Editor’s Note: This blog was written and submitted by Vision 2020 Visionary Sponsor, The Philadelphia Foundation.
Women are nurturers, leaders, caretakers, providers, teachers — and so much more. While many strides have been made toward gender equality, challenges and hardships still remain. Young girls deserve equal opportunities for financial independence, access to education and the opportunity to accomplish their dreams and life goals.
The Philadelphia Foundation funds nonprofits that empower and prepare girls with the social and economic skills necessary for a healthy and successful lifestyle. We partner with our component fund-holders to support women’s organizations.
More than 30 of our 900 active funds specifically support women and girls, and many others do so as part of their overall approach to philanthropy. We have funds whose focus is abused women, women artists, women in food careers and women in politics.
We help build the endowment for several nonprofits that serve women. The Alice Paul Institute and the League of Women’s Voters of Pennsylvania are among the 60 nonprofits that grow their permanent financial resources though us. Additional funds provide direct annual support for Women’s Way, Girls Inc., and for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Philadelphia, Nicetown, Bridesburg and Germantown.
We’ve been doing this so long – since 1918 – that some of our funds have purposes framed in quaint language. The Elizabeth Phile Stott Fund, established through the creation of a private foundation after her death in 1848, provides fuel and other necessities for “reduced or decayed females.” The Anne Gerhard Maris Fund, also initially established as a private foundation by Elizabeth’s niece in 1929, is targeted for “the relief of gentlewomen in reduced circumstances.” Times and language change, but the philanthropic purpose of these two visionary women continues to be fulfilled, exactly as they had intended.
Among our newest funds is one established by a group of women who decided to pool their financial resources for maximum impact, and another that honors the can-do spirit and legacy of a family’s Italian grandmother.
The Women and Girls Fund provides The Philadelphia Foundation’s professional staff with the financial resources needed to assist organizations that improve the lives of women and girls in our region.
You can support any of these funds by visiting www.philafound.org and selecting the “Give Now” button. If you so choose, you can designate your donation an honorary tribute to the women who have played vital roles in your own life.
Supporting women is an investment that pays off immediately, as well as with “compound interest.” The Foundation knows that confident, independent women use their acquired skills to benefit the next generation. In that way, gender equality not only improves the lives of women, but also aids in the economic and cultural development of our entire community for generations to come.
That’s something Elizabeth Phile Stott and Anne Gerhard Maris – along with many other philanthropic women through the years – knew well. For that, we – those you could call their granddaughter’s granddaughters — are most grateful.