Melinda French Gates and MacKenzie Scott have joined forces in an effort to fund the advancement of American women by directing $40 million to the cause over the next ten years.
The donation is being awarded to winners of the Equality Can’t Wait Challenge, a competition hosted by French Gates’ investment firm Pivotal Ventures, with financial support from Scott and her husband, Dan Jewett, as well as from the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Philanthropies. The challenge dubbed itself as “the first competition centered on gender and equality in the U.S. with an award of this magnitude and … an opportunity to invest in and empower women leaders.”
The four contest winners, which were chosen from among 550 applicants proposed various creative ways to empower and improve the lives of women and gender non-conforming people in the United States. They include establishing publicly supported infrastructure for childcare and other forms of caregiving; creating training for women interested in software development careers; accelerating young women’s trajectories through college and their early careers; and growing “impactful businesses owned by Native womxn.”
Many of these issues have become particularly important given the Covid-19 pandemic’s outsized impact on women, which experts have said set gender equality back by years. Each winning organization will receive $10 million for their projects.
“The awardees are strong teams working on the front lines and from within communities to help women build power in their lives and careers,” Scott said in a statement. French Gates added: “We can break the patterns of history and advance gender equality, but we must commit to lifting up organizations, like the ones receiving awards today, that are ready to lift up women and girls.”
ARTICLE: PAUL MURDOCH
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: NEW YORK POST
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