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The White House, Open Society Foundations Featured at IF Philanthropy Roundtable


Dr. Kimberlyn Leary of the White House Council on Women and Girls (top left) chats with philanthropy and nonprofit leaders during the Sept. 25 meeting in Madison, WI.

On March 11, 2009, President Obama signed an Executive Order creating the White House Council on Women and Girls. The council’s purpose, President Obama said, is “to ensure that in America, all things are still possible for all people.”  Members of the council are traveling around the country to canvas stakeholders in the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors for ideas on how to support women and girls of color. The Interactivity Foundation was honored to sponsor and facilitate the second such listening session on Sept. 25.

The council’s special advisor, Dr. Kimberlyn Leary, also a noted Harvard University psychologist, and Allison R. Brown,  a noted civil rights attorney representing the Open Society Foundations  Racial Justice Program, each gave opening remarks to the intimate group of 30 stakeholders in Madison’s  Monona Terrace. After their remarks, IF facilitators lead several simultaneous small-group round table discussions in which participants explored intersections between their lived/professional experience and the topics of giving, gender and race.


Kabzuag Vaj, co-founder of Freedom Inc., discusses her work with Hmong women in the Madison area.

The convening spoke directly to two IF projects underway. IF recently concluded a project on Future of Sex Policy and is launching another project on the future of philanthropy, “On Giving.” For more information about how to participate in future IF philanthropy roundtables, please contact “On Giving” project co-facilitators, Dr. Natalie Hopkinson and Dennis Boyer by emailing [email protected]

Further Reading:


  1. The Wisconsin Council on Children and Families’ (WCCF) Race to Equity project aims to eliminate racial disparities in Wisconsin.  Read more about Race to Equity.
  2. Inclusive Dubuque in Iowa is an ambitious effort to focus on diversity and inclusion in the mid-size city that is attracting a growing global work force.  (See link.)
  3. The White House Council on Women and Girls has launched a website for the Advancing Equity and Empowerment initiative for women and girls of color.
  4. A new resource for philanthropist interested in the topic is Grantmakers for Girls of Color.
  5. The National Women’s Law Center has been collecting data that paints a harrowing statistical picture using data about women and girls of color.
  6. The next girls of color “listening session” will take place November 30 hosted by the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota.

Dr. Manuela Romero, Associate Dean of the University of Wisconsin’s School of Engineering, addressed challenges in recruiting a diverse group of engineering students.


Stakeholders from Iowa, Illinois, Minneapolis, Wisconsin, Maryland and Washington, D.C. came together to explore intersections between philanthropy, gender and racial justice.

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