I just got off the red-eye from San Francisco, returning from the best ever Women’s Funding Network Board Meeting. WFN is a network of over 140 Women’s Funds around the world. What is a women’s fund you might ask? Think of it as an investment model for philanthropy. Think about how you might hire a mutual fund manager to pick the best stocks for you, that are going to give you the highest return on your money, and that is what a women’s fund will do for you with your giving dollars. Their goal is to empower, serve, enable, lift up, and assist women, girls and their families by giving grants to outstanding organizations and leaders. It is so difficult to process all the charitable requests we get, and choose from the hundreds of thousands of non-profits that are out there, so I suggest that if you want to invest in social change with the goal of creating a more just and equitable world, take a look at Women’s Funds. A couple great examples are the New York Women’s Foundation, The Ms. Foundation, and the Global Fund for Women. By choosing to make an investment in all three, which is what I do with my philanthropic investment portfolio, you are investing locally, nationally and internationally across a very diverse portfolio of programs and initiatives. WFN is the networking organization that leverages the collective impact of these funds, and provides them with some tools to increase the effectiveness of the work they do.
This was a very exciting meeting as it truly is a pivotal time for the advancement of women. After years of little to no progress we are seeing amazing energy, insights, research and momentum around greater gender equality. The latest report is called the SHRIVER REPORT, and you can download all 500 pages of it here.
“This report brings together the relentless intellect of a Peabody and Emmy Award-winning journalist who pushed beyond statistics to fully reveal the complexity of women’s lives and the academic muscle of a progressive think tank that understand how to comb through data and illuminate the trends re-shaping the American Landscape.”
It is a most certainly a must read ( which i will start this weekend) as I believe with all my heart and mind that gender equity is the most important issue facing us today. I believe with all my heart and mind that gender discrimination and inequalities are at the root cause of so many of the big problems we face – poverty, violence, environmental challenges, HIV/AIDS, trafficking and more. It is not at gender equality will solve all our problems, but the evidence continues to mount that when women and girls have economic security, access to education, access to health care, can be free from violence, and enjoy basic human rights – the lives of their families, their communities, their countries and therefore the world is better. Investing in women is the key to global growth and sustainable.
For an insightful commentary on this report and reflections on where women are now and why, read this recent oped by Joanne Lipman. She says what I believe to be true, that despite all the headlines about us being in a woman’s world, the real conversation has yet to change. Read on…..