Women’s Philanthropy Institute presents honor in recognition of French Gates’ philanthropic leadership
Philanthropist Melinda French Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, today received the Shaw-Hardy Taylor Achievement Award from the Women’s Philanthropy Institute (WPI) at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.
The Shaw-Hardy Taylor Achievement Award recognizes philanthropists, nonprofit leaders, volunteers, change agents, fundraisers and researchers who have moved women’s philanthropy forward and demonstrated significant impact on the field. The award has been presented triennially since 2008, with the exception that conferral of the award to French Gates, which had been slated for last year, was deferred due to the pandemic.
French Gates co-founded one of the world’s largest private foundations in 2000 and has taken an increasingly visible and prominent role in guiding the foundation’s direction and speaking out about issues that matter the most to her, including gender equality. In late 2019, French Gates announced she was committing $1 billion over 10 years to expand women’s power and influence in the United States through her company, Pivotal Ventures.
That announcement followed the release of her book, The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World. Through stories about the women she met in her years of travel around the globe for the foundation, French Gates affirms that when you lift up women, the entire community benefits—a message that has become all the more resonant in light of the COVID-19 pandemic and the disproportionate economic effects on women in the past year. The book and her philanthropic leadership are evidence of her enduring dedication to empower women and girls. She has successfully elevated the message that women can and do change the world in powerful ways.
“WPI is honored to present the Shaw-Hardy Taylor Award to Melinda French Gates for her steadfast philanthropic leadership,” said WPI Director Jeannie Sager. “She influences and inspires countless women and men around the world to serve and to strengthen their communities one individual at a time. She illustrates a positive model for how women lead in philanthropy and can bring attention to the causes they care about, particularly in their support of other women and girls.”
“When women are in positions to make decisions, control resources and shape policies, everyone benefits. That is why philanthropy—with more women at the helm—can be such a powerful tool in building a more equitable world,” Melinda French Gates said. “I’m honored to receive this award, and I’m excited for the future of philanthropy with many more women leading the way."
French Gates is a staunch advocate for the power of data to influence and change behavior. Since 2014, the Women’s Philanthropy Institute has received a total of $5 million from the Gates Foundation to accelerate research about gender and philanthropy. With that funding, WPI has released more than 24 studies exploring how gender matters in philanthropy.
About the Shaw-Hardy Taylor Achievement Award
The Shaw-Hardy Taylor Achievement Award honors those who have made extraordinary contributions to women’s philanthropy and is named in honor of the leadership of two visionary women, Sondra Shaw-Hardy and Martha Taylor. They saw the potential for women’s involvement in philanthropy long before it became a trend or a strategy, and created the organization that would become the Women’s Philanthropy Institute.
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.