Liveblog of WPI: How Giving Circles Diversify Philanthropy

On July 16, the Women’s Philanthropy Institute hosted a live Q&A with Sara Lomelin of Philanthropy Together, to discuss the ways philanthropy can be democratized, empowered, and fueled by diversity. In light of current pressing issues like the Black Lives Matter movement and COVID-19, WPI and Philanthropy Together seek to answer the question, “How can giving circles transform the future of trust-based giving?”

Image Credit: WPI and Philanthropy Together

WPI Director Jeannie Sager kicked off the conversation by encouraging the participants to share their locations – people chimed in from all over the US and beyond.

Sager introduced the concept: “For too long, philanthropy has been seen as an exclusive club. Yet today, our country is experiencing a drastic reckoning… Who is called a philanthropist?”

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Women Leaders Condemn Supreme Court Birth Control Rollback

There was a big shift in how health care functions for women yesterday. An estimated 70,000 to 126,000 women will be prevented from accessing contraception due to the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the right of employers to refuse to provide birth control coverage for women.

 Elizabeth Barajas-Román, President and CEO, Women’s Funding Network, issued a call to action for donors to support women’s funds and other organizations protecting women’s reproductive rights. (Image Credit: WFN)

Women leaders across the country decried the decision for its devastating impact on women, including women leaders in philanthropy. Elizabeth Barajas-Román, President and CEO of the Women’s Funding Network, called attention to how this decision is particularly detrimental to women and girls of color.

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Donors: Support Research on Drug Dosages for Women

Here’s another way inequality has negatively impacted women’s health: incorrect drug dosages. Since most drug trials exclude women, based on false and outdated beliefs, drug dosages are set to work for men, not women. As a result, women take higher than needed doses of many medications, and suffer more adverse side effects.

Women metabolize medications differently from men, resulting in many women being overmedicated and suffering more adverse side effects. (Image Credit: Biology of Sex Differences)

Donors who are working at the intersection of gender equality and women’s health should take heed of new research published in Biology of Sex Differences that found that “The common practice of prescribing equal drug doses to women and men neglects sex differences in pharmacokinetics and dimorphisms in body weight, risks overmedication of women, and contributes to female-biased adverse drug reactions.” 

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Merck Seeks Grantees to Improve U.S. Childbirth Safety


Americans often think of high childbirth mortality rates as a problem plaguing low-income countries, but U.S. maternal mortality rates, particularly for African American and Native women, are high. Merck for Mothers’ “Safer Childbirth Cities” initiative is combating this trend, and its latest call for proposals is expanding its efforts beyond its initial ten-city cohort.

Merck for Mothers has issued an important new report on maternal mortality called “Insights from the States Report.” (Image Credit: Merck for Mothers)

While the U.S. maternal mortality rate is substantially lower than most countries of the Global South, according to the World Health Organization, the U.S. maternal death rate of 19 deaths per 100,000 live births it is substantially higher than Canada (10 per 100,000), the United Kingdom (7), Japan (5), Spain (4) and Italy (2). Countries comparable to the U.S. include Russia (17), Turkey (17) and Romania (19). Moreover, the U.S. is the only high-income country with a rising level of maternal mortality.

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Heidi Gonzalez: “Every Day is an Opportunity to Do Better”

Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Heidi Gonzalez, Executive Director of Adoptions From The Heart (AFTH). In addition to her duties as the new Executive Director, Heidi is the Regional Supervisor of Wynnewood, PA, Allentown, PA, and Wilmington, DE for AFTH.

Heidi Gonzalez is the Executive Director of Adoptions From The Heart, the first open adoption agency on the East Coast. (Image Credit: AFTH)

1. What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession?

I never really thought about it. In fact, I take each day as it comes. I try not to look back and get caught up in a “woulda shoulda coulda” mentality. Instead, I focus on the future and what I can do to improve my agency and myself. Every profession has its challenges: it’s all in how you handle them, and if I don’t think I did a bang up job the first time, I try to look at where I made mistakes and try to correct them the next time. Every day is an opportunity to do better–so that’s what I aspire to do.

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Going On the Record to Fight for Gender Equality

With COVID-19 dominating news feeds, it’s more important than ever before to keep our attention on movements like #MeToo and the fight for gender equality. The music industry, like many male-dominated fields, is rife with stories of harassment and assault. And the disconcerting trend we see over and over in cases of sexual assault pops up in the music industry, too: the silence of women scared that speaking up will mean losing their careers.

From left to right: Sil Lai Abrams, Drew Dixon and Sheri Hines attending Sundance Film Festival, Park City, USA – 26 Jan 2020. (Image Credit: Photo by Katie Jones/Variety/Shutterstock)

Academy Award-nominated filmmakers Amy Ziering and Kirby Dick seek to break this mold in On the Record, an intense and poignant account of one woman’s fight to tell her story. Drew Dixon, formerly a music executive at Def Jam Recordings and Arista Records, is one of the first women of color to speak up publicly about sexual assault at the hands of a prominent industry giant. On the Record tells her story, and those of several other women alleging sexual assault, harassment, or rape by music mogul Russell Simmons.

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Liveblog: Funding to End Violence Against Women of Color

Kiersten Marek, editor and publisher of Philanthropy Women, opened up today’s webinar, “Funding to End Violence Against Women of Color,” with a welcome to the speakers and audience.

She introduced the webinar with a discussion on the idea behind Philanthropy Women. Partially inspired by NoVo Foundation’s bold commitment of $90 million in funding for women and girls of color in 2016, Philanthropy Women launched in January of 2017 to cover this kind of intersectional feminist giving approach and others like it. However, with NoVo’s recent shuttering of programs for women and girls of color, the funding landscape for addressing domestic violence against women of color is facing some big changes.

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Gates Foundation Appoints First Gender Equality President

SEATTLE, June 11, 2020 – Today the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation named Anita Zaidi, currently director, Vaccine Development & Surveillance (VD&S) and Enteric & Diarrheal Diseases (EDD), as the first president of Gender Equality. In this new role, Anita will oversee a division comprised of the foundation’s Gender Equality program team and Gender Program Advocacy and Communications team.

Anita Zaidi
Anita Zaidi, a pediatric infectious-diseases physician, joins the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation as its first president of gender equality. (Image Credit: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation)

Zaidi will also take on responsibility for the foundation’s broader gender integration agenda, working with and across all program teams to ensure gender is being incorporated in a smart, thoughtful way to increase impact. Anita will report directly to CEO Mark Suzman and will join the Executive Leadership Team (ELT). She will assume her new role effective November 2, 2020.

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Promoting Awareness, Funding, and Women’s Art with Nurse Heroes

How can we properly honor healthcare professionals risking their lives on the front lines of COVID-19? Philanthropist and art collector Sandi Nicholson, and her husband Bill Nicholson, recently announced the launch of “Nurse Heroes,” an art contest and fundraising campaign to support the healthcare heroes of 2020.

A New York nurse celebrates during the city’s daily 7:00 clap for healthcare heroes. (Image Credit: Nurse Heroes)

“This year we celebrate the bicentennial of the birth of Florence Nightingale, founder of modern nursing and the first nursing college,” the Nicholsons announced in a press release. “Today, the legacy of Florence Nightingale continues, with people all over the world opening their doors and windows to show appreciation for our health care workers on the front lines. With ‘Nurse Heroes’ we recognized an opportunity to do more.”

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Upcoming Webinar: Funding to End Violence Against Women of Color

Join us at 2:00 PM ET on June 25th for the next edition in the Philanthropy Women webinar series: “Funding to End Violence Against Women of Color.”

This important discussion comes at a critical time: as the COVID-19 crisis continues to play a dangerous role in the rise of domestic violence cases; as demonstrations continue in response to the deaths of people of color at the hands of police officers; and as people join together around the world to call for action on behalf of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and the countless other women and people of color who deserve to have their stories heard.

The webinar will focus on ways philanthropy can help to end violence against women of color. With the tragic death of Breonna Taylor, we see how women’s lives are snuffed out with no repercussions. Black women in the US are more likely to experience domestic violence, be arrested for it, and be murdered by an intimate partner. This webinar will focus on key strategies funders can take to support women of color as they fight for their right to live and prosper.

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