Editor’s Note: the following post was originally published on February 3, 2021.
Here at Philanthropy Women, we started a series called Feminist Giving In Real Life (F-GIRL) to provide a platform for women leaders at all levels who are giving in a feminist way. This giving can happen through donations and funding strategy, through professional excellence, and/or through leadership efforts in the community. Feminist giving is a form of leadership that has special impact because it often combines deeply personal experience and significantly political thinking and acting.
Yesterday, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez performed what I would call a supreme act of feminist giving. When AOC spoke out against the January 6th riots and connected these riots to her experience of being sexually traumatized, she simultaneously stood up for every human who has experience sexual assault, and challenged the largest political body of our country to acknowledge how the January 6th riots are part of a continuum of pervasive violence against women, people of color, and other marginalized groups.
Editor’s Note: This post was originally published on August 3, 2020.
Since I launched Philanthropy Women in 2017, and even before then, I have been paying close attention to the trends, as well as the big plays and strategy shifts, happening in feminist giving. For that reason, I thought it might be helpful to enumerate some of those gender equality giving trends and other happenings, and flesh out what they mean both now and for the future of philanthropy.
1. Women Funders Are Getting More Ambitious With Their Strategies
I see women funders getting more ambitious with their strategies in many different ways, both in terms of the subjects they will fund as well as the approaches they are willing to try. This means they are doing bolder things with their money, which often translates into helping our culture to become more inclusive and knowledgeable about difference. For example, Mona Sinha, Chair of the Women Moving Millions Board, has done some amazing work lately supporting the documentary Disclosure. This film does groundbreaking work in terms of exploring the growing world of gender transition, helping this community to be seen and valued by society. Being unafraid to cross the barrier and fund the LGBTQ community is just one of the many bold strategies that more feminist funders are adopting more frequently.
If this last year taught us anything, it’s that qualified healthcare workers are needed now more than ever. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the healthcare industry is expected to add 2.4 million new jobs, which is more than any other occupational group. And as we know, healthcare jobs are predominantly held by women, with women representing about 76% of healthcare professionals.
As we recover from the pandemic in America, Goodwill is teaming with the Anthem Foundation to introduce Rising Together and the Goodwill Healthcare CareerLaunch.
The Anthem Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Anthem, Inc., focuses on funding critical initiates that improve lives and communities. Anthem is committing $750,000 for providing the necessary resources and training needed for individuals interested in working in the healthcare industry. The program is part of the new Rising Together coalition, which gives people support to access healthcare jobs that will lead to sustaining careers.
When last we spoke with Megha Desai of the Desai Foundation, it felt like the sky was the limit. But like so much else during the pandemic, critical need forced the Foundation to pivot away from their ambitious campaign goals around mask-making, and toward medical aid on the ground.
Like so many other nonprofit organizations, the Desai Foundation has been prompted to learned unexpected (but no less impactful) lessons during COVID. When one door closes, another opens, right? The Desai Foundation, however, also decided to build new doors.
Pivoting from Mask-Making to Other Areas of COVID Response in India
At the beginning of the pandemic, Megha Desai hoped to create a “Masks of Hope” campaign in India and the United States. The plan was to transition the Foundation’s production machines, ordinarily used to manufacture inexpensive menstrual hygiene products for communities in India, into mask manufacturing tools. Once the technique and designs were honed, the plan was to bring those machines back to the United States, bolstering the supplies of PPE moving to first responders and essential workers.
Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Dr. Anu Kumar, President and CEO of Ipas, an international reproductive health and rights organization.
1. What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession?
That the issues that I have chosen to work on, reproductive health and rights including access to abortion, are ones that will take generations to resolve. I naively thought that since Roe v. Wade was decided well before I came of reproductive age and the public health data were so clear about the health benefits of contraception and abortion for women, families, communities, and countries that logic would prevail and I would simply be running programs to scale up these programs. Little did I know that I would become a warrior for abortion rights!
WDN has launched a three-part seminar series covering reproductive justice and its relationships to feminism and anti-racist movements.
For the last ten years, birth justice service providers, advocates and funders have been pushing to improve US maternal health. Join WDN for a three-part series on birth justice and come away with an understanding of what the birth justice movement is, how it connects to the reproductive justice movement, and what it means to invest in it with an anti-racist, feminist lens.
Each session will cover a distinct topic with a panel of leaders from the birth justice movement. You can choose to go to as many or as few of the sessions as you’d like, in any order. Click “register” to select the sessions you’d like to attend.
In honor of Menstrual Hygiene Day on 5/28, Global G.L.O.W. has been working to fight against period stigma and poverty.
Global G.L.O.W. is an international non-profit organization that works with its partners in 23 countries on achieving gender equity. Mentoring young girls plays a large role in their activism. They feature three key initiatives in these mentorship programs.
GirlSolve focuses on the disparities that girls face in formal economic opportunities. GLOW Club helps girls to progress their ability to advocate for themselves, their emotional wellbeing, educational and community engagement and impact. The final initiative is Healthy GLOW, which works to educate girls on maintaining healthy bodies and relationships.
BWHI has received a grant of $400K from the Rockefeller Foundation to improve access to vaccines for black women and people of color.
The Black Women’s Health Imperative (BWHI) announced that it has received a $400,000 grant from The Rockefeller Foundation to improve vaccination rates among Black women and communities of color. The grant is part of The Rockefeller Foundation’s $20 million Equity-First Vaccination Initiative, which supports hyper-local, community-led programs to improve vaccine access and support educational outreach in five cities. Learnings from the initiative will help inform strategies across the country to increase access to Covid-19 vaccinations in communities of color, contributing to a collective, national north star goal of ensuring at least 70 million people of color will be fully vaccinated by July 2021.
The Biden Harris Administration recently released a statement analyzing how the American Jobs Plan will positively impact women’s employment.
Beginning with an acknowledgement of how the last year saw 3.7 million less women working, the Biden Harris administration recently released a statement discussing their efforts to fight against this trend. Since the onset of COVID, many women have taken on more difficult job conditions, while also being responsible for caregiving responsibilities. Discrimination and hardships plague women, especially women of color, as they try to participate in the workforce. Covid-19 has made this situation even worse, and solving this is key to economic recovery.
As well as being a gender lens publisher and a social worker practicing for over 25 years, I too have been a survivor of sexual assault. Mine was of a particularly insidious kind, all wrapped up in academia. In the process of applying to graduate school for my Masters in Fine Arts for Creative Writing, I got sexually assaulted. Not kidding.
Now, some 28 years later, with the perpetrator deceased, I am telling my story. But I still can’t tell it completely because my perpetrator was particularly unstable. He had been hospitalized multiple times for suicidality. He could go from complimenting you to abusing you in the blink of an eye. And he was particularly known for filing lawsuits, should anyone suggest he had problems with women. Given all of that, even with the perpetrator dead, it still isn’t safe to say his name. That’s the patriarchy for you. Even with the dominating male writer no longer among us, we still can’t talk about him safely.