New report from the Women’s Philanthropy Institute highlights gaps and growth in philanthropic support for women and girls
The Women’s Philanthropy Institute today released its third annual Women & Girls Index (WGI), the only comprehensive index that measures charitable giving to women’s and girls’ organizations in the United States. This year’s WGI, which adds 2018 giving data across 47,449 charitable organizations, highlights both gaps and growth in philanthropic support for women and girls.
Charitable giving to women’s and girls’ organizations represented a small share—1.9%—of overall charitable giving in 2018. Despite this gap, giving to women’s and girls’ organizations surpassed $8 billion in 2018, with particularly strong year-over-year growth from 2017 to 2018. The report, funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, shows that women’s and girls’ organizations are also maturing as a nonprofit subsector, growing faster than other charitable organizations along financial measures like revenue and expenses.
“Gender equity is top of mind as the COVID-19 pandemic has disproportionately affected women, particularly women of color. As these conversations gain attention from the public and the media, the new WGI data reveal that a significant gap persists between that attention and philanthropic support in the U.S. For organizations and donors invested in gender equity, the Index continues to serve as a powerful tool that can help us work collectively to identify funding opportunities and shortfalls,” said Jeannie Sager, director of the Women’s Philanthropy Institute at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.
Particular types of organizations within the women and girls subsector—including those focused on the environment (37.1%) and civil rights and advocacy (32.3%)—experienced especially strong year-over-year growth from 2017 to 2018. This growth suggests that donors may increasingly see an intersection between gender equity and other pressing topics, including climate and racial equity.
“We’ve seen philanthropists like MacKenzie Scott make groundbreaking pledges to women and girls and racial equity in the last year. The WGI can catalyze much-needed discussion and action to drive philanthropic support to women and girls—complementing a growing number of bold actions and commitments,” said Una Osili, Ph.D., associate dean for research and international programs at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.
This year, WPI has also made the WGI data more accessible to researchers and the general public at womenandgirlsindex.org. This user-friendly website allows visitors to download the full list of WGI organizations, as well as search for organizations based on criteria like keyword, focus area, and geographic location.
Key findings from the 2021 WGI include:
- Philanthropic support for women’s and girls’ organizations surpassed $8 billion in 2018 and represents a small but growing share of overall charitable giving (1.9%).
- Women’s and girls’ organizations are growing faster than other charitable organizations along financial measures like revenue and expenses, indicating they are maturing as a nonprofit subsector.
- While philanthropic support for women’s and girls’ organizations increased across the board, particular types of organizations within this subsector—such as those focused on the environment (37.1%) and civil rights and advocacy (32.3%)—experienced especially strong year-over-year growth from 2017 to 2018.
About the Women’s Philanthropy Institute
The Women’s Philanthropy Institute (WPI) is part of the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at IUPUI. WPI increases understanding of women’s philanthropy through rigorous research and education, interpreting and sharing these insights broadly to improve philanthropy. By addressing significant and groundbreaking research questions and translating that research into increased understanding and improvements in practice, WPI helps to leverage new and expanded resources for the common good.
About the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy
The Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at IUPUI is dedicated to improving philanthropy to improve the world by training and empowering students and professionals to be innovators and leaders who create positive and lasting change. The school offers a comprehensive approach to philanthropy through its undergraduate, graduate, certificate and professional development programs, its research and international programs and through The Fund Raising School, Lake Institute on Faith & Giving, the Mays Family Institute on Diverse Philanthropy and the Women’s Philanthropy Institute. Follow us on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Instagram, and “Like” us on Facebook.