Thursday, January 26, 2012

How Women's Philanthropy Has Led the Way

Recently Martha Taylor and I were asked how women's philanthropy has changed the field of philanthropy in the last decade.  Such an interesting question and such incredible results.  There were so many areas to think about but here are the seven most important changes we believe were initiated by women's philanthropy.

1. Giving circles are an amazing result of women's philanthropy.  Spawned from women's bible circles, quilting circles, book circles, and investment clubs, giving circles have been responsible for growing women as philanthropists and for democratizing philanthropy.

2. Understanding one's passion and values have been a result of women's philanthropy and are now a definitive part of developing philanthropists...women and men, which has helped create donor education based around values rather than just numbers. 

3. We are proud to say that many women have now moved beyond passion to compassion, and giving to those in need, whether it be women and girls, serious health issues, or other human needs.

4.  Women are assuming the responsibility for addressing societal issues and by acknowledging their responsibility to help fund those programs that will make the world a better place.

5. Global giving is an area that women have embraced because they understand that they are global citizens.  Women know that what happens anywhere in the world impacts everyone because as Jane Addams said, "I am a resident of Chicago but a citizen of the world." Women's philanthropy has also grown internationally as women in countries from Canada to Liberia understand women's potential to give and responsibility to do so.

6. Women have redefined philanthropic leadership by bringing their values, vision and voice to solve the issues of today.  In so doing, women have helped organizations and institutions move beyond building more buildings to creating programs and projects addressing today's problems.

7. Transformational giving or impactful giving has been a result of women saying they didn't want to just put a bandaid on a problem.  Women wanted to find out what was causing the problem and solve it through their philanthropy.

We are so proud of what women have accomplished over this last decade.  Women have been creative and entrepreneurial problem solvers and, through their increased financial potential and education, they have led the way in philanthropy and continue to do so.  Congratulations to all the wonderful women in philanthropy throughout the world.

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