In 2015, a grant from the Wallace Global Fund funded the research and development phase of Women Effect initiative. Suzanne Biegel, founder of Women Effect, spoke to hundreds of potential community members about what they needed, and what the field needed, to connect those deploying capital with a gender lens. This phase confirmed the desire for Women Effect amongst the investor community and helped to shape the pilot.
By July 2015 Suzanne had a plan to move forward with a non-profit network and a 16-strong global advisory board.
By October 2015, Women Effect had raised most of the start up funding for the pilot year and were adopted by Criterion Institute as their Fiscal Sponsor.
The team behind the pilot was brought on in November 2015 and Women Effect was already being represented at conferences, events, and individual meetings across the world.
This website was launched in January 2016 as a Gender Lens Investing knowledge hub.
The private beta community platform was ready for beta in April 2016 and formally launched in June 2016.
The pilot ended in November 2016 following the conclusion that an online community model was not the best vehicle to advance this work.
Well over 1300 people participated in events, convenings, calls, use of the public website and the private community platform, and our social media during this time. After launching the beta community platform for four and a half months, and looking at the envisioned business model of a membership supported global online community, supported additionally by sponsorship and philanthropy, we decided to close out the pilot in October 2016. Many introductions were made, signposting people to information resources, tools, and investment resources, and many in our community shared that this initiative changed their thinking and actions on investing with a gender lens. A report on our findings throughout the pilot has been made available to funders and advisors. If you would like a copy, please get in touch. (add a link to firstname.lastname@example.org)
In January 2017, the Wharton Social Impact Initiative, Women Effect founder Suzanne Biegel and the Criterion Institute Board of Directors decided to move Women Effect content and expertise to Wharton Social Impact Initiative (WSII) at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania. This transition is now in process, and a new website will launch within the next several months. Stay tuned for the next chapter!
We are so appreciative of the funders and supporters, team, and community that have been part of Women Effect since the beginning.