Women giving – Reshaping philanthropy

Women are a growing force in philanthropy, BusinessWeek magazine reported in its Oct. 30 issue.

Long involved as volunteers, women increasingly are able to contribute money, the magazine said.

Women donate as much of their annual income as men, about 2.1 percent, according to a 1999 study by Independent Sector, a nonprofit research and advocacy membership group in Washington, D.C..

That parity is partly because women are gaining financial independence on their way up the corporate ladder or as successful entrepreneurs.

The Internal Revenue Service says that women represent 41 percent of the 3.3 million Americans reporting incomes of $500,000.

“There is more of a sense that this money is mind, I earned it, and I control it,” Kathleen McCarthy, director of the Center of the Study of Philanthropy at the City University of New York, told BusinessWeek.

The number of women’s foundations has surged to more than 90, up from five about 20 years ago, according to the Women’s Funding Network, an umbrella group for those funds.

Women also are expected to inherit much of the $41 trillion that is expected to be transferred between generations by 2044.

Fundraisers wanting to tap the philanthropy of women also are finding gender differences in the way men and women give, BusinessWeek said.

Women are more likely to give if they can create a new program rather than contribute to an existing project, Andrea Kaminski, executive director of the Women’s Philanthropy Institute, told BusinessWeek.

Women also want a close personal link to the causes, with many of them volunteering: Forty-seven percent of female donors volunteered in 1996, compared with 39 percent of male donors.

Some colleges and universities have launched fundraising campaigns aimed at women.

“They recognize there’s an untapped philanthropic resource that has been ignored,” said Trish Jackson, vice president of the Council for Advancement and Support of Education.

For full story, go to BusinessWeek.

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