Empowerment-focused philanthropy: Bridging feminist theories and organizational practices through U.S. women’s funds


The purpose of this study is to understand feminist empowerment through the grant-making and other work of U.S. women’s foundations and funds to determine how they incorporate and facilitate empowerment. This study contributes new knowledge on the connections between feminist empowerment theories and the organizational practices of women’s philanthropic organizations. To assess the ways in which empowerment manifests in the work of these organizations, feminist empowerment literature was examined along with development literature on women’s empowerment, and critiques of empowerment. For this study, a database was created of more than 200 foundations and funds in 43 states by using website and IRS data and a survey administered. The findings speak to the ways in which women’s foundations and funds align with empowerment theories and the areas of disconnect.

Publication Title

Administrative Theory and Praxis