Giving Tuesday: Aligning our giving with the world we want to see
I’m finding it hard to believe that we are already approaching the end of 2021.
What a year this has been for all of us, especially on the heels of 2020. When so many of us were hoping for a “better” year, after 20 months, most of our lives continue to be disrupted as we adjust to this next space of pandemic living.
Another consistent thread is just how transparent our inequalities are showing up and keeping national attention. From the exhaustion of frontline workers, to the increasing number of unhoused people, to the health effects and disparities of Covid-19, to the extreme economic gains and losses across race, class and gender. The vast differences between those with plenty and those that are struggling is yet more transparent than ever.
The need to transition to an inclusive and sustainable economy is also more obvious than ever before. At the root of much of our national inequality is our financial system. Just who see themselves as investors, and who are making decisions on Wall Street matters. With women and people of color in charge of approximately 2% of venture capital dollars, and leading fewer than 1% of asset management firms, we at Nia are more committed than ever to shift these numbers. With more women and BIPOC representation in our investment and financial industry, we are more likely to see pay parity, equal opportunity hiring decisions, as well as the development of innovative products and services that benefit a larger percentage of individuals. With a diverse and representative set of voices at the table, we as a society are more likely to find the balance and innovation required to shift us onto a path toward a sustainable and inclusive economy.
We at Nia are working to change the face of finance in an effort to build a more inclusive economy. We are proud of raising our investor voice for change, and are honored to partner with nonprofit organizations also working toward this end.
Today we are excited to announce the Nia 2021 Giving Tuesday selections, and encourage our community to join us in this day of generosity. Now in its 9th year, Giving Tuesday has become a nationwide day of giving. First launched in 2012 as a counter-action to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, today in 2021 many look forward to this day as a meaningful way to take action and flow dollars to purpose driven causes. Giving Tuesday reminds us of the importance of considering others, and provides a platform to encourage the donation of time, resources and talents to address important issues.
Each year at Nia, we highlight several nonprofit organizations whose work aligns with Nia’s vision of directing money with intention and purpose. In previous years we have donated to Bay Area groups working to transform the financial system. From fostering corporate responsibility to harnessing the power of business for good, we seek to partner with high integrity, paradigm changing nonprofits taking on the challenges of a broken economic system. (See our past writeups of many of these change-making organizations.)
For 2021 we focus our giving on Nia’s goal of diversifying our financial services sector. We know that in order to bring more balance, inclusion, and sustainability to our economy, we are going to need to shift who is managing and directing our investment dollars. 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 and BIPOC-led organizations, and will include them in your giving plans as well.
Nia Impact Capital’s 2021 Giving Tuesday Honorees:
1. ICA Inner City Advisors
Operating in my home town of Oakland, California, ICA invests in local small businesses. Providing resources, education, and personalized mentoring to help earlier-stage Bay Area companies chart a sustainable growth strategy, ICA is strategically directing assets into mainstreet businesses. ICA
ICA partners with, mentors, and invests in underestimated Bay Area entrepreneurs to accelerate great business, lifting up underrepresented voices to close racial and gender wealth gaps, building an economy that works for all.
IDiF seeks to advance representation in the financial services industry, create a culture of capital that embraces diversity, and accelerate economic justice, power and influence for all. IDiF started as a meeting of the minds during the Covid pandemic, IDiF has grown in the last year to be a Center of Innovation for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion within the Finance space. Knowing that women and BIPOC make up just 1% of asset managers, this group is gathering, strategizing, building community, and taking action for much needed change.
African Women Rising believes, like we do, that women are powerful agents of change. They work to empower women in post conflict areas with the tools to rise out of extreme poverty. Rooted in the conviction that women should be active stakeholders in defining their own development strategies, and working across education, micro finance, and permaculture teachings, African Women Rising builds on initiatives that the women themselves have started.
Works to empower women, offering free online workshops designed to support women-owned and led businesses. Shakti Rising cultivates the health and emerging leadership of women and girls, ultimately empowering them to use their personal transformation as a catalyst for positive change in their families and communities. This creates gradual cultural change that supports sustainable, cooperative, healthy societies.
5. SEO Scholars
SEO stands for Seize Every Opportunity. This social justice organization provides a free, eight-year, academic program that identifies talented young people from underserved and underrepresented communities across the U.S.. SEO launches low-income public high school students to and through college–with a 90% college graduation rate. I first learned about SEO Scholars from my dear friend and colleague Kesha Cash, when she was being honored for her VC success. SEO Scholars is working to close the opportunity gap within this next generation. We know that to reach our goal of diversifying asset management, we need to start by addressing core inequalities. Narrowing the education gap at the high school and college level is an essential first step.
We wish you all a joyful and generous holiday season! Let us know your thoughts on our Tuesday picks.