Women and Girls Continue to be Underfunded by Philanthropy

Women and girls represent more than half of the population of the United States. Despite this, charitable giving to organizations serving them represents less than 2% of all philanthropic activity in the U.S. This is according to a new report published Wednesday, October 11 – the International Day of the Girl.  

As a percentage of all giving, giving for women and girls decreased in 2020, despite much public discussion about the need to fund women and girls in COVID. (Image credit: WGI)

The Women & Girls Index (WGI), released by the Women’s Philanthropy Institute at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, finds that while charitable giving to women’s and girls’ organizations in the U.S. increased by 9.2% in 2020, growth of support for women and girls was lower than the rate of growth in overall charitable giving in 2020 (11.3%), even though the COVID-19 pandemic disproportionately impacted women and girls in myriad ways. 

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It’s Official: Amplify Her Foundation Has Launched

The Amplify Her® Foundation, a new private grantmaking foundation created to support the economic and social advancement of women changemakers from under-invested communities in New York City, held an official launch celebration. The foundation will also release “If She Can Make it Here,” a comprehensive research report that identifies the most significant barriers faced by women and girls from underserved communities in the city and interventions to help them overcome those obstacles and meet their full leadership potential.

The Amplify Her Foundation has launched to provide more funding for women and girls. (Image credit: Amplify Her Foundation)

“After years of working to advance women in the public, nonprofit and political arenas, what consistently stood out to me was the dearth of funding and support specifically for nonprofit organizations serving women and girls. Women and girls face unique challenges and yet funding is rarely tailored to their needs…”  —Marti Speranza Wong, Amplify Her Foundation founder, executive director and board chair.

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To The Surprise of No One, UN Report Finds World Failing Women and Girls

The United Nations (UN) set a goal of achieving gender equity by 2030. A new report indicates meeting this goal will be impossible due to deeply rooted biases against women around the world in heath, education, employment and the halls of power, the United Nations said.

The report paints a grim picture of the gender gap, and the ‘lacklustre commitment’ globally to equality for women. It was noted that funding for programmes promoting gender equality and female empowerment globally is ‘inadequate, unpredictable and inconsistently distributed’

“The world is failing women and girls,” UN Women, the agency promoting gender equality, and the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs said in “The Gender Snapshot 2023” report.

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Leaders Fight for Feminist Giving in Congress with First-Ever Hill Day

“The power imbalance in philanthropy—often maintained by those without intimate knowledge of a community’s historical context, the needs on the ground, and the most urgent issues—spurs activists in marginalized communities, especially Black women and girls, to call for more input in determining what should be prioritized, how it should be funded, and who gets the money.” This is the opening paragraph of Feminist philanthropy: Dismantling silos and raising long-term funding (link).

Advocates at WFN’s first Hill Day included Monica Ramirez, Genisus Holland, Jocelyn Frye, Latanya Mapp-Frett and Fatima Goss-Graves. (Image credit: WFN)

Feminist giving, especially that focusing on women and girls, and especially women and girls of color, faces a dilemma. On one side, traditional philanthropic organizations are often hampered by a “white savior” mindset and scrutiny from the patriarchy; on the other, Black women face access issues, and are often not granted adequate trust to control large gifts. 

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Once Again, A Highly Qualified Woman of Color is Pushed Aside

On September 5, Rhode Island held a special primary election to select the candidates to replace David Cicilline, who resigned as US Representative for USC District 1. The field for the Democratic candidate was crowded with 12 names on the ballot. Due to the deep Blue color of RI politics, the Democratic candidate, whoever was selected, was considered the odds-on favorite to win in the Special General Election in November.

Gabe Amo, Democratic Nominee for Congress (Image credit: Gabe for Congress)

As of June, Sabina Matos, the current Lt Governor, was leading comfortably with polling numbers surpassing 20% of the electorate. Matos is the first Dominican American elected to statewide office in the country and the first Black woman to hold statewide office in Rhode Island. She was supported by the campaign arm of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus.

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Ellen Burstyn’s Lasting Legacy as a Philanthropist for the Art of Acting

Ellen Burstyn has attained the pinnacle of success in the entertainment world. She has received numerous accolades including an Academy Award, a Tony Award, and two Primetime Emmy Awards. She is one of only 24 people who have won all three awards, known as the “Triple Crown” of acting.

Ellen Burstyn (Image credit: Marco Grub)

And Ellen Burstyn is also a philanthropist. Her most lasting legacy may not be so much about what awards what she has gotten, but what she has given back. Burstyn has been a member of the Actors Studio in New York City for most of her life and has been a co-president of the Actors Studio for over twenty years. She was instrumental in founding the Actors Studio Master’s program, an MFA degree track (currently hosted at Pace University) that offers tracks in Acting, Directing, and Playwriting for promising young artists.

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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.

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How Women Lose Ground Right From the Start in Business

As if you didn’t know, women face a steeper climb when seeking initial funding for business ventures. Cindy Gallop is doing a fantastic job in tracking this. In a series of Tweets, she linked to a number of articles on the subject.

Sabina Matos, candidate for Congress from Rhode Island, will be supported with a large advertising buy from Emily’s List and Elect Democratic Women. (Image credit: Sabina Matos for Congress)

The top link below discusses the types of questions potential investors ask founders. It turns out that, to no one’s surprise, women are asked different questions than men. The questions for women generally focus on potential losses, whereas men were asked about the potential for gain. The takeaway here is that, right from the get-go, men are seen as more likely to succeed, so they are asked about aspirations, hopes, and ideals. On the other hand, women are quizzed about strategies for minimizing losses.

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Barbie Calls Out Hollowness of American Feminism, Offers No Solutions

Since July 21st, not a day has passed that I have not read about or discussed Barbie. Having finally seen it, I can say with certainty that I get the hype. Margot Robbie proves her incredible talent and range once again as stereotypical Barbie in the film. The sets and costumes lived up to every Barbie fantasy my 6-year-old self could have dreamed of. And the cherry on top was the use of the iconic Indigo Girls song, “Closer to Fine” as the anthem for Barbie’s journey from Barbieland to the real world.

Issa Rae plays the President of Barbieland, a world where Barbie’s promises for girls are realities. (Image Credit: Mattel)

Barbie as a product sold girls like me the dream that we could be anything, but as a 17-year-old woman, I now know the situation is a bit more complex. The Barbie movie plays with this contrast in ways that help us see the hollowness of American feminism, but the question remains what to do about this hollowness, and the movie doesn’t offer much help with that question.

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Where You Live Matters, and More Gender Lens Giving News

Not everyone has the luxury of being able to choose where we live. For most people, the decision often depends on employment: people relocate to a place with a better economy to find a job, or as a necessary step to start working at a new job. After college, I relocated from my home state of Michigan to Boston because the economy was much more robust. It has been my good fortune because the decision has worked out very well. While working remotely is not a universally available option, whether due to the nature of the work, like a nurse or a mechanic, it is easier to do and more widely available than ever before.

Lisa Pino is the new COO of Food for the Hungry (Image credit: Food for the Hungry)

And where we live has repercussions beyond the availability of jobs. Quality of life issues matter. Diversity, inclusion, and acceptance of lifestyle matter. Access to quality health care really matters. Health care includes reproductive rights and reproductive rights is more than being able to make your own decisions about your body. For example, how does your state of residence rank in terms of being a good place to have a baby?

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