Breaking down the “Boys Club” philanthropy
“We’ve heard about all of these major investments, but we have to see if they’ve really moved the lines or if they just keep up with the overall increase in philanthropy,” Ms. Sager said.
But culturally, according to Ms. Sager, women philanthropists have already changed how their field works. Research from the Indiana University Institute shows that female philanthropists tend to focus more on building relationships with their beneficiaries and amplifying the voices of those closest to inequality and social problems.
“Women don’t want to just write a check,” Ms. Sager said. “Building relationships is important to them. They are motivated by the stories of the people served.
The National Domestic Workers Alliance, a nonprofit organization that aims to raise labor standards for social workers, is one of the women-led organizations that has benefited from this model of philanthropy, which centers relationships with social workers. grassroots communities.
In 2006, the group’s founder, Ai-jen Poo, approached the New York Women’s Foundation with a plan to organize a movement of nannies, housekeepers, home helpers and other domestic workers across the states. -United. To some other funders, the idea had seemed absurd. ; Ms. Poo was warned that the people she was trying to organize were not united workers in a factory, they were scattered across different areas and communities. But the backers of the New York Women’s Foundation, after an in-depth conversation with Ms. Poo, decided to bet around $ 30,000 on her vision.
Over a decade later, Ms. Poo’s organization has reached over 70 local affiliates and 250,000 members of an online community. He recently won $ 10 million in the Equality Can’t Wait Challenge from Ms. Scott and Ms. French Gates. Its success, according to Ana Oliveira, president of the New York Women’s Foundation, is a testament to the work of philanthropists who amplify the voices of women, especially those most affected by injustice.
“Women’s foundations are very close to the people we support,” Ms. Oliveira said. “This is how we reduce risk – by listening. We don’t just give a subsidy and say “see you in a year.”