Women and philanthrophy

Why is it that when women get to a certain age, they focus on being philanthropic and the non-profit world vs the profit world and angel investing?

Over the last few weeks, I have had a few conversations around investing in women.  These are not with people entrenched in the start-up world who have been following the chaos of bad behavior in the industry so they really don’t know about it.

I made a decision over a decade ago to focus on funding women and that decision evolved into a women’s conference (the Women’s Entrepreneur Festival) and more.   This was way before any of these daily conversations were taking place around supporting the next generation of female founders.  Yet when I speak to people, and I am talking about people who are 50 and over, about what I have done and care about, the first response is “do you know this woman who runs this non-profit organization to help women.”?  Or I am told about a woman they know who is involved in a non-profit organization helping women and do I want to meet her?

I have perfected saying no at this point but my answer to these conversations has changed.  I am interested in the profit world, not the non-profit world.  I want to support the next generation of women who are building businesses that make money for themselves, their investors, and are changing the way we live our lives.  That is how I am supporting women and I wish more women who have the means, the smarts, the experience and the energy would shift their focus to investing in these women.

It is certainly important to support non-profit organizations doing impactful work but if you look at the landscape of men vs women who are getting behind these philanthropic ventures at a later stage in their lives, it is more women than men.  Men continue to stay plugged into the work world, perhaps in different ways, but they want to stay part of the conversation around change in the profit world, they want to continue to be in the game although at a different pace.

Maybe men’s careers define them more than it defines women.  I honestly don’t know the right answer or perhaps there are many answers but if we are going to change the dynamics around women in business then more women need to be supporting female founders with funding vs pouring all their excess capital into philanthropic efforts.