Above the Fold, November 13

United States Senate, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Dear Colleagues,

Kamala Harris, the first Black, Asian American and woman was elected vice president of the U.S. — thanks to the activism and votes of women of color. We also saw women win a record 132 seats in Congress, with historic firsts for women of color— like Cori Bush, Deb Haaland, Yvette Herrell, Teresa Leger Fernandez, Kesha Ram, Stephanie Byers and Marilyn Strickland — and also a record number of Native women elected to Congress. Election night proved to be an important night for trans and gender non-conforming representation and leadership as well, with successful campaigns for state office by Sarah McBride, Brianna Titone, Taylor Small, Stephanie Byers and Mauree Turner nearly doubling the number of trans and nonbinary state lawmakers.

As we celebrate National Philanthropy Day on Sunday, we have an opportunity to lift up the important role philanthropy can and must play in supporting diverse leadership — especially that of women and girls of color.

We saw many glass ceilings break on Election Day because of the movements for equality that have been working to change the culture of racism and sexism. Women’s and girls’ funds and foundations have played an integral role in supporting and nurturing the grassroots organizations and movements that made it possible for America to elect the most diverse representatives ever by doing the hard work to dismantle oppression. 

One of the ways women’s funds and foundations support such movements is through participatory grantmaking. That’s why the Women’s Funding Network, with support from the Ford Foundation, engaged in a research project to examine the participatory grantmaking practices of women’s funds and foundations. The research explores opportunities to measure, improve and expand the effectiveness and impact of participatory grantmaking in our work. To learn more about the research, please visit our website to review our blog about the report or see this Nonprofit Quarterly story.

I wish you all a weekend respite and hope you have the time and space to celebrate advances while bracing for the challenges that remain before us. Working together, I know that we will continue to bend the arc of history away from oppression and toward justice.

Yours for equity and justice,

Elizabeth Signature

Elizabeth Barajas-Román
Women’s Funding Network 
President & CEO

Letters from Elizabeth