In 2020, Mackenzie Scott made international headlines with her powerhouse giving as a leading female philanthropist. While impressive, it is important to remember that there are many women donors who have been engaged in a trust-based philanthropic process similar to Scott for many years now. These women have invested in vulnerable communities, given multi-year support, and pushed to influence other donors to give with an intersectional lens by participating in giving communities, campaigns, and platforms that lead with those values.

In honor of International Women’s Day, five of those women donors share their advice to the next generation, challenging traditional notions in and about philanthropy.

Suzanne Lerner, Cofounder and President of Michael Stars

“Start small. I remember a brief item in Marie Claire magazine many years ago about an NGO called Women Thrive that was doing women’s rights advocacy around the world. I was so inspired by it that I wrote a check for $250. It was the first big donation I had ever made. I said, 'that's what I want to be a part of.' I began going to events and when I was in Washington, DC, I worked up the nerve to call Ritu Sharma, the founder of Women Thrive. I remember feeling apprehensive because I didn’t think I had any skills to offer. But I called anyway. As we talked, I began to understand that my voice and experiences as an entrepreneur had value in the world. Eventually, I joined their board and after that I became involved in many more gender and racial equality organizations. My point is - just get started! You’ll see that you can make the time for the things you care about. You’ll see that your experience is valuable, especially to smaller grassroots organizations. And, if you think you don't have enough money to spare, try cutting down on expensive coffee and smoothies (laughs) and put those resources into the world you want to see instead!”

Read the full article about female philanthropists by Alyssa Wright at Forbes.