Our Pivotal Moment — Women’s Campaign Fund

We know what talk the talk means. We’ve heard enough of that. Now we say, walk the walk. And to burn one more cliche, “Put your money where your mouth is.”

Money awarded this past week — $48 million — from the Equality Can’t Wait (ECW) Challenge, blows away the talk and moves straight to action. At WCF, we were pleased to compete in and reach the second round of the competition, launched in 2020.

The Challenge was hosted by Pivotal Ventures, Melinda French Gates’ investment and incubation company, with additional support from MacKenzie Scott and Dan Jewett, and Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies. Declaring, “We must accelerate the pace of progress for all women to be in positions to make decisions, control resources, and shape policies and perspectives — because equality can’t wait,” the competition’s goal is to create greater power and influence for women in the U.S. by 2030.

A pivotal step forward

From 550 applications, four $10 million recipients were selected and announced last week, representing a range of equality initiatives: a collaboration between New Mexico Community Capital and Native Women Lead; Girls Inc.’s Project Accelerate; Ada Developers Academy; and a coalition of partners formed by the National Domestic Workers Alliance and Caring Across Generations. Two other groups received $4 million each: FreeFrom, whose mission is to transform how society views intimate partner violence, and IGNITE, an organization devoted to helping young women enter elected office and other political roles.

Since less than 2 percent of philanthropic giving has gone to initiatives specifically targeting women, these awards are a significant step forward in putting shared philanthropy on track. That makes them another milestone in our walk toward #5050x2028 — accelerating a change in expectations that gets us to 50/50 representation of women and men in elected offices nationwide by 2028.

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“Women in the U.S. are still vastly underrepresented in the places where agendas are set and decisions are made.” - Pivotal Ventures

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Different timelines; same goal

ECW’s awards come on the heels of last month’s Generation Equality Forum: a commitment of $40 billion and the launch of a global five-year action journey to advance the well-being of women by 2026. To get the ball rolling, the Bill & Melinda Gates, Ford, and Open Society Foundations announced commitments of $2.1 billion, $420 million, and $100 million, respectively, at the event. Open Society’s funding includes moving more women into positions of power and influence in politics and governance.

They say 2026. We say 2028. ECW says 2030. IOW: what are we waiting for?

The goal years may vary, yet we all say this: we are at a pivot point. No more excuses about a lack of ideas, a lack of desire, and a lack of money.

WCF challenges us to move from acceptance of women in elected office to commitment to the same. Even if not all of the fresh money targets getting women elected to office, this is commitment, no doubt about it.

©2021 Women’s Campaign Fund

#5050x2028

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