As we celebrate International Women’s Day on March 8th in a month dedicated to Women’s History, there is no better time to pause and reflect on the change women bring to our communities through philanthropy. Women create change in countless (and often unseen) ways through grassroots action, volunteerism and giving. Isirika, a Maragoli term, is a way of life that embraces charity, service and philanthropy. It literally translates to “equal generosity,” but its full meaning is “caring, together, for one another.” I can’t think of a word that so beautifully encapsulates how women approach philanthropy.
But does gender really matter when it comes to philanthropy? Yes! Here’s what we know. Women’s wealth is rising and today women hold around 40% of global wealth. In addition, women are more likely to give than men and women give differently, often based on empathy towards others and many times collectively. We see women’s impact every day and in everything we do.
Cynthia Doyle, who wouldn’t take no for an answer when it came to changing her community, created at least six nonprofits in Greensboro including the Community Foundation of Greater Greensboro. This vision brought thousands of donors together to give locally and it spurred the creation of almost $200 million in permanent endowments that will strengthen our community in perpetuity.
One of these permanent funds, the Women to Women endowment, was founded by four women, Louise Brady, Lisa Bullock, Ann Lineweaver, and Linda Sloan, to support women and children in Guilford County. Since 2010, the endowment has granted over $1 million to programs that empower women and improve the wellbeing of our entire community.
Women’s wealth and influence is growing, and we will all be better off if we unlock their philanthropic power and inspire them to “care, together, for one another.” As Melinda Gates said, “When we invest in women and girls, we are investing in the people who invest in everyone else.”
Marci Peace, VP Finance and Administration