Powering Up for Women's Philanthropy

The Women Moving Millions Summit theme was “The story of power” and by the end I was fired up and also overwhelmed with the many ideas, facts and speakers all encouraging us to ‘power up!’ I was doing my yoga power pose, staying connected to my power posse at the Summit and beyond via social media, and finding new ways to get comfortable ‘promoting myself and my power’--something that seems to be a struggle for many women and is actually tied to our brain wiring! A fabulous new male member of WMM asked me at dinner one night, what is important about me? For the life of me, I was so fixated on what was important to me (advancing women and girls leadership) that I struggled to answer this question. I know for others and myself in attendance, we are truly #allinforher, the tagline for the new philanthropic tool launched by the host organization Women Moving Millions (WMM). Going ‘all in for her’ encompasses four key areas of one’s philanthropy: give big, give boldly, give with a gender lens, and work collaboratively. When I do my own assessment, here is what I know:

1. Giving boldly. This area needs work for me as I need to come out more about the organizations and leaders I invest in. I also have room to tell more people about my ability to give boldly via the deliberate purchase of a large life insurance policy I made in my healthy 30’s.

2. Giving with a gender lens. This is easy to do. As a lesbian feminist, this is just in my DNA. As someone who has studied successful nonprofits, I will make a conscious effort to publicly share the women leaders and why I invest in them.

3. Working collaboratively. This is a fabulous concept that I witness and promote in my roles as a Board member for Tides and Women Win. I find that in my giving as an individual, I haven’t yet sought out peers who might join me in my ‘invest in the women leader and her NGO’ model.

4. Give ‘big’. I give more than 15-20% of my gross income which is not a million dollars but usually greater than $20,000/year. Perhaps, soon we will have a Women Moving Percentages group. In traditional philanthropy, the giving formula that is typical is 1-3% of income as most large gifts come from assets. My three properties will be a wonderful gift upon my passing – right now the rental income I get allows me to be a ‘big’ giver now.

As the community was invited to step up and go #allinforher, myriad of questions floated around in my head and heart. These questions ranged from the micro to the macro of the women’s philanthropic arena: ‘what is so important about this movement to me? how do I adjust my own inner power relationship for success in the movement? what is the movement’s relevancy to new partners? what does a bold funding partnership look like and what makes it sustainable over time? and who else is a likely or unlikely partner to invest in girls and women?’

All of these questions intersect somewhere with at least one of the topics below that were raised during different sessions by the talented array of speakers. Most of these are not new messages or themes in the philanthropic sector, however, they were either supported by scientific data or delivered in a frame that allowed people to find new ways to easily enter the conversation. See the topic below and the link to the various speeches/presentations that support or go deeper on the topic. I invite you to go #allinforher and examine your own giving experience and visit www.allinher.org to learn more.

1. Powering Ourselves –use tools of meditation (scientifically proven – David Lynch Foundation), laughter (Theatre women)

2. The Youth Voice – relevant now, impact, personal (girl panel)

3. Meet our Allies where they are at – (Michael Kimmel)

4. Be Intentional and Purposeful – take the lead lessons and ideas (Gloria Feldt)

5. Gender Intelligence – brain data, impact on leadership models (Barbara Annsis)

6. Socialization of Genders – gender norms and philanthropy, feminism for all people (Riki Wilchins)

7. Money is Love – (Lynne Twist)