Women and philanthropy

Women and philanthropy“Women rock!” “Women rule!” “If you want something done, ask a woman.” “Women hold up half the sky.” Its women’s history month and time to highlight women’s role as philanthropists and fundraisers.

Join us in paying tribute to women and girls who nurture and support families and communities across the country and around the globe. Sometimes we are recognized, often we are not. We are the grandmother putting money in her granddaughter’s pocket as she heads off to college. We are girl scouts selling cookies, sorority sisters raising money for scholarships, and girls running in St. Jude’s fundraising marathons across the country.  We are Oseola McCarty, a Hattiesburg Mississippi washerwoman, giving $150,000 to the University of Southern Mississippi, and Wylodine Taylor Patton the alumna leaving $487,500 to LeMoyne-Owen College. We are Helen LaKelly Hunt and Ambassador Swanee Hunt launching “Women Moving Millions,” encouraging women to give $1 million gifts and raising over $500 million to change the lives of women and girls. We are Gayle Rose creator of Team Max, a “vigilante philanthropy” group of young people giving to others in honor of her generous son Max who lost his life in a car accident.

We give as individuals, and we give collectively through women’s foundations and giving circles. We are the Women’s Funding Network, founded 30 years ago, and now the largest philanthropic network in the world devoted to women and girls with 160 members from 30 countries on six continents. We promote philanthropy, encouraging others to give through online portals such as Black Gives Back, started by Tracey Webb, a woman of course.

We are presidents and CEOs of regional and national foundations, setting the philanthropic agenda, funding research and making grants that affect every aspect of life. We are Jan Young (The Assisi Foundation of Memphis), Judy Belk, (The California Wellness Foundation), Risa Lavizzo-Mourey (Robert Wood Johnson Foundation), Carol S. Larson (David and Lucile Packard Foundation), Patricia E. Harris (Bloomberg Philanthropies), Audrey Yamamoto (Asian Pacific Fund) and Helene D. Gayle (CARE).

As professional fundraisers we raise funds for social organizations, political parties, hospitals, schools, colleges and universities, arts institutions and more. We are Jann Honore, a fundraising executive with more than 30 years experience with UNCF raising money for generations of college students. We are Maricar Boyle, focused on health, education and the environment; Dionne Jackson with Lehigh University; Gurdeep Sihota He’Bert, executive director State Center Community College Foundation; and Iris R. Ramey, Vice President for Development, Hampton University. We are Marianne G. Briscoe, President and Managing Director of Brakeley Briscoe, a leading fundraising consulting firm that provides services across the Americas.

The list of women who make a difference is longer than long. If you want to meet a woman philanthropist, look in the mirror or into the eyes of the women and girls in your life.

Image courtesy of jscreationzs at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Mel and Pearl Shaw are the authors of “Prerequisites for Fundraising Success” and “The Fundraiser’s Guide to Soliciting Gifts.” They provide fundraising counsel to nonprofits. Visit them at www.saadandshaw.com. Follow them on Twitter: @saadshaw.

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