Women in Philanthropy: From Influence to Leadership

Written on July 27, 2012 – 5:31 am | by Elaine Blades

Today’  blog is by Paul Nazareth, Manager, Philanthropic Advisory Services, Scotiatrust

Women’s march to the C-Suites of the world continues in 2012, with much recent news focusing on the new CEO of the billion dollar Yahoo empire Marissa Mayer as she announced her pregnancy. Yet when it comes to philanthropy, women – even those who run billion dollar companies – have long been stalled not at the glass ceiling, but at the kitchen table working group.

“Influence” has, for a very long time, been the word most commonly used to describe women’s engagement in philanthropy. A fantastic article on female-led philanthropy It’s not your father’s United Way highlighted the “Women Moving Millions” movement and the growing role of women as donors in public and private philanthropy. I personally loved the dramatic quote “we raised $6 million in 30 seconds…and not one woman picked up the phone and asked her husband”. A December 2011 study on High Net Worth Women’s Philanthropy provides a solid review of the motivations, capacity and strategy of today’s female philanthropist.

Canadian women are not being left behind. There were Canadian participatants in the “Women Moving Millions” movement and many more have contributed through the Canadian Women’s Foundation.  Countless more give and lead through private foundations and donor advised funds.

I’ve been lucky to work with many of these female leaders during my years as a fundraiser and continue to serve them as a philanthropic advisor. It’s inspiring and the world needs to see more women stand up and speak out as donors, as philanthropists and, most importantly, as leaders.


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