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July 1, 2020

Ms. Foundation for Women Releases Landmark Study on Philanthropic Giving for Women and Girls of Color



Giving to Women and Girls of Color Accounts for 0.5% of $66.9 Billion by Foundations,
Totalling Just $5.48 Per Woman and Girl of Color in the United States

“Pocket Change: How Women and Girls of Color Do More with Less” Urges Philanthropic Community to Give More, Better, and with Greater Transparency to Gender and Racial Justice Movements

NEW YORK (July 1, 2020) — Today, the Ms. Foundation for Women released a landmark study on philanthropic giving toward women and girls of color in the United States that showcases the drastic need to hold philanthropy accountable to communities, movements, and the changes they seek. The findings reveal that the total philanthropic giving to women and girls of color is just $5.48 per year for each woman or girl of color in the United States, accounting for just 0.5% of the total $66.9 billion given by foundations. This report also offers a much-needed, data-driven description of the funding landscape and provides new tools and a mandate for the philanthropic community to give more, better, and with greater transparency to gender and racial justice movements. 

Entitled “Pocket Change: How Women and Girls of Color Do More with Less” and in partnership with Strength in Numbers Consulting Group, the report collected data on over 4,000 grants to recipients, as well as commissioned a survey that garnered responses from nearly 1,000 organizations identifying as “by and for women and girls of color” in the United States and U.S. territories and 23 committed donors. Their findings included data on funding and practice:

  • Organizations that serve a specific subpopulation, like Black or African American women or girls, were more likely to have budgets under $50,000. Although almost all organizations participating in this report have experience applying for foundation funding, many report encountering barriers when searching for relevant funding opportunities.
  • Taking into account the number of women and girls of color per capita, the South is particularly under-resourced. It has the lowest amount of funding per woman or girl of color in the United States with only $2.36 per woman or girl of color.  
  • The median size of grants made by foundations to organizations by and for women and girls of color is $15,000. Such small grants make it difficult to hire and pay staff sufficiently or adequately support the use of multiple strategies while working on multiple issues. In 2017 the median grant size for all foundation grants reported to Candid was $35,000, meaning the median grant to organizations by and for women and girls of color is less than half the overall median.
  • Nearly nine in ten organizations by and for women and girls of color focus on three or more issues because it reflects their reality and lived experience — their communities face multiple issues and require multi-faceted strategies to address them. 
  • Organizations by and for women and girls of color often focus on the following issues: health equity, gender pay gap/pay equity/economic justice, criminalization/ criminal justice/criminal justice reform, reproductive justice/rights/equity, and violence/safety. About three in five identified education or employment in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) as core areas in need of improvement.

“The Ms. Foundation is calling on philanthropy to support women and girls of color,” said Teresa C. Younger, President and CEO of the Ms. Foundation for Women. “This report showcases what we knew to be true in the philanthropic sector: women and girls of color do extraordinary and invaluable work in their communities with limited resources and barriers to funding. We have been at the forefront of almost every civil rights movement in this country and now is the time to invest in our power. So, when you see the numbers put forth in this report, do more than raise an eyebrow at what little pocket change is being invested in women and girls of color; fund and elevate their necessary work. Women and girls of color have been able to do so much with so little, imagine what we could do with more.” 

The study also encourages funders to change their practices in an effort to ensure these organizations receive adequate support for their work. The call to action for philanthropic entities includes:

  • Fund organizations by and for women and girls of color because of their fully intersectional approach toward their goals – funding only one aspect of their work can potentially harm their larger objectives at the intersection of gender and race. 
  • Be mindful of the identity of organizational leaders and decision-makers you seek to elevate. Look at who benefits from the work, how the organization talks about the intersection of race and gender, who is in leadership, and who makes financial decisions at these organizations. 
  • Be vocal and transparent about your interest in supporting women and girls of color in mission statements and on websites to ensure that these leaders see you as a resource with which to engage.  
  • Make individual donations through public foundations, intermediaries, and targeted funds to help overcome barriers to successful fundraising. 
  • Track your giving to organizations by and for women and girls of color.

Since 1973, the Ms. Foundation has invested over $65 million to build grassroots movements fighting for gender equity, particularly women of color around the country. The Ms. Foundation is determined to center the voices of women of color on the frontlines and bolster them through grantmaking, capacity building, policy and advocacy, leadership development, strategic communications, and political organizing.

To read the full report, visit For more information about the Ms. Foundation, please visit

About the Ms. Foundation for Women

The Ms. Foundation for Women transforms our democracy by building women’s collective power. Guided by a gender and racial justice lens, we resource grassroots movements that center women and girls of color, advance feminism in philanthropy, and advocate for policies that improve women’s lives across the country. Since 1973, we’ve opened up worlds of possibility for women and girls. But to finally achieve justice for all, we need you in our fight.

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About Strength In Numbers Consulting Group

Strength in Numbers Consulting Group (SiNCG) focuses our research, evaluation and strategy practice on marginalized and underserved communities in New York City, the United States

and international contexts. We work with foundations, nonprofits and government agencies to provide high quality research and evaluation services, as well as philanthropic strategy and capacity building. SiNCG is committed to both rigorous, credible scientific process and assuring substantive participation and influence from the marginalized communities most affected by our work. In our work with the philanthropic sector, we aim to generate and compile data to better align funding with community needs.