PMA Consulting, LLC

Increasing Impact of Women on Philanthropy

In recent years, interest in philanthropy for and by women has intensified, accompanied by a growing acceptance of the idea that philanthropic investments in women and girls can accelerate positive change in communities. To understand this evolution in thinking and practice within philanthropy, the Foundation Center partnered with the Women’s Funding Network, a global movement of women’s funds, to chart the current landscape of philanthropy focused on women and girls and document the specific role played by women’s funds. Women’s funds span public charities, private foundations, and funds within community foundations. The over 145 member funds of the Women’s Funding Network have collective total assets of $465 million, disburse an estimated $60 million a year in grants, and leverage millions more through their wider relationships and connections. The report finds that in recent years funding for women and girls by the broader foundation community has grown at a faster rate than foundation giving on the whole, although as a share of overall foundation giving, it has remained below 7.5 percent for over a decade-and-a-half.

Giving by women’s funds in particular has grown even more rapidly. What this suggests is that funders are becoming increasingly aware of the potential for accelerating social change by investing in women and women-led organizations. Nevertheless, the relatively small share of foundation funding focused on women and girls indicates that this awareness could be further strengthened. This report examines women’s funds’ distinctive contributions to philanthropy—from their grantmaking impact to their strides in gaining recognition for the importance of investing in women and girls as essential solution-builders.

The report includes key findings and are organized under the following areas:

■ Strategic Focus of Women’s Funds

■ Fiscal Characteristics of Women’s Funds

■ Giving by Women’s Funds

■ Giving Targeted to Women and Girls by the Broader Foundation Community

For more on the impact of women on philanthropy, the follow this link for the entire study.