What a year 2020 has been for all of us. With so much disruption in so many aspects of our lives — from our work environments, to schooling, to many of our daily routines, this year has turned everyday life on its head. With the effects of Covid19, many of the inequities that were hidden from view, are front and center in plain sight. The disproportional gains to those who already had plenty — are starkly contrasted with our front line workers. The vast difference between the haves and the have-nots across gender and racial lines is more transparent, as we see the effects of the pandemic play out.
Meanwhile, the economy is growing for those who are already connected. The need to transition to a sustainable and inclusive economy is more obvious than ever before.
At the route of much of our national inequality is our financial system. With women and people of color in charge of approximately 2% of venture capital dollars, and just 1.3% of asset management decisions, we at Nia are more determined than ever to shift these numbers. With more women and BIPOC representation in our investment and financial industry, we are more likely to see hiring decisions, salary parity, and the development of products and services that benefit a larger percentage of individuals, and not just a few. With a diversity of voices at the table, we are more likely to find the balance required to set us on the path toward a sustainable and inclusive economy. We at Nia are as committed as ever to change the face of finance in an effort to build a more inclusive economy. The time is now. We are proud of the work we are doing to this end, and are honored to partner with nonprofit organizations also working toward this essential shift.
Today we are excited to announce the Nia 2020 Giving Tuesday selections, and encourage our community to join us in this day of generosity. Now in its 8th year, Giving Tuesday has become a nationwide day of generosity. First launched in 2012 as a counter-action to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, today in 2020 many look forward to this day as a meaningful way to take action during this hashtag week. In response to two days focused on consumption and personal spending, Giving Tuesday reminds us of the importance of considering others, and provides a platform to encourage the donation of time, resources and talents to address causes we care about.
Each year at Nia, we highlight several nonprofit organizations whose work aligns with Nia’s mission of directing money with intention and purpose. In previous years we have donated to Bay Area groups working to transform the financial system. From fostering corporate responsibility to harnessing the power of business for good, we seek to partner with high integrity, paradigm changing nonprofits taking on the challenges of a broken economic system. (See our past writeups of many of these change-making organizations.)
For 2020 we continue to focus our giving on Nia’s goal of diversifying our financial services sector. We know that in order to bring more balance, inclusion, and sustainability to our economy, we are going to need to shift who is managing and directing our investment dollars. For that reason, this year we are honored to highlight five awesome organizations that are all working in different ways to address this need for diversity at the top. We hope you are also inspired by these women and BIPOC-led organizations, and perhaps will include them in your giving plans as well.
Nia Impact Capital’s 2020 Giving Tuesday Honorees:
In a society that pays Native women 57 cents on the dollar (compared to white men), starting their own businesses may be the most strategic way toward equal pay. This much needed organization is looking to provide both funding and infrastructure support to Native women-owned businesses. I originally met these amazing change-making founders as a judge at a social enterprise pitch competition in 2019. In 2020 I was honored to join their advisory board, as they seek to raise the first-ever fund investing into Native Women-led businesses. Native Women Lead are seeking to revolutionize systems and inspire innovation by investing in Native Women in business. From hosting the Native Women Business Summit, to supporting and convening their community during these challenging times, this group is nurturing Native women to grow their incomes through their businesses: something we all need.
Given Nia’s activism, using our investor voice to encourage more diverse leadership teams for companies and corporations nationwide, we are so proud to honor How Women Lead, the Bay Area managing partner for 2020 Women on Boards,. This women-led organization is spearheading a national effort to increase the percentage of women on U.S. company boards. Having just completed their online conference, encouraging thousands of women nationwide to step up and into corporate board leadership, How Women Lead champions diverse women’s voices, propelling women leaders forward. Offering Unconscious Bias workshops, as well as Board Readiness training, this national organization has been working to make gender diversity in the boardroom a priority. Their goal is to create a tipping point for change. Their strategy is to steward a supportive community of influential women across all sectors, creating a platform for thought leadership, collaboration, and gender equity solutions.
3. SEO Scholars SEO stands for Seize Every Opportunity. This social justice organization provides a free, eight-year, academic program that identifies talented young people from underserved and underrepresented communities around the nation. SEO propels low-income public high school students to and through college–with a 90% college graduation rate. I first learned about SEO Scholars from my dear friend and colleague Kesha Cash, when she was being honored for her success. SEO Scholars is working toward its goal to close the opportunity gap within a generation. We know that to reach our goal of diversifying asset management, we need to start by addressing core inequalities. Narrowing the education gap is an essential first step.
I first learned about Edgar Villanueva and the Decolonizing Wealth Project when he published his book Decolonizing Wealth: Indigenous Wisdom to Heal Divides and Restore Balance.
We were honored to see Nia and our work mentioned as an example of the type of investing needed in this world. Liberated Capital supports Indigenous and other people-of-color-led initiatives working for transformative social change. This initiative aims to direct resources to help shape a future in which we can all heal from generations of colonial trauma and thrive in our cultures. During these times, we see the empowerment of diverse groups to allocate funding to be an essential piece of the change we need to see. Liberated Capital is doing just that, supporting Indigenous, Black, and other people-of-color-led initiatives working for transformative social change that will ultimately shift our economy.
The Women’s Foundation of California trains and invests in women to become policy advocates and philanthropic leaders who strengthen the economic well-being of California’s women and their families, thus strengthening and diversifying the economy. This Women-led organization invests in women of color and non-binary folks because — as they put it: “they are the leaders we deserve with the solutions we need.” Their essential work ensures frontline community leaders have the financial resources needed to truly scale their brilliance. We are proud to know that our Giving Tuesday pledge is being leveraged as a matching grant for this game-changing organization.
For past Giving Tuesday recipients, and for more on aligning money with intention and purpose, visit: The Money Doula Blog. Wishing you each a beautiful, if not completely different and unprecedented holiday season, and a happy Giving Tuesday!