The Significance of Philanthropic Collectives for Black Women

To commemorate Black Philanthropy Month, let’s consider this: Of the $4.8 billion in philanthropic investments made in the south, less than one percent of that amount goes to Black women and girls. This is traditionally one of the most underserved populations in the south.

Southern Black Girls is an important philanthropic collective. (Image credit: Southern Black Girls)

This statistic is VERY disappointing. Southern Black Girls is a collective of Black women in philanthropy and they have made it their highest priority to disrupt the way philanthropy is done in the south. Their goal is to help change the status quo.

Southern Black Girls has been on a mission to raise $100 million over the next decade to financially empower the goals and dreams of Black girls and women across the south. Their signature giving vehicles – the Black Girl Dream Fund and the #BlackGirlJoyChallenge are starting to make those goals and dreams a reality.

To date, they have already awarded $3.7 million to 221 Black women-led organizations and 504 girls across 13 southern states. When you think of this year’s theme for National Black Philanthropy Month, “Love in Action,” the work of the Southern Black Girls is the very epitome and clear example of it.

Over the last year, they have acquired the support and partnership of Megan Thee Stallion’s Pete and Thomas Foundation, who last year served as the lead community partner for Southern Black Girls’ inaugural Joy Is Our Journey Bus Dream Bus Tour. This fall, Megan and her foundation will return in partnership with the Southern Black Girls to host their own #BlackGirlJoyChallenge, a combined effort that will award 200 micro-grants to young girls and gender-expansive youth who have ideas for spreading joy to their friends, family and community.

To view the website, click on the link below:

Southern Black Girls and Women’s Consortium (Southern Black Girls)

One: $300,000 to Study Why Women are Stuck at 20% of STEM

Matilde Sánchez-Peña is the principal investigator of a project that recently received a $300,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to study why steep gender disparities still persist in engineering disciplines. Despite 20 years of investment, women make up only 20% of engineering students and tenure-track faculty.

Matilde Sánchez-Peña is an assistant professor in engineering education at the University at Buffalo. She is using her background to promote the inclusion, retention and promotion of underserved people in engineering.

“We are missing a lot of really important perspectives from the engineering table. It’s not just females, it’s also people of color, first-generation college students, people with disabilities. It’s not surprising that a lot of our engineering misses the insights these people could offer.”

This lack of inclusion often means products are often designed that do not meet the needs of different populations. For example, the first seat belts were designed using only a male body for a test-crash dummy. “Females were not on the designer’s spectrum,” said Sánchez-Peña. “The first seat belts were not safe for short women.” Such biases are implicit across engineering’s many applications.

For the full article, follow this link:

Two: Grants for Survivors of Gender-Based Violence in Chicago

The Chicago Department of Family and Support Services (DFSS) today announced the official launch of the Emergency Financial Assistance (EFA) for Gender-based Violence and Human Trafficking (GBV/HT) Survivors. 

This is a new $5M fund to provide cash assistance to survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, or human trafficking. There will be an additional $1M in funding from the 2023 budget. The program will provide one-time, $1000 payments to support  the economic stability of survivors. 

“We must do what we can as a city to break down barriers that prevent survivors from accessing the resources they need to personally rebuild and revive,” said Mayor Brandon Johnson.

The Emergency Financial Assistance program  will aid recovery because economic stability is a crucial factor necessary to heal the pain of trauma. Economic resources 

DFSS Commissioner Brandie Knazze added, “The resources from this fund will provide the flexibility that survivors need to determine how to seek safety, access transportation, or obtain healthcare and housing.” 

The complete release is available at the link below:

Three: Grants to Address Sexual Exploitation on Lake Victoria 

Women trying to earn a living as fish traders on Lake Victoria are subjected to degrading and exploitative conditions by male fishermen. The men force the female traders to have sexual relationships in order to have access to a steady supply of product.

Lake Victoria borders Kenya, Uganda, and Tanzania in Africa. The Canadian Government has established a fund of 1 Billion Tanzanian shekels (Sh 1B) (approximately $6.8 million USD) to fight the practice and unlock the potential of women in the “blue economy”, covering the lake and coastal regions of Lake Victoria.

Recently, the fund named local women Mathildah Amollo and Angela Odero as the first beneficiaries of the grants. The two women were each awarded Sh 56 million (USD $25,000) in their efforts to fight this sex-for-fish culture on the lake and its environs.

Mathilda Amollo left formal employment as a finance director of Sarova Hotels and traveled to her rural homeland. When she learned how prevalent the practice of jaboya (sex-for-fish) had become, her “heart broke for these women and I thought to myself there’s certainly something that I can do to make a difference”. Her first step was to convince the women to get training in the best aquaculture practices.

Angela Odero first learned of the practice while typing her mother’s master’s thesis that connected the spread of HIV to jaboya. After she learned of a 13-year old girl who became pregnant by a fisherman, she “was furious. My maternal instinct wanted to report, but the locals told me the perpetrator was untouchable and reporting would be useless.” Instead, she began thinking of ways to supply the women with access to fish.

Four: Where Meryl Streep Directs her Philanthropy Dollars

We all know Meryl Streep as an extremely talented and accomplished actor. She should also be known for her efforts and accomplishments in philanthropy. Streep has been an active humanitarian and donated millions to numerous charities and social causes throughout her successful acting career. These are four of her more notable projects.

The Coalition for the Homeless

At the top of the list is support for the homeless. One of the many nonprofits that she has donated to is the Coalition for the Homeless, the oldest advocacy organization directly serving homeless people and families in the United States. This organization engages in litigation to protect the rights of homeless people in addition to the more visible support which includes food and shelter. The Coalition for the Homeless directly helps upward of 3,500 individuals per day.

The National Women’s History Museum

While Streep typically earns $20 million per role, for the low-budget 2011 film “The Iron Lady,” Streep accepted a salary of just $1 million to play former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and won an Oscar for the role. She donated the entire sum to the National Women’s History Museum (NWHM), an online museum founded in 1996 to celebrate women’s history and contributions to society. In an interview with Ellen DeGeneres, Streep explained that she believes “women’s history needs to be told.” As one example, Streep referenced Deborah Sampson, “the first woman who took a bullet for her country.” Streep is also the museum’s National Spokesperson and has hosted events and fundraisers to help promote its mission.

The Committee to Protect Journalists

In 2017, Streep won the Cecil B. DeMille lifetime achievement award at the Golden Globes. In her acceptance speech, she expressed support for the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), inspiring more than $250,000 in individual donations to the organization. Then, in November of that year, Streep addressed attendees at the CPJ’s own International Press Freedom Awards in New York.

The Beirut Blast

Streep donated $25,000 in 2020 to support victims of the Beirut blast that occurred in Lebanon on August 4 of that year. The devastating explosion killed 218 people, wounded 7,000 and left more than 300,000 displaced. Streep showed her support for women who had been injured, traumatized or rendered homeless in the explosion by donating to KAFA (enough), a Lebanese nonprofit and non-governmental organization (NGO) working to eliminate gender-based violence and the exploitation of women and children.

Beyond supporting these organizations, Meyrl Streep’s philanthropy has included support for the American Foundation for AIDS Research, Healthy Child Healthy World, Stand Up To Cancer and Equality Now. A model for us all, she is living proof of the difference that a single individual can make.

More on Meryl Streep’s Giving:

Five: The Fearless Fund Under Attack

The Fearless Fund is an early-stage venture capital firm that focuses on funding only women founders of color. Their plan to announce its latest recipients before Labor Day has been derailed by a lawsuit. 

According to Forbes Magazine, The American Alliance for Equal Rights recently filed a lawsuit against Fearless Fund, accusing them of racial discrimination because their program supports Black female founders. If successful, the lawsuit could set a precedent for how the entire startup ecosystem evolves and halt many efforts to address venture capital disparities.

The co-founders, Arian Simone and Ayana Parsons, and their lawyers spoke publicly for the first time yesterday. “It [the lawsuit was definitely an attempt to dismantle and address our economic freedom as people of color,” said Simone. “But I knew…that we would continue to do the amazing work that we do”.

The president of the AAER is Edward Blum. He brought the lawsuit that prompted the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down the use of racial preferences in college admissions.Blum targeted the Fearless Fund in early August, claiming it engaged in “explicit racial exclusion” by operating a grant program “open only to Black females.”

Ayana Parsons says the suit won’t hinder Fearless Fund’s efforts to support women-led businesses. “Activism is in our DNA,” Parsons said. “We could not sit on the sidelines and watch idly by as Black and brown women are under attack. We know that women such as ourselves have been overlooked. We’ve been marginalized. We’ve been underfunded and unsupported.

Venture Capitalists Admit their Bias

Reuters article

AP Article

“Today, the playing field is not level — that is beyond dispute,” Alphonso David, a civil rights attorney who serves as president & CEO of The Global Black Economic Forum, said at the news conference. “Those targeting Fearless Fund want to propagate a system that privileges some and shuts out most. They want us to pretend that inequities do not exist. They want us to deny our history.”


Plan International Details COVID’s Impact on Latina and Caribbean Girls

Mastercard Invests Millions in Venture Capital with Fearless Fund

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.