Giving Compass’ Take:
• Women Moving Millions co-founder Jacki Zehner relies on her background in finance to help guide her giving and impact investing. Through long-term, core support she helps organizations maximize their impact.
• How can you invest to further a cause you believe in? What are the advantages of Jacki’s informal grant process?
• Learn how to build a gender-lens investment strategy.
Jacki Zehner is president of the Jacquelyn and Gregory Zehner Foundation and a co-founder of Women Moving Millions, a global community of nearly 300 people that have collectively given over $1 billion to organizations and programs that primarily focus on women and girls. Prior to her decision to focus her time primarily on philanthropy, she was the first woman trader and youngest female to become a partner at Goldman Sachs.
How do you decide which nonprofits to support?
I learn about amazing work through a variety of sources including peer relationships, reading, conferences, philanthropic advisors and more. Once I identify a group I am interested in supporting, I generally have a call with one of their leaders, have them explain their strategy and approach and what success looks like, and go from there. I do not employ a robust grant request process, as my gifts are usually for core support.
How do you align your values and philanthropic goals with your investment approach?
When you think about it there are three sources of capital we can bring to the table to support the causes we care about—our spending dollars, our giving dollars and our investment dollars. For most people giving is a relatively small percentage of their overall capital and thus to not be intentional about how to activate a bigger amount of it is opportunity lost. Incorporating a “gender lens” into your investment process is to think about how your investment process and capital can be used in such a way as to have a positive effect on the lives of women and girls.
Learn more about Jacki Zehner at Fidelity Charitable.
I used to have more of a “spray and pray” technique, which meant I sprayed a lot of money around and prayed it did good. Decades later I still give to many different efforts, but that is combined with bigger and longer-term gifts to a handful of organizations that I am committed to supporting over a more
sustained period of time.