Does this make sense to you? Women are more likely than men to make charitable donations, but less likely to receive philanthropic funding.

Research from Indiana University’s Women’s Philanthropy Institute shows that historically women of all income levels and generations are more likely than men to give, yet the 47,449 organizations dedicated to women and girls in the United States received only 1.9% of charitable giving in 2018. That doesn’t seem to add up, does it?

Moreover, in 2017, grantmaking to women and girls of color made up only 0.5% ($356 million) of the $66.9 billion given by foundations, according to the Ms. Foundation, amounting to $5.48 per woman or girl of color in the United States.

“To achieve gender equity, we need to close this persistent funding gap,” says Alison Mata, co-executive director of MobilizeHer, a nonprofit dedicated to advancing intersectional gender justice through concrete action. “Nonprofits led by and for women and gender-expansive people are at the forefront of effecting change in our communities, but their initiatives are chronically under-resourced.”

India Harville deals with these resource challenges every day. The nonprofit she started, Embraced Body, provides accessible dance workshops, bodywork and disability justice training. “I founded Embraced Body because I wanted to see greater representation of disabled queer, trans, Black, Indigenous, people of color in somatics, massage and dance, telling our stories, providing services for each other, advocating for the unique needs of our communities, and bringing our gifts to the quest to dismantle ableism,” Harville says.

Providing accessible programs isn’t cheap. Each Embraced Body event requires an access support team, ASL interpretation, captioning, audio description, a quiet room, and food. The organization also offers sliding-scale fees and scholarships. Without donor support and grants, it would lose money on every event.

“Having our resource needs met tomorrow would be a game changer for Embraced Body,” Harville says. The team could grow and expand its impact by organizing workshops once or twice a month instead of once per quarter, increasing the number of free events, giving scholarships to all who apply, and buying an accessible van. The nonprofit could also provide disability justice training to more community organizations and individuals, and support other nonprofits’ access costs.

The Black Women Organized for Political Action’s Training Institute for Leadership Enrichment is featured in the GiveWomen guide. Credit: Carol Thomas

MobilizeHer started the GiveWomen guide to spotlight organizations like Embraced Body during the holiday giving season, so that new supporters can discover and sustain their essential work all year-round. Published annually, the guide features grassroots and small organizations led by and focused on self-identified women and/or gender-expansive people. 

The 2021 GiveWomen guide includes Embraced Body, along with these organizations: 

For these organizations, the GiveWomen guide is an opportunity to collectively showcase their creative leadership and critical impact on the most important issues facing us today.

Yuan Wang, co-director of APIENC, explains that the organization’s programs are led by members directly impacted by the issues they’re tackling. “While trans and nonbinary APIs face high levels of violence and isolation, the solutions we lead are often overlooked and underfunded. We need our community and allies to uplift our stories and leadership by supporting APIENC and the GiveWomen campaign,” Wang says.

Harville agrees. “We support efforts like GiveWomen that seek to leverage resources, talent and opportunities toward under-resourced and underfunded organizations that are doing great work in the world.”