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New Women’s Funding Network Study Shines Light on Funder Realities

Data from 100 organizations points to trends, struggles, and successes at the intersection of racial and gender justice.

SAN FRANCISCO  — The Women’s Funding Network (WFN) is excited to release the first in a series of studies focused on deepening our understanding of who our members are and how they engage in gender equity work. We worked with nearly 100 gender equity funders on an in-depth survey of their organizations, their grantmaking, and their impact. Drawing on the results of this survey, straight from the mouths of our members, our study’s central aim was to explore how women’s funds and foundations in the WFN alliance approach their work–and specifically, at this moment of global change, to investigate the intersections of racial and gender justice.

“Our mission as a global alliance is to provide strategies, research, and resources that support women’s foundations and gender justice funders in the movement for power for all. This report is another valuable tool in understanding the shifts, wins, and pain points we’re seeing within the WFN community, which spans six continents and $1.4 billion in annual grantmaking.”

—Elizabeth Barajas-Román, President & CEO of WFN.

In general, the report highlighted positive strides towards more equitable grantmaking, near-unanimous belief that there can be no gender justice without racial justice, and greater representation of women of color in leadership roles. However, the report also uncovered some of the greatest sources of burnout for executive leaders: inadequate staffing, a lack of trust-based funding, and facing racial bias. 

Key findings include:

  • 89% of survey respondents representing place-based women’s funds in the U.S. identified as having an intentional racial justice focus within the organization’s grantmaking or programming
  • The percentage of women of color leaders within the network has increased by 10% since 2020
  • 51% of place-based women’s funds in the U.S. are led by women of color, 73% of whom are Black women
  • Women of color executive leaders are working with the largest operating and grantmaking budgets amongst place-based women’s funds in the U.S.
  • Private foundations make up 16% of WFN’s organizational members, but 94% of grantmaking power, indicating a need and opportunity for strong investment in public women’s funds

Part one of the study is available here; parts two and three of the study will be released in the coming weeks.

Media contact: Ellen Broad, Communications Assistant 

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