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.

Lysa Rohan is On a Mission to Help Women Age Vibrantly

Author: Lysa Rohan (Member, Women Moving Millions)

I came of age during the first wave of the Women’s Movement in the 1970’s. Even as a thirteen year old, I knew the passing of Roe v. Wade was a great thing for women’s health.

As a senior in high school I wrote a paper for an English paper about the sex-role language of men and women. After that, my awareness of the inequality we women experience every day was engrained in me, for life. Fast forward to turning fifty and the end of my interior design career, I took stock of my life at mid-life. I made the choice to completely change career paths, return to school, and become a Certified Gerontologist. I loved interior design, but felt I could help others in a more tangible way. Blessed with good health, sustainable energy, and the belief I can reinvent my life–engaging my mantra: you always have the power to re-choose— I wanted to give back to the world in gratitude for all I have been given, to pay forward my good fortune. I also knew from the beginning of my most recent return to school, that I needed to concentrate on issues facing women as they age, for my own journey and to help all my friends live long, healthy lives so that I would have playmates!

I chose gerontology because it is the only science-based, holistic discipline focused on aging. It looks at all aspects of aging—the body, mind, and spirit, and integrates all the disparate information from the other sciences—biology, physiology, psychology, and sociology — to understand the whole human being and all she experiences as she gets older. It is a unique and very cool approach.

Always an academic nerd, I loved science from an early age. When I developed endometriosis in my early twenties, learning everything I could about this disease became very personal. I almost died after my eventual hysterectomy from a one in ten million reaction to the replacement hormones I was given. After exploring every available resource I could find on the subject, I pretty much came up zero on anything that could help me effectively deal with my disease. Once I fully recovered from my post-surgery complications, my mission in life became writing a book to help women be healthier after menopause. I am in that process now. I launched my practice in January of this year—L.J. Rohan-Certified Gerontologist at My weekly blog contains information not only on how to manage our aging process, but also how to make this chapter of our lives the best it can be. I include healthful tips, answer questions, plus I include weekly humorous takes on aging through custom-drawn New Yorker-style illustrations.

In developing my platform, I am putting together a talk and handout in which I offer guidance for aging vibrantly to women. In addition to speaking to women like us, I will work with women in underserved areas around the country.  I plan to visit their communities, where they live and work. This is the truly exciting part of my work. Based on solid science and the latest research, I have created an action plan for all women that puts them on the path to vibrant aging. The remarkable thing about my list of recommendations is that 88% of these are free of any monetary investment, which allows women, no matter their circumstances, to gain benefit from my suggestions.

Concurrently, I am working with two esteemed medical doctors in writing a proposal for a book covering in greater depth my recommendations and additional exciting information on how to age vibrantly. Once the book is published, I will continue to reach out to women through my personal speeches and blogs. Each year I also plan to put thousands of free books into the hands of women here and women around the world, through what I hope will soon be, The Want to Be Vibrant? Foundation. (I am awaiting the copyright search results.)

My desire and vision is to change the conversation and the reality about aging for women; to give us the knowledge and tools we need to be the very best version of ourselves as we grow older.

Check out Lysa’s new website here and be sure to follow her on Facebook and Instagram!


Philanthropy in the Home | How Sons and Daughters respond based upon Gender

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

On March 13th in Denver, Colorado, I was fortunate to attend the 2018 release of Women Give, the signature research report of the Women’s Philanthropy Institute, focusing on gender differences in charitable giving.

This year’s report focuses upon how parents’ philanthropic activity directly influences the children they are raising, and how that influence lands differently for daughters and sons.  The report provides evidence that gender does in fact matter in philanthropy and offers insight into how gender influences giving and generosity, and provides insights into how to increase giving by both genders.  In short, charitable giving is a prosocial behavior that can be translated differently between boys and girls. The research found that both sons and daughters are influenced positively by parents who are charitable and are more likely to give to charity themselves; however, daughters are more strongly influenced by modeling by parents; sons are more influenced by discussing giving.

The research also investigates how parents relay philanthropic values to their children based upon gender.  For example, girls are much more likely to be raised with the traditional caregiving values. Daughters are often taught, directly or indirectly, that giving to charitable organizations is an act of caregiving and are therefore more likely to contribute based on that instilled value.

Another determining factor may be the difference in parental treatment in raising of sons and daughters.  Boys are typically taught to take higher risks than daughters, while girls are taught in a more intellectual manner. Another lens of the study reports that while daughters and sons are raised similarly and taught the same values throughout their childhood, they respond differently to the same message. For daughters, a parents charitable behavior directly impacts their own in adulthood, being 27% more likely to give if they had parents who were charitable. Findings show that parents’ philanthropic behavior, whether they give or not, has little impact on their adult sons. Frequency of a parents’ giving also impacts daughters more than it does sons.

Bottom line:  While sons and daughters respond differently to their parents’ philanthropic behavior, the act of philanthropy in the home ups the odds that children will be more charitable as adults. Communicating this value to sons and daughters in a way that uniquely lands with their gender increases those odds even more.

Read the full report here.

Penny George Invests in Authentic Leaders and Transformative Programs

Penny George – WMM November 2017 Member of the Month

I am immensely grateful to have had the good fortune to become part of Women Moving Millions (WMM).  As an accidental philanthropist responsible for our family foundation since its inception in the mid-1990’s, I have been keenly aware that my background as a consulting psychologist did not equip me adequately for that role.

What I am learning by being part of WMM will enable me to lead our board to have a more significant impact upon our mission, which is to foster wholeness in mind, body, spirit and community by investing in authentic leaders and transformative programs serving the common good.

As current board chair and co-founder with my husband Bill of the George Family Foundation, my deepest personal engagement over the years has been in the area of integrative medicine and health. After my diagnosis and treatment for breast cancer in early 1996, I came to realize that medicine needed a major reboot, and since then have been pursuing opportunities to transform clinical care and academic medicine to a whole-person, preventive, participative model of care.

I think of integrative medicine as the return of the Feminine to medicine. Women have been quick to recognize the importance of empowering people to be the central agents in their own health, and many of those leading this effort are women. While our grants in this area are not gender-focused, I will consider it a triumph for women when all people have meaningful choices when they are sick and ample support for helping them avoid chronic illness.

Beyond integrative medicine, our foundation also invests heavily in leadership development. We support women engineers at my husband’s alma mater, Georgia Tech.

We also have created a women’s leadership initiative at my alma mater, Duke University. The Duke initiative is based on a cohort model that offers women the opportunity to pursue a meaningful project of personal interest to them supported by their peers.

When thinking about a possible gift to Duke to celebrate the 50th anniversary of my graduation, I was struck by the fact that women at Duke participate just as actively in campus organizations as do the men, but rate themselves lower on a measure of leadership. We hope this program will give young women at Duke (not just cohort members) new skills and more accurate self-perceptions.

We are a passionate supporter of Planned Parenthood of Minnesota and the Dakotas where part of our giving supports youth education and leadership development. Sarah Stoesz, CEO, is an inspiring and courageous leader in what are very dark times for reproductive health for women and girls.

A personal favorite grantee is Ripple Effect Images. Ripple identifies top aid organizations helping women and girls and sends world-class photographers and filmmakers to document their work, helping raise dramatically more funding for the work. An interesting aside is that Ripple is led by a woman, Annie Griffiths, who was one of the first women photographers for National Geographic magazine – and who was, as a freshman in college in 1972, was assigned to me for academic advising.

Another noteworthy program we are supporting is a 2019 exhibition at the Minneapolis Institute of Art (Mia) which represents the first time that Native American women artists have been recognized by name.  Mia is one of the most prestigious art museums in the U.S. and this exhibit will garner a great deal of national and international attention.

Our foundation has also been part of a multi-year strategic effort led by the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota (WFM) to bring into alignment the various sectors of society engaged in halting child sex trafficking.  We will soon be investing in a second major initiative of WFM, its Young Women’s Initiative which seeks to involve young women directly in discovering and advocating for long term solutions in six particular communities, all of which face some of the greatest health, income and educational disparities and where strict female gender norms are most prevalent.

Two years ago our Foundation made a decision that was influenced in part by my involvement with WMM.  We agreed to stop categorizing our support of programs and organizations that advance women and girls as a siloed focus area, and instead to embed our funding for women and girls within all of our grantmaking focus areas.  While we had being doing this all along, this shift in thinking has caused us to be more diligent and mindful in seeking out specific programs where girls are frequently left behind and to have numerical markers to track our progress.

WMM has been instrumental in expanding my understanding and commitment to using some of our foundation’s assets to invest more deeply in women-owned businesses and investment portfolios.  While we are just getting started, I take comfort in knowing that I am part of a community of women who will help me and guide me in this journey.

I am so grateful to have connected with Jacki Zehner and Helen LaKelly Hunt back in 2012.  I came away from talking with them even more committed to celebrate the Feminine and to seek additional ways to advance women in girls through my work in philanthropy and other means of influence that I have.

I salute the founders and early members of WMM. I am optimistic that this growing community will equal the Suffragettes and the courageous feminists of the 1960’s and 1970’s in their impact on improving the lives of women and girls in this country and the world.

The Inequality of Women in the Visual Arts

Author: Kaleta Doolin (Member, Women Moving Millions)
Originally posted on November 3, 2017 on Gender Avenger

“After seeing the 2016 remake of Ghostbusters and then the new movies, Wonder Woman and Hidden Figures, it seems as if women have finally come up in the world. Moreover, in this past year, there have been many all women visual art exhibitions and many more one-woman shows than usual. Is this simply another token “Year of the Woman”? The last “Year of the Woman” happened in 2006, and it seems to occur roughly every decade.

It is well known that generations of patriarchy have held women back in politics, science, and the workplace, and it is recognized that these historical legacies must be combatted. Why is it that the generations of patriarchy that have shaped the history of art are not recognized as needing the same rethinking?

It is apparent in the higher sale price of works by male artists and the higher percentage of male representation in group shows, articles, galleries, and one-person shows that male artists are perceived as more talented than female artists.”

Click here to keep reading the full article on!

Sonal Sachdev Patel’s Holistic Approach to Philanthropy

Sonal Sachdev Patel – WMM October 2017 Member of the Month

Why should one human being have less value than another, or be treated as such?

It is this feeling that has underpinned much of my drive on this philanthropic journey at GMSP Foundation. That, and the desire to take the rigour and efficiency of the business world and apply it to the not for profit sector.

My parents came to the UK from East Africa in the late 60s without a penny to their names. They worked hard and brought up my brother, sister, and I with all the opportunities of living in the UK combined with an Indian and family-oriented culture. They emphasised values of duty – not only to one’s family but to all others. Their deep sense of spirituality, compassion, and citizenship ensured that we never took our privilege for granted- a legacy I consciously try to pass on to my own children.

Having graduated with an Economics degree from Cambridge University and worked at Bain & Company in private equity and strategy consulting, I was keen to think strategically about our family’s giving. The hard data, as well as our hearts, led us to focus on women and girls – a group that are aching for an opportunity to progress, and who take their families, and their communities, with them as they progress on their journeys.

We believe that funding alone is not the answer. NGO leaders need our networks, our strategic support, and our belief in them, to succeed. We seek out smart, driven, and capable leaders at the grassroots, who have a proven track record and a vision of transformational change. Then we support them with our full armoury of resources, and champion them to thrive.

Our focus is India and the UK. We believe there is no silver bullet; therefore, we take a holistic approach that supports women and girls across the myriad of issues that face them. In India, we provide support across 3 major streams, which all work to change mindsets, as we believe this is the only way to bring about real systemic change.

  • Social and emotional education in early years for girls and boys:
    • As Aristotle said, “Education of the head is nothing without education of the heart”. We agree. Neuroscience tells us that the brain is the most neuroplastic between the ages of 3 to 5. Therefore, we work with Think Equal to bring a unique program to schools to teach children basic, yet crucial life skills, such as conflict management, resilience, empathy and respect for difference and diversity.
  • Investment in the legal sector to ensure fair and just processes to protect women’s and children’s human rights:
    • We believe the legal system is crucial to bringing systemic change to the human rights of the most vulnerable communities. We analyse the situation and community to understand where our intervention will be most valued. For example, we work with Majlis to train high court judges in Mumbai on gender sensitisation, thereby challenging and reversing deep-set patriarchal norms.
  • Community based initiatives at the grassroots working with both women and men:
    • We believe that communities themselves have the answers, and the desire and ability to bring about their own transformation. Facilitating them to build their own solutions, with our support brings real and lasting change. For example, Aangan works alongside all community members to understand the importance of delaying early marriage, and Coro builds leadership from within the community to end domestic violence.

      Each of these practices is deeply rooted in traditional- and often oppressive- mindsets. We work patiently and comprehensively to systematically and safely dismantle these ideas.

I am honoured to be part of the WMM community. We see the huge value of this kind of sisterhood at the grassroots level, and I feel it is equally important for us.

We rise by lifting others.

Follow Sonal on Twitter: @SachdevPatel


2017 Annual Summit – Session Highlights

The magic of the Summit is as much about the attendees as it is about the outstanding speakers we bring onstage. While we cannot recreate the magic that happened in the room, we’re delighted to share highlights from each session in this post alongside the art created during the Summit by Peter Durand.

Thursday, September 7, 2017 | Summit Pre Event: Film Preview & Conversation

Film for Social Change: Fighting the Backlog

Speakers: Mariska Hargitay (Emmy & Golden Globe Winning Actress and Founder & President, Joyful Heart Foundation), Kym Worthy (Wayne County Prosecutor), Maile Zambuto (CEO, Joyful Heart Foundation), Sukey Novogratz (Board Member, Joyful Heart Foundation) 

Moderator: Pat Mitchell (Curator, TEDWomen)

We kicked off the sixth Annual Summit with a preview of the film, I AM Evidence – a documentary film produced by Mariska Hargitay that highlights the reasons behind the alarming United States national rape kit backlog – followed by a discussion on what this film will mean to survivors across the U.S as they continue to seek healing and justice.01-Mariska Hargitay_I Am Evidence (1)

Friday, September 8, 2017 | Summit Day One

Welcome & Nice to Meet You!

Speaker: Lisa Witter (Summit Facilitator and Executive Chairman & Co-Founder, Apolitical)

Lisa Witter opened the first day of the Annual Summit by inviting each person to identify and share his or her community archetype followed by a polling question: how do you FEEL about the state of the world??

00 Welcome

Power of Our Community

Speaker: Courtney Harvey (Executive Director, Women Moving Millions)

Courtney Harvey officially welcomed Summit attendees and shared the story behind the inspiration of this year’s theme, The Power of Community.


02 The Power of Our Community
Challenging the Boundaries: Building Intersectional Movements

Speakers: Ai-jen Poo (Director, National Domestic Workers’ Alliance & Board of Directors, Ford Foundation), Kimberly Peeler-Allen (Founder, Higher Heights) & Leah Hunt-Hendrix (Member, WMM & Founder, Solidaire)Moderator: Kavita N. Ramdas (Strategy Advisor, MADRE & Principal, KNR Sisters)

In this session, we explored the power of moving together and discussed the challenges that arise from building intersectional movements to achieve greater gender, racial, economic, political and social justice.


03 Challenging Boundaries


Our Brains on Race & Gender 

Speaker: Alexis McGill Johnson (Executive Director, Perception Institute)Through showcasing recent studies in social psychology and neuroscience, Alexis McGill Johnson dove deep into the concepts around bias, and how we can override and disrupt commonly held assumptions about race and gender that limit us.


04 Our Brains on Race and Gender

Embodied Leadership: Advancing Women’s Rights On & Off the Field

Speakers: Bilqis Abdul-Qaadir (Athletic Director, Pleasant View School, Motivational Speaker & Basketball Trainer), Julie Foudy (Two-time Olympian Gold Medalist & Former US Women’s Socer Team Captain) & Liz Wolfson (Founder, Girls Athletic Leadership School)Moderator: Minky Worden (Director of Global Initiatives, Human Rights Watch)

As we know, women face major barriers to participation in sports globally. These barriers reflect the status and role of women in different societies. This discussion examined the powerful role sports play to develop strong female leaders, build resilient communities, and advance women’s rights around the world.


05 Embodied Leadership


Climate Change: It’s Every Woman’s Issue

Speakers: Rachel Kyte (Special Representative of the UN Secretary General for Sustainability for All) & Vien Truong (CEO, Dream Corps)Rachel Kyte and Vien Truong shared powerful stories of the very real risks women face from climate change, why natural disasters are more likely to threaten women than men, and how access to sustainable energy is essential to the liberation of women and girls.


06 Climate Change

Universal Access to Contraceptives

Speakers: Dr. Pauline Muchina (Director of Healthy Families, Healthy Planet, United Methodist Church) & Ugochi Daniels (Chief Humanitarian Response, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA))Moderator: Seema Jalan Ignacio (Executive Director, Universal Access Project & Policy, United Nations Foundation)

In this conversation Seema Jalan Ignacio, Dr. Pauline Muchina and Ugochi Daniels shared the challenges that they have individually faced from advocating for women’s reproductive rights. They also explored how access to contraceptives can have a transformative effect on women, their families, and the economic development of communities.

07 Universal Access to Contraceptives

Exploding the Binary

Speaker: Dr. Caroline Heldman (Associate Professor of Politics, Occidental College)Through a critical analysis of how we construct “masculinity” and “femininity”, Dr. Heldman unpacked the differences between sex, gender and sexuality to better understand how they are distinct and how they interact to shape common notions of “gender”.


08 Exploding the Binary


Friday, September 8, 2017 | ALL IN FOR HER 10-Year Anniversary Celebration


From Campaign to Community & Beyond: Celebrating 10-Years of Women Moving Millions

Speakers: Helen LaKelly Hunt (Co-Founder, WMM), Jacki Zehner (Co-Founder, WMM) & Jessica Houssian (Founding Executive Director & Senior Advisor, WMM)In this talk, we heard from two of WMM’s Co-Founders, Helen LaKelly Hunt and Jacki Zehner, along with Founding Executive Director, Jessica Houssian who shared the unprecedented journey of how Women Moving Millions moved from campaign to community and highlights from 10 years of big + bold giving.



Fireside Chat: Being Bold in Community

Speakers: Diane von Furstenberg (Founder & Co-Chairman, DVF Studio) & Lisa Witter (Executive Chairman & Co-Founder, Apolitical)In this conversation with Lisa Witter, Diane von Furstenberg shared her story on how she has always been bold, not only in philanthropy, but in the way she leverages her business and personal platform to amplify others.



Saturday, September 9, 2017 | Summit Day Two


Civil Conversations: Speaking Together Differently in Order to Live Together Differently

Speakers: Krista Tippett (Peabody Award-winning Broadcaster & NYT Best-Selling Author) & Dr. Stacy Smith (Associate Professor, USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism)In this discussion, Krista Tippett and Dr. Stacy Smith spoke about how to create more intention around the connection between inner self and outer presence in the world – who we want to be and who we will be to each other.



Finance: Feminism’s New Frontier

Speakers: Suzanne Biegel (Founder, Catalyst At Large), Elizabeth Carlock Phillips (Board of Directors, WMM & Executive Director, Phillips Foundation) & Abigail Noble (CEO, TheImpact)Moderator: Jacki Zehner (Co-Founder, WMM)

How do we have social as well as financial impact? In this session, we learned how to align our investment capital with a vision for gender equality.



Anu Jain on Using Technology to Make Women & Girls Safe

Author: Anu Jain (Member, Women Moving Millions)
Originally posted on March 31, 2017 – Women Moving Millions Member Bulletin

I have always been passionate about empowering girls and women around the world, and today I am inspired by the potential of technology to scale our impact.

I have spent the majority of my career in technology, co-founding companies that scaled access to information: Lavish Life (educating people about safe natural skincare/beauty products), InfoSpace and Intelius (making public information accessible to individuals).

I am excited to now be working at the intersection of impact + technology. My husband and I recently launched a $1 million Women Safety XPrize competition to incentivize innovators to design a technology-based solution that sets a new safety standard for girls and women. The winning technology solution will autonomously and inconspicuously trigger an emergency alert while transmitting information to a network of community responders, all within 90 seconds and for less than US $40 per device. Our hope is this solution will avert the assault and also help change the mindset of the attacker as he will think twice before attempting an assault again.

We have used technology to solve so many problems in our lives (from tracking our steps to building driverless cars), and yet women all around the world – regardless of where they live – still feel unsafe. I believe that we can use technology to create a world where women don’t have to worry about their safety, and can instead focus on pursuing their dreams.

As an advisory board member of Girl Up, a campaign of the UN Foundation, I have been lucky enough to visit some of the programs they run for the hardest to reach adolescent girls in Udaipur, India with my 23 year old daughter, Priyanka. These programs bring young village girls together on a monthly basis to build awareness around issues of health, their rights, education and child marriage. It was heartbreaking to see these girls being pulled out of school because parents didn’t feel their daughters would be safe walking a few miles to school or getting married off at such a young age.

I know that if we can empower girls with true safety, we can change this picture.

Once a girl is safe, she can go to school, get a job, and build a business, creating ripple effects that are felt throughout her family, her community and our world. This has certainly been the case for myself and my two sisters and brother; our father wanted to ensure we were equipped with the best education so that we could be independent and on as equal footing as men. He strongly believed that education was the secret to a life of freedom.

I share my father’s beliefs and view education as the most effective tool in transforming the trajectory of a girl’s life. Since women typically reinvest 90% of their income back into their communities, as compared to only 35% for men, when you educate a girl and help her get a job, you are bringing prosperity not only to her and her family, but to our world.

I am honored to be part of WMM, a community of women leaders who believe in our individual and communal power to change what our world looks like. I hope that my story highlights the opportunity to leverage technology for social good to create deep, lasting, and scalable change. Please help spread the word for teams to register by April 28th to come up with a safety solution for women.

Anu Jain holds a BA in business administration and economics from SUNY, Stony Brook, NY, and an MBA from Rutgers University in New Jersey. She grew up in Jerusalem, Israel and the neighboring countries as a UN child. Anu is on several non-profit boards focused on making a positive impact in the world. She and her husband have three children who are all entrepreneurs and actively involved in giving back to the community.

Kylie Schuyler is Helping Girls Become Empowered Leaders

Author: Kylie Schuyler (Member, Women Moving Millions)
Originally posted on January 31, 2017 – Women Moving Millions Member Bulletin

“As we work to create light for others, we naturally light our own way”, a quote by Mary Anne Radmacher, has resonated with me throughout my life. My life and work have truly been transformed by the light I see in young girls’ beautiful faces, their stories of strength and overcoming challenges, and the monumental shifts that occur in families and communities when girls are empowered.

My point of inflection came while traveling in Cambodia. While living in Tokyo (with my husband and seven children), I traveled with passionate co-adventurers and devoted NGO community members and witnessed – firsthand – the plight of young girls who are often denied education in favor of domestic or factory work. The image of young girls looking longingly in from outside the school gate was emblazoned in my thoughts and I knew that I had found a way to make a difference in the world. From then, I have devoted my energy, time, and resources to girls and championed their freedom to be the author of their own lives. I returned from Asia as a full-fledged ambassador for gender equality, and ...Global Girls Leading Our World (G.L.O.W.) was founded.

We began in 2011, with a mentorship and curriculum model to build self-esteem, leadership and resilience in girls from vulnerable communities. In 5 years, we have grown rapidly to meet the needs of girls and young women around the world. Today, Global G.L.O.W.’s programs ignite the power of girls in 25 countries across 5 continents through the HerStory Campaign, a joint initiative with our N.Y.- based nonprofit partner, LitWorld. I have witnessed astonishing changes in thousands of girls around the world as they become confident self-advocates and leaders who are emboldened to follow their dreams. Their stories light my path and fuel my drive to expand our work to promote an “upward spiral”, a beautiful image which depicts the way an empowered girl alters the trajectory of her own family which, in turn, transforms her community and ultimately, changes the world.

March 20-24, 2017 marks a milestone in Global G.L.O.W.’s work as we co-host the 2nd annual Global HerStory Summit, to be held in partnership with UN Women at the 61st Annual Commission on the Status of Women. At the Global HerStory Summit, we will bring 60 Youth Ambassadors from 12 countries together, at the United Nations in New York City, to represent their communities. Together, Youth Ambassadors will develop Community Action Projects to achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) for education, gender equity and women’s empowerment. These goals impact poverty reduction, health improvement and economic growth, around the world. Each Ambassador will have the opportunity to present their action plan to an audience of UN officials and global leaders. Upon their return home, Youth Ambassadors will implement their Community Action Projects with the support of the HerStory Campaign, local leadership and our global partners. At this time next year, I look forward to sharing stories of success, growth and girls’ empowerment that arise from these global Community Action Projects.

I have seen, firsthand, the power of girls’ voices when they are educated and encouraged to share their stories. I have witnessed the profound impact a girl can make on her community. I have shared in the transformative moments that occur when a girl is mentored to become a leader. These moments define me, they inspire me and they light my path.

To attend or to support the HerStory Campaign and/or the Global HerStory Summit, please visit:

Kylie Schuyler, PhD – Founder, Global G.L.O.W. & Founder, California Bliss (Social Enterprise supporting Global G.L.O.W.)