Donations to hundreds of nonprofits focused on women have jumped dramatically in the last year.
We’re putting our money where the women are.
It’s been roughly a year since the #MeToo movement began — and the staggering sums raised by nonprofits focused on women’s issues prove that this movement will have a major impact for years to come.
Indeed, Charity Navigator, the largest evaluator of charities, looked at 180 organizations that serve women and found that the total dollar amount of donations through its site to those nonprofits has jumped 7% in the past year, with the number of donations up 13%. “That’s a lot,” says Larry Lieberman, the COO of Charity Navigator. “More people are giving more frequently — and since the number of donations is rising faster than the dollar amount, that’s an indication of a younger giving audience.”
And while it’s impossible to know exactly how much money has been raised because of #MeToo, Lieberman says that it’s “many tens of millions.” “It has been a moment for fundraising,” he adds.
One of the most spectacular feats of fundraising came from an organization that was only created earlier this year: the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund, which helps women, particularly low-wage earners, who are victims of sexual discrimination and harassment. The organization raised $21 million thanks in part to “donations from all over the country in increments as small as $5,” Sharyn Tejani, the director of the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund and Legal Network for Gender Equity at the National Women’s Law Center Fund, tells Moneyish.
Those donations included $500,000 apiece from Reese Witherspoon, Meryl Streep and Jennifer Aniston, as well as $2 million from Mark Wahlberg and his agency William Morris Endeavor after a report that he was paid $1.5 million for reshooting scenes for the film “All the Money in the World,” while his costar Michelle Williams was paid just $1,000. That money has allowed the organization to help fund cases involving workplace sexual harassment and related retaliation for fast food workers, retail workers, farm workers and police officers — with plans to assist many more next year, Tejani says.
Pro-choice organizations supporting women’s reproductive rights also saw big jumps in donations. Data from Charity Navigator showed that the two organizations with a focus on women’s issues that saw the largest jumps in the dollar amount of donations in the past year were Physicians for Reproductive Health, which champions health-care access including abortion and saw donations rise 61%, and pro-choice organization NARAL, where donations were up 91%.
Another big fundraising success story came from RAINN — the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network — where donations were up 42%, according to Charity Navigator. The organization has benefited not only from individual donations, but also from donations from prominent organizations like Google, which gave $250,000 in April to provide increased support to survivors through the National Sexual Assault Hotline.
RAINN needs the money because it’s getting flooded with victims who may finally feel they can talk about their issues: For the month of September, RAINN’s victim services programs helped 28,509 survivors and their loved ones, compared to 18,129 helped last September, the organization says. “Over this past year, following the cases of Weinstein and Cosby and the explosion of #MeToo, our numbers have been growing pretty rapidly,” said RAINN president Scott Berkowitz in a statement.
And don’t expect the #MeToo-related donations to women’s organizations to stop anytime soon. In the wake of former CEO Les Moonves departing CBS amid multiple women accusing him of sexual misconduct in September (he denies wrongdoing), CBS has pledged to donate $20 million to one or more causes that support the #MeToo movement. Individuals will likely keep giving, too. “News drives giving,” says Lieberman — and sexual assault and #MeToo remain in the news right now with everything from the Brett Kavanaugh hearings to a recent rape allegation against soccer player Cristiano Ronaldo, which he denies. “We see that the news can trigger the generosity of Americans.”
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