This message was part of the Dialogue on Funding for Women and Girls
programs that was not posted. We apologize for this oversight.
A few questions for Meghan McCleary
Does Women and Philanthropy produce a directory of funders that are strong
supporters of women and girls' programs? Or do you have something that
which foundations are particularly good in this area?
Also, you mentioned that leadership development was one of the strategies
you were pursuing to increase giving to women and girls' programs. What
strategies are you using?
Susan J. Smith
Women & Philanthropy does not publish such a directory. We do have a
directory of our members but have never done a list such as you describe.
there are a couple of reasons why. first because there is a lot of
transition within foundations (staff and programic focus) it would be very
difficult for W&P to maintain. also, it is not clear exactly what criteria
we would use b/c women's issues can be so broadly defined. This does not
mean that we would not try to revisit this idea.
Philanthropic funds are "research and development" for overall social
change. Affinity groups, such as Women & Philanthropy, are vital to
maintaining the philanthropic field's level of accountability and
responsiveness to the communities it serves. Our promotion of the use of a
"gender lens" challenges funders to truly understand the larger
that their grantmaking decisions have on people. The sincere utilization
a gender lens inevitably leads to the use of a diverse range of other
as well - racial, class, disability, and social orientation. As
see the connections between race, class, and gender issues - and how these
connections relate to healthcare, education, community development, youth
programs, the environment, the arts, and any other social issue - the
is effective grantmaking. However, grantmaking is only truly effective if
philanthropy is accountable to the communities it serves.
Although Women & Philanthropy has witnessed a significant increase in the
number of women working in the field of philanthropy, the focus of funding
has not changed - there has been no significant increase in funding for
programs that achieve equity for women and girls. Although over 60% of
foundation staff and trustees are female, currently less than 5% of
foundation grants of $10,000 or more go to programs that support "women's
issues" - a term that has no universally accepted definition. Women &
Philanthropy believes that all issues are women's issues:
This institutionalization has not been realized with a "feminization" of
field - our members, from our inception through today, have reported
barriers to implementing the use of a gender lens within their institution.
According to our surveys, eighty-five percent of our members have not
institutionalized equity within their own organizations, although they
recognize the importance and necessity of doing so.
Women & Philanthropy works in numerous ways to educate grantmakers and
trustees regarding the ways in which various issues affect the lives of
women and to promote the use of a gender lens in all aspects of
A Women & Philanthropy survey showed that our members are eager to make the
case for women and girls, but lack the resources and strategies which are
necessary in order to bring about change. They called specifically for
research that speaks for itself, enabling [us] to back up [our] efforts to
make the case for funding for women and girls." Thus, we continue to work
with our Action Research Committee comprised of a diverse membership of
funders and academicians as well publish Through the Lens, an issue-based
journal. The next two volumes of Thru the Lens may focus on topics such as
women, poverty, and the law; why women should fund women and girls; and
women and the environment. Our Action Research Committee will begin
on a "tool kit" for program officers so that they can better integrate
gender into their grantmaking regardless of their programmatic area.
Additionally, Women & Philanthropy will continue to plan issue-specific
conferences for our funders, including our Annual Meeting, regional
Another request was for "professional development: managerial skills and
leadership training to break through obstacles to career advancement."
Eighty-five percent of our members have not institutionalized equity within
their own organizations, although they recognize the importance and
necessity of doing so. In order to conceptualize strategies and build upon
their careers - in effect causing institutional change for equity and
diversity - women must learn challenging managerial, technological, and
financial skills. These have been long-standing barriers to women working
in the field of philanthropy, with member surveys dating as far back as
calling for career development. The result - the Leadership Institute.
Ultimately, the long-range effects of the Institute, designed to act as a
catalyst for systematic change, will show a markable increase funding for
women and girls.
Women & Philanthropy intends to complete the final planning and development
of the program, including curriculum development, culminating with the
pilot of the first workshop in Fall of 2001. Each workshop will be piloted
and evaluated, and, if successful, a self-sustaining year-round Leadership
Institute will be implemented Fall of 2004.
Finally, Women & Philanthropy increases our presence in the field through
our prestigious Leadership for Equity and Diversity (LEAD) Award. Endowed
by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, this award is given annually to an
individual who has significantly bettered the lives of women and girls
through their grantmaking. Now in its fourth year, this $10,000 award
recognizes individuals who have truly led the field of philanthropy to
become more equitable and diverse. Former LEAD Award recipients include
Susan Berresford, Jean Fairfax, Marie Wilson, and Katherine Acey.
Ultimately, through these activities, Women & Philanthropy intends to
* Increase the number of individuals - committed to Women &
goals - holding leadership positions within foundations
* Members model and institutionalize the use of a gender lens
* Better educate funders regarding women's non-profits, inevitably
to an increase in support for them
* Impact the field of philanthropy to include a mainstream use of
and race equity lens
* Ultimately, the lives of women and girls are improved through
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