Over the past 40 years, women’s philanthropy has emerged as an exceptional field for making change. Women from around the world have invested their intellectual, financial, social, and cultural capital in order to improve the quality of life for people and our planet. This project showcases the “new frontier” of women’s philanthropy and highlights a gendered approach to giving that is sensitive to the experiences of women and historically marginalized individuals. Through innovative collaborations, this project raises awareness within the field of Women’s Philanthropy, connecting women philanthropists from around the world to engage in relationship building, continued education, and leadership development.
Activities & Impacts
Recent efforts by the Women’s Leadership in Philanthropy program have focused on advancing women through gifts to higher education. To explore this phenomenon, we
first conducted a literature review to summarize trends in the women’s philanthropy field. This led to the creation
of an annotated bibliography of resources on women’s philanthropy in higher education. This literature review also became the basis for a series of interviews with women leaders at UW-Madison and beyond – faculty and researches, engaged philanthropists, and organizational and administrative leaders dedicated to improving life
for women. The goal of these interviews was to better understand how women in the university:
1) perceive their own ability to impact women’s lives;
2) perceive the ability of higher education to impact women’s lives; and
3) recognize opportunities and challenges for investing in women through higher education.
Additionally, interviews explored issues of access, equity, and inclusion related to higher education, as well as areas in which higher education gifts could drive strategic impact.
Results from these interviews will explore ways in which higher education giving can be a form of activism. Additionally, interview summaries will be disseminated via new PowerPoint and video presentations as resources to be used by students, faculty, and philanthropists.
Key takeaways from the interviews:
“Knowledge empowers women to see what they can do.” – Janet Hyde, Chair of the Department of Gender and Women’s Studies and Helen Thompson Woolley Professor of Psychology; University of Wisconsin-Madison.
“Universities are the living laboratories that study intervention.” – Molly Carnes, Director of the Center for Women’s Health Research; University of Wisconsin-Madison.
“We need to be asking, ‘How can we get more women into postgraduate programs?'” – Joan Johnson, Founder and Co-director of the Newberry Seminar on Women and Gender at the Newberry Library in Chicago; Office of the Provost at Northwestern University.
“My main mission in academia is to level the playing field… More equitable spaces are more creative spaces.” – Susan Cook, Pamela O. Hamel Music Board of Advisors; Director of the School of Music; University of Wisconsin-Madison.