2020: A Movement of Lift
Brimming with the possibility and promise that a new year brings
Melinda Gates, in her 2019 New York Times bestseller, “The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World,” asks, “How can we create a moment of lift in human hearts so that we all want to lift up women? Because sometimes all that’s needed to lift women up is to stop pulling them down.”
Brimming with the possibility and promise that a new year brings, I pondered her question. And it struck me. 2020 is a rare gift, a year that offers so many powerful chances to create moments of lift, that collectively, we can build a movement of lift for women. The Women’s Foundation of Colorado believes in a future where women and girls of every background and identity can thrive. If you share this vision, I offer you the following moments in 2020 to advance and accelerate this movement for Colorado women with us.
National funders are catching on that women’s foundations are a smart investment. Supporting foundations that change structural systems through policy while advancing women and their families through grantmaking is an effective way to pave long-term social change and positively impact our economy. The Gates Foundation is just one funder that announced late last year new investments in the women’s movement. They understand that transforming opportunities for women takes time, and structural systems must be built with women in mind. Will individual donors follow suit? Currently only 1.6 percent of all charitable donations in the U.S. benefit organizations dedicated to women and girls. National funding initiatives are encouraging, let’s be clear. But to ensure impact in our communities and for the women who live in them, we must give where we live. That’s what our WAGES program is all about.
Count to Lift
The census is a once-in-every-10-years opportunity to lift women statewide. Population counts decide which families and children can count on equal access to federally funded programs that support nutrition, education, housing, and healthcare. Visit census.gov to find out how you can encourage participation in your community.
Vote to Lift
Creating a movement of lift depends on each of us voting in the 2020 election (and every election for that matter). When we vote to advance policies and elect candidates that prioritize improving opportunity for women, we create lift. Similarly, when we encourage others to vote, we lift. When we share what we learn about barriers that impact diverse women and the means to dismantle those barriers, we lift. Later this year, The Women’s Foundation will release an updated version of our nonpartisan voter handbook, “The Womanifesto.” Make sure you download it to learn about specific statewide ballot measures and their impact on Colorado women.
Celebrate, Commemorate, and Lift
It can be easy to forget that just 100 years ago the 19th Amendment was ratified. As a member of Gov. Polis’ Women’s Centennial Vote Commission, I know events are planned across the state to raise awareness of the struggle to win voting rights for all women and rally together for greater empowerment and equality. I recommend attending one of History Colorado’s statewide events, as well as other community events by WFCO that will inform, illuminate, connect – and lift all women. WFCO will kick off a series of community conversations, Chat4Change, in February 2020.
Lobby to Lift
Two issues that greatly impact women’s abilities to earn for their families will play a prominent role in the 2020 Colorado General Assembly. Since the last legislative session, The Women’s Foundation has been deeply involved in coalitions that are working to improve access to early care and education and paid family and medical leave for all Coloradans. Join our statewide network of advocates and help us pass these key bills in 2020. See more details about the bills and register on our website for upcoming advocacy days around the state and our third annual Lobby Day on March 5.
Find YOUR Lift
Find your own place in this movement of lift for women. Reactionary philanthropy, episodic giving, or more recently dubbed “rage giving” have become popular tools to respond to disasters, tragedies, and gross injustices we see in the news. These investments are necessary, but imagine what our world look like for women if donors continued to invest with such urgency long after a news cycle closes or their anger simmers?
The Women’s Foundation offers more ways than ever to join the movement – from giving circles to donor-advised funds to monthly sustaining memberships. Find the one that works best for you. Find your lift.
Lauren Y. Casteel
President & CEO