The more than forty-five thousand U.S. nonprofits dedicated to women's and girls' causes received a total of $6.3 billion in charitable contributions in 2016, a report from the Women's Philanthropy Institute at the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy finds.
Based on the Women & Girls Index (WGI), a comprehensive dataset of 45,000 U.S. charities dedicated to serving primarily women and girls or that are collectives of women and girls serving general philanthropic purposes, the report, Women & Girls Index: Measuring Giving to Women's and Girls' Causes (38 pages, PDF), found that in 2016 such charities accounted for 3.3 percent of all U.S. nonprofits and received 1.6 percent of total individual, foundation, and corporate giving. The report also found that while women's and girls' organizations are active in every issue area, the largest share of these nonprofits are human services organizations (36 percent), followed by mutual, public, and societal benefit groups (23 percent); arts, culture, and humanities groups (13 percent); and health organizations (12 percent).
According to the report, women's and girls' organizations working in the human services subsector received the largest share of charitable contributions (32 percent), followed by those in the health (25 percent) and education (17 percent) subsectors. Broken down by mission focus, women's and girls' organizations focused on general women's health received the most philanthropic support, followed by those focused on reproductive health and family planning, family and gender-based violence, women's and girls' education, general women's and girls' human services, and gender equality and employment. The study also found that women's and girls' nonprofits received approximately 3.1 percent of all donor-advised fund grant dollars awarded between 2012 and 2015.
Funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the report also found that on average women's and girls' organizations are smaller than other types of charities across a number of measures, including revenue ($500,000 vs. $2.3 million), expenses ($500,000 vs. $2.2 million), assets ($1.2 million vs. $4.5 million), philanthropic support ($173,602 vs. $287,793), number of employees (27.7 vs. 89.2), and employee compensation spending ($900,000 vs. $3.7 million). Because the index is limited to organizations dedicated to women and girls, WPI researchers caution that the figures are conservative estimates of total giving to these causes, with many nonprofits focusing some of their programming on women and girls but not primarily serving them.
"These nonprofits achieve powerful results, driving significant progress for women and girls while operating with lower levels of philanthropic support and fewer staff resources than many other charities," said Women's Philanthropy Institute interim director Andrea Pactor. "The WGI sheds light on this and other distinguishing features of women's and girls' organizations."