It’s time to rethink what it means to give
by Lindsey Stanberry for Refinery 29
Philanthropist is such a stuffy word. It calls to mind rich, old white men who have massive public buildings named after them — Rockefeller or Carnegie. Or maybe you think of one of the tech billionaires who have set aside some of their fortunes for good — Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg. Either way, it’s not an accessible concept, especially for millennial women who face not only a rocky economy and student loan debt, but also a pervasive wage gap. Yet, when I edit Money Diaries, I regularly see women including charitable giving among their monthly expenses. Sure, they might be paying off hundreds of dollars in student loan debt each month, but they’re also giving $50 to Planned Parenthood. It might not be enough to get their name on the wing of a hospital, but it’s something.
That’s one of the many reasons I was drawn to the new campaign I Am A Philanthropist from the Women’s Philanthropy Institute in partnership with the YWCA and Facebook. I love that it gives credit to women who are donating both their time and money to causes they are passionate about. We might not have millions to give, but dollar for dollar, hour for hour, we are making an impact.
Today, March 19, 2019, we’re excited to celebrated the official launch of the I Am A Philanthropist campaign with a series of stories on Refinery29. Our hope with this series is that we will inspire even more women to create giving plans, join giving circles, and acknowledge how their peers are really making a change.
The Women’s Philanthropy Institute releases its Women Give report each year with the hope that it will encourage nonprofit organizations to reach out to broader audiences, as well as help potential donors realize they don’t need to be rich to make an impact. This year’s study found no discernible difference in the giving patterns of different ethnic groups. Single women give slightly more than single men, and couples give more than single women — but that’s not surprising when you consider they likely have more disposable income.
The video that accompanies the campaign features 9 women who are redefining philanthropy, giving of their time and resources, both through traditional and non-tradtional methods. These women have organized giving circles, serve on nonprofit boards, and use their own experiences and skills to help teach others in their communities.
They are philanthropists — and there’s not a old white man in sight. And you’re a philanthropist, too — share your own story today (or any day!) using the hashtag #IAmAPhilanthropist.