Powerful Partners: Women's Philanthropy and the Prospect of a Clinton Presidency

Chelsea Clinton announces a new cross-sector collaboration to address inequality for women and girls at the September Clinton Global Initiative meeting. (Photo Credit: Women's Funding Network)With just weeks to go before the first presidential election in U.S. history in which a woman is in the final running, a big new collaboration was announced last month: The Clinton Global Initiative and No Ceilings: the Full Participation Project,in conjunction with the Women’s Funding Network and over 30 other organizations, has mapped out a new commitment to improve women’s economic security across the world.

This is just the beginning of what will likely be a long series of cross-sector collaborations to accelerate social change for women and girls. But that's especially true if Hillary Clinton wins the presidency.

As we noted in an earlier post, Clinton has engaged in gender and family focused philanthropy for roughly 45 years, with her formative experiences as chair of the board for the Children’s Defense Fund from 1986 to 1992, and also as chair of the American Bar Association’s Commission on Women, which aimed to address to gender bias in the legal profession. In 1995, Clinton made her landmark speech at the U.N. Women’s Conference in Beijing, where she famously extolled that “women’s rights are human rights.” During her years as secretary of state, she was engaged in a range of activities to boost women worldwide.

Related: The Impact of a Clinton Presidency on Philanthropy Could Be Huge

If Clinton wins the presidency, she'll bring these past commitments to the Oval Office, along with a keen appreciation of the kind of partnerships between philanthropy and executive branch agencies that President Obama has often used to move his administration's agenda.

In turn, she'll have a growing array of potential partners to work with on women's issues. The rise of the Women’s Funding Network underscores this trend. Founded in the mid-1980s, WFN now includes 120 women’s funds and is the largest philanthropic network in the world devoted to funding for women and girls.

As part of this new announcement, WFN also unveiled a new online tool for informing and empowering women everywhere. The Economic Security Digital Storytelling Platform is a data-driven tool that gives users a way to explore the ways that women’s funds are impacting the lives of women and girls across the globe.

“Worldwide, the face of poverty belongs to women and children; women’s foundations are changing this, community by community,” said Cynthia Nimmo, CEO of the Women’s Funding Network. “The extent of the profound work our partners are doing for women and their families worldwide is clear to us.”

Now, through the Digital Storytelling Platform, WFN is illustrating the social change being driven by women’s funds so that this work can be amplified and replicated. The overarching goal is to help communities focus on stories of effective grantmaking by women’s funds, so that more communities can build out effective programs for the particular needs of their women and girls. This new platform is funded by the Walmart Foundation and W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Also supporting the initiative are the Dallas Women’s Fund and the Women’s Foundation of Southwest Florida, two funds that are part of Prosperity Together, a group of women’s funds partnering with the Obama Administration, which was announced last November.   

And there’s more: Along with the new platform, WFN made a new commitment at CGI, joining the Clinton Foundation’s No Ceilings: Full Participation Project, Vital Voices Global partnership, WEConnect International and a coalition of 30 multi-sector organizations. Together, these organizations will work to advance the gender equality targets of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. The new commitment, named  “Girls, Women and the Global Goals,” plans to invest more than $70 million, and includes many large corporations like Sodexo and Unilever, as well as newcomers like AirBnB.

Through its CGI commitment, WFN will establish a multi-year, multimillion dollar program, Advancing Women in the Workforce, which will collaborate with up to 10 U.S. women’s foundations to get more women out of poverty and into secure jobs in the U.S.

“Never before has addressing gender inequality been so integral to global development,” said Nimmo.

And never before has women’s funding and feminist philanthropy been so integral to the agenda of an impending presidency.

WFN's Economic Security Digital Platform can be viewed here.