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Empowering Voices, Transforming Societies: The power of Feminist Philanthropy

Published on 15/11/2023 by YWCA Canada

Read: 5min 

In the midst of the Philanthropic Revolution, a transformative movement is redefining the essence of giving, calling for actions that are both efficient and sustainable. Enter Feminist Philanthropy, a potent force rooted in solidarity and empowerment, reshaping our approach to societal issues. As we celebrate National Philanthropy Day and the beginning of end of year campaign, YWCA Canada invites you to explore the challenges and incredible transformative power that Feminist Philanthropy holds for communities. Join us in creating change today! 

Feminist philanthropy, discussed in the article co-authored by Ise Bosch, founder of Dreilinden and Ndana Bofu-Tawamba, executive director of Urgent Action Fund-Africa, is a much older movement than we think. Even as this movement gains momentum in our societies today, it was in the May 1983 article in the New York Times that we first noted the strength and significant impact of funding struggles involving groups deserving of equity. Bosch and Bofu-Tawamba’s article highlight feminist philanthropy as a catalyst for change. It is with passion and dedication that the advancement of gender-based violence and the fight against any form of oppressive system must be carried out in the light of philanthropy enlightened about its subjects.   

A Catalyst for Change 


Feminist philanthropy is more than a mere financial transaction—it’s a spirited endeavor fueled by passion and dedication. At its core, it challenges the status quo, reshaping the dynamics of power, privilege, and resource distribution. This movement champions horizontal social relations, forging meaningful connections between donors, communities, and activists. By embracing the ethos of equity, feminist philanthropy becomes a driving force for dismantling oppressive systems. 


Feminist philanthropy is a political act. It is an act that seeks to challenge and transform notions of power, privilege and resources. Its approach to supporting activists and communities recognises that those communities have intelligence, power and resources to contribute to transformations and that money plays a complementary role.” 

Ise Bosch & Ndana Bofu-Tawamba 


One of its most profound impacts lies in amplifying the voices of equity-seeking communities. By providing essential support, feminist philanthropy empowers activists and communities to advance and demand equality. Central to its philosophy is prioritizing the well-being of everyone, every time and everywhere. By acknowledging the unique challenges different individuals face, this movement makes informed decisions, ensuring that support is tailored to specific needs. It recognizes that gender oppression varies among individuals and intersects with other forms of discrimination such as racial injustice and 2SLGBTQIA+ rights, necessitating inclusive actions. 

One of the biggest obstacles facing this movement is the difficulty of moving forward more quickly. Indeed, as the authors of the article above point out, dismantling oppressive systems is a long and arduous process. Patience, hope and persistence become your favorite tools. 

From the eyes of Megan Vella 


In this landscape of change, leaders like Megan Vella, Director of Philanthropy at the YWCA Canada, personify the movement’s ambitions and values. Philanthropy at YWCA Canada is grounded by feminist ideologies and everything we do embodies the essence of feminism—driven by mutual responsibility and shared vision of a more equitable, inclusive and safe world for women, girls and gender diverse people. 

YWCA Canada believes that acts of gender blindness, including philanthropy, only reinforces the status quo.  Feminist Philanthropy is positioned to challenge the status quo and flow funding into women-led, women-founded solutions.  Feminist Philanthropy can turn money from a tool of oppression into a tool of empowerment and resource for healing. 


In conclusion, this timeless and visionary movement is also a call to action. A call to act today, to follow our ambitions and vision for a better world. Every individual is active in the transformation of societies, every voice counts, and every support counts. YWCA Canada is starting this new end of year campaign, in parallel with our 16 days campaign. As an activist, as a passionate and militant person, make your voice heard, and support YWCA Canada, a leading voice for women, girls, Two-Spirit, and gender diverse people, from over 150 years.  


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