Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg donates $100 million to charity

Facebook chief wants to show women are leaning in after the election

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Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg has set aside $100 million for charity in a move observers say reflects a renewed sense of urgency in philanthropic giving by — and for — women following last month’s presidential election.

Sandberg donated 880,000 Facebook shares to the Sheryl Sandberg and Dave Goldberg Family Fund, according to a company filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the “donation will be used to fund LeanIn.Org, her nonprofit focused on women’s empowerment,” among other organizations.

“A lot of very powerful women are investing in women’s causes and, quite honestly, there’s been a renewed push to invest after the election,” said Melanie Ulle, a Denver-based philanthropic adviser and consultant to not-for-profits.

“Women feel that the patriarchy is alive and well — the outcome of the election confirmed that for many people — and they want to change that.”

Thousands of Americans have donated to causes related to reproductive rights and women’s issues since the election, she said. Planned Parenthood, for example, received nearly 80,000 donations in the three days following the presidential election, which the organization’s president called “an unprecedented outpouring of support,” according to the Atlantic.

More wealthy women are making their mark publicly, not just by working behind the scenes of family foundations as they typically did in the past, said Debra Mesch, director of the Women’s Philanthropy Institute at Indiana University. Sandberg, is at the forefront of that movement, along with Melinda Gates, Priscilla Chan and Sara Blakely, the billionaire founder of Spanx who has pledged to give away most of her wealth.

By some estimates, women now make up nearly half the country’s millionaires, and about 10 percent of its billionaires.

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