Leveling the #GivingTuesdayNow Playing Field

By Sheila Katz and Emily Goodstein

Quick note before you dig in: the issues commonly referred to as “women’s issues” are not only women’s issues. These issues impact gender non-binary people and, specifically on the issue of abortion, trans men. Additionally, “women’s issues” impact people of all gender identities – and all people are needed to address these issues. Leaving it only up to women puts an unfair burden on the people who are already disproportionately impacted.

Ahead of #GivingTuesdayNow on May 5, we are all thinking of how we can best support the issues and organizations we care about, especially since the event is focused on fundraising for nonprofits dealing with the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.

As you think about where to give this #GivingTuesdayNow, think of this as an opportunity to level the playing field for women, and in particular women of color. The reality is that organizations led by women and that focus on women and girls are some of the least likely to receive donations even in the best of times. The statistics are even more bleak for organizations led by and serving women of color.

During this crisis, many nonprofits are struggling, reporting a decline in individual donations, or major donors pulling support – even as they see sharp increases in demand for services.

For organizations run by, funded by, or serving women and non-binary people, the crisis is hitting even harder. The already fragile and gendered ecosystem of nonprofit organizational support is showing even more significant signs of collapse for women’s organizations.

We want to examine why this is happening, and how you can help address these critical issues this #GivingTuesdayNow.

1) Dont forget organizations with missions focused on serving women and non-binary people.

Very few philanthropic dollars go to helping women and girls. In fact, only 1.6 percent of all charitable giving goes to organizations with a focus on helping these populations. That’s the story in a regular, non-pandemic year. But here’s where the dynamic really gets (even more) problematic: Women make up the majority of the essential workforce during this pandemic According to The NewYork Times, “women make up nearly nine out of 10 nurses and nursing assistants, most respiratory therapists, a majority of pharmacists and an overwhelming majority of pharmacy aides and technicians. More than two-thirds of the workers at grocery store checkouts and fast food counters are women. Nonwhite women are more likely to be doing essential jobs than anyone else.”

Women are also the holders of most low-wage or hourly jobs, without access to health care, sick days, or family leave, despite being the default caregivers in most households.

Additionally, LGBTQ populations are experiencing the ramifications of Covid-19 in other ways: increased identity based violence, distrimination and the negative mental health effects associated with isolation (sometimes in hostile environments).

Help make sure that those most at risk now are not forgotten by making a donation to organizations who serve these populations. Here are six of our favorites:

  • National Council of Jewish Women: a grassroots network advocating for the most vulnerable women, children, and families in the United States and Israel
  • Footsteps: provides comprehensive services to people who have chosen to leave their ultra-Orthodox communities and begin new lives
  • Jewish Coalition Against Domestic Abuse: services victims and survivors of all types of power-based violence, including victims and survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, elder abuse, gender-based violence, sexual assault, sexual harassment, and stalking
  • Jews for Racial and Economic Justice: fights for a sustainable world with an equitable distribution of economic and cultural resources and political power
  • Keshet: works for the full equality of all LGBTQ Jews and our families in Jewish life
  • Shalom Bayit: fosters the social change and community response necessary to eradicate domestic violence in the Jewish community

2) Make a special point to support organizations largely funded by women.

Women-owned businesses were shut out of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans. In fact, 90 percent of women and minority-owned small businesses did not receive a PPP loan that they applied for. Part of this is because banks prioritized businesses with connections and with larger pools of money in their bank to begin with, which put most women-owned businesses at a steep disadvantage. This money not getting to the hands of women has an impact on broader women’s organizations who rely on small business owners as the lifeblood of their philanthropy. This then significantly lessens the small pool of funding that was going to support organizations who focus on improving the lives of women and girls to begin with.

If you’re moved to donate to an organization largely funded by women, take your pick. The truth is, almost all nonprofits serving women and girls are also funded by women. Here are a few we recommend:

  • Hadassah: enhances the health and lives of people in Israel, the United States and worldwide
  • Jewish Women’s Archive: documents Jewish women’s stories, elevates their voices, and inspires them to be agents of change
  • Jewish Women International: ensures that all women and girls thrive in healthy relationships, control their financial futures and realize the full potential of their personal strength
  • National Council of Jewish Women: advocates for the most vulnerable women, children, and families in the United States and Israel
  • Women’s League for Conservative Judaism: strengthens and unites synagogue women’s group and reinforces their bonds with Israel and with Jews worldwide.
  • Women of Reform Judaism: strengthens the voice of women worldwide and empowers them to create caring communities and advocate for and promote progressive Jewish values

3) Intentionally diversify your support by giving to organizations that lift up women of color.

The current wage gap in the United States models how intersectional identities play a role in increased oppression. White women make 80 cents to the dollar compared to white men, while Black women make 61 cents, Native American women make 58 cents, and Latina women make 53 cents. Just like the wage gap, gender-based inequality in philanthropy is exacerbated for those serving women of color.

Use your #GivingTuesdayNow dollars to close the gender AND racial pay gaps by supporting organizations led by or mobilizing Jewish women of color. Here are six of our favorites:

  • Aleph: Alliance for Jewish Renewal is a trans-denominational approach to revitalizing Judaism
  • Bend the Arc’s Selah Leadership Program: creates a safe healing space where Jewish leaders of color can build deep, interdependent relationships with each other to advance and support each other in their leadership inside and outside the Jewish community.
  • Dimensions Education Consulting: A women and Jewof Color-led nonprofit that provides training and consultancy in diversity, equity and inclusion
  • EDOT, Midwest Regional Jewish Diversity Collaborative: set of partnerships and activities focused on affirming Jewish racial and ethnic diversity across communities in the Midwest region
  • Jews of Color Field Building Initiative: a national effort focused on building and advancing the professional, organizational and communal field for Jews of Color
  • Jewish Multiracial Network: enhances Jewish diversity throughout the community via capacity development, community development, community empowerment, and social capital.

4) Support organizations led by women.

Often what comes after the joyous moment when someone shatters the glass ceiling, is the “glass cliff” phenomenon – in order to assume the top role of CEO, white women and people of color of all genders disproportionately get hired when organizations are failing. White, straight men tend to get hired when they are thriving. As such, many organizations with women at the helm were already on a shaky ground before this crisis – which has only amplified the effects of this glass cliff and the reality that many get pushed off. They are often starting further behind than their male counterparts in similar organizations, with tons of fundraising to do in order to catch up and level the playing field.

Consider using your #GivingTuesdayNow dollars to alleviate some effects of the glass cliff, by supporting organizations with women at the helm. Here are six of our favorites:

  • Amplifier Giving: ignites, strengthens, and informs giving to transform and grow philanthropy inspired by Jewish values and wisdom
  • Avodah: strengthening the Jewish community’s fight against the causes and effects of poverty in the United States by engaging participants in service and community building.
  • Mazon: national advocacy organization working to end hunger among people of all faiths and backgrounds in the United States and Israel.
  • Repair the World: mobilizes Jews and their communities to take action to pursue a just world, igniting a lifelong commitment to service.
  • Respectability: Ensures children and adults with disabilities receive the education, training and employment opportunities they need to succeed
  • Worker’s Circle: social justice organization that powers progressive Jewish identity through Jewish cultural engagement

5) Dont forget about supporting individuals often left unserved by nonprofit institutions.

If you’re able, expand your donations this #GivingTuesdayNow beyond traditional organizations to include individuals. Non-citizen immigrants were completely left out of the federal government’s COVID relief packages passed by Congress, regardless of if they pay taxes. This includes people with legal status, including DACA recipients and those with temporary protected status. This includes many who care for the most vulnerable including home healthcare aides and childcare workers. It also includes people providing essential services including people making food and delivering takeout orders and people who are working on farms to make sure the food supplies stay open.

Roughly 60 percent of undocumented women are in the labor force, mostly working in informal and contingent occupations – as childcare or elder care providers or in various service industries. The remaining 40 percent work without pay in the home, providing home maintenance and repair, household administration, and caring for children and other family members. You can help by finding creative ways to get money in the hands of this vulnerable population. Consider paying the person who cleans your home or cares for your children (even if they aren’t coming to your home), ordering take-out and giving a very large tip, or purchasing gift cards from restaurants run by immigrants.

Right now, the situation for women in this country is dire. Domestic violence is at an all time high, reproductive health access is being threatened, women are disproportionately being let go from their jobs or being asked to take pay cuts, and women continue to do the majority of childcare and household work. But, if you’re able to direct even some of your giving to this vulnerable population, you can begin to alleviate these problems.

#GivingTuesdayNow is just one day, but it is also our chance to level the philanthropic playing field and keep women and women’s organizations front and center. The magnitude of this problem is large, but your donations can and will make a difference. With our collective effort, we can even double the percentage of donations that go to serving women and girls. And beyond the dollars, this can boost morale, set a trend and reinforce the fact that when women thrive, we all do.

Let’s work together to make women the headline of #GivingTuesdayNow.

Sheila Katz is the CEO of the National Council of Jewish Women, a 125 year old progressive Jewish women’s organization that advocates on behalf of the most vulnerable women, children, and families. Emily Goodstein is the CEO of Greater Good Strategy, a digital marketing and fundraising agency proudly collaborating with nonprofits in the Jewish and feminist communities.