Women & Philanthropy at UCLA

The group started to involve women as fuller participants in university life and to answer several questions posed by development officers at UCLA, such as gender differences in major donors and motivations of women to give philanthropically, among others. Years later, statistics show that women are achieving more success in the workplace, becoming more aware of social issues and becoming more involved financially in philanthropy.


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.

Philanthropy is the giving of time or valuables such as money, securities or property for public purposes. Philanthropy, or charitable giving, is one form of income for nonprofit organizations. To be sure, some nonprofit organizations have the generation or distribution of charitable contributions as the principle objective (Salamon 1999).

Historic Roots

This history of Women & Philanthropy established the purpose for this group. 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.

In 1992, focus groups were formed to provide answers to these questions; the response from the invited participants was so positive and overwhelming, the original number of planned groups was doubled and groups were added to other cities. The list of invited individuals was determined by the amount of individual philanthropic experience and donations. Major donor level contributors were the invited participants; major donors were defined by single or cumulative gifts at or above $25,000 in generosity. The participants were also required to have been active volunteers with a connection to UCLA as a donor, volunteer or alumna (Women & Philanthropy at UCLA).

The planned questions for the focus groups were carefully examined and the facilitator interview process was a very thorough procedure. Professional facilitators and "invisible observers" were the standard for the groups. Finally, the location of focus group discussions was also an important factor. The focus groups met in a professional facility with access to a restaurant for after hour's socialization.

As the research progressed, the compiled information from the focus groups was very complex in scope. The complexity of data included various opinions from the women participants, many startling facts and figures and powerful applications of educational, health and social service institutions throughout the United States. The compiled information consisted primarily of "common sense," that is, many of the facts and ideas occurred daily in the lives of women.

There are many women who contributed to important historical events through philanthropy. Katherine Dexter McCormick gave $2 million to fund research that eventually led to the development of the oral contraceptive. Clare Booth Luce influenced women to endeavor careers in engineering. These are examples of women who have inspired the studies and focus groups (Women & Philanthropy at UCLA).


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

  • Currently, there are 3.3 million Americans with annual incomes of more than $550,000; women comprise 41.2 percent of this number.
  • 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 its new Office of Research on Women. The small funding percentage was striking and biased in comparison to national poverty demographics. 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.

(Women & Philanthropy at UCLA)

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 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.

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.

( Regents of the University of Michigan )

Related Nonprofit Organizations

  • The Association of Junior Leagues International has 171,000 members and a presence within 294 communities throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico and Great Britain. 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 ).
  • The Ms. Foundation was founded in 1972 with a mission to create opportunities for women and girls. The Foundation has affected change in philanthropy by creating new guidelines for grant making and is the sponsor and founder of Take Our Daughters (& Sons) To Work Day http://www.ms.foundation.org ).
  • Women in Development of Greater Boston is a nonprofit organization with over 850 members. The mission statement of the organization promotes and supports the advancement of women in the professional and philanthropic worlds. Its members help each other develop professional skills, share employment information and advise on philanthropy http://www.widgb.org ).

Related Web Sites

The National Women's Hall of Fame Web site, at http://www.greatwomen.org, is a celebration of great women of the past and present. The web site 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).

The Women's Funding Network Web site, at http://www.wfnet.org, promotes and supports women in philanthropy by providing publications, resources and links.

The Women & Philanthropy Web site, at http://www.womenphil.org, offers connection and membership for women in philanthropy as well as publications, resources, links, news and information regarding the organization's events.

The Women's Philanthropy Institute Web site, at http://www.women-philanthropy.org, encourages women to become involved in philanthropy by providing resources, offering information about scheduled presentations and speakers and conducting polls and displaying results regarding women and philanthropy.

Bibliography and Internet Sources

Conlin, M. & Hempel, J. "The Top Givers." Business Week . 1 December (2003): 81.

Regents of the University of Michigan. "Women In Philanthropy." University of Michigan. http://www.women-philanthropy.umich.edu.

Salamon, Lester. American Nonprofit Sector. The Foundation Center, 1999. ISBN: 0-87954-801-0

Wikipedia : The Free Encyclopedia. "Fund Development." https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Main_Page.

Women & Philanthropy. "Homepage." http://www.womenphil.org.

Women & Philanthropy At UCLA. "Leaders." University of California, Los Angeles.

Women in Development of Greater Boston. "Homepage." http://www.widgb.org.

This paper was developed by a student taking a Philanthropic Studies course taught at Grand Valley State University.