Groundbreaking research reveals scope, landscape of women’s and girls’ organizations
The Women’s Philanthropy Institute today released the Women & Girls Index: Measuring Giving to Women’s and Girls’ Causes, which, for the first time, quantifies the number of charities in the United States dedicated to women and girls and the amount of charitable giving they receive.
The report finds these organizations received a collective total of $6.3 billion in charitable contributions from individuals, foundations, and corporations in 2016 — 1.6% of all donations made that year.
The index identifies 45,000 U.S. charities that are dedicated to serving primarily women and girls or are collectives of women and girls that serve general philanthropic purposes. While most previous research has focused on donors to women’s and girls’ causes, the new report focuses on the recipient side of the equation, filling a gap in knowledge about the organizations themselves.
Other key findings uncovered by the Women & Girls Index (WGI) include:
- Organizations dedicated to women and girls make up 3.3% of all nonprofit organizations in the U.S. and are in every nonprofit subsector. The greatest percentage are human services organizations.
- Women’s and girls’ organizations that focus on general women’s health receive the largest amount of philanthropic support ($1.2 billion in 2016). Women’s and girls’ organizations addressing reproductive health and family and gender-based violence also receive large amounts of charitable giving.
- On average, organizations dedicated to women and girls are smaller than other charities, as measured by financial and human resources.
- Women’s and girls’ organizations received approximately 3.1% of all donor-advised fund dollars granted between 2012 and 2015.
The WGI, which is funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, provides new information and insight about the size and scope of organizations dedicated to women and girls.
“These nonprofits achieve powerful results, driving significant progress for women and girls while operating with lower levels of philanthropic support and fewer staff resources than many other charities,” said Andrea Pactor, Interim Director of the Women’s Philanthropy Institute. “The WGI sheds light on this and other distinguishing features of women’s and girls’ organizations.”
Fundraisers and nonprofits can use the findings to better understand the landscape of organizations dedicated to women and girls and to benchmark their organizations against others in the index. Scholars can access the index for future studies. The resulting knowledge will inform the practice of philanthropy and help researchers apply a gender lens to their work.
“Women’s and girls’ issues have received increased attention from media and policymakers in recent years, from a growing consensus about the value of investing in this population to concerns about workplace safety and equal pay,” said Debra J. Mesch, Ph.D., the Eileen Lamb O’Gara Chair in Women’s Philanthropy at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at IUPUI. “The WGI provides empirical data to help nonprofits, donors and funders address the gap between societal conversations and actual donations.”
View the full report and visual summary
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. Follow us on Twitter @WPIInsights or “Like” us on Facebook.
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 academic, 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 @IUPhilanthropy or “Like” us on Facebook.