The #MeToo Movement's Impact on Investing Decisions
Beyond its significant impact in Hollywood, sports, journalism, and other fields, the #MeToo movement is also influencing funders, donors, and portfolio investing decisions, an article by The New York Times reveals.
For some in the philanthropic field, the movement has influenced drastic action. The Kevin Spacey Foundation, which trained young performers, shut down in February following accusations of sexual assault and misconduct against the actor.
On the other hand, the Rush Philanthropic Arts Foundation (Rush Arts), which provides arts education to underserved youth, has faced trouble fundraising since its co-founder and hip-hop producer Russell Simmons was accused of raping several women. The Brooklyn-based charity may have to close, according to this article. Despite this, Tangie Murray, executive director of Rush Arts, says they remain committed to supporting artists and the arts, “We are resolved to remain focused on the critically important work of Rush Arts and its commitment to educating and empowering children and artists. We keep going.”
Richard Slomovitz, Rush Arts’ treasurer, told the Times: “It is a shame that there are those who can’t separate accusations against the co-founder from both the good work that the organization does and from the children who need us.” Rush Arts has supported arts classes for thousands of children and opened galleries for young, ALAANA artists to showcase their work.
The #MeToo movement, states the piece, has brought down powerful men and exposed the pain and trauma they caused. "Now the collateral damage is becoming clear, as philanthropic efforts that relied on these figures’ celebrity have been derailed or forced to retool."
Since the downfall of producer Harvey Weinstein, organizations have rapidly distanced and denounced their benefactors while trying to keep the rest of their donors from departing, for example the University of Southern California’s film school rejected support from Weinstein to fund an endowment for women filmmakers. Accepting dollars can "potentially alienate other donors,” Melanie Ulle, a philanthropy consultant, explained. In the context of the #MeToo movement, the effect on philanthropy has been particularly visible with many organizations losing notable public advocates and their financial supports.