Women & Philanthropy at UCLA

Grade Level: 
6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12
Definition of Philanthropy
Women & Philanthropy at UCLA is a dynamic group of women philanthropists connected in their commitment to support UCLA through philanthropy, leadership, and mentoring. The women that comprise the group are major donors, leaders, and decision-makers united as knowledgeable, unique, and powerful voices making an impact while shaping the future of the university and the community in which they reside (Women & Philanthropy at UCLA).


The mission of Women & Philanthropy at UCLA is to celebrate and inspire women throughout the UCLAcommunity as major donors, leaders, and decision-makers.

Women & Philanthropy at UCLA seeks to encourage philanthropy, leadership, and mentoring of the next generation. To do this, Women & Philanthropy at UCLA:

  • Engage and educate women philanthropists through programmatic activities that highlight the diversity of achievement at UCLA;
  • Broaden and deepen the base of financial support by women at UCLA;
  • Cultivate and mentor women as philanthropists and leaders and provide them with a personal connection to the University and the tools to be successful;
  • Identify and Support programs at UCLA that reflect the varied interests of women;
  • Advocate on behalf of women’s leadership across campus on boards, committees, and the UCLA Foundation

The three overarching goals of the organization are philanthropy, leadership, and mentoring and networking.

Over the years, the goals clearly remained the same, but the membership structure has been enhanced to a more inclusive model that gives a greater number of women an opportunity to enjoy the benefits of this meaningful program. Engaging women and encouraging their support continues to be a vital area of interest of the organization and UCLA today.

Historic Roots

UCLA is a public research university with the mission of the creation, dissemination, preservation and application of knowledge for the betterment of global society. Women & Philanthropy at UCLA started in 1992. It was created from a focus group for women donors and 
prospective donors to determine what they valued in their connection to UCLA. The emphasis at UCLA was focused on giving and leadership at all levels of university engagement. Women & Philanthropy at UCLA was started to involve women as fuller participants in university life and to answer several questions posed by development officers at UCLA. These topics and questions included:

  • The possibility of gender differences among impulses of major donors.
  • Suspicion that development officers needed to learn more in order to involve women at the level of major donors.
  • What motivates women to give to philanthropy.
  • How women learn and pass on philanthropic behavior.
  • What values women bring to their philanthropic commitments.

The purpose of the group has always been for women’s giving and preparing women to make the greatest impact on areas that matter most to them. Since the founding, Women & Philanthropy at UCLA’s membership group has grown to become more inclusive giving greater numbers of women an opportunity to enjoy the benefits of this meaningful program. From its inception 25 years ago, Women & Philanthropy at UCLA has desired to be a community engaging women through promoting and encouraging their philanthropic giving. What started as a group of philanthropic women on one campus looking for belonging, has now become something so much more.


Women are engaged in philanthropy from many perspectives – as donors, as professionals, as fundraisers, as nonprofit leaders – both formally and informally. As women continue to make strides in business, government and the nonprofit space, they have created many, and overlapping opportunities to be involved with philanthropy, giving time, talent and treasure for the common good.

The importance of groups, such as Women & Philanthropy at UCLA, for research is summarized below:

  • On the Forbes’ 2018 list of billionaires, women billionaires numbered at 256 out of total 2208 entries— an all-time high, with a collective worth to surpass $1 trillion. 
  • According to the Boston Consulting Group, between 2010 and 2015 private wealth held by women grew from $34trn to $51trn. Women’s wealth also rose as a share of all private wealth, though less spectacularly, from 28% to 30%. By 2020 they are expected to hold $72trn, 32% of the total. And most of the private wealth that changes hands in the coming decades is likely to go to women.
  • Of the top five foundations in the United States, three foundations have female presidents. These women control over $10 billion in assets.
  • Women have become more entrepreneurial in business. In 1990, women started companies at a rate three times higher than the rate male-owned businesses. Also in 1990, a million more women than men entered college. These factors may contribute to the philanthropic role of women.
  • Currently, 78 percent of women make monetary gifts to charity, versus 72 percent of men. However, women only give 1.8 percent of annual income to charity as compared with 3.1 percent of annual income for men.
  • Funding agencies appear to operate with bias in funding practices. For instance, the monetary amount The United Way gave to the Young Men's Christian Association (YMCA) exceeded the amount funded to the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA) by $39 million. The United Way also donated $32 million more to the Boy Scouts of America than to the Girl Scouts of America. In 1990, the National Institute of Health (NIH) allotted only .2 percent of the annual budget to the new Office of Research on Women.
  • In the United States, more than 75 percent of people living in poverty have been identified as women and children.
  • Most women give financially at the grassroots nonprofit level. Women (primarily homemakers with children) with annual incomes of less than $10,000 gave 5.4 percent to charity.

Ties to the Philanthropic Sector

Women are currently and increasingly important to the philanthropic sector. Women are achieving more success in the workplace, becoming more aware of social issues and becoming more involved financially versus simply giving their time (Conlin 2003).

In 2003, Business Week Magazine published their "Top 50 Most Generous Philanthropists" list. On the list, 26 of the 50 philanthropists were women; any of named women were listed with spouses.

Women give money to a variety of causes, but research shows the majority is specified for educational, children and health-related charities.

Key Related Ideas

  • Empowerment is enabling one's self to take action. Historically, women have been limited by societal mores, education, opportunity and income. Generally, women are empowering themselves. both at home and in the workplace.As women advance in careers and business, increased incomes allow women to give larger donations to charitable organizations affecting issues on a personal level. Donating money to serve a cause and better the world are ways to achieve empowerment.
  • Fund Development involves raising monies for a nonprofit organization ( Wikipedia ). Many nonprofit organizations have in-house development staffs to raise needed money by soliciting corporations, foundations and individual donors. Nonprofit organizations also hold frequent events for the sole purpose of raising funds for the organization.
  • Giving circles, usually comprised of mostly women, are groups of people who pledge to give a set annual donation and then work together to choose the recipients of their pooled money. It's a very old-fashioned concept based on the way smaller communities used to help each other, but it's gaining ground now, as more people seek ways to connect to each other and make changes in the face of overwhelming odds.
  • Planned Giving is the arrangement for a posthumous gift of a designated amount of money to a specific charitable organization. Often women make estate or planned giving decisions based on issues and organizations close to their hearts rather than family relationships or descendants. Women in focus groups stated the importance for children to have an education and assistance with a first home purchase, but beyond that, children should be responsible for their own finances (Women & Philanthropy at UCLA).

Important People Related to the Topic

The Women & Philanthropy at UCLA project was started with several key individuals:

  • Sally Blowitz: Blowitz is the Co-Executive Director of Women & Philanthropy at UCLA. Her experience includes a total of 20 years working in university development; 15 years of the total serving at UCLA. She is a member of the senior development team and participates in the overall planning and management of the University's $2.4 billion development campaign. Blowitz has many responsibilities to UCLA and university development including supervising the majority of fund raising activities involving the Office of Gift Planning, Office of Major Gifts, University Extension, Student Affairs, the Alumni Association and the Annual Fund. 
  • Danielle Carrig: Carrig is the Assistant Director of Women & Philanthropy. She was a graduate student in the Masters of Women's Studies and joined the UCLA staff three years ago. She is responsible for donor relations, event planning, program development and fundraising. Carrig also oversees marketing efforts by the Women & Philanthropy organization, including design and mailing of the Women & Philanthropy newsletter.
  • Tracie Christensen: Christensen serves as Co-Executive Director and Assistant Vice-Provost for Development at the UCLA College of Letters and Science. Her capable leadership of the College's capital campaign(a part of the University's $2.4 billion campaign)successfully doubled alumni participation in Annual Fund and increased by 50 percent leadership gifts to the Women & Philanthropy program. There are many women philanthropists with support areas, including health, politics, education and the arts.
  • Pauline Carter: Carter bequeathed $2 million to the Winston-Salem Foundation in North Carolina. A former employee of the R.J. Reynolds Factory, her fortune was amassed from shareholder stock in the tobacco company. Carter established the Sam N. and Pauline H. Carter Fund, which supports programs in Winston-Salem, North Carolina.
  • Georgia Easton: Easton was an interior designer and her estate, in 2003, gifted $3 million to the Community Foundation of Waterloo, Cedar Falls and Northeast Iowa. Her generosity established funds for arts and cultural programs, historic preservation and health programs for children and adults.
  • Mrs. Allen Tyler: Tyler donated $2 million for youth and senior services to the Juliette Fowler Homes. Mrs. Allen's husband, Robert, accumulated wealth as a cotton merchant and general store partner. Juliette Fowler Homes consists of three individual homes for people over 62 years of age and a counseling center for emotionally disturbed adolescents.

Other Important People related to the topic:

  • Anne-Marie Spataru: Spataru is the current president of Women & Philanthropy at UCLA. Spataru is also currently a Board Member for multiple organizations including UCLA Center for The Art of Performance. Spataru has had a more than 30-year-career in project management with the UCLA Capital Programs Department.
  • Melinda Gates: Perhaps one of the most prolific names of women in philanthropy, Melinda is a businesswoman and philanthropist who—with her husband, Microsoft Corporation cofounder Bill Gates, cofounded the charitable Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.


Related Nonprofit Organizations

  • The Association of Junior Leagues International has evolved into one of the oldest, largest and most effective women’s volunteer organizations in the world, encompassing 140,000 women in 291 Leagues in four countries. The Junior Leagues are organizations of women working to promote voluntarism, the potential of women and improvement of communities ( http://www.ajli.org ).
  • The Feminist Majority Foundation (FMF) was established to develop creative, new strategies and programs to advance women's equality, non-violence, economic development and empowerment of women and girls. All programs of the FMF include a global perspective and promote leadership among women ( http://www.feminist.org ).
  • Ms. Foundation for Women was created in 1972 with an emphasis on supporting the efforts of women and girls to govern their own lives and influence the world around them. The Ms. Foundation is a fundraising and grantmaking organization.(https://forwomen.org/)
  • The National Women's Hall of Fame is a celebration of great women of the past and present. The hall provides 207 profiles the women currently included in the Hall of Fame. New inductees are added each year; past inductees include authors (Maya Angelou),
  • actresses (Lucille Ball) and former first ladies (Abigail Adams). (https://www.womenofthehall.org/)
  • New York Women’s Foundation was founded in 1987 by women such as Helen LaKelly Hunt as a 501(c)3 organization. The foundation serves as a voice for women and a force for change. The foundation combines hands-on philanthropy with community-driven projects to change the lives of low-income women and girls.
  • Women in Development of Greater Boston is a nonprofit organization with over 850 members. The mission of the organization is to promote and support the advancement of women in the professional and philanthropic worlds. Its members help each other develop professional skills, share employment information and advice on philanthropy. (http://www.widgb.org ).
  • Women Donors Network was founded in 1991 and now has more than 100 women philanthropists who each donate $25K or more a year to progressive social justice causes. WDN functions as an organized, sophisticated giving circle with emphasis on strategic philanthropy, education, and information sharing. (https://womendonors.org/)
  • The Women's Funding Network promotes and supports women in philanthropy through their mission is to mission is to bring together the financial power and influence of funders of gender equity in order to address and solve critical and complex social issues ranging from poverty to global security. (https://www.womensfundingnetwork.org/).

Reflection Question: Why is it valuable to assess different demographics, such as gender, when considering philanthropic giving?

Bibliography and Internet Sources

  • “A Brief Introduction to Women and Philanthropy .” Women’s Philanthropy Institute, Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University, 2012, n.d. https://philanthropy.iupui.edu/files/file/a_brief_introduction_to_women_and_philanthropy_2.pdf
  • Conlin, M. & Hempel, J. "The Top Givers." Business Week . 1 December (2003): 81.
  • Salamon, Lester. American Nonprofit Sector. The Foundation Center, 1999. ISBN: 0-87954-801-0
  • The Economist. 2018. “Investment by Women, and in Them, Is Growing.” The Economist. The Economist. March 8, 2018. https://www.economist.com/finance-and-economics/2018/03/08/investment-by-women-and-in-them-is-growing.
  • “Who We Are.” Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Accessed November 10, 2019. https://www.gatesfoundation.org/Who-We-Are.
  • MISSION | Women and Philanthropy.” 2019. Ucla.Edu. 2019.https://women.support.ucla.edu/index.php/home/mission/.
  • Women in Development of Greater Boston. "Homepage." http://www.widgb.org.

This paper was authored by a student taking a Philanthropic Studies course in 2019 at The Lilly Family School of Philanthropy.