It all started with this simple yet paradoxical observation that the two sisters, Swanee Hunt and Helen Lakelly Hunt, made: traditional philanthropy left women out of the loop when it was clear that they were key to global development. The paradox went on: high net worth women were not changing this trend, quite on the contrary.
Launched in 2007 in collaboration with the "Women's Funding Network", a network of women's funds, the campaign aimed at changing this paradigm by pushing American millionaires, and especially women, to give to other women. One rule: no less than a million dollar gifts.
To convince them, a book called Trailblazer that presented the stories of these people who give to women. " We would give this book to the men and women who were potentially interested in giving and they would read the stories and say: 'this is what I feel, I want to be part of this group.' There is a saying that says: 'you can't be what you can't see'", Helen LaKelly Hunt explains.
The Hunt sisters were the first ones to start with 4 and 6 million gifts that snowballed into a campaign that raised 181 million dollars in 2009, way more than the initial objective of 150 million dollars. In the first phase of the project, 5% of the donors were men.
This success prompted a second edition of the campaign, this time organized mainly by the Women's Funding Network and that will start in April of 2011. All bets are on!
Credit Steve Evans.