Mackenzie Scott Gifts Portion of $2.74 Billion Donation to Womankind
With the COVID-19 pandemic raging across the United States at the start of 2020, came the dramatic rise in anti-Asian sentiment and violence against Asian community members. As an organization that is focused on creating a future where we all rise above violence, Womankind’s work is more important than ever before.
Womankind was one of 286 organizations chosen by Mackenzie Scott as part of her recent $2.74 billion donation.
This transformative gift will allow us to focus internally on infrastructure, as well as build a stronger agency with greater impact externally for survivors and allies. Womankind’s goal is to better integrate ourselves into the ecosystem of social justice organizations working on behalf of survivors of violence, immigrants, and other disenfranchised, underserved communities.
“We are extremely grateful and heartened to receive such a historic gift,” said Womankind CEO, Yasmeen Hamza. “It speaks to the decades-long good work that the agency has conducted, while also recognizing the continuing need to support and build up organizations like Womankind.”
In a Medium
post, dated June 15th, Mackenzie Scott emphasized that discrimination against ethnic and religious minorities has been deepening, which resulted in her identifying organizations bridging divides through interfaith support and collaboration. Through a rigorous process of research and analysis, Scott selected 286 high-impact organizations in categories and communities that have been historically underfunded and overlooked. She points out that these are people who have spent years successfully advancing humanitarian aims, often without knowing whether there will be any money in their bank accounts in two months’ time.
This gift is a recognition of Womankind’s culturally-humble and linguistically-relevant services to help address gender-based violence in the community. The broader systems with which we and our survivors engage in are flawed. Survivors and their families continue to face systemic barriers, and we are committed to strengthening advocacy efforts to address this.
The funds will focus on the following five areas:
Enhancing Equity Work: Womankind has always recognized that systemic oppression exists, and we continue to apply an anti-oppressive lens to all aspects of our work. As an organization, we are committed to further interrogating our own actions, practices, and policies to ensure they are equitable, intersectional, anti-racist, and anti-oppressive.
- Deepening Services: Womankind strives to provide quality services to survivors of gender-based violence using our self-developed model of practice called "Moving Ahead Positively." We work to find ways to learn from survivors to develop programming that address their evolving needs, such as incorporating a more family-focused lens into our work. It also includes developing an evaluation framework that guides how we understand programs' impacts on the community.
- Strengthening Infrastructure: Throughout the pandemic, Womankind had to shift our model of working, which resulted in the identification of gaps in our systems, practices, policies, and communication structures. The priority is to continue to assess the current infrastructure to determine avenues to strengthen operations across the organization.
- Strengthening External Voice: Womankind recognizes the need to advocate for systemic changes that will have both direct and indirect impact on the communities we serve. Survivors continue to be marginalized and underserved by systems tasked to support them in their journeys, but are falling short. We will develop ways to continue to hold these systems accountable for real, responsive change.
- Diversifying Funds: Womankind must cultivate multiple, diverse streams of support. We will work to increase visibility to engage allies in the field, in the donor audience, as well as in the public.
“Womankind uses the multidimensionality of its Asian heritage to work alongside survivors of gender-based violence as they build a path to healing,” said Womankind's newly-appointed Board Chair, Narges Kakalia. “We are working tirelessly to create a future where we Rise Above Violence, and our communities can innovate towards collective well-being, restoration, and social justice. The Board of Directors remains focused on expanding our donor base to ensure we are maximizing Womankind’s impact in the years and decades to come. This generous gift from Mackenzie Scott is a wonderful start.”