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Grantmaking for women and girls

Mar 05, 2010

Accelerating Change for Women and Girls: The role of Women’s Funds, a resource guide produced by The Foundation Center and Women’s Funding Network seeks to provide an overview of concepts and strategies in international fundraising for organisations benefiting women and girls.

Accelerating Change for Women and Girls: The role of Women’s Funds

Publisher: The Foundation Center, 2009

In recent years interest in philanthropy for and by women has intensified, accompanied by a growing acceptance of the theory that philanthropic investments in women and girls can accelerate positive change in communities. To understand this evolution in thinking and practice within philanthropy, the Foundation Center partnered with the Women’s Funding Network, a global movement of women’s funds and foundations, to chart the current landscape of philanthropy focused on women and girls and document the specific role played by women’s funds.

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The first women’s funds were established in the 1970s by women who saw that few mainstream philanthropic dollars were specifically targeted at women and girls. They created vehicles to redress the imbalance and provide a new “gender lens” on philanthropy.

Some thirty years later, not only has the number of women’s funds grown rapidly (with the Women’s Funding Network now counting some 145 member funds worldwide), but—arguably as a direct result—the gender lens principle is gaining increasing traction in the wider philanthropic field.

The first women’s funds were established in the 1970s by women who saw that few mainstream philanthropic dollars were specifically targeted at women and girls. They created vehicles to redress the imbalance and provide a new “gender lens” on philanthropy. Some thirty years later, not only has the number of women’s funds grown rapidly (with the Women’s Funding Network now counting some 145 member funds worldwide), but—arguably as a direct result—the gender lens principle is gaining increasing traction in the wider philanthropic field.

Women’s funds operate by making strategic investments in women’s leadership and organisations. They aim “to spearhead social change by giving women the money and tools to transform their ideas into permanent reform—from combating poverty, human trafficking, and domestic violence to achieving advances in health care, education, and human rights.”

Many function as both fundraisers and grantmakers, amassing and investing resources for the benefit of women and communities. Through their membership of the Women’s Funding Network, many of these funds work together and leverage their status as a movement, combining ideas, reach, and best practices. Member funds of the Network have collective total assets of over $465 million, disburse an estimated $60 million a year in grants, and leverage millions more through their wider relationships and connections.

In addition to reviewing the characteristics of women’s funds, this report highlights key trends in the field of funding for women and girls and examines the important role played by the Women’s Funding Network in shaping, animating, and optimising women’s funds’ distinctive brand of philanthropy.

This report represents the first Foundation Center study to focus exclusively on grantmaking for women and girls. It is also the Center’s first collaboration with the Women’s Funding Network. The report consists of three sections:

Chapter 1 sets the stage for a detailed examination of women’s funds by exploring the broader context of institutional support for women and girls. It analyses the growth of giving since 1990 and the distribution of funding in 2006.

Chapter 2 documents the dimensions and growth of a set of U.S.-based women’s funds between 2004 and 2006. It also examines the giving patterns of a subset of leading women’s funds, presents information on women’s funds based in community foundations in the United States, and highlights the work of women’s funds around the globe.

Chapter 3 focuses on the role of the Women’s Funding Network and its members in social change philanthropy, building on Women’s Funding Network data and analysis. It highlights critical issues facing women’s funds, including growth, sustainability, and non-grantmaking activities, based on findings from an international survey of women’s funds. It explores how women’s funds distinguish themselves from other philanthropic vehicles. It also delineates how a network structure has created multiple points of leadership and innovation, facilitating more powerful individual and collective action. Finally, it assesses women’s funds’ collective agenda and strategy for the future.

Source : ReliefWeb
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