Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Women's Economic Empowerment

After previously serving in the House of Representatives since 2006, Kirsten Gillibrand was sworn in as Hillary Clinton’s replacement as New York State Senator in January 2009, and was later re-elected in November 2010 with 63% of the vote. Since her days as a lawyer taking on pro bono cases defending battered women, to working with Hillary Clinton to encourage women to enter politics and leadership, Gillibrand has always taken a strong stance towards the advancement of women and girls.

Gillibrand was formerly the leader of the Women’s Leadership Forum, and now as Senator, she has launched, a non-profit organization dedicated to helping women realize the potential impact they can have on our country. Whether it is through political office, advocacy, or by simply taking a more active role in their community, Off the Sidelines provides women with the resources needed to make their voices heard.

Yesterday, Gillibrand’s office released Women’s Economic Empowerment Summit, a research paper highlighting the economic plight of women in America, and how women can be utilized to help improve our nation’s economy. The full paper can be downloaded at and it is full of some very sobering statistics, reminding us all that there is still so much work to be done to level the economic playing field between women and men.

You can also find this research paper in the resources section of this website. We’ve recently expanded and updated this section to include literally hundreds of research papers, articles, books and websites, as well as fact sheets for various women’s issues. Check back to this section often, as we are continuously updating as new information becomes available.

written by Laura Moore (the incredible cousin of Jacki Zehner)

Philanthropy is commonly known as the act of giving away money to charitable causes. But for those who are lucky enough to pursue philanthropy full time, it is a well known fact that philanthropy is a much more involved process than simply writing a cheque. It is a deeply personal process that forces donors to ask themselves: “What cause am I most passionate about?” and “How can I make a difference?” To the uninitiated, this can be a daunting task, and that’s why The Bridgespan Group has launched, a website designed to help donors make the most of their philanthropic gifts.

In addition to the website, a supplementary book titled Give Smart: Philanthropy that Gets Results by Thomas J. Tierney and Joel L. Fleishman has been published to further help guide philanthropic donors in their endeavours. I had the honor of meeting Thomas last week while in San Fransisco. Something he said really resonated with me as it was what I have been feeling. He said that many donors feel that giving of their time and expertise is more important than money. This is not to say that the money is not important, it is very important, but to me money absent the connection to the heart, absent the connection to passion, absent the connection to purpose, risk being transactional and not transformational. Since I have made that connection of passion to purpose to expertise to money, it has made my giving so much more meaningful and I believe, impactful.

Give Smart asks six essential questions:

1) What Are My Values and Beliefs?

2) What is “Success” and How Can It Be Achieved?

3) What Am I Accountable for?

4) What Will It Take To Get The Job Done?

5) How Do I Work With Grantees?

6) Am I Getting Better?

In answering these questions, donors are given the tools needed to start their philanthropic journey, make a difference in the charitable interests about which they are passionate, and hopefully help them to change the world for the better.

Jacki Zehner and Laura Moore

Starting tomorrow, Tuesday October 11th, THIRTEEN, the most watched public television station in the United States, begins the five week series Women, War & Peace. This series comprises of five documentaries that examine the changing roles of women in wartime conflicts, both as casualties of war and as brokers of peace. War has traditionally been defined as a man’s domain, but the changing nature of modern warfare, and the unconventional and constantly evolving battlefields have allowed for women to take on unprecedented capacities in the operation of war.

Some truly inspirational and courageous women are taking the stand to fight for women’s rights in developing countries. From Bosnia to Columbia, Afghanistan to Liberia, women the world over are stepping up to demand justice in countries torn apart by years of insurgency. They are speaking out against the practice of using women as wartime weapons, and the cruelty and inhumane methods deployed against women on the battlefield for centuries.

Women, War & Peace promises to be a groundbreaking series on the topic of women in wartime, and is a television event you do not want to miss. Our foundation is a proud supporter of this and I thank fellow WMMer Abigail Disney and Fina Reticker for their incredible work. You are my SHEROS. Titles and airdates are below; please check your local listings for times.

Tuesday, October 11th – I Came to Testify, narrated by Matt Damon

Tuesday, October 18th – Pray the Devil Back to Hell

Tuesday, October 25th – Peace Unveiled, narrated by Tilda Swinton

Tuesday, November 1st – The War We Are Living, narrated by Alfre Woodard

Tuesday, November 8th – War Redefined, narrated by Geena Davis

For more info, please visit

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Girl Effect

There are currently 600 million adolescent girls in developing countries, and for many of them, their future looks bleak. Countless numbers of them face a life of early marriage and pregnancies, vulnerability to HIV, hunger, poverty, and no ability to provide for their families or even to control the circumstances of their lives.

Faced with this reality, the Nike Foundation and the Novo Foundation started The Girl Effect, a campaign to end the cycle of poverty for women in developing countries. They believe that when you invest in a girl through education, access to health care services, freedom from violence, and access to resources, she can grow into her potential and become an important member of her family, her community, and the world at large. I believe that too.

Today bloggers around the world are celebrating this important initiative. Please watch the video, go to to take action, and celebrate the power of our girls to change the world for the better.

Some facts: ( find more in my resource section)

-1.7 billion people in the world earn less than $1 per day
-60% of the working poor in the world are women
-7 out of 10 people going hungry are women and girls
-Two thirds of the world's unpaid work is being done by women, amounting to the equivalent of nearly 50% of the world GDP
-Women earn 5% of the world's income
-Women own 1% of the world's property
-Two thirds of the children who are denied primary education are girls
-75% of illiterate adults are women