How charity stars are continuing the proud female tradition of community philanthropy

Giving to charity is an important way for us all to give back, and women have long been huge contributors to worry causes.

As the New York Times highlights, the high profile divorces of MacKenzie Scott and Melinda Gates have highlighted the incredible amount that leading women in tech donate to charity, with other figures like Priscilla Chan also dedicated their lives to philanthropy.

Women in business have always had a charitable edge – even when they don’t receive the limelight, or when, as is often the case, vulnerable women don’t receive the benefits. 

Helping veterans

Those familiar with philanthropy circles will know Lyda Hill well. As the founder of dozens of charities, Lyda has also been highlighted by the Library of Congress for her work with veterans. Veterans are one of the most vulnerable groups in the country, and their service is recognised with a number of different benefits, ranging from the Hero Loan program to assist with housing through to VA-provided healthcare under the DDA.

However, given the complexity of their conditions on returning from active service, many are unable to access the support they need and find themselves destitute or lacking when it comes to receiving essential care. Lyda Hill has helped to bridge that gap through her clinics and veteran programs. 

Changing communities

Philanthropists often focus on the small, high-impact changes they can make to communities. This has been the primary goal of MacKenzie Scott in her giveaways. Vogue outlines her efforts, which have targeted disadvantaged communities (largely Native American and historically black communities) alongside women and children across the USA, particularly in those areas struck hard by COVID.

By giving away large sums in a targeted manner like this, Scott is making efficient inroads into age-old problems across the country. This helps to contribute to the wider goals of philanthropy and charity, and shows the foresight that these inspirational female investors have – they can see past short-term goals, and can invest into charities that directly help to improve lives across the country today, and will continue to provide long-term improvements in life. 

Changing the landscape

Women receive a disproportionately low amount of charity support. Statistics analyzed by IUPUI show that organisations focused on women and girls receive only 1.6% of all charity funding in the USA.

While that doesn’t mean women don’t benefit from funds directed elsewhere, such as into cancer research, it still shows the low emphasis placed on women’s issues by philanthropic organisations. The Balance SMB highlights the work of Nancy Lublin’s Dress for Success in bridging that gap, and also tackling one of the most high-profile areas of the gender gap – the world of work and pay. 

Women in philanthropy contribute far more than they are often given credit for. With headlines only just starting to pick on their incredible work, it is at least felt in the underprivileged and disadvantaged communities that have for so long been reliant on their funds.

Photo by Larm Rmah