INSPIRED, PASSIONATE AND POWERFULPublished: 05-07-2018
Inspired, Passionate and Powerful
This month we are exploring the recent rise in female donors and how they are putting their voice and actions behind their money. 2017 was a pivotal moment for women around the world. We saw women standing up to be heard and creating movements and organizations to tackle causes they are passionate about. Further, 65% of all donations made in America were made by women. Below are three examples of powerful females who are investing their money, as well as their hearts and minds, into the causes they care most about:
As Co-Chair of The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Gates has been a power player for years, but lately, she is forging a separate path for her work that is more focused on women, leading the foundation to engage in more women empowerment funding worldwide. Considering the Gates couple has still not touched the bulk of their fortune, holding over $75 billion in private investments, many exciting philanthropic investments are anticipated. One of the most admirable actions that Gates has taken more recently is an honest sharing of ‘failures’ and challenges that she has experienced with existing ventures and how they have caused her to shift her focus and investments. The Gates Foundation’s new exploration of U.S. poverty offers even more intriguing clues about the ultimate legacy that Melinda Gates may leave.
LaJune Montgomery Tabron
Tabron is the current President and CEO, W. K. Kellogg Foundation. In this position she is in charge of the largest foundation devoted to children in the country, with over $8 billion in assets. Her backstory of growing up in an African- American family of 10 children in inner-city Detroit is remarkably aligned with the foundation’s mission of helping kids and families succeed in some of the poorest corners of the U.S. Among other things, under Tabron’s leadership at Kellogg, the foundation has doubled down on its prescient—and bold—racial equity work.
As Cochair of The Laura and John Arnold Foundation, Arnold works alongside her husband John, a retired hedge fund billionaire, to lead a Houston-based foundation that addresses America’s “most pressing and persistent challenges using evidence-based, multidisciplinary approaches.” Their ambitious agenda in pursuit of “transformational change” includes K-12 education, criminal justice, scientific integrity, and more. The foundation has given nearly a half-billion dollars in the past five years. Laura, a Yale-trained lawyer, has often taken the lead on the foundation’s criminal justice work, helping to orchestrate a groundbreaking left-right coalition last year to advance reform proposals in Washington, among other initiatives.
Support from high places
This year, more individuals and governments around the world also stepped upto direct more resources to advance women’s rights around the world. We’re seeing women leaders ensuring that more money is going directly to grassroots women’s groups and movements. For instance, Dutch minister Liliane Ploumen established She Decides to raise more money to fill gaps left by the U.S. administration’s expanded Global Gag Rule. Canada announced the creation of its Feminist International Assistance Policy, focusing on allocating millions of Canadian aid dollars towards advancing gender equality and empowering women and girls around the world.
Matching their words with their money
Women who once gave quietly are now coordinating weekly protests, writing opinion pieces, speaking publicly and looking for a variety of ways to level up their work and organize for change. In 2018, this trend is expected to continue as more and more women develop a sense of agency and responsibility, and take advantage of the support of donor networks and a growing community.
“Women have the resources to pay for change, to direct their own movies, to do their own research, to tell their own stories, and they are doing it in droves.”
Cynthia Nimmo, president and CEO of Women’s Funding Network
How women choose to give
Gone are the days where women could be perceived as giving with their emotions. The biggest female funders are serious about metrics, impact and seeing change. A recent report by the Women’s Philanthropy Institute at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy on female funders has found that:
• Most donors said they gave through either a donor-advised fund or a family foundation.
• Ten participants said they have made impact investments, including investing in or supporting women- owned businesses.
• Donors expressed a deep interest in giving strategically and focusing their support on groups that promote systemic change rather than bandaid solutions to problems.
• Donors are risk takers who are willing to step out on a limb for young, fresh ideas and solutions.
“I love gap funding. I love to be the first money in. If you get everything right, you’re probably not taking enough risk.”
The report also found that female funders are moving toward a dislike of the term “philanthropist.” Many women associated it as defining an outdated, patriarchal, and paternalistic donor, a type of donor they did not want to emulate. One of the most significant findings from the report was that very few participants expressed interest in being publicly acclaimed for their giving.
“If no one ever names anything after me, I’ll be very happy.”
This generation of powerful women want change, they want a better world for all and they don’t need any credit. They just want it now.
Wealthy Women Donors Willing to Take Big Risks, Report Says
By Heather Joslyn First published on The Chronicle of Philanthropy January 31st 2018
The Rising Activism in Womenʼs philanthropy
By Marianne Schnall – First published on Forbes.com
Meet the 50 Most Powerful Women in U.S. Philanthropy
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