As the fate of Michelle Obama’s signature philanthropy program, Let Girls Learn, hangs in the balance, the Women’s Foundation of Colorado is planning a live conversation with the Former First Lady to discuss ways to advance empowerment for girls and women worldwide.
Former First Lady Michelle Obama is headlining for the Women’s Foundation of Colorado’s 30th Anniversary Celebration on July 25th, a public event called TOGETHER, which will raise cash to support the educational and economic advancement of Colorado women and their families.
It’s Time Network hosted a conference call this past week that gave a window for states across the country to learn about California’s efforts to grow gender equality movements. The call featured Jessica Stender of Equal Rights Advocates, who has been coordinating and enacting many steps of a legislative agenda for women in California. The call was well-received nationally, with people registered from 16 states.
From Betsy McKinney and the It’s Time Network team:
Thank you for joining us for Tuesday’s virtual convening to learn about how we can support policy agendas that lift women and children out of poverty, ensure fair pay and family-friendly workplaces, and more, focusing on the Stronger California legislation.
On June 10th, an authoritative voice leading the resistance and challenging both the left and right, Joy-Ann Reid, will receive the George Curry Drum Major for Justice Award for Excellence in Journalism.
The award ceremony, Say Her Name: 20 Years of Intersectionality in Action, will be hosted by Kimberlee Crenshaw, co-founder of AAPF and professor of law at Columbia University and UCLA. Crenshaw is also a major figure in the movement to fund philanthropy specifically for women and girls of color.
The ceremony will also mark the 20th anniversary for AAPF, and will include playwright/activist Eve Ensler, as well as Rep Keith Ellison (D-MN-5), who has been a supporter of the rights of Muslim Americans and received the Utne Reader’s Visionary Award in 2011 for his work.
As every day brings new questions regarding the rights and protections of marginalized populations in the U.S., word of an additional fund that will support progressive rights for women of color and transgender folks is heartening news.
Today, Groundswell Fund announced the funding of a new grassroots organizing effort that will be led by women of color and transgender people of color.
The new funding stream, dubbed the Liberation Fund, will “aim to ensure reproductive and gender justice by supporting women of color,” according to a press release announcing its launch.
Groundswell describes itself as the largest funder of the U.S. reproductive justice movement. Headquartered in Oakland, CA, the organization provides leadership in the effort to hold public officials accountable at the local level for their responsibility to protect the rights of all people. In the age of Trump, this kind of accountability is more important than ever.
Two marginalized groups that face the greatest danger from a government enacting white supremacist and misogynist policies are women of color and transgender people of color. With an initial deployment of $500,000 in funding, the Liberation Fund will begin the process of identifying its first grantees. A panel of 15 advisors, all prominent women of color leaders coming from a broad array of sectors, will guide the fund.
“Millions of Americans are hungry for leadership that ignites our political imagination and offers clear, concrete pathways forward,” said Fund Advisor Linda Sarsour and CEO of MPower Change. Sarsour called on funders and donors to “meet that level of boldness in their giving strategies” by further empowering women of color and LGBTQ people.
Alicia Garza, co-founder of Black Lives Matter and another of the fund’s advisors added, “To elevate women of color and trans people of color at a time when our communities are under extreme duress is not only smart, but essential for our survival. There’s never been a better time for donors and funders to put their money directly where change is happening.”
Vanessa Daniel, Groundswell Fund’s Executive Director, put it this way: “The greatest force in any fight against fascism is solidarity. The Trump Administration is trying to divide us. If there is one thing that grassroots organizing efforts run by women of color and trans people of color understand better than anyone else, it’s that, as Audre Lorde once said, none of us live single-issue lives. Our fates are intertwined.”
The first grants from the new Liberation Fund are scheduled to be awarded in summer 2017.
Full list of the Fund’s Advisors:
Ai-Jen Poo, National Domestic Workers Alliance
Alicia Garza, National Domestic Workers Alliance & Black Lives Matter
Angelica Salas, Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights (CHIRLA)
Bamby Salcedo, The TransLatin@ Coalition
Charlene Sinclair, Center for Community Change
Cindy Wiesner, Grassroots Global Justice Alliance
Chrissie Castro, Native Voice Network
Denise Perry, Black Organizing for Leadership and Dignity (BOLD)
Elle Hearns, Marsha P. Johnson Institute
Isa Noyola, Transgender Law Center
Linda Sarsour, Mpower Change
Mary Hooks, Southerners On New Ground
Miya Yoshitani, Asian Pacific Environmental Network
Sarita Gupta, Jobs With Justice
Saru Jayaraman, Restaurant Opportunity Center (ROC) United
“The Administration supports policies and programs to empower adolescent girls, including efforts to educate them through the completion of secondary school,” said Heather Nauert, of the Trump Administration’s State Department, referring to Let Girls Learn. “We are committed to empowering women and girls around the world and are continuing to examine the best ways to do so.”
Of the $71.4 trillion dollars controlled by the asset management industry, only 1.1 percent of total assets under management are with firms owned by women and minorities.
You heard that right. Although the number of firms that are women- or minority-owned can range from 3 to 9% across the four different asset categories in the industry, assets controlled by those firms account for only 1.1% of all assets under management.
A press release from the Knight Foundation, which commissioned the study, states that this is the most in-depth study to date about ownership diversity in asset management. Additional analysis revealed that the 1.1% managed by women and minorities had no difference in performance from the 98.9% non-diverse asset management industry.
“While diverse-owned firms have grown in representation in recent years, the growth has been moderate and has not uniformly occurred across all asset classes,” states the report’s conclusions.
How did the Knight Foundation come to study asset diversity? Quite naturally. The study grew out of the Knight Foundation’s own efforts to diversity its endowment. Over the past decade, Knight moved 22 percent of its endowment — a total of $472 million dollars — into management by women- and minority-owned firms.
“This study, and our experience, confirm that there is no legitimate reason not to invest with diverse asset managers in the 21st century,” said Alberto Ibargüen, president of Knight Foundation.
The study was led by Josh Lerner of Harvard Business School, and the Bella Research Group. Lerner is Chair of the Entrepreneurial Management Unit at Harvard Business School and the Jacob H. Schiff Professor of Investment Banking.
Things are really coming together for women’s funds and gender lens investing, as this new report details. The new report is written by Joy Anderson, President and Founder of Criterion Institute, Ms. Foundation President Teresa Younger, and Elizabeth Schaffer, Chief Operating Officer of the Global Fund for Women.
I have not read the report in total yet, but from my first foray in, I am really excited to see how these advanced thinkers and leaders are putting ideas together and finding new synergy for social change and finance. This is powerful stuff!
The report is written using architectural design as an extended metaphor for how to integrate the different sectors of finance, women’s funds, and social change theory. Combining these three components, the report then makes practical suggestions about how to influence issues like domestic violence, the gender wage gap, and climate change.
“The more that philanthropy can do to encourage and support women in running for office, the better,” says Kate Coyne-McCoy, CEO of The Campaign Fixer, who has spent much of her career trying to bring more women into American politics. Coyne-McCoy has trained over 9,000 women to run for office, and she has a message for philanthropy.
“Do more politically, period,” she said in a recent interview with Philanthropy Women, when asked what her message would be to progressive women donors and their allies. “Until you make an investment in the electoral and political process, you’re never going to see the change you want.”
Kate Raworth has written a very compelling article about the need to redesign economies to address inequality. The change requires relinquishing old economic thinking, which said something like, “Inequality has to get worse before it can get better in a growing economy,” and replacing it with new thinking that builds on “a network of flows” which are distributive by design.
Do you, like me, live in a city where girls softball teams have names like “The Dolls” and very few women make it into elected office? Then you might want to join this call being held by It’s Time Network next Tuesday, May 2nd at 3 PM EST. This will be an opportunity to learn about how to take action in your local community to protect and advance women’s rights.
It’s Time Network brought together a number of important organizations to formulate their Mayors Guide: Accelerating Gender Equality including the San Francisco Department on the Status of Women, Institute for Women’s Policy Research Center for American Women in Politics, Jobs with Justice, Forward Together, Equal Rights Advocates, Global Fund for Women, Women Donors Network, Girls Inc., MomsRising, The Grove Foundation, St. Vincent De Paul Society of San Francisco, Astrea Foundation and Women’s Earth Alliance.
The Mayors Guide is the first ever “how to” manual for mayors who want to focus on improving the status of women and girls. It spans 11 issue areas and provides general recommendations, as well as specific recommendations for each of the 11 issue areas.
One of the first steps that the Guide recommends is going to the U.S. Factfinder site of the Census Bureau and learning about your home city, so you can correctly identify the gender equality issues in your locality.
Number two on the list is to ask your city to establish a permanent commission on the status of women. Friends with legislative experience in Cranston, has this ever been done? If not, we will need to look into it.
So that’s why I’m planning to dial into the call on Tuesday. The call will also help participants to connect with people in their local area and develop networks of support to carry forward this agenda.
For some more recommendations to chew on as you consider calling in, here are the rest of the general recommendations from the Guide:
Adopt a city ordinance on The Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).
Establish a permanent Commission (or Department) on the Status of Women in your city.
Fully fund that Commission.
Commission a Status of Women and Girls report for your city to establish a baseline from which to set measurable goals and specific actions.
Create a city task force for women, composed of private sector, nonprofit and government members to support the Commission and/or to stand in its place until one is developed.
Strengthen relationships between nonprofit organizations and government agencies and provide more opportunities to partner.
Analyze, identify and change existing policies that discriminate against women and girls.
Ensure gender equality is embedded in the culture and goals of your administration and is reflected in your messaging.
Report on gender and racial diversity for city hires to ensure gender equality at every level of staffing, including top positions.
Look at tax benefits and incentives to support and encourage the private sector.
Use traditional women’s venues (i.e. women’s colleges, community centers, etc.) for conducting outreach, advocacy and convenings.
Utilize multiple sources of funding for women’s programs and initiatives, including private funding, foundations, municipal bonds, federal tax credits, federal grants, state grants, general-purpose city funds, etc.
Engage people across political lines to build a collaborative and inclusive approach.
Engage leaders at the grassroots level to ensure broad representation and perspectives.
Create annual awards and establish annual improvement levels for those who accelerate gender equality.
Ensure women and girls have equal access to quality, affordable education.
Encourage STEM education for girls, women and mid-career women.
Betsey McKinney and the It’s Time Network are doing groundbreaking work with researching and creating this structure for bringing gender equality to cities across America. It would be amazing for our city to make these recommendations a reality.