Jennifer Buffett will change the world. You may not know her now, but when all is said and done I believe she will own the title, The First Lady of Women’s Social Change Philanthropy. Jennifer is the life size symbol of NoVo – to alter, invent. The NoVo Foundation she created with her husband Peter is based on the premise that if you give a girl an opportunity, she will become a successful woman who will in turn create successful communities, businesses, and families. Jennifer’s story is just that.
After deep examination of the focus of their philanthropy and a personal examination of her own expression of her values and influence, Jennifer is speaking around the world sharing her personal story and experiences. She and her husband Peter spent years examining the interrelation between systems, culture, and relationships to determine place of impact and opportunity for change before launching the largest foundation serving women and girls, the NoVo Foundation. Jennifer has incredible perspective to offer activists, social change drivers, and philanthropists and after hearing her recently, I distilled these ten concepts that are worth sharing;
- Look at the roots of the problems, examine patterns and themes and find the programs and the stories that rule the world and which ones make sense.
- Acknowledge two conflicting truths: 1. Girls and women are the primary drivers of change. 2. Cultural attitudes and systems put girls in a vicious cycle; blaming them and affirming that they are not valued. The girl effect demonstrates that if you invest in a girl, her family thrives, she contributes to her community, and eventually her country succeeds.
- Invest in places where value is held and not yet recognized. Note: there are 600 million adolescent girls living in the developing world who are currently ‘undervalued assets’.
- Value balance and partnership and affirm feminine values.
- Encourage women to use their voice, say what is want and needed, take credit, and invite men to join as equal partners and co-creators.
- As a woman, choose to be seen and heard and work to change the course of the boat named Earth Community.
- Improve gender dynamics by recognizing that the qualities in the masculine ‘toolbox’ - force, hierarchy, punitive, and a focus on head not heart - are learned, normalized, and internalized.
- Honor and showcase the characteristics found in the feminine toolbox; listening, connectedness, experiential learning, honoring innate cycles and rhythms, and wholeness.
- Establish learning environments that allow for inquiry and participation.
- As conduits of feminine energies, allow the most precious qualities of clarity, strength, knowing and vulnerability of yourself to come into full light.