Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is the Women & Girls Index, and why was it created?
The Women and Girls Index (WGI) is the only systematically generated, comprehensive Index of charitable organizations dedicated to women and girls in the U.S. The WGI was created in 2019 to help those who research and practice philanthropy—as well as policy makers and the general public—better understand the landscape of women’s and girls’ organizations, particularly the amount of philanthropic support they receive. Updated annually, the WGI identifies trends in charitable giving to women’s and girls’ organizations over time and compares this giving with traditional nonprofit subsectors like education, arts, and the environment.
2. Who developed the WGI, and how is it funded?
The WGI was developed by the Women’s Philanthropy Institute (WPI), part of the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy at IUPUI. WPI increases understanding of women’s philanthropy through rigorous research and education, interpreting and sharing these insights broadly to improve philanthropy. Research reports and other resources are available at https://philanthropy.iupui.edu/WPI. Much of WPI’s research, including the WGI, has been completed with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. However, the findings and conclusions are those of the researchers and do not necessarily reflect official positions or policies of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
3. How can the WGI be used?
Fundraisers and nonprofit leaders can use the latest WGI research findings to better understand developments among women and girls’ organizations that can inform fundraising strategies. Donors can use the research to identify gaps in current funding for women’s and girls’ organizations and tailor their giving to the distinct characteristics of these organizations. Those interested in supporting women’s and girls’ organizations can browse the WGI list on this site by keyword, category, and geographic location to find an organization that aligns with their interests. Researchers can use the WGI data—which is accessible by clicking Download the List in the upper-right corner of this site—to apply a gender lens to existing studies and future research.
4. What years of data are included in the WGI?
The latest WGI research findings and list of WGI organizations are based on data from eight years—2012 to 2019. This period includes events like the 2016 presidential election and 2017 Women’s March, which spurred charitable giving to causes like reproductive rights and equal representation. This period also captures philanthropic support motivated by the #MeToo movement, which began in late 2017 and continued into 2018 and 2019. The research findings do not include charitable giving in response to more recent events like the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing economic downturn—which have disproportionately impacted women and girls—nor the widespread racial justice protests that occurred in 2020. The findings also do not capture giving in response the 2022 Dobbs decision that overturned Roe v. Wade. Philanthropic support for women’s and girls’ organizations resulting from these events will be included in future updates to the WGI.
5. Why does the WGI data stop at 2019?
When data collection for the latest WGI began in January 2022, 2019 was the most recent year for which more than 99% of finalized IRS data on charitable organizations was available.
6. What sources of charitable giving are included in the WGI research findings?
The WGI tracks total philanthropic support for women’s and girls’ organizations, which includes charitable giving from individuals, foundations, and corporations. Other forms of financial support (e.g., government grants) are not included.
7. How were women’s and girls’ organizations defined?
To be included in the WGI, organizations must be 501(c)(3) charitable organizations that are
● Dedicated to serving primarily women and girls (for example, Planned Parenthood and Girl Inc.) or
● Collectives of women and girls that serve general philanthropic purposes (for example, Junior League and women’s auxiliaries).
More information about the inclusion criteria, data sources, and processes used to create and update the WGI is available on the Methodology page of this site.
8. Do the research findings include giving to transgender and gender-expansive individuals?
The WGI does not specifically track giving to transgender and gender-expansive individuals. However, philanthropic support for these individuals is included in the WGI to the extent they are served by or members of organizations that meet one of the inclusion criteria described in 7 above.
9. Do the research findings track giving to organizations focused on individuals whose identities intersect with women and girls?
Although WPI acknowledges the importance of intersectionality, the WGI does not currently contain data on organizations dedicated to more specific identity groups (for example, women and girls of color and LGBTQ+ women and girls). However, work is currently underway to achieve this, and the WGI will begin including data on these organizations in future updates.
10. Are organizations that partially focus on women and girls included in the WGI?
WPI recognizes that many charitable organizations have some programs that focus on women and girls, but are not entirely dedicated to this population (for example, CARE and the United Nations Foundation). However, the WGI only includes organizations for which the vast majority of program expenses (approximately 80% or more) meet one of the inclusion criteria described in 7 above.
11. Why isn’t my organization included in the WGI?
Organizations may not appear in the WGI for a number of reasons. The most common reasons include:
● They do not primarily focus on women and girls (approximately 80% or more of program expenses).
● They were incorporated after 2019.
● They are part of a larger organization that does not primarily focus on women and girls (for example, women’s funds or foundations housed within community foundations).
● They are not 501(c)(3) public charities (for example, 501(c)(4) nonprofits or private foundations).
● They are not incorporated as nonprofits (for example, informal organizations or private companies).
● They are not based in the United States.
If the above reasons do not apply to your organization and you believe it should be included in the WGI, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.