Four private foundations announce they will provide at least $20 million in a combined grantmaking initiative to strengthen women’s funding organizations around the world

Philanthropy – “Women’s Funding Organizations”

Four private foundations announce they will provide at least $20 million in a combined grantmaking initiative to strengthen women’s funding organizations around the world
November 20, 2019
Four private US foundations announced today that they are providing at least $20 million in a combined effort to strengthen women’s funds—organizations that provide financial and other support to advance the human rights and opportunities of women, girls, and LGBTQI people in countries around the world.

Women’s funds have a long track record of knowing where and how to support organizations working to achieve gender equality in their communities, countries, and regions. Today, they are leading women’s rights movements in some of the most challenging contexts and informing philanthropic donors in supporting those efforts.

The initiative will help women’s funds invest in their own organizations—strengthening infrastructure, leadership, communications, fundraising, learning, and other efforts—to help them maximize their impact and achieve their goals.

Foundation for a Just Society, the Open Society Foundations, Wellspring Philanthropic Fund, and the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation have designed the five-year initiative in consultation with women’s funds.

“We at Prospera International Network of Women’s Funds see this initiative as a great opportunity for ensuring a healthy and vibrant ecosystem for funding women’s rights and gender justice throughout the world. By strengthening the capacity of women’s funds to better operate and respond to a rapidly changing world, these funders will be able to better support feminist movements at the forefront of social change,” said Emilienne de León, executive director of Prospera International Network of Women’s Funds.

New Venture Fund (NVF) has been selected by the four foundations through a competitive process as the initiative’s fiscal sponsor and will provide guidance and administrative support to the initiative. NVF will in turn be supported by Arabella Advisors, a philanthropic consulting firm.

Women’s funds have received significant new resources from the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Global Affairs Canada, and several private foundations in recent years. However, the vast majority of these resources are used to make grants to smaller, grassroots organizations working to advance women’s rights and not to support the development of women’s funds. This reflects the limitations of bilateral funding and the commitment of women’s funds to support feminist movements.

This initiative is designed to build women’s funds own organizational capacity—by using the resources to invest in areas such as communications; resource mobilization; leadership; information technology; and monitoring, evaluation, and learning, among others…

In addition to helping women’s funds strengthen their own organizational capacity, the donors aim to make women’s funds more visible to other funders and supporters of women’s and LGBTQI rights. The money will also support efforts to help women’s funds learn from one another and for philanthropic organizations to learn from them as well…

This press release is also available in Spanish, French, and Brazilian Portuguese.