Do Women Of Color Philanthropists Give Differently From Their White Counterparts?

The intersection of race, gender and giving started a few years back, when philanthropists started to focus on channeling more money to women and girls of color. Inside Philanthropy last year reported that women and girls of color receive only 2% of philanthropic pie, even though they make up 19% of the U.S. population. Initiatives such as Grantmakers for Girls of Color begin to address the gap. As women of color philanthropists begin to rise, they hold tremendous power to close the funding gap even further.

In order to support women of color philanthropists effectively, it is important to understand if their giving patterns, journeys and experiences are different from their white counterparts. Research published yesterday by the Women’s Philanthropy Institute (WPI), Women Give 2019: Gender and Giving Across Communities of Color, explored these differences. The quantitative part of the study found that giving patterns are very similar across ethnicities and races, but the qualitative part – in-depth case studies with six women of color philanthropists – articulated the subtle differences between them and their white counterparts.

Read more at Forbes

What We Risk When We Fail to Protect Black Girls

Last month, the Lifetime docuseries Surviving R. Kelly elevated the claims against the R&B singer as a serial abuser of women and girls. Kelly was charged in Illinois on Friday with ten counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse.

But what also became apparent from the docuseries was the number of adults—from Kelly’s manager to parents of the minors he is believed to have violated—who were complicit in his systematic abuse of underage Black girls. Beyond the pain his alleged victims suffered, the docuseries highlighted that these girls were not afforded the protection they deserve as children, much like Black girls at large.

Such disregard for Black girls and women’s safety has public health consequences. Notably, emerging research implicates this systematic lack of protection in the disproportionately high rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among Black girls and women. This was also evident in the docuseries: One woman said she acquired an STI from Kelly.

Read more at Rewire News

With and For Girls Collective: Lessons from a Collaborative Approach to Funding With and For Girls

Since its inception in 2014, the With and For Girls Collective; a group of funders who want to see a world where girls are heard, respected, able to access services and are included in decision-making processes that affect them; has had the incredible privilege to support, work alongside, and learn from girls and their organisations, through their unrelenting work to serve their communities and have their voices heard. They continue to show us every day why it is so important for philanthropic funding to support girl-led groups.

Despite the critical role that women and girls play in sustainable development, the World Bank estimates that less than 2 cents of every $1 spent on international aid is directed towards adolescent girls. As a Collective, we believe funders can, and must, play a leadership role in addressing the lack of resources available to grassroots girl-centred and girl-led organisations who we know are still under-recognised, under-represented and under-funded. To further our learning as a Collective we embarked on an independent evaluation to improve, not only our own processes, but also to encourage other donors to take similar steps in centering powerful girl-led groups and understand why grassroots girl-led and girl-centred organisations need to be supported by flexible funding to propel transformational change towards a more equitable world.

Involving girls, in decision-making is at the core of the Collective’s philosophy, and such we ensured that girls’ voices were a fundamental part of this process. Twelve girls from Kenya and Nepal, from previous winning organisations, participated in the research by interviewing the past award winners, and providing us with valuable insights on how the Collective can continue to improve itself while keeping grassroots groups’ and girls’ voices at the fore.

We’re excited to share our learnings, key findings and recommendations that include:

Selecting girl-led groups and what they receive:

We work directly with grassroots, girl-led and girl-centred organisations with annual incomes between $20,000 and $500,000. The With and For Girls Awards identify strong organisations with girls at their centre and provides them with flexible funding, profile raising opportunities and training.

The research confirms the Collective has made significant strides to achieve increased recognition and resources available to strong girl-led and girl-centered organisations through involving and amplifying the voices and perspectives of girls.

In terms of the collective approach to funding, the research has recommended that:

More time considerations be given to the complexities of working collaboratively, as this takes more time and planning than working alone.

  • Clearly articulate, as part of the criteria for bringing on new Strategic Partners, the element of shared principles, values and ways of working
  • As a Collective, build and generate knowledge and evidence on the resource needs of girls, and on the available financing for girl-led groups as well as other information linked to the work of girl-led organisations.

Girls to the Front:

Building on our Strategic Partners Mama Cash and FRIDA’s report ‘Girls To the Front’, this research highlights the value and insistence of the Collective in the participation and agency of girls throughout the process where a group of adolescent girls provide meaningful input throughout the selection process. Girls from our network have final decision-making power on which organisations receive funding, which demonstrates our belief that they are best placed to understand which organisations best support the advancement of girls in the face of extremely challenging circumstances and pervasive discrimination.

By elevating these organisations in spaces of influence, the With and For Girls Collective aims that donors will recognise the critical insight of grassroots development initiatives that prioritise girls’ participation, and that more donors might join forces to support similar efforts in ways that unlock the power and potential of local organisations and the girls they work with.

From the research recommendations the Collective should consider increasing the participation of award winners and girl panellists, including creating a girl-led advisory panel to increase girls’ participation in governance of the Collective.

What funders can/must do to support groups beyond funding:

The research highlighted the increased recognition and resources available through the award package and the efforts of the Collective to ensure girls and representatives of Winners spoke at key sector events and accessed additional funds, ensuring increased visibility and collaboration.

It also highlighted the need to share with the broader community on how the Collective applies feminist principles and a rights based approach to philanthropy, such as:

  • innovative sourcing to find and fund lesser known and new organisations;
  • success of the flexible and pooled funds structure;
  • creating mechanisms to allow the Collective to give awards to groups that each of the individual donors might consider too risky;
  • working solidly as a learning Collective.

It is through cultivating a network of inspiring funders with the same unifying ethos and drive that the Collective has been able to be effective in responding to adolescent girls needs. Through building the capacity of funders to give flexible, unrestricted funding in all regions of the world, we look forward to a future where girls live and thrive in enabling environments where they are heard, respected and see equality and justice in their communities.

Download the Executive Summary

Download the Full Report

With and For Girls has found a new home and now sits within Purposeful, you can read more about these organisational changes here. We need you to opt-in to our newsletter to continue receiving news from With and For Girls, including when we launch our 2019 awards, news from award winners, opportunities for learning and funding and sector-specific news.

How the StrongBlackWoman impacts black girls’ access to mental health services

In the twenty-first century, adolescent mental health is frequently discussed in the media and within educational institutions. The increase in the number of school shootings, bullying incidents and escalation of suicide rates have brought mental health awareness to the forefront. There has been a cooperative effort from educators, social workers, and healthcare professionals to make mental health resources available for all students. However, the accessibility and types of resources available are inequitable. I argue, that the StrongBlackWoman trope creates challenges for black girls and women in accessing mental health services.

To begin, I want to define the term StrongBlackWoman which I first read about in the book Black Women’s Mental Health: Balancing Strength and Vulnerability by Stephanie Y. Evans, Kanika Bell and Nsenga K. Burton. In the chapter “When the Bough Breaks: The StrongBlackWoman and the Embodiment of Stress” author Chanequa Walker-Barnes uses research from black feminists before her to define what the StrongBlackWoman is. Specifically, she describes the StrongBlackWoman as “a totalitarian and culturally prescriptive identity characterized by three core features: emotional strength/regulation, caregiving, and independence” (Evans et. al 44). I will be using this definition of a StrongBlackWoman because of the significance in the omission of spacing between the words and its recognition of key characteristics black women practice.

Read more at the Western Union Gazette

The Legal System Has Failed Black Girls, Women, and Non-Binary Survivors of Violence

Following the airing of Lifetime’s six-part docuseries, “Surviving R. Kelly,” — which describes decades of emotional, physical, and sexual abuse he allegedly perpetrated against Black girls and women — many of Kelly’s fans and supporters continue to rally around the singer-songwriter and even place blame on his accusers for being “fast.”

This is not surprising. Studies have shown that Black girls, women, and non-binary people are hyper-vulnerable to abuse. About 22 percent of Black women in the United States have experienced rape. Forty percent will experience intimate partner violence in their lifetime. And Black women are killed at a higher rate than any other group of women. A 2015 survey of Black trans and non-binary individuals found that 53 percent have experienced sexual violence, and 56 percent have experienced domestic violence. At least 16 Black trans people were reportedly murdered in 2018 alone.

Read more at the ACLU

Parents Must Shut Down the School-to-Prison Pipeline

When Zakiya Sankara-Jabar’s son was repeatedly suspended from his Pre-K program, she was shocked at first. The preschool kept calling her to say her son was in trouble for biting other students or having trouble transitioning from one activity to another. In Zakiya’s view, “They made normal three-year-old behavior sound very pathologized and abnormal.” Eventually, she had to withdraw her son from the school but he was subsequently suspended and expelled at other preschools.

Zakiya had to drop out of college to care for her son but before she did, she used the college’s library services to search for articles on the experiences of black boys in public education. She quickly learned that her family’s experiences were not unusual. “I suddenly realized that I wasn’t a bad parent and my son wasn’t abnormal. This was something larger, more societal, that was happening to African American parents.”

It turns out that the school-to-prison pipeline starts in Pre-K, especially for black boys. Suspensions are the beginning of the school-to-prison pipeline, which refers to harsh and racially inequitable school discipline policies that push students out of school, onto the street, and eventually into the criminal justice system. Boys of color and those with special needs are especially impacted but girls of color also face discriminatory discipline.

Read more at The American Prospect 

How Societies View Black Girls and Women

Black women and black girls are disproportionately subject to prejudices, stereotypes and violence on an ongoing basis.

Social activist Lovelyn Nwadeyi, Soul City Institute CEO Lebo Ramafoko and Sunday Times lifestyle editor Pearl Tsotetsi share their experiences of surviving the world in a black woman’s body with Talk Radio 702 host Eusebius McKaiser.

The discussion refers to a ground-breaking study on the erasure of black girls’ childhood, which puts data behind the lived realities of many black women.

Learn more at EWN. 

Women and Girls of Color Need Justice Too

A growing number of individuals have expressed support for U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos’ harmful Title IX proposed rules on sexual harassment, including sexual assault, in schools by pitting the rights of sexual assault survivors against efforts to further racial justice.

By doing this, these individuals—often white, self-identified feminists or conservative men—erase the experiences of survivors of color, particularly Black women and girls, who are frequently disbelieved and blamed when reporting sexual assault, pressured to stay silent about their assaults, and pushed into the criminal justice system (referred to as the “sexual abuse-to-prison pipeline”).

As survivor-advocates of color working at the intersections of racial and gender justice, we understand that women and girls of color are disproportionately targeted for sexual harassment and assault in schools. The blatant disregard for the lives of survivors of color is a common and misguided tactic that creates a false choice between protecting survivors and protecting against racially biased disciplinary practices.

Read more at ReWire

‘Surviving R. Kelly’ Sheds Light on Bigger Issue: Black Women Raped at Higher Rates but Report Less

Survivor after survivor say they were sexually assaulted by R&B singer R. Kelly, many of them as teenagers, in the Lifetime documentary “Surviving R. Kelly.”

“Maybe they stayed in silence because they didn’t feel like they had a way out,” said Teresa Stafford of the Cleveland Rape Crisis Center.

Stafford watched the three-part series and says the women’s stories are all too familiar.

“We actually see a lot of young ladies that have been, you know, groomed, into believing that somebody loves and cares for them and then the person is actually taking advantage of them and victimizing them and causing harm to them,” Stafford said.

Stafford says this is especially true within the black community.

Read more at WCPO. 

‘Surviving R. Kelly’ Spurs Change, But Years Of Activism By Women Of Color Made It Possible

Lifetime, an American TV network known for programs like “Dance Moms” and “Project Runway,” saw its highest ratings in two years when it aired “Surviving R. Kelly,” an astonishing six-part docuseries featuring interviews with women who alleged they experienced abuse at the hands of the hip hop star.

An average of 2.1 million people tuned in to watch the show, and according to a Twitter representative, more than 2.6 million people with accounts tweeted about R. Kelly between Jan. 3 (the series’ premiere) and Jan. 7.

Since then, nonprofits and law enforcement agencies have reported concrete signs of change. The National Sexual Assault Hotline, which is operated by RAINN, the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization, told HuffPost that the service experienced a 20 percent surge in calls during the program’s air dates.

Read more at the Huffington Post