Last night, at New York City’s Casa Cruz, a group of philanthropists, leaders, and activists gathered to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of Maverick Collective by PSI, an organization that works to advance health and gender equity.
The evening was filled with conversation, charcuterie, and lots of champagne. To kick it off, journalist Alina Cho hosted an intimate conversation with Tarana Burke and Huma Abedin. The trio discussed everything from the inception of the #MeToo movement (which Burke founded in 2006) to the power of building community and the advice they’d offer young women who want to become more politically engaged. “Find your cause, stay curious, and keep your foot on the pedal” were Burke’s words of encouragement to the audience (which also included Misty Copeland).
Shortly after the spirited discussion, guests were led downstairs for a cocktail reception to honor six women who are on the front lines of three distinct causes: reproductive justice, climate justice, and social justice, specifically. The night’s honorees were Michele Goodwin (an award-winning author and professor), Hali Lee (the founder of Asian Women Giving Circle), Pat Mitchell (the co-founder of TEDWomen), Shruthi Kumar (the founder of GoYogi), Favianna Rodriguez (the president of The Center for Cultural Power), and Hafsat Abiola (the co-founder of Connected Women Leaders and Project Dandelion).
“These are women who have been fighting for everything from reproductive freedom to equal pay,” Maverick Collective managing director Rena Greifinger told ELLE.com. “I always say that philanthropy is typically male, pale, and stale. This is a new generation of philanthropists who are reimagining what philanthropy can be.”
Founded in 2013 by Population Services International in partnership with Melinda French Gates and Mette-Marit, the Crown Princess of Norway, Maverick Collective has generated north of $100 million dollars in new funding for girl-centered programs over the last decade. This is a huge win because, as Greifinger shared with me last night, the stats are bleak. “Only 1.6 percent of philanthropy in the U.S. goes to women’s and girl’s organizations. And less than .1 percent goes to women and girls of color. We need more people with access to capital to start giving.” Her hope is that, in the next 10 years, Maverick Collective doubles in size to aid in long-term change. “That means growing our community so that more people feel moved to action.”
For an inside look at last night’s festivities, click through the gallery below.
Juliana Ukiomogbe is the Assistant Editor at ELLE. Her work has previously appeared in Interview, i-D, Teen Vogue, Nylon, and more.