Today, on #BlackFriday, many of us stayed home relaxing after having just celebrated Thanksgiving. At Nia we love Thanksgiving — the day that marks the beginning of the holiday season and offers encouragement to us all to both count our blessings and to share all we are grateful for. And, of course, the pie!
On Black Friday, following REI’s lead, we enjoyed family and leftovers and chose to #OptOutside. Getting out for a hike in Oakland’s Redwood Park is one of our favorites.
In addition to not purchasing from Amazon, while our Nia offices were closed for the long weekend, our shared work and event space Impact Hub Oakland, was alive and popping. We were thrilled to host For the Culture, The Black Women’s Holiday Market in our space. Rather than shopping online, we had fun purchasing gifts made in Oakland by Black women crafters and makers. We know that in order to shift our economy, we need to vote with our dollars. Supporting Black women entrepreneurs and small business owners is an important way for us to take action.
Also during this week of hashtags, we are excited to announce our 2019 Giving Tuesday selections, and to encourage our community to join us in this day of generosity. Giving Tuesday was first initiated in 2012 on the heels of Black Friday and Cyber Monday. In response to two days focused on consumption and spending, Giving Tuesday reminds us of the importance of thinking of others, and provides a platform to encourage the donation of time, resources and talents to address important causes.
Each year at Nia, we highlight several not-for-profit organizations whose work aligns with Nia’s mission of directing money with intention and purpose. In past years we have made donations to Bay Area groups working to transform the financial system. From fostering corporate responsibility to harnessing the power of business for good, there are many high quality non-profits doing essential work. (We have written about many of these change-making organizations in our Money Doula Blog.)
For 2019 we have chosen to focus our giving toward Nia’s goal of Changing the Face of Finance. We were both shocked and yet also not surprised to see the findings of the Knight-Harvard study looking at the number of women and people of color money managers. The media has drawn some attention to the abysmal venture capital numbers where women and people of color receive less than 2–5 % of VC investment dollars. In a similarly disturbing vein, this 2019 study found that under 5% of our total investment dollars go to women or people of color owned and managed portfolios. We know that in order to bring more balance, inclusion, and sustainability to our economy, we are going to need to shift just who is managing and directing our investment dollars. For that reason, this year we are honored to highlight five awesome organizations that are all working in different ways to address this need for diversity at the top. We hope you are also inspired by these women-led organizations, and perhaps will include them in your giving plans as well.
Nia Impact Capital’s 2019 Giving Tuesday Honorees:
1. Native Women Lead
I was honored to learn of these awesome, change making female founders as a judge at a social enterprise pitch competition earlier this year. This new organization is looking to provide both funding and infrastructure support to Native women owned businesses. The founders are seeking to revolutionize systems and inspire innovation by investing in Native Women in business. From hosting the Native Women Business Summit, to supporting and convening their community this group is nurturing Native women to grow their businesses: something we all need.
2. How Women Lead 2020
How Women Lead is proud be the Bay Area managing partner for 2020 Women on Boards, a national effort to increase the percentage of women on U.S. company boards to 20% or greater by 2020. How Women Lead champions diverse women’s voices, propelling women leaders forward. Offering Unconscious Bias workshops, as well as Board Readiness trainings, this national organization has been working to make gender diversity in the boardroom a priority. Their goal is to reach millions of people to create a tipping point for change. Their strategy is to steward a supportive community of influential women across all sectors, creating a platform for thought leadership, collaboration, and gender equity solutions.
3. The Runway Project
This is the second year Nia has selected The Runway Project as a Giving Tuesday partner organization. Solving the ‘friends and family’ seed funding gap for African American entrepreneurs, this women of color founded organization is playing a key role in getting start up money to innovative entrepreneurs solving for big issues. According to the census bureau, 30k is the capital starting point to get a startup off the ground, which leaves African American startups at a significant disadvantage. In short, the odds are stacked against African Americans who want to secure funding from their friends and family to launch their own business. The Runway project is unlocking potential by addressing this important need.
4. Posse Foundation
As we know at Nia, diversity is key to solving our country’s largest problems. Posse’s primary aim is to train these leaders of tomorrow. The Posse Foundation identifies, recruits and trains individuals from diverse backgrounds with extraordinary leadership potential, and secures scholarships for them to attend school together. The simple idea of sending a posse of students together to college so they can “back each other up” is the impetus for this extraordinary program.
The Posse model is rooted in the belief that a small, diverse group of talented students, carefully selected and trained, can serve as a catalyst for individual and community development. As we work to Change the Face of Finance, the Posse program is working to ensure that students who might not otherwise get the opportunity to attend college, get that opportunity while developing the leadership skills to excel. We look forward to developing a deeper partnership with Posse as we look to grow our Nia staff.
We the Change is a new organization this year of Women Leading Business for Good. Beginning with Eileen Fisher’s idea to convene the women CEOs of certified Benefit Corporations, this powerful group of change makers has started a growing movement with the goals to:
Advance women’s leadership, prosperity and well-being
Promote sustainable business practices and innovations
Increase the flow of capital to women-led enterprises
Advocate for systemic changes to uplift marginalized identities
This movement is just getting started, and is needed now more than ever. In every corner of the world, there are issues that women as a collective are built to take on. Thus far, We The Change has committed to issues of economic, racial, environmental, and social justice and is working to realize a world where women are equally represented in all positions of leadership and influence.
For past Giving Tuesday recipients, and for more on aligning money with intention and purpose, visit: The Money Doula Blog. Wishing you a happy holiday season and a happy Giving Tuesday!