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In a bold move to further women’s rights and equality, Melinda French Gates has announced an additional $1 billion commitment through 2026 to advance women’s power worldwide. This initiative marks the first step in the next chapter of her philanthropic efforts.

With significant setbacks in women’s rights and social progress both in the United States and globally, Gates emphasizes the urgency of this investment. She believes it is crucial to provide capital to those fighting for equality and breaking down barriers that hinder women’s advancement. This investment aligns with her belief that health is a critical enabler of women’s full societal participation.

The $1 billion commitment will be distributed through Pivotal Philanthropies Foundation and includes three primary funding areas:

1. Supercharging U.S. Organizations

$200 million in grants will be directed toward U.S. organizations advancing women’s power and protecting their rights, including reproductive freedom. These grants will offer flexible funding to allow organizations to allocate resources as they see fit.

2. Global Leadership Partnerships

$240 million will be devoted to partnerships with 12 diverse global leaders. Each leader will receive a $20 million fund to distribute to charitable organizations performing urgent, impactful, and innovative work to improve women’s health and well-being both in the U.S. and globally.

3. Open Call for Health Initiatives

$250 million will be awarded through an open call, launching later this fall, with Lever for Change to identify organizations working to enhance women’s mental and physical health worldwide.

“For too long, a lack of money has forced organizations fighting for women’s rights into a defensive posture while the enemies of progress play offense. I want to help even the match,” said Melinda French Gates.

Beneficiaries and Collaborators

The commitment will support several organizations and individuals known for their work in advancing women’s rights and health:

  • Center for Reproductive Rights: A global human rights organization fighting for reproductive freedom.
  • Collaborative for Gender + Reproductive Equity: Funding unity among advocates across gender, reproductive, and racial equity issues.
  • Collective Future Fund: A feminist fund mobilizing social justice movements and survivors toward a violence-free future.
  • Community Change: Building power among low-income people, especially people of color, to foster a thriving society.
  • Institute for Women’s Policy Research: A think tank focused on economic equity and policy shaping.
  • MomsRising Education Fund: A movement achieving economic security for moms, women, and families in the U.S.
  • Ms. Foundation for Women: Investing in women-led movements to drive social, cultural, and economic change.
  • National Domestic Workers Alliance: Advocating for the rights and recognition of domestic workers.
  • National Partnership for Women & Families: Promoting health and economic justice for women and families.
  • National Women’s Law Center: Fighting for gender justice through legal and policy solutions.
  • New America: Renewing the promise of America through care, technology, democracy, and education.
  • The 19th: An independent newsroom empowering women and LGBTQ+ people with essential information.
  • Roosevelt Institute: Advancing ideas and investing in leaders for an equitable future.
  • States United Democracy Center: Ensuring free, fair, and secure elections.
  • TIME’S UP Legal Defense Fund: Supporting individuals facing workplace sex harassment.
  • Washington Center for Equitable Growth: Promoting evidence-backed economic growth policies.

Global Leaders Partnering for Change

Among the 12 global leaders partnering in this initiative are:

  • Dr. Alfiee Breland-Noble: Mental health advocate for intersectional youth.
  • Allyson Felix: Advocate for Black maternal health and pay equity.
  • Ava DuVernay: Filmmaker advancing equity and social justice.
  • Crystal Echo Hawk: Leader shifting public perception of Native Americans.
  • Gary Barker: Promoting gender equality by engaging men and boys.
  • Hauwa Ojeifo: Mental health advocate in Nigeria.
  • Jacinda Ardern: Former New Zealand prime minister and climate action advocate.
  • Leymah Roberta Gbowee: Nobel Laureate and peace activist.
  • M. V. Lee Badgett: Economist focused on LGBTI economic power.
  • Richard V. Reeves: Scholar raising awareness of gender issues for boys and men.
  • Sabrina Habib: Improving early childhood care in East Africa.
  • Shabana Basij-Rasikh: Ensuring Afghan girls’ access to education.

Founded in 2015, Pivotal utilizes various funding strategies to advance social progress, including venture capital, philanthropic grants, advocacy funding, and partnerships. In 2022, Pivotal Philanthropies Foundation was established to support these efforts through a flexible approach to driving impact.

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