Ami Kuan Danoff & Christina Gordon – WMM March 2019 Members of the Month
Authors: Ami Kuan Danoff & Christina Gordon
Date: March 29, 2019
AMI KUAN DANOFF
The Women’s Foundation of Boston has its genesis in conversations that Christina Gordon and I were having in 2016 with friends about how to boost the power of women in our community. We have lived and worked in Boston for over 35 years, developing extensive community, business and philanthropic ties to our city. We are both active in several local nonprofits — among her many commitments, Christina has been volunteering at Rosie’s Place for over a decade, and I was active in Harvard’s capital campaign — but we couldn’t find a non-profit which targeted the economic empowerment of Boston girls and women. Unlike most major American cities, Boston did not have a women’s foundation — so we decided to focus on filling this gap.
After much discussion and research, we identified economic resource and leadership development as key drivers in women’s empowerment; so when we incorporated our nonprofit in January 2017, it was with the dual mission of advancing economic and leadership opportunities AND increasing philanthropy for women and girls in Boston. We knew that we wanted to partner with local nonprofits who were already working with women and girls, and create new projects together to accelerate success for women and girls in Boston. Although there had not been a women’s foundation in Boston, there were many disparate organizations which were working tirelessly to develop opportunities for women and girls through after-school activities, educational workshops, and mentoring and leadership programs. We are very fortunate to have partnered with outstanding nonprofits such as the Red Sox Foundation, Science Club for Girls, Budget Buddies, Boys and Girls Clubs of Boston, Hope & Comfort and Big Sisters, just to name a few.
One of our core tenets is that when we advance a woman, we are very effectively advancing a community — women re-invest 90% of their income back into their community. When women have economic opportunities, all the outcomes for them AND their families and communities improve, through better educational access, housing stability, and health care. It is truly the highest return for the philanthropic dollar, which makes the shortfall for US women-directed giving all the more shocking: less than 7% of US foundation giving goes to women; and of that, 40% goes overseas (vs 20% for all other giving). Less than 2% of $1m gifts are directed to women. Ami and our partners and I are experienced in the fields of investment and business, and it is so clear that funding women and girls is savvy investing in our community.
Our extensive business experience in Boston also equipped us with a pragmatic ROI-focused lens. We approach our partnerships and projects like venture capitalists, looking for the most positive outcomes and impact for Boston women and girls. We value collaboration highly, and work to connect local nonprofits and businesses through the networks we have developed as longtime Boston business people and residents. We are excited to have made so much progress in moving the needle on Boston women’s philanthropy in the past two years and welcome all that lies ahead for us. Please check us out at https://wfboston.org/ and join us in our mission.