Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg has set aside $100 million for charity, in a move that observers say reflects a renewed sense of urgency in philanthropic giving by. and certainly for, women following last month’s surprise presidential election outcome.
Sandberg donated 880,000 Facebook shares to the Sheryl Sandberg & Dave Goldberg Family Fund, according to a company filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. According to the Wall Street Journal, the “donation will be used to fund LeanIn.Org, her nonprofit focused on women’s empowerment,” among several other organizations.
“A lot of very powerful women are investing in women’s causes and, quite honestly, there’s been a renewed push to invest after the election,” said Melanie Ulle, a Denver-based philanthropic adviser and consultant to nonprofits. “Women feel that the patriarchy is alive and well. Thehe outcome of the election confirmed that for many people, and they want to change that.”
Thousands of Americans have donated to causes related to reproductive rights and women’s issues since the election, she said. Planned Parenthood, for example, received nearly 80,000 donations in the three days following the presidential election, which the organization’s president called “an unprecedented outpouring of support,” according to The Atlantic. Several donations came in under Indiana governor turned Vice President Elect Mike Pence’s name after his mishandling of bills related to women, and the LBGTQ community last year.
“We have this idea that philanthropy is old white men, but that is changing,” said Debra Mesch, director of the Women’s Philanthropy Institute at Indiana University. “Women are earning more money, they have more education. Their role in philanthropy has been growing exponentially.”
More wealthy women are making their mark publicly, not just by working behind the scenes of family foundations as they typically did in the past, Mesch said. Sandberg, is at the forefront of that movement, along with Melinda Gates, Priscilla Chan and Sara Blakely, the billionaire founder of Spanx who has pledged to give away most of her wealth.