Women’s Status: Less Money, Poorer Health, Other Inequities

June 17, 2010

The Women’s Foundation of Minnesota released today its 2010 research report on the status of women and girls in Minnesota.  The news is not uplifting.

According to the report, women are shortchanged in four critical areas — economics, safety, health and leadership.  And, while all women and girls in Minnesota suffer inequalities, even greater disparities exist for women of color, rural women and older women in Minnesota.

Here are just a few of the findings:

  • Economics: Because of the gender wage gap, a Minnesota woman (and her family)  earns an average of $11,000 less per year, or $1 million less over a lifetime. White, African American and Latina women earn 76, 61, and 56 cents on the dollar, respectively, compared to white men.
  • Safety: By mid-life, one-third of Minnesota women have experienced a rape crime.  Violence at home is the second leading cause of homelessness among Minnesota women.
  • Health: Native American women in Minnesota are 10% more likely to be diagnosed with cancer than their white counterparts, but 58% more likely to die from it.  While African-American women are 8% less likely than white women to get cancer, they are 15% more likely to die from the disease.
  • Leadership: Only 34% of Minnesota state legislators are women, and the number of women candidates is declining.  No women lead any of the Fortune 500 companies in the state.

What Can You Do?
The full report, “Status of Women & Girls in Minnesota,” contains much more detail, including “What You Can Do In 30 Minutes or Less” recommendations for individuals to take action to address inequities.

In releasing the report today, Lee Roper-Batker, president and CEO of the foundation,  encouraged women, girls and all community members to use the findings to jump-start social change.  She emphasized:  “Research without action is pointless.”

Next week Women’s Foundation staff members will launch the 2010 “Road to Equality Tour,” sharing the research and obtaining community input in Warroad, Moorhead, Grand Rapids, Duluth, Willmar, St. Cloud and Rochester.

Research and writing for the report was conducted by the University of MN Humphrey Institute’s Center on Women & Public Partnership.  More than 100 experts from academia, government, nonprofit and private sectors, elected bodies and philanthropy participated in working groups to review data, identify key issues and proffer solutions.



“Don’t do something about me, without me” – The Importance of Promoting Diversity

December 3, 2009

Shawn Lewis, board trustee at the Pan African Community Endowment of The Saint Paul Foundation, sent us a message yesterday about a blogcast discussion that he had recently with blogger Rosetta Thurman, Tamar Cloyd from Education Voters of America, and Stephen Bauer from American Humanics and Nonprofit Workforce Coalition.

The program, which you can listen to on Rosetta Thurman’s blog, was a response in part to the Council on Foundations report titled Career Pathways to Philanthropic Leadership, which found that only 20 percent of successful candidates for leadership positions within the philanthropic sector are from racially diverse backgrounds.

During the show, the panel speakers talked about the importance of having diverse leaders at the top level in the independent sector, not only because a diverse staff affects organizational decision making, but because pitfalls can occur when nonprofits and grantmakers attempt to serve constituents that are not represented within their organization.

As Tamar Cloyd responded during the interview, “Don’t do something about me, without me.” Shawn Lewis also shared insights from his experience working within the sector. He stated that generally much of the progress that he’s seen in creating better recruitment practices has come from board or committee members who advocate strongly for better, more inclusive practices within organizations.

Stephen Bauer suggested that one of the best strategies for increasing the likelihood of hiring someone of color is to be willing to search again for diverse applicants if, after an initial collection of applicants, it’s revealed that the pool of people you’re considering does not have enough diverse candidates.

If you are interested in learning more about how your organization can recruit people of ethnically and culturally diverse backgrounds, check out the recording of this interview at Rosetta Thurman’s blog. Then, after you’ve listened to the interview, visit the MCF Diversity Resource page to access the free, downloadable resources that we’ve created and collected to assist MCF member and non-member grantmakers to create better diversity practices within their organizations and fulfill the MCF Diversity Principle.

If you are currently searching for candidates for a position in your organization, you may also find the Minnesota Ethnic and Community Media Directory (pdf) produced by Twin Cities Media Alliance a helpful resource as you look for publications to advertise your job openings.

Join the conversation: Do you think that your organization is doing enough to recruit diverse candidates for leadership positions? Do you have any strategies or practices that you’ve found have been successful in encouraging people of color and other minority groups to apply?


Social Justice Philanthropy Seeing Resurgence

July 16, 2009
A marcher from the Charlotte Coalition for Social Justice. Social Justice organizations are receiving increased foundation support.

In this photo a young man from the Charlotte Coalition for Social Justice marches to honor MLK Day. Social Justice organizations are receiving increased foundation support.

Social justice philanthropy is on the rise, according to a just-released report from Foundation Center.  Grantmakers and practitioners alike are more optimistic about moving their agenda forward, according to Social Justice Grantmaking II, an in-depth look at current attitudes and giving patterns in social justice philanthropy.

The report examines changes in grantmakers’ strategies and practices based on late 2008 interviews with 19 leading funders and eight advocates/practitioners. It also documents trends in giving based on actual grants awarded by over 1,000 of the largest U.S. foundations.

In 2007 social justice giving reached $3 billion, or 13.7 percent of overall grant dollars.  Between 2002 and 2006, social justice giving rose nearly 31 percent, surpassing the 20 percent increase in foundation giving overall during that time.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation accounted for over half of the growth in social justice grant dollars during this period. Other top social justice funders are W.K. Kellogg Foundation, an MCF member, and the Ford Foundation.  Together, the three provide over one-third of total social justice support.

Top funding areas within the category are: economic and community development (30.5%), human rights and civil liberties (13.8 percent), and health care access and affordability (13.4%).

The Foundation Center defines social justice philanthropy as “The granting of philanthropic contributions to nonprofit organizations based in the United States and other countries that work for structural change in order to increase the opportunity of those who are the least well off politically, economically, and socially.”

Those interviewed as part of the study cited the changed political environment, success of community organizing in the recent election, and new ideas and energy in the field among other factors reinvigorating a commitment to social justice philanthropy.

Study “Highlights” are available free. The full report can be purchased from Foundation Center.

Join the Conversation: MCF members, where does social justice funding fall among your giving priorities?  What makes you optimistic about the potential impact of your and your grantees’ work?

Photo CC James Willamor

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