Skip to main content

Siobhan Davenport is Program Officer for the Advancing Girls Fund at Tides Foundation and a cohort two SOAR Fellow.

What’s one project or initiative you’re working on this year that you’re excited about? 

As the Program Officer of the Advancing Girls Fund, I’m most excited about our partnership with the Justice & Joy National Collaborative to Fix Democracy so that girls, young women, and gender-expansive youth of color activate their political power. We will work with young people to mobilize their peers to the ballot box and provide the pathway for girls, young women, and gender-expansive youth of color to step into their power as catalysts for change. Also, we will ignite young people’s long term civic involvement. At scale, this initiative will work to build capacity for a youth-led movement, strengthening the way young people show up, participating in democracy over the long haul, and ensuring that future generations do the same.

How has the SOAR Fellowship helped inform your leadership of this work? 

The SOAR Fellowship provides a unique opportunity to collaborate with diverse leaders from the US and around the world, fostering a broader perspective, and enhancing leadership skills through shared experiences and collective learning. I not only strengthened my leadership skills but gained fearlessness in approaching my work.

I have worked in the girls, young women, and gender-expansive youth-of-color ecosystem for close to 20 years and have seen the detrimental effects of the pandemic on these populations, their families, and communities. The challenges have grown wider and deeper. There is still a need for direct services, but the greater need is for all who are a part of the ecosystem to work collaboratively, utilizing an intersectional approach to explore innovative ways to build, launch, and maintain system movement effectively.

Part of fellowship is elevating each other; can you share a short story about a woman who has inspired your career recently and why? 

The Director of the Advancing Girls Fund, Shaune Zunzanyika, is a source of inspiration, embodying qualities such as resilience, strategic thinking, and a commitment to making a meaningful impact. Her generous leadership style shapes our team dynamic and allows us to be better trust-based philanthropists who build authentic and transparent relationships with our grantee partners.

Shaune has strongly influenced my career trajectory, shaping my aspirations and approach to professional challenges.

What’s next

Women’s and girls’ organizations received $8.8 billion in philanthropic support in 2020—or 1.8% of total charitable giving. When the data is further disaggregated to account for girls, young women, and gender-expansive youth-of-color, the percentage decreases to one-half of one percent.

Many organizations serving women and girls of color address numerous issue areas simultaneously and use multiple strategies in their work—service delivery, advocacy, and community organizing, among others.

More funders need to develop a girls’, young women, and gender-expansive youth of color lens to their giving, as well as support both direct service and movement-building initiatives simultaneously.