At Echoing Green, we know that working from an intersectional understanding of gender and racial equity is essential for transforming the philanthropic funding landscape and advancing social innovation.
Despite driving societal advancements that benefit entire communities, organizations led by Black, Indigenous, and other women of color receive a significantly lower proportion of venture and philanthropic capital. This disparity is reflected in our Fellowship applicant data year over year, where Black women leaders have consistently raised less support than either the Black men or white women in the pool. Similarly, while it represents an increase, only 93 Black women in the United States reported that they secured $1 million in investor backing for their startups in 2020.
Unprecedented social and health crises are widening opportunity and employment gaps with disproportionate impacts on women of color. It is essential to preserve the futures of these organizations by putting more support networks in place for women social innovators of color, including access to venture and philanthropic dollars. That’s why we held some space this Women’s History Month to think and talk more expansively about inclusion and the systemic barriers that impede gender equity in social innovation.
Takeaways from When Women Lead: Inclusive Leadership in Social Innovation
In a virtual conversation about gender, race, and inclusive leadership, Echoing Green’s President Cheryl L. Dorsey interviewed three catalytic leaders in the social innovation space: Head of Citi Community Investing and Development and President of the Citi Foundation, Brandee McHale; Invest Sou Sou founder Fonta Gilliam ’16, and Mission Launch co-founder and President Teresa Hodge ’18.
The speakers reflected on the importance of pushing the philanthropic funding space towards more equitable funding practices, investing in the leadership of more women of color, the value of lived experience in designing solutions that directly impact communities, and hopes for our collective future. Watch the entire conversation below, and explore some of the noteworthy takeaways below.