Ms. Foundation to Philanthropy: Grow Local Economies by Supporting Low Wage Workers and Childcare Access

Childcare Impact Assessment, a new report from Ms. Foundation for Women, links up ways to effectively support women in the workforce: better wages and childcare access.

We know that childcare needs to be valued and supported for society to thrive. Yet, time and again, we leave parents, particularly low-income and young parents, out of the picture for access to childcare.

Today, a new study released by the Ms. Foundation for Women validated that state and local officials need to take the reigns and steer their community toward economic growth by funding access to childcare.

“Our approach has not only helped the local organizations achieve policy gains, but also provided necessary resources to develop intersectional leadership in grassroots organizations,” said Aleyamma Mathew, Director of Economic Justice at the Ms. Foundation for Women. “To achieve economic security in the Trump era, we have to win on the state and local level,” she added.

Read More

Harvesting Female Empowerment: Florence Reed, Sustainable Harvest International, and the Business of Food

Florence Reed, Founder and President, Sustainable Harvest International

Sustainable Harvest International Founder and President Florence Reed did not encounter many other women leaders in philanthropy when she started the organization in 1997. “I was flying by the seat of my pants. I literally went to a library and checked out a book on how to start a non-profit, and went through it chapter by chapter,” she recalled in a recent interview with Philanthropy Women. Who knew then how successful her initiative would be: Sustainable Harvest International (SHI) was recently named by Charity Navigator as one of the “six highest-ranking charities in the sector making major strides to increase sustainable food production.”

Read More

Can’t Get Promoted in Nonprofits? Are you LGBTQ Person of Color?

A new report with support from the Annie E. Casey Foundation and other partners helps to identify the multiple barriers faced by LGBTQ people of color in the nonprofit sector.

You work in a nonprofit that supports strengthening diversity and being conscious of race and gender bias, and yet you feel discriminated against year after year, as you are bypassed for promotions and other career advancement opportunities.  It’s a familiar story for many LGBTQ people of color, and now a new report has come out that fills a big research gap — the lack of data on leadership of LGBTQ people of color in the nonprofit industry.

“It was tough being one of a couple staff people of color in an LGBTQ organization. I would see things others didn’t and I would name it. That was sometimes really difficult for my superiors to hear,” said a multiracial transgender respondent quoted in the study.

The report, Working at the Intersections: LGBTQ Staff and the Nonprofit Leadership Gap, was recently released by the Building Movement Project (BMP), which is fiscally sponsored by Third Sector New England, which recently changed its name to TSNE MissionWorks. BMP started as a collective of 20 people working in small nonprofits who came together in 1999 in order to maximize impact with up-to-date analysis on issues related to social justice and nonprofit operating practices. BMP was originally housed at the Hauser Center for Nonprofits at Harvard, and moved to Demos in 2003.

The report makes specific recommendations for nonprofits and foundations to address LGBTQ bias in the workplace.

This LGBTQ-focused report builds on the recent release of Race to Lead: Confronting the Nonprofit Racial Leadership Gap, which BMP released last month along with unveiling a new website, Racetolead.org, which serves as a new online hub for knowledge and action on the racial leadership gap in nonprofits.

One of the key findings of the study is that most LGBTQ people of color see racial discrimination as the primary barrier to advancement toward leadership positions. Twice as many survey respondents identified race as negatively impacting on their careers compared to sexual orientation, according to the study’s findings.

This finding informs the report’s recommendations that nonprofit agencies take a primary focus on race, in order to lay the groundwork for the organization to begin addressing issues of anti-LGBTQ bias. The report also recommends that funders and nonprofits adopt nondiscrimination policies that include sexuality and gender identity, and establish systems for monitoring and addressing discrimination.

More on the report here. Read More

We-Fi to the Rescue: Will Trump Lead the World With Empowering Women Entrepreneurs?

The World Bank, along with President Donald Trump, recently announced We-Fi, which will finance women entrepreneurs in developing nations.

In another unexpected “first” for our nation, Donald Trump decided to have his daughter, Ivanka sit in for him at the G20 leaders’ summit in Hamburg, Germany. But another, perhaps more important first also took place at this meeting: The World Bank Group announced the creation of an innovative new facility that plans to invest more than $1 billion to advance women’s entrepreneurship. This new facility will give women in developing countries a leg up when it comes to increasing their access to capital and markets that will help them start and grow businesses.

“This incredible facility will have a significant impact on women’s economic development around the world,” United States President Donald Trump said in a recent press release from the World Bank. “It will help increase opportunities and economic growth while addressing unique barriers women entrepreneurs face. I am proud the United States is helping to lead support of this unprecedented initiative.”

Wow. I think that is the most articulate I have ever heard President Trump sound. Is there hope for a gender equality agenda growing out of the Trump White House?

As it turns out, the United States initiated the idea for this new facility, and will serve as a founding member, along with Australia, Canada, China, Denmark, Germany, Japan, Netherlands, Norway, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom. The genesis of this idea came from United States and Germany, who then invited the World Bank Group to create the facility.

The new initiative is called the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi) and is a huge public acknowledgement of the advantages men have in the business world. We-Fi aims to remedy that inequality by providing women with access to capital, networks, and knowledge in order to grow female entrepreneurship. Trump said the U.S. would contribute $50 million to the initiative.

The problems women businesses face are staggering. The World Bank estimates that there is a $300 billion annual credit deficit to formal women-owned small and medium-sized enterprises worldwide. That means that seventy percent of these businesses in developing countries are shut out of the financing they need to grow.

Now, with this new initiative, global leaders are giving unprecedented attention to women as the key point of contact in improving and stabilizing economies. This means women are being newly recognized for the critical role they can play in creating jobs and boosting economic growth, particularly in the developing world. According to the press release, “We-Fi fills a gap where there was no significant fund or facility committed to a holistic public and private sector approach to addressing the constraints faced by women entrepreneurs.”

The strategy will unlock $1 billion in financing targeted specifically to women, with the goal of leveraging $325 million in donor grant funding along with the $1 billion in financing.

It is really interesting to see how the issues of women and financial power are coming together on the global scene, even as women and other marginalized populations face unprecedented threats to their human rights and access to health care.  We will be watching the We-Fi initiative closely here at Philanthropy Women, since it so importantly ties together private and public support for women’s empowerment globally.

More information on this new initiative from World Bank.

 Read More

Is It Possible? Accenture Commits to Full Gender Balance by 2025

Accenture, a professional services company, has announced a new goal to reach gender parity in its workforce by 2025.

Accenture, a professional services corporation which has studied and made public its own employee demographics, plans to reach 40% female employment by 2020. In addition, the corporation recently announced a new goal for total gender parity in its workforce by 2025.

But is it possible? Studies that peg the gender ratios for corporate boards predict the year that gender parity will be realized on corporate boards is 2055. Other studies suggest it will take another 40 years to close the gender pay gap in academia. But the company has a strong ethic of transparency that they believe helps them advance community objectives, and might possibly put them in a position to lead the charge on gender equity in business. “When you publish a goal, it holds you accountable to a higher level,” says Ellen Shook, chief leadership and human resources officer at Accenture, in this article from Fortune.

Let’s hope that, by making these goals widely known, Accenture will be able to influence other corporations in the same direction. The more corporations that make public their goals to reach gender equity, the better.

From the article:

Accenture currently employs 150,000 women globally. In 2016, the company says that women accounted for 20% of its managing directors and 30% of promotions to the MD level. It aims to grow the share of female managing directors to 25% by 2020 […]  The company credits its slow-but-steady progress to its willingness to experiment with how it attracts, advances, and sponsors women. Among the strategies it’s employed: a sponsorship program that connects senior women with two sponsors from the global management committee, a referral program that rewards employee who refer women, blacks, Hispanics, and veterans who are hired with a bonus, and a 16-week paid maternity leave policy.

Check out the the press release at Accenture for more information about its plans to achieve gender equity.Read More

Bloomberg and Partners Support Philanthropy Strategy Aimed at Female Coffee Farmers

Sustainable Harvest has a wide array of supporters including The Clinton Foundation, Bloomberg Philanthropies, and the Lemelson Foundation. It reports leveraging more than $4 million in development grants from foundations and academic, corporate and institutional partners, to deliver programs that help coffee farmers.

An article from Barista Magazine brings good news for women and coffee aficionados worldwide: the launching of a new program aimed at improving coffee quality and productivity for female farmers in Colombia. The new program is a partnership of Strauss Coffee, Sustainable Harvest and the Relationship Coffee Institute. From the article: 

A lot of things make coffee better—for example, better growing practices, a deeper understanding of soil quality, or more advanced machinery for depulping coffee cherries. Time and again, one of the single biggest contributors to an increase in both coffee quality and outcomes for farmers is investment in women. That’s why Strauss Coffee, one of the largest coffee companies in the world, in partnership with Sustainable Harvest Coffee Importers and the Relationship Coffee Institute (RCI), are taking part in a new incentive program aimed at improving the lives of female farmers in Colombia.

“Research has shown us that women are responsible for over 70 percent of the work in the global coffee market, yet they often own about 15 percent of the land, mills and actual product,” says Orr Rachlevsky, director of strategy and projects for Strauss. “Women are the driving force behind families and communities—investing in women is the best investment we can make.” Women are more likely to reinvest their earnings into the communities, so pledging aid and support was almost an easy choice that Strauss made to create better outcomes for farmers, and ultimately produce better coffee in Colombia. Before this project, Strauss already committed resources to projects in Honduras, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Vietnam, and El Salvador.

Relationship Coffee Institute (RCI) was created from a partnership between Bloomberg Philanthropies and Sustainable Harvest. RCI successfully piloted a program called Premium Sharing Rewards with two Rwandan women’s cooperatives in 2015. Now the program will be piloted in Colombia, where Strauss Coffee will be working with approximately 300 farmers that participate in the Coocentral cooperative in the Huila district. Read More