Women’s Philanthropy Institute Launches First Index to Systematically Measure Total Giving to Women’s and Girls’ Causes

The Women’s Philanthropy Institute has released the Women & Girls Index: Measuring Giving to Women’s and Girls’ Causes, which, for the first time, quantifies the number of charities in the United States dedicated to women and girls and the amount of charitable giving they receive.

The report finds these organizations received a collective total of $6.3 billion in charitable contributions from individuals, foundations, and corporations in 2016 – 1.6% of all donations made that year.

The index identifies 45,000 U.S. charities that are dedicated to serving primarily women and girls or are collectives of women and girls that serve general philanthropic purposes. While most previous research has focused on donors to women’s and girls’ causes, the new report focuses on the recipient side of the equation, filling a gap in knowledge about the organizations themselves.

Other key findings uncovered by the Women & Girls Index (WGI) include:

  • Organizations dedicated to women and girls make up 3.3% of all nonprofit organizations in the U.S. and are in every nonprofit subsector. The greatest percentage are human services organizations.
  • Women’s and girls’ organizations that focus on general women’s health receive the largest amount of philanthropic support ($1.2 billion in 2016). Women’s and girls’ organizations addressing reproductive health and family and gender-based violence also receive large amounts of charitable giving.
  • On average, organizations dedicated to women and girls are smaller than other charities, as measured by financial and human resources.
  • Women’s and girls’ organizations received approximately 3.1% of all donor-advised fund dollars granted between 2012 and 2015.

Fundraisers and nonprofits can use the findings to better understand the landscape of organizations dedicated to women and girls and to benchmark their organizations against others in the index. Scholars can access the index for future studies. The resulting knowledge will inform the practice of philanthropy and help researchers apply a gender lens to their work.

The full report and visual summary are available here: philanthropy.iupui.edu/institutes/womens-philanthropy-institute/research/wgi.html

The WGI, which is funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, provides new information and insight about the size and scope of organizations dedicated to women and girls.