How Much Money Is Enough?

Mary Ellen Iskenderian:  I have been in the development world for far too long  not to believe that an individual can have an enormous impact.  And in coming to Women’s World Banking, I’d say the greatest privilege is that I meet, literally, daily, women who are clients, who are leaders of our institutions, the founders of our organizations, whose lives, if left to their own devices, would have gone in a very, very different path.  But because of their commitment, their dedication, they’re seeing a wrong and not allowing it to stand, have made an enormous impact.  I am a great believer in the individual’s impact and the individual’s impact on the system to change that system. 

You know, there’s always an opportunity to give money, if that’s an option.  But giving money is just not sufficient.  You’ve got to really make sure that the people that you’re giving your money to are keeping their eyes on the things that really matter to you, and, if you are passionate about women’s empowerment, making sure that the organization that you’re supporting is paying particular attention to the things that might stand in women’s way.  If there were a silver bullet, what would it be?  What would you want to track?  What is the intervention that does or doesn’t make a difference?

What we found is, if you have explicitly in your mission statement that you want to serve low income women, it’s really quite remarkable the number of indicators that you hit right on the money as they pertain to women.  You know, it’s the old, “What gets measured gets done,” but that’s every bit as true with social mission as it is, you know, on the entirely commercial side.

And so, even in our network . . . we have 39 institutions in our network, 27 countries, all of them don’t have that explicit commitment to women.  Everyone either wanted to alleviate poverty or, you know, they were very lofty missions.  But it was the ones who specifically communicated, “We’re about serving women,” that then when they measured themselves against it, really were.  

You know, philanthropy is wonderful, and we in the United States are the most generous people in the world.  But being smart about what your money is actually out there doing, I think, is a real responsibility of the philanthropist.  

Directed / Produced by
Jonathan Fowler & Elizabeth Rodd

"There’s always an opportunity to give money, if that’s an option," says Mary Ellen Iskenderian. "But giving money is just not sufficient. You’ve got to really make sure that the people that you’re giving your money to are keeping their eyes on the things that really matter to you."

LinkedIn meets Tinder in this mindful networking app

Swipe right to make the connections that could change your career.

Getty Images
Sponsored
Swipe right. Match. Meet over coffee or set up a call.

No, we aren't talking about Tinder. Introducing Shapr, a free app that helps people with synergistic professional goals and skill sets easily meet and collaborate.

Keep reading Show less

4 reasons Martin Luther King, Jr. fought for universal basic income

In his final years, Martin Luther King, Jr. become increasingly focused on the problem of poverty in America.

(Photo by J. Wilds/Keystone/Getty Images)
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Despite being widely known for his leadership role in the American civil rights movement, Martin Luther King, Jr. also played a central role in organizing the Poor People's Campaign of 1968.
  • The campaign was one of the first to demand a guaranteed income for all poor families in America.
  • Today, the idea of a universal basic income is increasingly popular, and King's arguments in support of the policy still make a good case some 50 years later.
Keep reading Show less

Why avoiding logical fallacies is an everyday superpower

10 of the most sandbagging, red-herring, and effective logical fallacies.

Photo credit: Miguel Henriques on Unsplash
Personal Growth
  • Many an otherwise-worthwhile argument has been derailed by logical fallacies.
  • Sometimes these fallacies are deliberate tricks, and sometimes just bad reasoning.
  • Avoiding these traps makes disgreeing so much better.
Keep reading Show less

Why I wear my life on my skin

For Damien Echols, tattoos are part of his existential armor.

Videos
  • In prison Damien Echols was known by his number SK931, not his name, and had his hair sheared off. Stripped of his identity, the only thing he had left was his skin.
  • This is why he began tattooing things that are meaningful to him — to carry a "suit of armor" made up the images of the people and objects that have significance to him, from his friends to talismans.
  • Echols believes that all places are imbued with divinity: "If you interact with New York City as if there's an intelligence behind... then it will behave towards you the same way."
Keep reading Show less