The following is an excerpt from the introduction of Moving Money for Impact: A Guide to Gender Lens Investing by Tuti B. Scott with Lex Schroeder.
Moving Money for Impact is a guide for philanthropists and investors of all genders who seek to make money moves that matter through gender lens investing. I believe driving resources to women, womxn, girls, and other people and communities marginalized by oppressions means committing or recommitting to one’s values and examining or re-examining one’s investing risk and consumption appetite. Perhaps like me, your values, especially values around money and resources, are steeped in your identities. As a white lesbian feminist, I have learned how to make my own money moves that matter through a lifetime of learning and practical experience. I am humanist at heart and my soul is called to challenge hetero normative patriarchy and white supremacy.
Growing up working class in rural New Hampshire, where I held a paying job since the age of 12 and ever since, I was shaped by mottos like, “Waste not, want not,” and “Actions speak louder than words.” My experience as a point guard in high school and college basketball gave me the confidence to take risks, push through fears, and build discipline and focus, all skills that set the stage for my professional career as a coach and executive. I know, and research proves, that my sports experience, along with the privileges that accompany my whiteness. helped to give me not just confidence, but the skills to establish economic security to survive, thrive, and be able to make financial donations of a relative substance to meaningful efforts. My life’s work has been about gender equity in sports, leadership, and philanthropy. Sometimes I like to think of myself as a reincarnated Alice Paul (a leader of the National Woman’s Party who ultimately went on a hunger strike to bring attention to the rights for white women to vote) or the Chief Inspiration Officer of the women’s funding movement, challenging more risk-taking in bold solutions.
And yet, in my late 50s, I am still undoing and releasing the stressors of repeatedly coming out as a lesbian, as well as grappling with shameful feelings of jumping class, which was especially challenging as I navigated major gifts fundraising inside philanthropy. To this day, like so many people, I have many layers of feelings about money. I also craved more vulnerable and practical conversations about money, which is one reason I wrote this guide. This guide also germinated from three key professional experiences. One, listening and working with leaders and donors in the women’s funding movement for decades. Two, being a board member at Tides for 10 years, learning about blended capital and social justice philanthropy. And three, producing events and writing resources on women and money.
In 2018, I had the privilege of serving as the Money and Power fellow of the Women’s Funding Network. In this capacity, I spoke with people in and around women’s philanthropy across the United States about the future of the field and how they saw philanthropy and investing aligning to change people’s lives and transform systems. These conversations centered around gender lens investing as a strategy for gender justice and women’s economic power, while capturing what resources people would need to activate their investments. I gained powerful insight into what people wanted to learn about gender lens investing. In the fall of 2019, in the spirit of wanting to create more learning opportunities, I produced “Women & Money, Making Money Moves that Matter”, an intentional convening of leaders in social impact, philanthropy, gender lens investing, movement building, wealth advising, and social enterprise with my company, Changemaker Strategies, in partnership with What Will It Take movements. Our goals were to turn knowledge into action, bring new topics and concepts into finance, and invite people to share powerful money stories.
I also wanted to elevate the voices of women of color with a particular focus on black women. Achieving these goals required several elements: establishment of values by listening to the leadership and wisdom of women of color, saying thanks but no thanks to dozens of white women who wanted to speak, and proactively asking for introductions to new potential speakers to aim to have a truly diverse representation of voices. We worked hard to create a welcoming, celebratory space. Gwendolyn VanSant, a consultant and coach who works at the intersection of gender, race, and class, was our equity, inclusion, and accountability led in creating the event, answering questions around gender, race, and financial systems that historically have not included women of color. In 2019, I also wrote Money, Gender, and Power: A Guide to Funding with a Gender Lens with Slingshot for its community of millennial funders. Serving as interim CEO at Tides exposed me to more opportunities to prioritize racial and gender justice and philanthropy, explore dynamic innovations in the arenas of philanthropy and impact investing, and bring attention to racism and gender discrimination and violence.
Throughout all of this work, these 10 observations continue to rise to the top for me:
1. In capitalist systems, power and money are intertwined. The more we can talk about systems of power and our own money stories, the more we will make an impact toward a truly just world.
2. Leading with our values, with the same thoughtfulness we give to taking risks with our money, will engage more women and feminists in conversations around money and investing.
3. Boards must be bolder with their risk appetites by aligning their portfolios with motion and values.
4. Far too often, we use overly complicated language to talk about impact investing. When we simplify terminology, we shift power dynamics and make impact investing accessible to more people.
5. Gender is not a “sector;” It is a social construct and horizontal theme that cuts across every aspect of our lives.
6. Applying a gender and racial justice lens to investing requires asking questions about equity and actively challenging personal assumptions around the purpose of your capital and how much is enough.
7. To raise awareness around gender lens investing, people must name their biases as they set aside their internalized patriarchy and racism and learn to understand the full continuum of gender expression.
8. Women are expanding their financial influence in the fields of philanthropy and political giving and are now building impact investing, venture capital, and angel groups for and with each other.
9. The gender lens investing space has ample room for allies of all genders. Toxic masculinity doesn’t serve anyone. We deliver better outcomes when we name this upfront and invite cis men to consider how and where they can mobilize their money and influence as allies and smart investors.
10. The gender lens investing field is growing quickly. Data on gender lens investing has shown positive impact and returns for at least two decades. Now is the time to pay attention and take action.
Moving Money for Impact: A Guide to Gender Lens Investing by Tuti B. Scott with Lex Schroeder highlights trends, insights and solutions at work and in development by changemakers. The guide is available for download at Tutiscott.com and printed copies at the Women’s Funding Network website. Read this blog for more context – how it began, its purpose, and vision for impact.
About Tuti B. Scott
As founder of Changemaker Strategies, Tuti B. Scott is a consultant and coach to high-achieving leaders and teams working on the front lines of social change. She was the producer for the What Will it Take Movements “Women and Money” event in September 2019, which focused on turning new knowledge into action in the gender lens investing space.
After a 30-year career in women’s leadership, Title IX protections, and strategic philanthropy consulting, Tuti is now focused on engaging people in gender lens philanthropy and investing. Tuti currently recently served as Interim CEO of Tides after nine years on the Tides Network Board, and is a founding board member of the Women Win Foundation. She has been a featured speaker/producer for the Women’s Funding Network, the Jewish Women’s Funding Network, and member funds of these networks. She enjoys learning with and elevating the voices of the next generation, women of color and queer/non-binary leaders from all sectors wherever possible. You can visit Tuti’s website at www.tutiscott.com.
About Lex Schroeder
Lex Schroeder is a writer/editor in the systems thinking community who is trained in lean process design and participatory leadership methods. She leads on strategic communications at Changemaker Strategies. In addition to developing communications materials for clients, Lex works to get Changemaker Strategies publications and resources to where they can make their greatest impact. In addition to her work with Changemaker Strategies, Lex is the Co-Founder of Feminists at Work, through which she co-produces the Entrepreneurial Feminist Forum.