The Intersection of Community and Philanthropy at Twitter

By ‎@jaesonders‎
Tuesday, 30 August 2016

@TwitterOpen and the @Policy team hosted Horizons Foundation (@horizonsfdn), a local LGBTQ non-profit, for a #TwitterForGood panel on women’s philanthropy at our headquarters in San Francisco. The panel was part of their “Q Series” which focuses on creating connections with the LGBTQ community. The five inspiring panelists spoke on when, how, and why women donate.

Here are the top three takeaways from the inspirational panel and Q&A:

Women are the present and future of philanthropy

Currently, 64% of donations are made by women and twice as many women (vs. men) find giving “rewarding”. Looking ahead, Surina Khan, CEO of the Women’s Foundation of California, quoted a study from 2009 that states women are expected to inherit “70% of $41 trillion in intergenerational wealth transfer over the next 40 years”. Combine this with the fact that women live longer than men, and this means that women will only continue to become the dominant voice within philanthropy.

Intersectionality and philanthropy go hand in hand

Léonie Walker, esteemed philanthropist and donor, noted that, because she knows she comes from a place of privilege, it’s her mission to understand issues not native to her. She funds organizations that have a commitment to diversity. On a larger scale, LGBTQ women are more likely to support organizations that focus on other marginalized groups, such as people of color. With the global conversations happening on social justice and equality, the cross section of intersectionality and philanthropy matter more than ever.

Communities need to be able to dictate the solutions to their problems

Nearly all the panelists brought up the value of “being able to connect with, learn from, and empower communities directly” as the most rewarding aspect of giving. They also stressed the importance of trusting communities to know what is best for them. A story told by Marta Drury, Director of The Heart and Hand Fund, illustrates this point perfectly. Drury was initially puzzled by how proceeds for a foreign nonprofit she was working with were being spent (hygiene products and tambourines), only to find out that there was a totally valid reason for those purchases within the context of that culture and community.

This hits home at Twitter because we are committed to communities from all walks of life and trust that our employee resource groups (ERGs) within said communities should be empowered to support them directly.


Philanthropy and giving is not as straightforward as we generally assume. This panel gave great insight into the nuances of people who give and power that donating to a charity can have.

Learn more about @TwitterOpen, as well as the @Policy team’s @TwitterforGood local and global efforts for positive change by following us on Twitter.