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.
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:
Jackie VanderBrug, Senior Vice President and Investment Strategist, US Trust
VanderBrug is one of the earlier and most dedicated leaders in the new field of gender lens investing. She comes from Criterion, another pioneer in the field where she helped develop the Women Effect. VanderBrug’s awareness of the interrelated nature of social change began when she was a domestic policy analyst for the U.S. Congress. Along with Sarah Kaplan, VanderBrug recently authored an article entitled the Rise of Gender Capitalism, published in the Fall 2014 issue of the Stanford Social Innovation Review, which discussed in detail how investing with a gender lens creates financial and social impacts, while also helping women.
“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.
“Mrs. Obama has inspired many girls with her story and her fierce commitment to creating access to education for girls. We are thrilled that she is joining us,” said WFCO President and CEO Lauren Y. Casteel, in a recent press release about the event. Ms. Casteel, who was inducted into the Colorado Women’s Hall of Fame in 2014, will serve as moderator for the live conversation with Mrs. Obama.
Over the course of her eight years as First Lady, Mrs. Obama was a persistent advocate for gender equality, stressing the importance of women and girls pursuing higher education and job training. One of the most successful initiatives that Mrs. Obama championed was Let Girls Learn, an international effort to help adolescent girls access education.
Colorado’s 30th anniversary celebration plans to bring together thousands of diverse community members to raise money for the WFCO to pursue its mission of raising the educational and financial status of women and girls. Since its inception in 1987, WFCO has granted more than $16 million to advance gender equality in Colorado.
It’s Time Network hosted a conference call this past week that gave a window for states across the country to learn about California’s efforts to grow gender equality movements. The call featured Jessica Stender of Equal Rights Advocates, who has been coordinating and enacting many steps of a legislative agenda for women in California. The call was well-received nationally, with people registered from 16 states.
From Betsy McKinney and the It’s Time Network team:
Thank you for joining us for Tuesday’s virtual convening to learn about how we can support policy agendas that lift women and children out of poverty, ensure fair pay and family-friendly workplaces, and more, focusing on the Stronger California legislation.
Of the $71.4 trillion dollars controlled by the asset management industry, only 1.1 percent of total assets under management are with firms owned by women and minorities.
You heard that right. Although the number of firms that are women- or minority-owned can range from 3 to 9% across the four different asset categories in the industry, assets controlled by those firms account for only 1.1% of all assets under management.
A press release from the Knight Foundation, which commissioned the study, states that this is the most in-depth study to date about ownership diversity in asset management. Additional analysis revealed that the 1.1% managed by women and minorities had no difference in performance from the 98.9% non-diverse asset management industry.
“While diverse-owned firms have grown in representation in recent years, the growth has been moderate and has not uniformly occurred across all asset classes,” states the report’s conclusions.
How did the Knight Foundation come to study asset diversity? Quite naturally. The study grew out of the Knight Foundation’s own efforts to diversity its endowment. Over the past decade, Knight moved 22 percent of its endowment — a total of $472 million dollars — into management by women- and minority-owned firms.
“This study, and our experience, confirm that there is no legitimate reason not to invest with diverse asset managers in the 21st century,” said Alberto Ibargüen, president of Knight Foundation.
The study was led by Josh Lerner of Harvard Business School, and the Bella Research Group. Lerner is Chair of the Entrepreneurial Management Unit at Harvard Business School and the Jacob H. Schiff Professor of Investment Banking.
Things are really coming together for women’s funds and gender lens investing, as this new report details. The new report is written by Joy Anderson, President and Founder of Criterion Institute, Ms. Foundation President Teresa Younger, and Elizabeth Schaffer, Chief Operating Officer of the Global Fund for Women.
I have not read the report in total yet, but from my first foray in, I am really excited to see how these advanced thinkers and leaders are putting ideas together and finding new synergy for social change and finance. This is powerful stuff!
The report is written using architectural design as an extended metaphor for how to integrate the different sectors of finance, women’s funds, and social change theory. Combining these three components, the report then makes practical suggestions about how to influence issues like domestic violence, the gender wage gap, and climate change.