How Women’s Fund Donors Have Built a New Philanthropy

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The Women’s Philanthropy Institute, which is housed within Indiana University’s Lilly Family School of Philanthropy, released a report in July titled All In for Women and Girls: How women’s fund and foundation donors are leading through philanthropy. The report demonstrates many ways that women’s fund donors go far beyond writing checks in their philanthropy.

The report begins by reminding readers of how recent women’s funds are. As the research team led by Elizabeth Dale of Seattle University and Debra Mesch and Una Osili of Lilly School points out, “First emerging in the 1970s, women’s funds and foundations focus on gender equality and other issues that disproportionately affect women and girls. This model of engagement, where donors give to a grantmaking organization specifically dedicated to women and girls, may attract a different, more deeply engaged type of donor—or may encourage donors to become more involved by participating in the women’s fund.”

The focus of this study, the authors indicate, is specifically on “the impact of women’s fund and foundation donors on women’s and girls’ causes.” It should be noted that the sample of…


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