Landmark philanthropic summit calls for more support to end violence against girls and women


Alliance magazine


NoVo Foundation, Oak Foundation, Unbound Philanthropy and Ariadne teamed up to convene From Violence to a Place of Power to explore how philanthropy can radically increase its support for the movement to end violence against all girls and women.

While violence against girls and women is a worldwide pandemic affecting 1 in 3 women in their lifetimes, funding in the philanthropic sector for work to end gender-based violence has remained extremely low. A survey by Ariadne found that the number of foundations that support work to end violence against women in Europe is small, and that funding tends to be at a low level and short-term.

‘With survivors leading the way, we’re witnessing an unprecedented mass mobilization against sexual violence. Now it is time for philanthropy to match the courage, urgency and commitment of the movement leaders who got us here,’ said Pamela Shifman, executive director of the NoVo Foundation. ‘Ending violence against girls and women is fundamental to every philanthropic mission, and there is a huge opportunity for many more funders to join in supporting this innovative and important work.’

Although the movement to end violence against girls and women is gaining global momentum, it was identified #MeToo faces growing threats and needs more support and solidarity from across philanthropy. A section of the summit was designed specifically as a space for funders to share learning, strategise and build relationships, with insights shared by Ruby Johnson from FRIDA – The Young Feminist Fund, Samantha Rennie of Rosa, the UK Fund for Women and Girls and Céline Bonnaire from the Kering Foundation.

Actor and activist Emma Watson chaired a session with activists Nasra Ayub of Integrate UK, Marai Larasi of Imkaan, and Devi Leiper O’Malley from FRIDA–The Young Feminist Fund. The panelists outlined the pivotal role of movement building and feminist organising in ending violence against girls and women, as well as the urgent need for many more funders and donors from across the philanthropic sector to trust movement leaders and provide long-term, flexible support.

‘Young feminists organizing is about holding a line that’s been courageously made by so many others before them, and then advancing that shared agenda in today’s context,’ said Devi Leiper O’Malley. ‘Young women, girls, and trans youth have the curiosity, anger, openness and drive to create lasting change. Their activism might look different from what has been done before, but it deserves flexible, long-term support and trust from across philanthropy.’

Responding to research across seventy countries that concluded that women’s movements were the key factor in determining policy change, Emma Watson said, ‘This makes it all the more shocking that a survey of European foundations found that less than 5 percent of funds were targeted towards girls and women. I think supporting girls and women’s organisations is the greatest hope we have for worldwide transformative change – and my philanthropic choices are grounded in that belief.’

For more on the summit see:

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