WFN members play a critical role in giving a voice, decision-making power, and resources to all marginalized genders and their families.

Elizabeth Barajas-Román
Elizabeth Barajas-Román, President and CEO

Nearly forty years ago, the women’s funding movement started with a gathering of about 20 leaders who were convinced that traditional philanthropic institutions’ strategies for social change were ineffective because they didn’t listen to local voices, and they left out women – particularly women of color – leaders.

Their vision was that by democratizing philanthropy through local funds created by, and for, women, we could dismantle gender inequity region-by-region across the globe. Four decades later we see that vision in action through the steadfast efforts of our members during these unprecedented times of crises. As women’s foundations, gender equity funders and philanthropists, WFN members play a critical role in giving a voice, decision-making power, and resources to all marginalized genders and their families.

Their efforts ensure that a gender lens remains a central focus and priority in our communities amidst this uncertain moment in history. Without their support women disappear from the conversation and, as a result, from the economic equation entirely when it comes to equitable and appropriate allocation of funds and resources. The organizational capacity and interconnectedness of women’s funds and foundations and gender equity funders is pivotal to improving the effectiveness of philanthropic interventions aimed at eradicating unequal and oppressive systems of power.

The organizational capacity and interconnectedness of women’s funds and foundations and gender equity funders is pivotal to improving the effectiveness of philanthropic interventions aimed at eradicating unequal and oppressive systems of power.

Yet what remains painfully clear is that there is still much work to be done in the fight for equity and justice, both in the halls of power and on the front lines of change in our communities to combat fear and oppression and to advance protections for women, children, LGTQ and gender nonconforming individuals, people of color, ethnic and religious minorities, and those fleeing overwhelming poverty, danger, instability and trauma.

When women’s funds thrive, the quality of philanthropic impact grows, and the broader field of philanthropy continues to invest resources in those funds and foundations. This creates a cycle of intersectional gender-lens approaches to robustly resourcing movements and grassroots leaders driving change. With more resources, these leaders can reach the critical mass need to shift the oppressive power dynamics that keep harmful systems in place.

I truly believe the world is on the precipice of change. In what feels like our darkest hour, we see rays of hope and the promise of a brighter future. As women’s funds, foundations and gender justice funders, we vow to continue our work to get resources to the movements and organizations demanding a world free from the institutions and violence rooted in racism and sexism.

I could not be more proud to be here in this fight with you as we rise to this challenge together.

Yours for equity and justice,

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

Read more from Elizabeth

Above the Fold, October 23

Twenty-five years since Beijing’s historic World Conference on Women — where United Nations (UN) member states pledged their commitment to action toward equal rights and power for women — not one country has yet achieved their goal of gender equality, according to a new UN report.

Read more

Read more from Elizabeth

Above the Fold, October 16

In an effort to ensure that the last presidential debate thoroughly and thoughtfully probes the intersection of sexism and racism and challenges the candidates to give us their best thinking on how to achieve equality and justice for all women and girls, WFN is preparing to send a letter to the debate’s moderator to demand the candidates be pressed to answer questions on a range of issues.

Read more

Read more from Elizabeth

Above the Fold, October 9

As we head into a long weekend, I am taking time to celebrate Indigenous people and to reflect on the contributions and leadership of Indigenous women. Long before Christopher Columbus took a wrong turn that would change the course of history, Indigenous women of the Caribbean, North and South America enjoyed equal status to men, including leadership positions within their nations. Today, Indigenous women are leading movements to reclaim the rights eroded by western influences post-invasion.

Read more

Read more from Elizabeth

Above the Fold, October 2

Long before the current vacancy on the high court of the United States, we knew that there was a gaping hole in our systems of justice. That’s certainly bad news — especially following a nationally televised debate when a sitting president of the United States not only refused to denounce racism, but seemed to hold the reins of white supremacist groups, calling on them to “stand back and stand by.”

Read more

News

Above the Fold, October 23

News

Above the Fold, October 16

News

Above the Fold, October 9

News

Above the Fold, October 2