The idiom “two heads are better than one” has spawned the creation of one of the largest connections of organizations to address issues that affect women and girls worldwide. This global endeavor is known at the Women’s Funding Network. According to the website, their mission is to operate as a global network and a movement for social justice.
Women’s Funding Network accelerates women’s leadership and invests in solving critical social issues — from poverty to global security — by bringing together the financial power, influence and voices of women’s funds.
Members of the Women’s Funding Network include the Association of Black Foundation Executives, African Women’s Development Fund and the Atlanta Women’s Foundation, an organization whom this writer refers to as a new-age civil rights organization for spearheading the research to bring awareness to Georgia’s sex trafficking epidemic and subsequently ensuing legislation and the development of the campaign: “A Future. Not A Past.” (AFNAP).
Women’s Funding Network’s is holding its annual conference at the Marriott New York at the Brooklyn Bridge. Their objective is to mobilize women leaders to activate, harness and amplify the Power of Global Networks. The plenary session number seven topic was “Investing With a Gender Lens: How We Can Use Our Dollars to Drive Positive Change.”
Panelists for this extraordinarily informative session were charged with exploring how investors, individual and institutional, can invest for profit with the same set of values that they apply to their philanthropy and grant making. Led by moderator Jackie VanderBrug of Criterion Ventures, speakers Suzanna Bigel, Investors’ Circle; Stephanie Hanbury-Brown, Golden Seeds; Joseph Keefe, Pax World Management LLC; Donna Sims Wilson, CastleOak Securities, L.P.; and Jacki Zehner, The Jacqueline and Gregory Zehner Foundation, engaged in a fruitful discussion that raised our concerns and prompted action.
Here are five topics that were addressed during the discussion.
- “Say no to all male boards.” Women make up only 12 percent of the board of directors at some of the leading companies that we support. For example, Anthropologie, the chain of retail stores that sells women’s apparel and accessories and home décor, has an all-male board.
- “Diversity creates more productive businesses.”
- There are only 15 women CEOs that lead Fortune 500 companies: one is black, two are Asian and none are Hispanic.
- Wealth creation, how to amass wealth through investments and education.
- “Put your money where your values are.” It’s important to make certain considerations when identifying businesses to invest in including how they address gender equality, sustainability and corporate governance
If you’re a leader ambitious enough to make a change, then the Women’s Funding Network, whose goal is to unite resources ideas — money and an action plan — to create lasting social change for women and girls, their families and communities, is the catalyst.