Wendy Anderson on Stepping into the Uncomfortable

Wendy Anderson – WMM October 2018 Member of the Month
Author: Wendy Anderson
Date: October 31, 2018

To me, strategic philanthropy demands that you surround yourself with people who support and encourage you to step into the uncomfortable and create an environment in which you and your philanthropic goals can grow. I didn’t always know that philanthropy was learned; I thought it was something one ‘did’ — and the process of changing my perspective hasn’t always been easy. It’s required questioning, challenging, participating and looking deep into mistakes for the opportunity to learn. And it’s meant putting myself in places I never thought I’d fit.

A little over 10 years ago, my husband and I decided to designate fifty percent of our earned income to our family foundation and share responsibility in its running. He’d manage the environmental side and I’d look after the humanitarian. I understood very little of philanthropic foundations and even less about strategic giving, but I had a clear goal: to invest in the health and education of women and girls.

At that time, being a Swedish philanthropist was a lonely experience and many organizations were not used to working with individual funders. I started by engaging in very traditional philanthropy: I learned how project briefs and funder updates worked and gained insight into the structures of larger organizations. It was a great experience — and it led to a meeting with Cristina Ljungberg, who would eventually become my collaborator and co-founder at The Case For Her.

Cristina prompted the first ‘A-ha’ moment in my journey towards strategic giving. We were invited to the same proposal presentation in one of those traditional conference rooms with IKEA furniture and a whiteboard in the background. I’d read the proposal and was having an internal dialogue on the asked amount when Cristina – a rule breaking, sharp and educated philanthropist – started asking questions, pushing the envelope, and really using her skills to support and challenge the proposal in front of us.

It sounds silly to say this — but I didn’t know that one could challenge a proposal in that way, to demand more detail or question a method. I had significant work experience as a project manager and analyst in the financial services industry, but what I hadn’t realised is to what extent that experience was valid & could still be applied, despite the change in framework. I gained confidence that day in trusting the value of my own perspective. I also learned that effective giving requires doing homework — and that it’s much more fun with teamwork.

Together, Cristina & I began discussing the complex challenges facing girls, and one particularly underfunded area rose to the surface: menstruation. Health education, sanitation services and social support programmes are siloed  – menstruation is a red thread that runs through each and yet has no champion. We would fill that role. Our two separate foundations began co-funding organizations and researchers through grants, and undertaking direct investment, convertible debt or working capital loans to companies and social entrepreneurs working in menstrual health. Seven years later, we launched our own organization, The Case For Her, and added another team member: our managing director and co-founder, Gerda Larsson.

The Case For Her is a nimble, lean and trailblazing funding collaborative and investment portfolio that today invests in three areas – Menstruation, Female Sexual Pleasure and Menopause. Some may call us a gender-lens investing portfolio, but we do more than invest: we’re systems entrepreneurs. Our strategy is to build and nurture networks, support local leadership and to convene meetings and events. We actively engage with our partners and provide resources to help ensure success.

One of my biggest learnings on this journey has been that ‘resources’ means more than money. It means time, dedication, and stepping up publicly. The latter — for me — is where things get really uncomfortable. My first step into the public sphere began with a commitment. I joined Women Moving Millions in 2017 in time to participate in the ‘Acing Your Advocacy’ seminar with Lisa Witter on offer that spring. I was beyond nervous. Until then, I’d been a quiet philanthropist. A silent one, even. Only my closest friends knew how I spent my time. Walking into that seminar, I felt like an imposter in a room of capable, professional women. My legs shook & my voice trembled — but every person gave me her full attention and patient understanding. I felt supported and encouraged. Later that year, still nervous but more confident, I took the stage on Member Day to share my experiences in collaboration, and insights in gender lens investing.

My strategic learning journey took an accelerated turn when I was invited to participate in WMM’s pilot of the Leadership Curriculum. Public Narrative, OpEds, Collective Impact became tools, not just terms. And along with that, my cohort became a Sisterhood.

In September this year, I joined the Board of Women Moving Millions. I am honoured and humbled by the opportunity, and look forward to moving our collective impact forward through the strength of our combined commitment and the power of our voices.

Letters from Liberia

Author: Deborah Lindholm (Member, Women Moving Millions)
Originally posted on October 19, 2018 on the Foundation for Women website

On October 11, 2018, ProPublica and TIME Magazine published a report about the sexual assault and rape of girls in the care of an NGO based in West Point, Monrovia, Liberia. Since then I have been present with the news – no sharing on social media, a few conversations with trusted colleagues and FFW board members, sitting with the heart-breaking reality that an American NGO founded by a woman could have allowed this to happen to desperately poor and innocent girls striving to create a better future for themselves in this country.  I have heard from many of you in the US, questioning how it could have happened and wondering if I’ll stay in Liberia and continue my work in a place I have called home for 12 years.

I personally must respond.  I have no idea where the trust broke down between this NGO, their board of directors, or most importantly the trust that was so egregiously breached by the organization at the expense of the girls they were supposed to be serving.  The consequences of this ongoing abuse have devastated the people of Liberia. This organization was entrusted with the lives of these exceptional girls. To have so severely and unforgivably violated that confidence will have untold ripple effects for years to come, for these girls, their families, and communities throughout Liberia.

Click here to view Deborah’s full post on the Foundation for Women website.

The Power of Courage | Reflections on the Women Moving Millions Summit

Author: Natalie Rekstad (Member, Women Moving Millions)
Date: September 16, 2018

I often spend part of my Sunday mornings reflecting upon the week:  What has moved me, what has brought me joy, and ways I can show up differently, better, in my work and life for myself and for others.  This Sunday was different due to the level of intensity and depth of emotion, and I’m not certain how to unpack it other than to write.

I returned home Saturday evening from the Women Moving Millions Summit in Seattle with both a heavy heart — for the staggering issues discussed during the Summit — and a heart full of hope for all of the brilliant and passionate leaders working to solve them.  I’m struggling with how to reconcile the simultaneous and opposing intensity of emotion, and also the feeling of inadequacy that surfaces when I’m in the company of giants.  My inner critic (i.e. my crappy inner roommate) shouts: “You’re not doing enough!” and a wiser, gentler voice whispers “You are enough”.  At the end of the day I know that to both do enough and be enough I need to practice what I preach:  If there is one piece of advice I give clients when I sense them nearing burnout it is to — please, please — “Protect the Asset” (they are the asset) — the world needs them to be grounded and vital.

I find myself saying that phrase a lot to people working on big global issues.  What drives us so hard??  A couple of dots I’ve connected is that what many of us in the social sector, including countless philanthropists, have in common is that we’ve come from difficult backgrounds that have involved a great deal of suffering, and therefore cannot bear the suffering of others.  But I wonder if in my case if the drive is also there to outrun the heartbreak of that suffering (my own and the world’s).  I used to quip that I don’t dwell in the suffering because I have too much to do to alleviate it, and at any rate I’d just be adding my own pain to the mix and that wasn’t what the world needed.  I had an awakening at the Summit that will take some time to process, but at its core I know it will take the kind of courage to not quip, but feel.  How did I arrive here?

The Summit’s theme was “The Power of Courage”, and courage was indeed woven throughout the sessions in terms of bold action and the life and death risks involved in speaking truth to power, be it about gun control, race, climate change, or equality.  But what is sitting heavy on my chest this morning is that I also witnessed a number of deeply vulnerable stories that led people to the journey of bringing about change.  Those stories aren’t mine to share so I won’t do so, and I also feel it would be diminishing something sacred to try to capture something that can only be a felt experience.  But it reminded me of a favorite Rumi quote:  “The wound is the place where the light enters you.”  And so many that I had the honor to be with — the WMM members, guests, and speakers — are truly lit from within and are using that light as a beacon for others.  It is holy to witness.

There were also hard moments for me personally during those three days in Seattle:  several mirrors were held up to me around race and unconscious bias, how I present as an affluent white woman and what that affords me in this culture (but at my core still very much feel like the excluded  “have not” girl on food stamps), around feeling inadequate in a room of freakishly smart and bold leaders facing ridicule and death threats for years and doing the work anyway, and around using hard-won resilience to outrun unfelt despair (that demands its pound of flesh sooner or later anyway).

We know the root word of courage is Latin’s “cour” or “heart”, and what comes to mind for me when I hear that is lionheart, bravery.  But what I know now is that a deeper layer of courage is more tender and far scarier – that of being vulnerable to yourself and to others in a way that leaves you feeling naked and exposed — but doing it anyway because that is the only path to true freedom and true connection, and being included and loved for who you really are.

I’ve been involved with Women Moving Millions for over four years, but something important shifted at the Summit this year.  We all come to the community from very different pathways, but what was revealed in Seattle (but there all along) is that not only are our strategic minds and financial resources invited in to bring about bold change for women and girls, but our whole selves, including our wounds and our light; in short, our humanity.

There is also great joy in being in community with each other – cheering each other on, holding sacred space for each other and deeply listening, and seeing and celebrating our vulnerabilities, complexities and badassery.  It is a great privilege of my life to be among such bold and tender women (and a few good men!).

Read more posts from Natalie here.

What If Women…

Author: Natalie Lynn Rekstad (Member, Women Moving Millions)

I was recently invited to speak on a panel at Renaissance Weekend in Beaver Creek, Colorado on the topic of “What if Women …” (How would everything in the world be different if the female half of humanity had not been more-or-less locked out of its design?)

For the past decade I’ve been active in women’s movements to accelerate change, cultivate a new generation of warriors for gender equity, and have put a financial stake in the ground through my personal philanthropy focusing upon women & girls.

Why?  Because our deepest passions often spring from our deepest wounds.

Beyond the thousands of negative messages I had received around being a girl growing up in my family and in my culture by the time I was a teen, a seminal experience is beginning my corporate career in Washington, D.C. during the era of Charlie Wilson’s War (on why he hired beautiful women on Capitol Hill:  “You can teach them to type but you can’t teach them to grow tits.”) and the demonization of Anita Hill by both men and women (to say sexual harassment was rampant is an understatement).

I also have the lived experience of what it means to be a woman in our culture as the beneficiary of the second wave of feminism:  Rising in the corporate world to become an executive of the largest woman owned company in Colorado, to founding and running a successful nonprofit for a decade, and founding and running a respected fundraising strategy firm in the NGO space with male-led organizations making up half our client roster.

My core belief is that the future hinges upon a more just and inclusive world, so to do with “What if women…” — my short answer is that if women throughout history were free to live fully expressed lives as equals, then humanity would be more in balance, and peace and shared prosperity would be the natural order of things.

Think about the Past:  a world designed, defined, and led by men. The result has been unfortunate for humanity – but it is important to acknowledge we needed masculine energy to build infrastructure, cities, and more so it also deserves an honoring to some extent.

But more than “what if …”  I’m interested in the conversation around the future:  A world designed defined and lead by men & women.

The present:  The Transition.  Naturally all Women Moving Millions members on the Transition Team to a more just and gender balanced world, and approaching the work with incredible intention and ferocity.  My strategist brain outperforms my wallet, so my role on the Transition Team is to not only invest well in advancing opportunities for women and girls (and therefore, everyone), but to help mobilize far greater resources through my strategic work with nonprofits via Black Fox Philanthropy.

The good news is that we are in the sweet spot of living in a country and time (thanks in part to the current administration), after thousands of years of human history, where women are more fiercely coming into their passion and voice to be fully expressed and fully empowered.  And we have the economic chops to get things over the finish line.

For example:

  • By 2025, 60% of billionaires are expected to be women.
  • Women will inherit 70% of the $41 trillion in inter-generational wealth transfer expected over the next 40 years.
  • Women own 40% of businesses in the US and that growing at a rate of 2x faster than businesses as a whole with an annual economic impact of nearly $3 trillion.
  • Women now control over half of the private wealth in the U.S. RIGHT NOW.

The not great news:  We as women, generally speaking, are not owning our economic power in ways that move the needle in any significant way.

Many women are doing so in philanthropy, but too few of us beyond the WMM movement don’t use our power in our spending or in our investing with a gender lens.  In fact, in light of the data listed above, women collectively need to own our part in the fact that only 7% of US philanthropic investments focus upon the opportunities surrounding women, and less than 5% of venture capital funding invests in women entrepreneurs.

Why, when half of the world’s population is female… when we know that gender inequality weakens families, societies, nations, and the world as a whole, are women relegated to this funding ghetto?  Why, when we know that true change cannot take hold unless mindsets and funding shifts to be more inclusive of gender?  And why, when the research overwhelmingly points to equality being good for everyone, are we even still in this conversation?

So many of us are fighting the good fight alongside countless good men who know that it’s not only just, but our future depends upon equality.  In fact, I’ve noticed that fathers of daughters are particularly fierce warriors for equity, and we say Welcome!  You are holding up the other half of the sky, and we need you at the table.

In short, we can all play our part on the Transition Team and usher in a new era of possibility for peace, co-creation, and shared prosperity.

Learn more about Natalie Lynn Rekstad and Black Fox Philanthropy here.

Anu Jain shares the latest on the Anu & Naveen Jain Women’s Safety XPRIZE Competition

Anu Jain & the Women’s Safety XPrize Finalists

Author: Anu Jain (Member, Women Moving Millions & Founder & President, Naveen & Anu Jain Family Foundation)

My dream of achieving girls and women’s safety worldwide is finally one step closer to becoming a reality. Two years after the launch of the Anu & Naveen Jain Women’s XPRIZE competition, the top five finalist teams are going to be unveiled and the winning team presented with a million-dollar check at the United Nations in New York in June 2018.

As I arrived in Mumbai, India, for the final team testing of the Anu & Naveen Jain Women Safety XPRIZE competition, my heart raced with excitement. I was finally going to meet the semifinalist teams from around the world and see their technology solutions in action!  They had been working on finding a solution since the launch of the competition in October 2016 and I would get to see their technology solutions for the first time.

Teams ranged from University students, to scientists, to entrepreneurs, engineers, parents, and victims of abuse. All from different walks of life and all with the same goal of finding a solution to provide immediate help to girls and women in times of assault.

The members of the 20 teams were so passionate and dedicated to finding a solution and were here, not for the one-million-dollar prize purse, but to really focus on and solve the problem of women’s safety, which has been overlooked for generations. The prize had incentivized them to enter the competition, but now, as competitive as they all were, the teams were working together to find the best solution to the problem.

The winning devices ranged from smart jewelry that can trigger emergency alerts to other wearables that detect physical gestures and speech recognition for emergency triggers. All solutions were tested live in front of the judging panel and in simulated testing environments in April 2018 including public transportation in Mumbai, India taking routes unknown to the teams to test the mobility and advanced functionality of their devices.

The Judging Panel was composed of high caliber individuals from all over the world; from a distinguished former FBI agent, to a retired US Army veteran and awarded entrepreneurs and engineers.

As I got to observe everyone in action, I was awestruck by how everyone was so focused, crossing all borders, and were passionately discussing ways to work together to solve this global problem.

It is amazing to see how incentivized competitions can draw attention from around the world to solve the largest problems that face humanity.  We need to look beyond the traditional methods of philanthropy and use innovation and technology to find solutions while also working to change the mindset of people.

As I sat on my flight back home, I felt a huge sense of accomplishment and excitement. The Anu & Naveen Women’s Safety XPRIZE had brought together people from different backgrounds across the world to work together to help us get one step closer to my dream: To live in a world where safety would no longer be considered a luxury for girls and women but recognized and accepted as a fundamental human right.

Mariska Hargitay is Helping Survivors Tell Their Stories

Author: Mariska Hargitay (Member, Women Moving Millions & Founder, Joyful Heart Foundation)

Today, hundreds of thousands of untested rape kits sit in law enforcement facilities across the United States. Hundreds of thousands of kits. Untested for years, many for more than a decade. And behind each of those kits is a person—a sexual assault survivor—waiting for justice, waiting for closure, or not waiting anymore, because it’s been too long. If that leaves you slack-jawed with outrage, I couldn’t agree more.

I started the Joyful Heart Foundation in 2004 to help survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse heal and reclaim a sense of joy in their lives. Since then, we have grown into a national organization dedicated to changing the way our society responds to these issues and ending this violence once and for all.

In 2009, thanks to a report by Human Rights Watch, I learned there were more than 12,000 untested rape kits in my hometown of Los Angeles, and I thought my head was going to explode. At Joyful Heart, we immediately made eliminating the backlog our top priority and set out to shine as bright a light as we could on this travesty. That involved studying the best way to re-engage survivors whose kits were part of a backlog, partnering with cities to finally test their kits, working with survivors and advocates to advance legislative change, as well as many other routes of engagement.

I also wanted as many people as possible to know about the backlog, and to hear the stories of the women whose kits have sat on shelves for far too long. A team of dedicated, compassionate filmmakers and I worked with a group of survivors—who truly taught us what courage is—to make I AM EVIDENCE. Our film, which premiered earlier this month, is currently airing on HBO and HBO Latino and can be found on HBO NOW and HBO GO.

I AM EVIDENCE not only tells survivors’ stories, it also showcases the remarkable efforts in communities across America to bring an end to this injustice. I am deeply inspired by the advocates and survivors who have engaged in this work for decades, but they need the help of citizens in every state in this nation to tell their elected officials this matters. With this film—as we elevate the voices of those most impacted— we aim to provoke outrage, mobilize the public, underline the urgency of this effort, and ultimately, engage people across the country to demand change.

We don’t know the full extent of the rape kit backlog because federal agencies and most state governments don’t require police departments to count or track the kits in their possession. Most of the time, the number of untested kits in a particular place is unknown until advocates, survivors, journalists, non-profit organizations, or concerned citizens initiate and lead an inquiry. This has to end.

That is why Joyful Heart is engaged in a national campaign to pass laws in all 50 states that mandate kits be tested, tracked, and acted upon. We have six pillars of reform we are working to pass in every state, as these are the only way to ensure that discretion or resources can no longer be used as excuses to deny sexual assault survivors the justice they deserve.

At its core, this issue is about survivors. What mattered most to me in making I AM EVIDENCE was bringing their stories into the light and giving them the space to tell their truths. And not just of their assaults, but of the effect of a flawed criminal justice system that left their rape kit untested and their cases unresolved.

As the landscape around these issues continues to change dramatically in this extraordinary cultural moment, where women’s individual acts of courage have brought an unprecedented wave of change, I have reflected on what has driven me to work in this field. My most immediate answer is outrage. Put most simply, what I learned made me mad, and I wanted to do something about it. But I have also been driven by hope. And fueled by possibility. And sustained by the joy of community.

My fervent hope for this film is that it will be a catalyst for action, that it will move you to learn about the backlog in your community and in your state, and that it will motivate you to join this movement to end this injustice once and for all. We cannot do it alone.

Follow on social media to stay updated on these amazing efforts:

Joyful Heart Foundation: Twitter; Facebook
I AM EVIDENCE: Twitter; Facebook

End the Backlog: Twitter

Skoll World Forum 2018 | The Year of the Woman

Author: Natalie Lynn Rekstad (Member, Women Moving Millions)

Each year, nearly a thousand of the world’s most influential social entrepreneurs, key thought leaders, and strategic partners come together for the Skoll World Forum to exchange ideas, solutions, and spark collaboration.  Located at the University of Oxford’s Saïd Business School, the Forum is comprised of an extraordinary community of changemakers who are advancing entrepreneurial approaches and solutions to the world’s most pressing problems.

It was incredible to see so many members of Women Moving Millions taking the Forum by Storm:  Emily Nielsen Jones, Cristina Ljungbert, Wendy Anderson, Sapphira Goradia, Liz Sheehan, Jim Greenbaum, Lorene Arey, and myself.  What a force of bold changemakers moving the conversation around women and girls forward throughout the Forum.

This year’s theme was the “The Power of Proximity” – being proximate to the people and communities we endeavor to help.  By more fully grasping people’s needs and dreams through deep interaction, we grow more empathetic, and have a richer understanding of adversities being experienced.  Only then can we genuinely understand their journey, earn the privilege to walk beside them, and join them in bringing about change that honors their definition of prosperity.

Beloved Skoll Foundation CEO Sally Osberg, put it this way: “Proximity triggers empathy.  Social entrepreneurs must commit to proximity to gain knowledge of the contexts affecting the communities they serve and the institutions that can help them scale their solutions.”  Many of us remember Sally from her participation in the 2015 WMM Summit where she talked about, among many things, the book she co-authored entitled:  Getting Beyond Better: How Social Entrepreneurship Works. She is stepping down as CEO of Skoll Foundation, but her legacy is a powerful testament to how one woman can unify and propel thousands with her life philosophy and mantra, captured in one word: “Onward!”

Particularly inspiring during the Opening Plenary was a session by Bryan Stevenson, Founder and Executive Director of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama.  Stevenson is a widely acclaimed public interest lawyer, dedicating his career to helping the poor, incarcerated, and condemned.  To understand the Skoll World Forum theme of “The Power of Proximity” – watch his session; it will be the best 20-minute gift you can give yourself today.

In fact, my new obsession is the Skoll Youtube channel, and I encourage you to go there whenever you feel the need to be inspired by the plenary speakers and performers, or to build your professional and/or funder knowledge through the education sessions.

President Jimmy Carter was presented with the annual Skoll Global Treasure Award for his stunning record of achievements in addressing global problems. He shared that having more women politicians will result in a more peaceful world.   Carter says it best: “There’s no doubt in my mind that a woman is more inclined to peace than a man is, so I think we can move towards peace if women get more and more positions in parliament and more and more positions as president.”  BOOM!

The Skoll Foundation presents the Skoll Awards for Social Entrepreneurship each year to a select group of social entrepreneurs whose innovations have already had significant, proven impact on some of the world’s most pressing problems, and invests directly in the promise of even greater impact at scale.

It’s notable that five out of six Skoll Award winners this year are womenmerit-based, certainly, but when I asked Skoll World Forum Co-Founder Stephan Chambers about this over breakfast, he indicated it was “not a coincidence.”  Stephan also shared that 60% of this year’s delegates were women, and 65% were people of color. This year’s stellar Awardees are:

  • Jess Ladd, Callisto
    This organization really struck a chord with me (actually it’s “why” made me weep).  Callisto is helping women and young girls report sexual assault through software that can keep time-stamped documentation of a sexual assault, searches a database to see if any other women have named the perpetrator, galvanizing the attacked to file a report via the Callisto platform.  This has been particularly powerful on college campuses throughout the US.
  • Anushka Ratnayake, myAgro
    A special congratulations to a Black Fox Philanthropy client, myAgro!  myAgro is an agricultural focused organization helping farmers through a pioneering microfinancing solution that allows farmers to purchase seeds, equipment and tools they need via a layaway-type plan, eliminating the cycle of scarcity often faced by farmers between harvests.
  •  Lesley Marincola, Angaza
    Angaza’s platform enables manufacturers and distributors to make energy products affordable to the world’s 1 billion off-grid consumers.
  • Jennifer Pahlka, Code for America
    Code for America uses the principles and practices of the digital age to improve how government serves the American public, and how the public improves government.
  •  Barbara Pierce Bush, Global Health Corps
    GHC’s goal is to recruit a diverse group of young professionals and insert them into existing health and government agencies in an attempt to offer a fresher, more varied view of global health issues.
  • Harish Hande, SELCO
    SELCO provides sustainable energy solutions to the poorest regions of the world through building an ecosystem for accessing clean energy.

Black Fox Philanthropy teamed up with Young Presidents Organization to produce a session on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals titled “From Promise to Practice.” I was inspired to produce the convening by my obsession with the SDGs, and ways in which the Goals are gaining traction in overarching ways: in guiding the deployment of billions of dollars in development finance, in building partnerships between public and private sector actors beyond the 193 UN members who unanimously endorsed them, and in providing a framework for advocacy for each of the seventeen goals. Yet history teaches us that lasting social change is not gifted from above, but rather through pressure from below.  I couldn’t find a central conversation around what that looks like from the boots-on-the-ground perspective in the reading materials I’d scoured for months, so decided to make the SDGs a central conversation at Skoll among the change-makers themselves.  It was thrilling to see that half of the robust attendance were funders, many of whom operate in the “big bet” space.

The session included speakers who were curated based upon their leadership in addressing core solutions outlined in the SDGs, their organizations’ impact, and their unique capacity to effectively absorb and deploy bold philanthropy to get the Goals over the finish line by the year 2030.  Participants were Sasha Chanoff of RefugePoint; Avery Bang, CEO at Bridges to Prosperity; Martin Fisher, Co-Founder & CEO at Kickstart & Skoll Awardee 2005; Jensine Larsen, Founder & CEO at World Pulse; Eric Stowe, Founder & Executive Director at SPLASH; Leslee Udwin, Founder & President at Think Equal; and moderated by Jay Coen Gilbert of B Lab, Skoll Awardee 2014 (Black Fox Philanthropy is proud to be a B Corp!)

The smaller gatherings throughout Skoll week were a highlight, and it was incredible to meet with beloved clients, and old and new friends from Women Moving Millions, Opportunity Collaboration, Maverick Collective, The Philanthropy Workshop, as well as serendipitously in the Collaboration Cafe, on the streets of Oxford, and at after-hours parties that are rampant throughout Oxford during the week.  The icing on the cake was dining and conversing with social impact giants in the “Harry Potter dining hall” at Christ Church, where in the 19th Century Lewis Carroll, author of Alice in Wonderland, also presided as Lecturer of Mathematics, and where he met the famed 10-year old “Alice”, the daughter of a dean.

I am deeply grateful to be part of a community that cares so deeply about each other, humanity, and the world, and am proud to carry the torch forward into my philanthropy, and in our work at Black Fox Philanthropy.  Onward!

Natalie Lynn Rekstad is Founder & CEO, Black Fox Philanthropy, LLC. Check out her website, Black Fox Philanthropy.