Monday, April 30, 2007

Give it UP for Girls

Many people don't know that less than 7% of all foundation money is specifically earmarked for women and girls and it's been that way for at least 20 years. As a result, fundraising for women and girls organizations is a huge challenge-- many foundations that fund children's programs have to be convinced of the value of and the need for girls-only programming. We had a little hey day in the late 80's and early 90's, after teen pregnancy rates rose and girl-perpetrated violence became media headlines. But now we've hit a dip. As boys become the new crisis, many people think that girls are doing okay. This perception leads to slowdown of funding for girls from the the drip...drip...drip from many major funding sources. Girls organizations, many of whom are already running programs on volunteer labor and sweat equity, struggle and sometimes fold.

That's why the new series from Womens E News on Funding Serious Change is so important. Women hold the key to keeping girls' organizations vibrant and viable, through funding them and through joining together to form women's foundations. As a volunteer and board member for NYC girls organizations, I see how many girls programs are struggling financially, and I know the difference that both women's foundations and individual women donors can make.

Today's article, by Cecilia Bloom, focuses on her role as a philanthropist through the Dallas Women's Foundation. As she reflects on her own journey as a donor, she writes:
In the meantime, my husband had begun to fund causes at the six-figure level while I, like many women, was giving smaller gifts.

She uses this as an inspiration to ramp up her own giving to the same levels as her husband spcifically to help women and girls as a donor to the Dallas Women's Foundation. Good for her-- if more women ramped up their donations, growing their giving from whatever level they are currently at, women and girls organizations would be in much better shape financially.

With fundraising season in full swing, I challenge everyone to up their giving! Double your donation to your favorite girls organization this month, and see the change you can make for girls. (Need a favorite org? Some of mine are to the right, and I know they'd all LOVE to have your donation!)

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