Thursday, September 22, 2011

A Challenge to Non-Profits: Invest in Women

Have you thought about how much of your organization's portfolio is invested in international stocks?  Despite a volatile US market and the problems with the European stock market, I guarantee you probably have at least 20% in international investments.  And that's without including US companies that have overseas operations.  

So, if you have 20% of your investments in global stocks, shouldn't you also be giving 20% of your grants abroad?  And where should those grants be made?  Author and New York columnist Nicholas Kristoff says, “The world is awakening to a powerful truth: women and girls aren’t the problem; they’re the solution.”

Corporations are beginning to understand what Kristoff is saying.  At President Clinton's annual philanthropy event, Merck, announced a $500-million commitment over the next decade to help reduce the number of women who die in pregnancy and childbirth.  The company will be working with Save the Children, among other groups.

The Exxon Mobil Foundation is giving $1.5-million to the Cherie Blair Foundation for Women to study how mobile-phone technology can help women entrepreneurs strengthen their business.

And Ford, Nike, NoVo and William and Flora Hewlett foundations announced a new partnership to reduce the number of girls who are forced into marriages before the age of 18.

Major corporations are taking the initiative, but ask yourselves, do you have women's health, business, or agricultural programs abroad to which you can give more funding?  Or can you initiate a cultural exchange, a women's art or music program?  One that would include a partner project with your non-profit.

Think about it and invest in women globally.  Lead the way with non-profits: organizations and institutions.  Partner with corporations.  The possibilities are endless.  And the outcome guaranteed.

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