Tuesday, November 2, 2010

"Upholding Our Half: Making the Case for Women's Philanthropy"

At last week's book signing with me on the left, Lisa Witter, author of "The She Spot" in the middle and Martha Taylor on the right.
Wow!  What a conference last week in Chicago put on by CASE and WPI who also sponsored a very successful book signing for Martha and me.  The sessions and presenters, including Indiana University's first lady, Laurie Burns McRobbie, were all superb.  I took extensive notes to create some "takeaways" and some of the topics mentioned most frequently were:

  • it's just plain "smart" to focus on women as donors because of women's earning potential and their expected inheritance (some will even inherit twice; from parents and from spouse)
  • women's philanthropy should be institutionalized and the culture of giving at our institutions and organizations changed to recognize women's potential and contributions 
  • more donor education is necessary and it's best to conduct the education sessions with more than one woman
  • development offices ought to work more closely with financial advisors who still need to better understand the importance of women and philanthropy
  • both internal and external champions within the institution are necessary to develop a women's philanthropy initiative
  • crediting and acknowledging women's and couple's gifts continue to remain an enormous problem
  • there are differences between the perceptions of women who have earned versus inherited their wealth and perhaps another category is necessary to represent those that don't quite fit either one
  • social media is a rising star on the horizon of women's philanthropy
  • an important topic to women is children and wealth 
I loved what one person said: women should be encouraged to "pick up the keys to their kingdom," or as one person said, "the queendom."  Anyway, that's what the conference meant to me: learning more about how to make this happen.

Everyone agreed that the new research, "Women Give 2010," released by the Center on Philanthropy and the Women's Philanthropy Institute is extremely important and we recognized the need to support more research through our contacts and our cash. 

As you can tell, it was a great exchange of ideas and a terrific forum for addressing the future of women's philanthropy.  Following are some additional photos I took at the conference.
Kay Chalk, trustee from East Carolina University and Martha

Robin Feldman from CASE; Trish Jackson, conference chair and VP for Development at Smith College; Andrea Pactor, associate director at the Women's Philanthropy Institute; and Eugene Tempel, president of the Indiana University Foundation

Martha and Maureen Dembski, Director of Development, Midwest, University of Wisconsin Foundation

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