March 25th: Join Us for the F-GIRL Top Tier Award Ceremony!

Congratulations again to the winners of Philanthropy Women’s inaugural Feminist Giving In Real Life (F-GIRL) Top Tier Award! We will be celebrating our winners and their work in feminist giving with a virtual awards ceremony at 2:00 PM ET on Thursday, March 25th.

This virtual celebration will feature all three winners and members of the Philanthropy Women team, as we celebrate the winners’ accomplishments and start a conversation on the future of feminist giving.

The event features Elizabeth Yntema, Founder and President of Dance Data Project, Dr. Tessie San Martin, President and CEO, Plan International USA, and Sara Monteabaro, Director of Strategic & Partner programs at MIT Solve. We will crown our F-GIRL recipients and allow them each to share about their mission to bring more gender equality to the world.

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Attorney Ken Eulo on Navigating Flawed Systems, Recognizing Bias

Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Ken Eulo, a criminal defense lawyer in Central Florida’s Smith & Eulo Law Firm. Eulo has a strong commitment to supporting domestic violence survivors through access to legal services, as well as supporting feminist movements as a male ally.

Ken Eulo is a leading criminal defense attorney in Central Florida. (Image Credit: Smith & Eulo)

1. What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession?

I wish I had known that my law career would involve advocating for my clients’ rights against the very justice systems sworn to protect them. I consider my first real-life foray into criminal law as having occurred when I went on several “ride-alongs” with Los Angeles’ local police. I was an undergrad studying Criminal Justice and Pre-Law at University of Central Florida at the time, and these experiences with cops in my hometown allowed me to see criminal procedures up close and personal.

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Fully Showing Up for Women: Ana Oliveira on Focusing Funding

Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features President and CEO of The New York Women’s Foundation Ana Oliveira. This interview was completed in late 2020. 

What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession?  

Ana Oliveira
Ana Oliveira, courtesy of Ana Oliveira

From the time I began my journey at the New York Women’s Foundation to now, I’ve learned the challenges you can face in philanthropy when being most responsive to transformation and justice. I came to The Foundation because it is an inclusive place with a commitment to equity and justice, with an emphasis on centering the needs of our grantee partners and the communities they serve. Those elements have allowed me to fundamentally understand how to carry out our philanthropy with transparency, respect and partnership.  

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Lead With Love: Elena Marszalek on the Feminist Climate Movement

Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Elena Marszalek, Managing Director of Del Mar Global Trust, a private foundation dedicated to the environment. 

Elena Marszalek
Elena Marszalek, courtesy of Elena Marszalek

1. What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession?

I started my career in philanthropy as the only employee of Del Mar Global Trust, a newly established family foundation focused on the natural environment. Although I had previous experience working in climate change, I had little experience in philanthropy. I felt both hopeful and overwhelmed. 

Joining Rachel’s Network, a community of women environmental philanthropists, broadened my knowledge of complex environmental issues, and significantly improved my ability to select and monitor grant recipients. Networking with other women with similar goals and interests helped my career in numerous other ways, for example sharing information about projects that as individuals we would not be aware of. Perhaps most importantly, I have access to other members with many years of experience who offer advice and mentorship. As in all professions, you learn through experience. 

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Sarah Hillware: “Feminism Is Not Feminism Unless It’s Intersectional”

Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Sarah Hillware, the Deputy Director of Women in Global Health (WGH), a 35,000+ strong women-led organization working to challenge power and privilege for gender equity in health.

1. What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession?

Personally, I wish I’d known that it was OK and, in fact, healthy, to take detours on my career journey. My path was not a straight and narrow one, but one which took me in directions that, at the time, I did not fully understand. For instance, I took a certification course in advertising sales and subsequently worked at a marketing and advertising firm for a year. That industry was not ultimately where I saw myself long- term, but the skills and knowledge I gained were invaluable, and ultimately helped me land my position at the World Bank.

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My Survival Is Worth Funding: NCRP’s Brandi Collins-Calhoun

Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Brandi Collins-Calhoun, National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy Senior Movement Engagement Associate.

Brandi Collins-Calhoun, courtesy of Brandi Collins-Calhoun

1. What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession? 

I’m not sure that there was anything I could do to prepare to enter work that would be grounded in philanthropic feminism, especially knowing that the radicalization of mainstream feminism hasn’t happened across all movements and sectors yet. However, I wish I knew the weight of the shift from my life as an organizer fighting for my survival and safety to be centered, to my current role petitioning that my survival and safety is worth funding. I wish I knew how to find the balance and show up for myself through that process. There is often guilt and weight that comes with centering my needs in this work because this fight is so much bigger than just me, but I am reminded that Audre Lorde named that, “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence. It is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” That balance between holding the sector accountable and caring for myself is a radical act that is necessary for me to continue the work.

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Najada Kumbuli: Aligning Assets with Values at Visa Foundation

Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Najada Kumbuli, the new Head of Investments for the Visa Foundation. 

Najada Kumbuli, courtesy of Najada Kumbuli

1. What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession? 

I was fortunate to start my career in the field I was passionate about – impact investing. At the time, impact investing, or investing to generate a measurable, beneficial social and/or environmental impact alongside a financial return, was nascent, which provided both an opportunity to shape the trajectory of the industry and a challenge, as there were few companies leading the way, yet tremendous need to accelerate and scale their work. 

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Rena Greifinger On High Risk/High Return Grantmaking for Women

Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Rena Greifinger, Managing Director of Maverick Collective, a network of strategic philanthropists cofounded by Melinda Gates that is dedicated to elevating the status of women and girls everywhere through access to healthcare.

Rena Greifinger is the Managing Director of Maverick Collective, a network of strategic philanthropists dedicated to elevating the status of women and girls. (Image Credit: Maverick Collective)

1. What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession?

I’ve been working with and for nonprofits my entire career (15 years), yet only started working directly with philanthropists, and on the subject of philanthropy, in 2017. It has been one of the steepest and most joyful learning curves.

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Talking Women in Higher Ed and Tech with Loni Bordoloi Pazich

Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Loni Bordoloi Pazich, Program Director at The Teagle Foundation.

Photo courtesy of Loni Bordoloi Pazich.

1. What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession? 

I have my dream job now working in philanthropy but I didn’t even know the sector I work in existed until well after college. The world of foundations was completely invisible to me until I happened to work as a research assistant at the USC Center for Urban Education, where virtually all the work we carried out was funded through grants. I realized that foundations play an important role in shaping research and policy agendas. 

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Firuzeh Mahmoudi: Women More Equipped Than Ever to Lead

Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Firuzeh Mahmoudi, founder and executive director, United for Iran, a Bay area nonprofit that works to promote civil liberties and civil society in Iran.

Firuzeh Mahmoudi, courtesy of Firuzeh Mahmoudi

1. What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession?

One thing I’ve learned, that continues to ring true year after year, is that progress rarely occurs along a straight line. So many of us who have been inspired to enter the activist community started out with the hope that we’d experience and affect real change in our chosen issue areas quickly. However, as I recently discussed in a piece written on the 11 year anniversary of Iran’s Green Movement, the work toward progress often starts when the buzz stops, when the media loses interest and moves to the next catchy soundbite. Those of us who’ve remained in the movement and are still active today know that if we want to be truly effective, the work has to become part of our daily lives. 

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