Strength In Numbers
Women in Philanthropy
There’s a desire within us all to be part of the bigger picture, something more impactful, a part within a vehicle for meaningful social change. We all know that collaborating with others, supporting endeavours mutually beneficial to our own, and, ultimately, partnering for success, is the right way of doing business, particularly in the social sector. However, how often do we consider our so-called competitors “allies” (at The Athena Advisors, we prefer the term “peers”)? How often do we turn to our network for help with a problem? Or do we fear that it shows a sign of weakness, that we don’t know what we are doing? Do you relate?
That’s why we are excited to be convening the Women in Philanthropy group at The Conduit for the next year. The Conduit is a London members club and collaborative community of people committed to creating a just, prosperous, and sustainable future. The Women in Philanthropy group is composed of like-minded women working in philanthropy, Women in Philanthropy members share challenges and solutions with the 50-strong group. Founded by Global Philanthropic Advisor, Michele Fugiel-Gartner, the group was set out to “bring together women working in the philanthropic space”. We at The Athena Advisors have committed to convene the group from August 2023 until July 2024.
So, what’s it all about? The Conduit’s Women in Philanthropy group is for those interested in the way women can move money toward social good. It offers the opportunity to share information formally and informally, hear about sector developments and trends from fellow practitioners, connect and network with other members at The Conduit and bolster the philanthropic community at The Conduit and beyond. Meetings are held monthly, with occasional evening gatherings.
The group gathers to talk professionally and personally about our unique experiences as practitioners in this space, drawing on members’ upcoming events, new roles, old roles, job openings. The group shares advice and the occasional funny story. The group draws busy CEOs and Executive Directors away from their tight schedules for one hour a month.
In preparing to host the Women in Philanthropy group for the coming year, the answer we found ourselves asking was this: why is this working, why do people keep coming along? And the answer we saw was this:
It’s a nurturing space. These women are all highly successful philanthropy professionals, with a few degrees to their names, and experience in some of the most high-profile non-profits in this world. But we all have one thing in common: womanhood. I have delighted in observing the way women chime in words of support when someone’s child is unwell. The value of sharing both motherhood and womanhood, among women working in the same sector cannot be undervalued. Don’t misunderstand me, we don’t sit talking about babies for the duration of the hour, rather it’s a space where these women working in philanthropy can be mothers, wives, partners, but also professional, successful women. It’s a space where women lift each other up, offer connections that benefit their fellow members, and give advice from the heart. It’s not a space of competition, but one of exploration, warmth, and support.
During our tenure convening the Women in Philanthropy group, we hope to grow the group from strength to strength, focussing on what really matters to our members. To that end, we will have thematic meetings, offering different members a chance to moderate the hour, guiding us through their philanthropic specialisation and focussing our discussion on themes that sit at the heart of what members do. Some of our upcoming themes include Women Investors, Women Philanthropists; Equity in Fundraising; Funding Children’s Causes; Funding the Issues on Our Doorstep; and Women and Girls’ Funding.
To bolster and guide the work of the Women in Philanthropy group, we are pleased to launch the group’s new mission and vision statements, and values, guiding the group’s objectives and goals.
The Conduit’s Women in Philanthropy group is for those interested in the way women can be effective in moving money for social good. Participants include grantmakers, fundraisers, and philanthropists. Our focus is on the unique role that women can have in marshalling and distributing resources for social good, through building leadership, sharing information, and identifying opportunities in their circles.
We seek to create a bounteous world where there is enough for all—there is enough wealth, there are enough jobs, and there is enough safety and security to thrive. Within the sector of philanthropy, we foster greater connectivity between practitioners, opening doors and sharing information. There is much more to be done, and the Conduit is an outstanding host for the hard work to create a just world. We commit to helping one another step into new roles and opportunities, on course to creating a more socially just world.
Does this resonate with you? We always love to see new faces among the 50 in the group. There’s room for everyone. It’s not a group closed to Conduit members. We’re delighted to be able to share the space with guests, on invitation, broadening the range of voices at the table and, ultimately, having more impact in the philanthropic space. We want this group to serve its members well and be one of the most important in your busy world. If you’d like to know more, please be in touch with our Director of Client Services, Lucy Hart-Yeomans, at: firstname.lastname@example.org. There is much more to be done.