When we confirmed the theme of women and global philanthropy for the 2011 symposium, we knew we had found enough material for three or four conferences or one conference that stretched for weeks. What we’ve found on the journey is amazing, awesome, inspiring, and transformative.
There are topical conferences that explore the pressing issues of our day. Yes, there are donor conferences. The Global Philanthropy Forum and the Clinton Global Initiative are two powerful examples. But we could not find conferences that specifically explore how and why women lead through philanthropy in different cultures and regions of the globe. And so, we are pleased to add to the knowledge base with the 2011 symposium, Women World Wide Leading through Philanthropy. The Center on Philanthropy has convened symposia since 1988, leveraging our ability to bring together scholars, researchers, practitioners, donors, and volunteers for lively interactive conversations; providing opportunities to build and to expand networks; and inspiring deeper understanding of timely issues of our day.
The stories I’ve heard in developing the program are a powerful testament to the commitment, fortitude, and passion of women all around the world who are determined to strengthen their home communities and communities 10,000 miles from their homes and to leave the globe a better place. Alice Lau in Guangdong Province, China told us that she reached out immediately to help the earthquake victims in Haiti. Alice was one of the first responders to the devastating 2008 earthquakes in Sichuan, China. Donna Berber, an English woman now living in Austin, TX who is founder and Co-Chair of A Glimmer of Hope Foundation, said, “I believe we all have a shared responsibility to humankind to relieve some of the pain and suffering in the world.” And Judge Patricia Riley of Indianapolis, IN is passionate about raising funds for LACE, the Legal Aid Center of Eldoret, following her trip to Kenya with Rotary.
We are pleased that several of our colleagues who work around the intersection of gender, philanthropy, and the global community will present their scholarly research findings at the symposium. Dr. Femida Handy, an economics professor at the University of Pennsylvania, spent the summer analyzing donor motivations for giving to India’s largest online giving portal GiveIndia. Dr. Pamala Wiepking, Assistant Professor at VU University in Amsterdam, will share results of a project she’s been working on – cross-national gender differences in giving internationally. And, Dr. Jackie Butcher de Rivas, will talk about giving and volunteering in Mexico. Her research has shattered myths about who volunteers in that country.
In the next few months, guest bloggers from our symposium committee, symposium speakers, and members of the WPI Council will share thoughts and perspectives with you about the role of women in transforming our communities and world. We want to hear from you – your stories, your experiences, your research – as we look to build a global community around the transformative power of women and philanthropy.