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Who runs the world? Women philanthropists and why they matter.

S01 E01 Art – Make Mission Podcast
Make Mission
Who runs the world? Women philanthropists and why they matter.

What causes are women paying attention to and how does their support manifest? How are girls and young women today building philanthropy into their whole-self development? How are women particularly fulfilled by their philanthropic activity, and motivated to create change? And most of all, how can they best be served by the organizations they wish to support?

In this episode, we’re joined by women’s philanthropy researcher Dr. Elizabeth Gillespie, Assistant Professor in the Department of Public and Nonprofit Administration at the University of Memphis; and Megan Murphy, Global Executive Director of the International Coalition of Girls’ Schools, which is at the forefront of building community-minded women leaders among their 370-plus member schools across the globe.

Megan Murphy headshotMegan Murphy
Executive Director
The International Coalition of Girls’ Schools
LinkedIn | Twitter


ICGS Global Executive Director Megan Murphy has led the Coalition, which is the leading advocate for girls’ schools, connecting and collaborating globally with individuals, schools, and organizations dedicated to educating and empowering girls, since 2012.

During Megan’s tenure, the Coalition has achieved historic growth in programs, membership, and staffing. Established in the United States as the National Coalition of Girls’ Schools in 1991, ICGS has vastly expanded its reach in the last 30 years. What began in 1991 as 56 member schools in the United States has grown to include more than 370 girls’ schools in 17 countries in 2022. One-third of member institutions are located outside the U.S., in Afghanistan, Australia, Bermuda, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ireland, Israel, Japan, Kenya, the Republic of Korea, Philippines, Rwanda, South Africa, Spain, and the United Kingdom. ICGS is poised to continue growing. Through a merger that will take effect in January 2024, the 190 member schools of the Alliance of Girls’ Schools Australasia will officially join the Coalition as well.

Beth Gillespie headshotBeth Gillespie
Assistant Professor
Department of Public and Nonprofit Administration, University of Memphis


Dr. Elizabeth Gillespie is Assistant Professor in the Department of Public and Nonprofit Administration and affiliate faculty with the Institute for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Leadership at The University of Memphis.

Beth’s research interests focus on nonprofit organizations and women’s philanthropy, specifically women’s philanthropic foundations and funds, their grant-making for social change and women’s empowerment, and their role and impact. Her dissertation concerns the work of women’s foundations and funds to support women and girls, particularly exploring the activities and guiding philosophies of these grant-making organizations.

Beth is an author of the report “Women’s Foundations and Funds: A Landscape Study,” in partnership with the IUPUI Women’s Philanthropy Institute at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy with funding from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Access additional research here.

She earned her doctorate in public administration from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Her teaching areas include nonprofit management and leadership and resource development. Prior to her academic career, Beth spent a decade working in the nonprofit field primarily in a leadership position at a human services nonprofit based in Des Moines, IA.