Here's How One Local Women's Funding Group Is Responding to Trump Policies

Not surprisingly, a big theme in our coverage lately has been grantmaking in response to new Trump policies. We've written about a number of foundations, as well as collaborations, that are putting up extra money for the protection of immigrants, refugees, the LGBTQ community, the uninsured, and even journalists.

There's so much going on that we've created a new section of IP, Trump Effect, to keep track of it all. 

Trump Effect funding has often come in the form “emergency grants,” with funders pushing these efforts to the forefront of their priority lists, likely at the expense of something else that isn’t quite so urgent—although it's always hard to know what isn't getting funding as a result of these moves. Without a doubt, though, Trump administration policies and actions are affecting the priorities of both local and national funders, potentially changing the philanthropic landscape in significant ways for at least the next four years. 

But one type of foundation we haven’t talked about much lately is women’s foundations and how they’re responding to Trump’s first months in office. We wrote a piece back in November on how some funders in this space were likely to deal with Trump policies, but a lot has happened since then. Women have organized marches all around America and the world, and are speaking out about equality and empowerment like never before.

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Meanwhile, funders in the gender equity space are grappling with a growing list of urgent issues—including the reinstitution of the "global gag rule," possible cuts to Planned Parenthood, a new conservative nominee for the Supreme Court, threats to contraception access if Obamacare is repealed, and now the risks of deportation immigrant women face. 

That's a lot to deal with, and apart from what top national funders like NoVo are doing, there's new activity by women funders at the local level to mount an effective response. A case in point is a recent round of grants by the Chicago Foundation for Women (CFW). This is a foundation that has always focused on equal opportunities and rights for women and girls, and that cause feels more important than ever before right now.

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CFW recently announced 29 new grants totaling $50,000 as part of its 100 Day Fund. The fund's name is a reference to the first 100 days of the Trump administration. And the purpose of these new rapid-response grants is to fuel the pushback in Chicago to Trump policies by spurring on more civic engagement and advocacy efforts. Like other major U.S. cities, Chicago has seen a surge in activism since Trump's election. In January, as many as 250,000 people joined the women's march downtown to protest Trump. But a big question is how to keep up this momentum over time. 

“We’ve been proud to see the Chicago region step up and stand together to promote our shared values of diversity and equality,” said CFW President and CEO K. Sujata. “The grants from The 100 Day Fund will help sustain this wave of activism beyond the early days of this administration, and move us closer to our goal of gender equity in our lifetime.”

Some of CFW’s grant money supported the Women’s Marches on Washington and Chicago, but it’s also going toward more long-term projects. Topics that are most in focus with CFW’s rapid-response grants right now include immigration, worker's rights, healthcare, and getting people involved in the political process by connecting them to their elected officials. 

Highlighted grantees include Arise Chicago: Immigrant Working Women Rapid Response, She Crew, The Four Hijabs: 2017 Tour, and the Partnership for Safer Lake County Summit of Leaders. All of the new grantees received between $500 and $2,500, and a full list of grantees is available here.

The 100 Day Fund is part of a larger CFW effort called The 100% project, which has a goal of boosting economic security and ending gender bias in Chicago by 2030.

CFW is also hosting a week-long conversation series called Talk It Out, which is focused on ending gender bias. The new grantees are participating in this event, and absolutely anyone can register online to host a conversation and receive a host toolkit to discuss new ways to put women’s issues at the forefront. Talk It Out runs from March 26 to April 1.

As new Trump policies are announced daily, most recently to revoke protections for transgender students, it's hard to recall a moment when women’s philanthropy felt as urgent as it does now. Fortunately, this part of the funding world has seen considerable growth in recent years, with new donors coming aboard and new collaborations emerging. Much of the action has been at the local level, as women's funds have gained steam. Over the next year, keep an eye on outfits like the Chicago Foundation for Women as they emerge as leaders in the effort to resist Trump policies.