across the U.S.
Investing in Girls Who Invest

The strategies for moving more women into the finance sector are expanding, and new techniques, such as training women in college to practice investing skills, are gaining more traction. This story was widely viewed, and has a great follow-up in the news this past month, with Coca-Cola’s announcement that it will give $1 million to Girls Who Invest.
Male Domination Prevails: Detailing Media’s Gender Imbalance

The lack of women in media was a major topic this past year, with films including This Changes Everything showcasing the data that proves that women continue to lack employment in and coverage by all forms of media. Laura Dorwart’s piece on The Women’s Media Center’s research and its ongoing fight to call attention to this problem did its job: it got seen by lots of eyeballs, and hopefully added to the momentum to actually do something about this problem.
Women Give More from Less

This piece on Paypal’s research on women’s giving patterns also had a very high page view rate, with lots of shares on social media as well. People are drawn to knowing more about the curious fact that women have less to give, and yet manage to give more than men. Bottom line: more research like this needs to happen, so we can begin to understand the way that gender and philanthropy relate to each other and influence social change.
#WomenFunded2019: Highlights from the First Day

One of the most important conferences this past year was WFN’s September conference in San Francisco. So many amazing leaders attended, and the speakers and workshops provided for a deep and purposeful convergence of women givers and their allies.
Shaping the Shapers: How WMM Trains Women in Social Change

Women Moving Millions continues to show itself as an organization with great passion for moving the needle on gender equality. This interview by our Senior Writer Maggie May with WMM’s new Executive Director, Sarah Haacke Byrd, helps to drill down on how this network is refashioning itself to train a cadre of feminist givers who know the strategies for high impact.
California Gender Justice Funders Launch $10 Mil Culture Change Fund

Another post that saw a high rate of page views was our piece on the Culture Change Fund, spearheaded by the Women’s Foundation of California. This cross-sector collaboration of corporate, private, and public foundations was a story of great interest to our readers, many of whom are working at different levels to build stakeholder alliances for gender equality movements.
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WFN to Lead Gates-Funded Anti-Poverty Work Via Women’s Funds

A giant breakthrough has happened for women’s funds and feminist approaches to social change. The Women’s Funding Network, the world’s largest network of foundations investing in women and girls, has announced receiving $1.69 million in grant funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. This funding will be used to establish “a cohort of ten women’s foundations whose collaborative efforts will be harnessed to increase women’s economic mobility in their communities,” according to a press release announcing the new funding.

Cynthia Nimmo, CEO of the Women’s Funding Network, thanked the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for their generous gift of $1.69 million, which will fund multi-state efforts led by women’s funds to create economic mobility for women and girls. (Photo Credit: WFN)

This funding could not have come at a more auspicious time. Women’s funds and gender lens grantmaking are a tiny but fast-expanding segment of philanthropy, and this historically large grant will put the peddle to the metal for accelerating feminist approaches to social change.

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#GivingTuesday2019 Reports Nearly $2 Billion in U.S. Donations

Another #GivingTuesday is one for the books! According to the organization that created the international day of generosity, this year’s online and offline donations crushed a monumental milestone: almost $2 billion in donations in the United States alone, with $511 million in online donations.

According to statistics collected by GivingTuesday, United States donors gave nearly $2 billion on December 3, 2019. (Photo Credit: GivingTuesday)

“Generosity is a core trait and value that brings people of all races, faiths, and political views together,” said Asha Curran, Co-founder and CEO of GivingTuesday. “GivingTuesday creates a shared space where we can see the radical implications of a more generous world.”

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Could Feminist Funding have Saved the Kamala Harris Campaign?

On December 3, 2019, California Senator Kamala Harris announced her decision to drop out of the 2020 presidential race.

“I’ve taken stock and looked at this from every angle, and over the last few days have come to one of the hardest decisions of my life,” Harris wrote in a Medium article, which was also sent out to supporters through email and social media. “My campaign for president simply doesn’t have the financial resources we need to continue.”

Kamala Harris, the second African American woman to be elected to the U.S. Senate, announced her decision to withdraw from the presidential race in December 2019. (Photo Credit: Kamala Harris For The People)

The Harris campaign’s inability to fund itself raises important questions about the future of political campaigns in the United States. Could the Harris campaign have been saved by a last-minute large-dollar donation?

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What Can $20 Million Do For Women’s Funds Internationally?

Four private U.S. Foundations—Foundation for a Just Society, Open Society Foundations, Wellspring Philanthropic Fund, and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation —have recently announced that they are joining forces to provide $20 million to women’s funds internationally.

BANGKOK, THAILAND: Neeramol Sutipannapong, a home-based worker, stitches a variety of hand bags and other products to help support her family. (Hewlett Foundation “Images of Empowerment.” Photo by Reportage by Getty Images.)

The $20 million investment was designed in consultation with women’s funds, and the five-year initiative will help the funds maximize their impact in promoting gender equity. “The resources of philanthropies have not always reached enough feminist activists, who we know are leading social change and driving gender equity. To solve this problem, we need to democratize philanthropy,” says Joy Chia, program officer with the Women’s Rights Program at Open Society Foundations. “This means putting more resources in the hands of women’s funds, who are well-placed to equip feminist movements, advocates, and innovators in the field with the tools to sustain change.”

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