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Powerful Women in Philanthropy
Certainly, the majority of women lacked the economic power for philanthropy until relatively recently. But in the last 50 years, the number of women in the workforce doubled, and today, in four out of five income levels, they give away more of their money than men.
"For a long time women haven't known or felt that they could claim their own giving," said Merle Chambers, founder and president of Chambers Family Fund, on Sunday at an Aspen Ideas Festival panel on women philanthropists.
Chambers was one of seven prominent women from the business and non-profit sectors to speak about their philanthropic achievements and goals. Each also gave a one-sentence summary of their philosophy of giving and the lessons they have learned, which are included below.
Katie Couric, special correspondent for ABC News and cancer advocate: "To really pour yourself into something, you have to be moved by it."
Ann Friedman, board chair of the SEED Foundation: "I would make a plea, if you are on a board and you have a passion and you want to fund something ... please also give unrestricted donations to that non-profit. It's how they turn the lightbulbs on."
Jackie Bezos, co-director of the Bezos Family Foundation: "Stay very close to those whom you are working with and for."
Tory Burch, CEO and designer of the luxury lifestyle brand Tory Burch: "Never underestimate the impact of a small act."
Monique Villa, CEO of the Thomson Reuters Foundation: "Know what you can do and what you are good at. Then go and get it -- be very entrepreneurial. If you have an idea, go and do it."
Laurie Tisch, president of the Laurie M. Tisch Illumination Fund: "The lesson I learned is about patience and about agreed upon measures of success ... You've got to be flexible with grantees. They also have to be honest with you."
Merle Chambers, creator of the Chambers Family Fund: "This work is so wonderful, and you always get so much more from it than you think you give. It's always important to remind ourselves that we are doing something of tremendous value and worth in this world, and it's all right to enjoy it as well."