United Nations NGO CSW Forum

The role of philanthropy in funding global women’s movements.

I am convening a panel of experts in women’s philanthropy who will share the ways they’re concretely addressing the funding challenges women’s and girls’ empowerment and advocacy groups are facing as they seek to address the gender gap, i.e., achieve gender equality.  This is a virtual parallel NGO side event hosted by the United Nations NGO CSW Forum alongside the 67th Session of the Commission on the the Status of Women (CSW) on

Tuesday March 14 from 1-3 p.m. GMT (9-11 a.m. EDT and 8-10 a.m. CDT)

“The role of philanthropy in funding global women’s movements.”


Jeannie Infante Sager

The Gaps and Growth in Philanthropic Support for Women and Girls.
Women’s Philanthropy Institute, housed under the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Director of the Women’s Philanthropy Institute, housed under the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Topic  “Topic:  “The gaps and growth in philanthropic support for women and girls”

The Women’s Philanthropy Institute (WPI) is the only academic institution in the world studying the intersection of gender and philanthropy. With a goal of unlocking the potential of women’s philanthropy to achieve a more just, equitable and healthy society, WPI works to not just study how gender influences giving behavior, but also to provide pathways for fundraisers to put their research into practice. Jeannie Infante Sager, Director of WPI, will be able to speak to how this looks in action, by sharing their most recent undertaking: Give to Women and Girls Day.

_Jeannie Sager
nanci hogan speaking

Nanci Hogan, convenor and panel moderator

Having worked in the NGO sector for more than 20 years, Nanci is a philanthropy coach and consultant who works with individuals and organizations to establish new philanthropic endeavours that will make a social impact on issues they have a passion about addressing. 

Susan Benford

Talking about the impact of Philanos and women’s giving circles nationally

Chair, Philanos and The Philanthropy Connection, Boston, MA and Impact100 Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA

Building on the stage Jeannie Sager has set with the data on women’s philanthropy, Susan will be talking about what kinds of forms women’s philanthropy can take.   Specifically she will be talking about the history of collective giving worldwide and how giving circles have emerged as a powerful form of philanthropic giving.  She’ll talk about the work Philanos is doing nationally and about the ripple effect the grants they’ve funded are continuing to make.  Throughout, she will be demonstrating why women’s philanthropy is so important.  


Susan was elected to the Philanos board in 2020 and served as vice chair, becoming chair in July 2021.

She was on the steering committee for PowerUP! 2020 and co-led the organization of conference breakout sessions.

She was on the board of The Philanthropy Connection, MA, for seven years during which she was president and chair of development from 2016 to 2019, and held other leadership roles in grants, membership, governance, and the diversity task force.

Additionally, she is on the board of Resilient Coders, a non-profit that trains black and brown youth in Boston and Philadelphia to become software engineers through a free coding bootcamp.

Previously, she served for 7 years on the Foundation Board for the Massachusetts College of Art and Design and for 4 years on the Boston Board of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, which funds research into the causes and cure for Type 1, or insulin-dependent diabetes.

She received her MBA in Finance and Marketing from the University of Texas in Austin.

Susan lives with her husband outside Boston, has two adult, married sons and one spoiled golden retriever.

Susan Benford

Buffy Beaudoin Schwartz

Talking about the experiences and impact of local women’s giving circles

Executive Director of the Women’s Giving Circle of Howard County and Member of the Board of Trustees, Philanos, and Chair of the Philanos marketing and communications committee

Moving from the national perspective on collective giving, Buffy will speak about the impact local giving circles are having on their communities.  Specifically, she’ll be sharing the ways in which her Howard Community Giving Circle has been making an impact in the local community.


Buffy began her career working in international human rights in Washington, DC, was the communications director at the Maryland Philanthropy Network, and is now president of her own firm BBS Consulting, working with foundations, nonprofits and political campaigns.

She has come “full circle” by serving as the first executive director of the Women’s Giving Circle of Howard County, having been an original founder 20 years ago, and a past Advisory Board chair.

Buffy is a co-author of the award-winning book Women & Philanthropy: Boldly Shaping a Better World with Sondra Shaw-Hardy and Martha Taylor and has participated in the national giving circle movement for over two decades.

She’s been named one of Maryland’s Top 100 Women in 2003, 2008 and 2010 by The Daily Record, an “Innovator of the Year” in 2004, and honored as one of “40 Under 40” in 2004 by the Baltimore Business Journal.

She was an Impact Award Winner in 2012, and is a 2019 inductee in the Women’s Commission of Howard County’s Hall of Fame – all for her work in women’s collective giving.

Buffy has served on many boards including the Community Foundation of Howard County and she’s involved in gun violence prevention efforts.

She has a BA in Russian history from the University of Maryland. Originally from Newtown, CT, she has lived in Howard County – between Washington, DC and Baltimore – for over 30 years.

Buffy and her husband Howard have four children and two granddaughters

What is going to happen at this event ?

A panel of experts, both academics and practitioners, in women’s philanthropy will join with women activists leading women and girl’s advocacy and civil rights movements as well as those working in more traditional women’s empowerment organizations.

The panel will explore advances made in women’s philanthropic giving as well as the challenges they face. There is a significant gap in the philanthropic funding necessary for the range of activities needed to bring about gender equality.

The Women and Girls in Action Index, https://wgi.communityplatform.us/, published by the Women in Philanthropy Institute at the University of Indiana noted Women and girl’s organizations received nearly $8 billion in 2019 in philanthropic support, less than 2% of overall charitable giving. Of that $8 billion only $0.3 billion went to funding organizations involved in women’s and girl’s civil rights and advocacy.

Meanwhile, in a November 2019 Stanford Social Research Innovation Review article, Philanthropy for the Women’s Movement, Not Just ‘Empowerment, Francoise Girard argued that,

“Only women’s organizations focused on consciousness-raising, coalition-building, and advocacy can bring the kind of systemic change that women the world over need.”

“Only women’s organizations focused on consciousness-raising, coalition-building, and advocacy can bring the kind of systemic change that women the world over need.”

She concludes that although advocating and lobbying for genuine political change at the international, national and local policy levels, is a highly leveraged and highly effective strategy for achieving gender equality, it is seriously underfunded.  https://ssir.org/articles/entry/philanthropy_for_the_womens_movement_not_just_empowerment#

Therefore, the panel will also explore the potential for increasing philanthropic giving for women’s and girl’s civil rights and advocacy.

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he role of philanthropy in funding global women’s movements.
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