NY Women's Foundation to Join Obama's Collaborative on Equity Research

A research arm of the New York Women's Foundation is joining the Collaborative to Advance Equity in Research, a new effort from the Obama administration, a part of its Prosperity Together initiative aimed at bringing more resources and attention to the needs of women and girls of color.

“We are proud to work with this coalition to generate more knowledge and research about girls and women of color. The more we know, the more we can begin to generate policy solutions and create programs that are connected to their lives and experiences,” said Dr. C. Nicole Mason, executive director of the Center for Research and Policy in the Public Interest (CR2PI) at the New York Women's Foundation, and one of the featured speakers at our webinar on November 4, "Impact Giving for Women and Girls of Color." Dr. Mason is also the author of the report, Unequal Lives, which documents the unequal living and unequal funding for women and girls of color in the Rural South.

The Collaborative to Advance Equity in Research was announced on November 13 at the White House's forum, Advancing Equity for Women and Girls of Color. This one-day forum also introduced a new collaborative of 28 funders with a plan to invest $118 million over the next five years in initiatives benefiting women and girls of color, including increased funding for STEM education, and targeted programs to end harsh disciplinary policies impacting girls of color disproportionately.

CR2PI sees itself as working at the nexus of "race, gender, class and other markers of difference on a range of social issues and problems." The goal for this organization is to "increase access and relieve disparities for economically vulnerable families, and to help build more connected communities throughout the United States." It does this by conducting research and analysis informing policymakers at different levels of government, and influences the debate on public policy issues.

It certainly looks like CR2PI could have a big influence on how Prosperity Together proceeds with its agenda to help women and girls of color. We look forward to tracking the new developments on this front of the movement for women's equality.

One question we have raised is that there seems to be a huge gap between the corporations coming on board for Prosperity Together and the corporations that supported the White House's initiative for boys and men of color, My Brother's Keeper, which received nearly twice as much funding and had a long list of corporate sponsors.

By contrast, Prosperity Together is funded mainly by public women's funds and foundationsa much different model. One area of study that could be pursued further is understanding how corporate donors are cultivated to support social programs that seek to address both racism and sexism, like Prosperity Together. 

One reason why corporate foundations may not be participating in this initiative is because the impetus for Prosperity Together came from the women's funds and foundations, so the genesis of the project is different. Another reason for the lack of corporate support may relate to the Obama Administration being near its end and corporations being less likely to take the initiative to partner with an outgoing president, whereas an incoming president would be a more attractive candidate for collaboration.

Related: As Women of Color Get Attention from the White House, We've Got Some Questions