News From The Field

WHO Report on Violence Against Women Is A Wake-up Call for Philanthropy

26 June 2013
BY Kevin Laskowski
A new report from the World Health Organization (WHO) and other groups released last week underscores the tremendous need for philanthropic resources to address issues affecting women and girls: more than one third of all women from around the world are victims of physical or sexual violence.

Calling it “a global health problem of epidemic proportions,” the report called for an end to the toleration of such attacks and new guidelines for health officials to prevent the abuse and offer better protection to victims.

According to NCRP’s The Philanthropic Landscape, the nation’s largest foundations committed $1.4 billion to intentionally benefit women and girls around the world. These dollars, however, amount to only 5.8 percent of total giving. What’s more, three-quarters of that funding is provided by just 50 foundations.

“The security, health and well-being of women and girls are human rights and civil rights issues,” said Aaron Dorfman, executive director of NCRP. “This is a classic case of how institutional philanthropy is not in step with the magnitude of the need for support.”

NoVo Foundation, founded by Jennifer and Peter Buffett and a recipient of a 2013 NCRP Impact Award, is a major supporter of efforts to combat violence against women and girls. It provided substantial support to 1 Billion Rising, a campaign that has engaged millions of people worldwide in efforts to end violence against women and girls. The foundation’s Move to End Violence program strengthens the anti-violence movement in the U.S. through leadership development, capacity building and forging alliances. It gives sizable grants to advocacy groups like National Domestic Workers Alliance, the Minnesota Indian Women’s Resource Center, the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence and others that help build public will for policies that work to end violence against girls and women, such as the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).

We encourage other philanthropists to consider how they, too, can make a difference in the lives of billions of individuals, their families, their communities and the world by supporting causes that seek to eliminate violence against girls and women and help victims of abuse.


Kevin Laskowski is senior research and policy associate at the National Committee for Responsive Philanthropy (NCRP). He frequently blogs about trends, accountability and effective practices in philanthropy. He wants to know where his dragons are.