Meryl Streep’s Amazing Speech, and Her Philanthropy

This speech by Meryl Streep is an amazing testament to the power of women’s voices to cut through all the crap and get right to the heart of things: calling out Donald Trump for emboldening a culture where disrespect invites disrespect and violence begets violence. Streep renders supreme judgement on Trump for his incredibly toxic behavior, particularly his mocking of a disabled journalist.

Streep supports several causes specific to women and girls, and a wide array of causes that intersect heavily with women, including rape and sexual abuse, slavery and human trafficking, and human rights.

Streep’s Philanthropy Focused on Women and Girls

Girl Up: As part of the the United Nations Foundation, Girl Up is one of the largest and most influential global organizations focused on girl empowerment. In collaboration with Girl Up, Streep co-narrated the film Girl Rising, which explored the experiences of girls in Haiti, Nepal, Ethiopia, India, Egypt, Peru, Cambodia, Sierra Leone, and Afghanistan on their journey to education, revealing the many barriers they face and how they overcome them. Streep also served on a panel with other luminaries at the April 2015 Women in the World Summit, helping to set the direction for Hollywood around gender equality.

National Women’s History Museum: Streep is the spokesperson for the National Women’s History Museum, and has been a significant donor there, with her gifts to the organization including the $1 million she made for her role in The Iron Lady.

The Writer’s Lab: In April 2015, Streep funded a screenwriters lab for female screenwriters over forty years old called the Writers Lab. Run by the New York Women in Film & Television and a collective called IRIS, the Writers Lab is the only known initiative in the world for female screenwriters over forty.

Other Gender Equality Activism and Philanthropy by Streep:  Streep signed an open letter in 2015 created by the ONE Campaign, addressed to Angela Merkel and Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, urging them to focus on women as they served as leaders of the UN summit in September of 2015. Also in 2015, Streep wrote to Congress urging them to support legislation for equal pay and sent every member of congress a copy of the book Equal Means Equal: Why the Time for the ERA is Now by Jessica Neuwirth. In March 2016, Streep also signed onto another ONE Campaign calling for gender equality on International Women’s Day.

Streep’s Own Foundation — Silver Mountain Foundation for the Arts

Streep also has her own foundation called Silver Mountain Foundation for the Arts. Started in 1983 and based in Morristown, NJ, the foundation is a joint effort of Meryl Streep and her husband Donald Gummer, a well- known sculptor.

A 2012 report by Forbes found Streep has given away millions to charity through her foundation, with support going to many organizations including Oxfam America, New York’s Meals on Wheels, the Coalition for the Homeless, and the National Women’s History Museum. The report also found that no one at Streep’s foundation is paid a salary.

Locally speaking (because I’m a Rhode Islander!), Streep has also been influential. In 2012, Streep supported Rhode Island’s Segue Institute for Learning, a charter School in Central Falls, and Upward Bound, a nonprofit which prepares low-income students for college.







Author: Kiersten Marek

Kiersten Marek, LICSW, is the founder of Philanthropy Women. She practices clinical social work and writes about how women donors and their allies are advancing social change.

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