Throughout the past four decades, we’ve seen the role of women shift in nearly every facet of society.

Across the spectrum, from politics and religion, to the boardroom, and everything in between, women are taking on greater leadership roles and while at it, transforming the picture of giving.

Just consider these recent statistics that help illustrate this shift:

  • More women are working—women now make up 53% of the American workforce.
  • More women are owning businesses—nearly one-third of business owners are female.
  • And women are holding more of the country’s wealth—45% of millionaires are now women! Some have estimated that by 2030, as much as two-thirds of all the wealth in the United States will be controlled by women.

Not surprisingly as the role of women in American industry and economy shifts, so has women’s role in philanthropy. It’s an exciting transformation—one that’s still underway alongside the other longer-standing movements— that changes how we think and act when it comes to giving decisions, and which will have a lasting effect on organizations throughout the country, as well as right here in our own community.

How is women’s philanthropy different?

First, we know that women are more likely to give. At all levels of income and wealth, women both give more—and are more likely to give—than their male counterparts. Women’s motivations in their personal philanthropy are different as well. Women are less interested in the tax implications of charitable giving, and more concerned about the impact their gifts will have, now and into the future.

Additionally, women are generally driven by their empathy to a greater degree than men, which translates to their giving patterns. They are motivated by personal experiences and inspired by stories. Further, their inclination to volunteer can often translate into a deep relationship with a particular organization as they can see firsthand the influence their time and gifts have on a cause. They appreciate the relationships that can form as a result of female-driven philanthropy. Women are more inclined to give in the moment—and women like to talk more about their giving.

These trends and others have led to a rise of women’s giving circles and women’s funds, both of which capitalize on the collective power of women’s giving and help amplify the impact of women’s philanthropy.

Understanding these motivations for giving is important as we think about the future of female-led philanthropy in our own community. And everyone involved in the philanthropic sector—from financial advisors to nonprofit development officers—will need to be aware of these ongoing shifts in giving and respond accordingly.

At the Omaha Community Foundation, we see the rise of women’s philanthropy in our own programs.  Looking at the profiles of donors who gave during Omaha Gives! in 2017 revealed that nearly two-thirds (64%) of Omaha Gives! donors were female.  And across the metro, women are coming together to make a difference in our community.

One only needs to look at the explosion of women’s giving circles and female-led grant programs to confirm that women are taking an active role in learning about our community’s most pressing needs and rallying their intellectual, social, and financial capital to make meaningful change right here at home. Moreover, it is remarkable to see that the majority of women’s networking groups and social organizations are integrating philanthropic components into their operations, reaffirming their members’ commitment to collectively giving back.

If you are interested in learning more about women’s philanthropy in our community or accessing resources to support your personal giving or giving circle efforts, please contact us at (402) 342-3458 or