Like many organizations in the women’s funding community, Women’s Funding Network had a robust year of working on the issues most important to women, including financial empowerment, collaborating with men as allies, and strategic leveraging as a donor and an advocate.
To go a little deeper into this past year of activity in feminist philanthropy, we decided to talk to Cynthia Nimmo, CEO of the Women’s Funding Network, and hear about what it felt like to run one of the most important organizations in the women’s funding space.
There are so many reasons to support your state’s women’s fund. Here in Rhode Island, our women’s fund plays a critical role in addressing gender equality with grantmaking, legislative advocacy, and in-depth research. All of this work helps to guide social change strategy and increases public awareness about gender equality in the state.
On Giving Tuesday, our household is pledging $500 for the Women’s Fund of Rhode Island. We support all of the goals of WFRI, but in particular, we are interested in supporting the organization’s legislative advocacy. According to WFRI, $500 will pay for “14 hours of written and verbal testimony for legislative hearings on Fair Pay, Reproductive Freedom and Freedom from Sexual Harassment.”
This is just a quick post before taking a few days off to enjoy time with family and friends. We will be covering several important events in upcoming posts, including a fascinating call on Gender Alpha with Suzanne Biegel and David Bank, where they discussed how “Gender Alpha” is all about identifying the specific dividends that gender lens investing yields. Biegel and Bank are co-producers of November’s Gender-Smart Investing Summit in London. Guests on the call included Luisamaria Ruiz Carlile of Veris Wealth Partners, which specializes in gender lens investing and research.
And one other quick note to acknowledge the significance of the recent elections, where voter turnout was higher than it has been in 104 years. That’s right — the last time voter turnout was as high as it was in 2018 was in 1914, before women even had the right to vote. Now that women and millennials are getting into the driver’s seat with social change, we hope to see even better voter turnout in 2020. I don’t know about you, but I am mighty thankful that people are finally getting the message (it seems!) about the importance of civic engagement. That could mean in 2020 we elect a President that gets us back on track in terms of valuing safety, diversity, and systems change to address inequality.
I can see the travel brochures now: Come to Seattle, home of some of the biggest feminist funding gatherings in recent history!
Not only did the Women’s Funding Network and Women Moving Millions convene in Seattle this year, but now the Women Donors Network has also paid a visit to Emerald City, making Seattle a central destination for feminist philanthropists in 2018. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation sponsored Women Moving Millions for their event in September, and hosted the Women’s Funding Network for an evening event at the same time.
People who have been incarcerated face a number of barriers in reintegrating into society. For women, girls and transgender communities, the difficulties can be even steeper. Oftentimes, the effects of incarceration can worsen problems related to housing and employment, and can have a devastating impact on children.
To address these problems, particularly for women, The New York Women’s Foundation recently announced the creation of The Justice Fund, which will aim to do more to dismantle mass incarceration, particularly for women, girls, and transgender people.
Within the past year, the Women’s Media Center reports that coverage of #MeToo in the mainstream media has grown significantly. As awareness about the detrimental effects of sexual assault continues to grow in our culture, the New York Women’s Foundation is fostering real efforts to aid #MeToo survivors. In May of 2018, the foundation created the Fund for the Me Too Movement and Allies, and now that fund has made $840,000 in its first round of grant funding. This is a collaborative effort, housed and managed by The New York Women’s Foundation, with the grantmaking decisions being made jointly with Tarana Burke, founder and leader of the #MeToo Movement.
With the recent news that “rage giving” — philanthropic giving to offset the shrinking of civil society resulting from the election of Donald Trump — is primarily driven by progressive women donors, the timing could not be better for Rebecca Traister’s new book, Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger. Particularly with the much-contested appointment of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, progressive women’s rage appears to be reaching a new crescendo, and the resultant giving to charity and politics may set new records.
Today is a remarkable day in American history, particularly for survivors of sexual assault. Today, Dr. Christine Blasey Ford testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee, bringing to light her experiences with Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and his alleged attempt to rape her while they were in high school. “Brett’s assault on me drastically changed my life,” she stated, and went on to recount the many ways that her life was changed by the trauma.
Two themes are popping up more frequently these days in the gender equality sphere: fearlessness and rage. We’re going to explore both of these themes more here at Philanthropy Women in the coming weeks and months. Tomorrow, I will be interviewing Jean Case, Co-Founder of the Case Foundation and author of the forthcoming title, Be Fearless. Later in October, I’ll be attending a reading and book signing for Rebecca Traister, author of Good and Mad: the Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger, and will be writing more about her work.
Both the Women’s Funding Network and Women Moving Millions are in Seattle today, meeting with their members. The Women Moving Millions event is co-hosted by the Gates Foundation, and both groups will be meeting up to discuss their work in the evening at the Gates Foundation.
One might wonder if this is an indicator of the increasing involvement of the Gates Foundation in gender equality philanthropy. And, in fact, the evening will close with a cocktail hour for the Women’s Funding Network hosted by Women Moving Millions at the Gates Foundation, so there will be some time for the three networks to compare notes.