Tell us about yourself and your philanthropy journey. What drives your giving and leadership?
I am one of five children and was fortunate to be raised by strong parents. My father was a self-made successful businessman and would teasingly ask “what did you do to earn revenue for that milk you’re drinking?” From a young age, it put me in a headspace to understand business principles. He also encouraged us to get our education, then give back. I believe that was the catalyst for my philanthropic journey. And frankly, the more I invest in women and girls, the more need I see to continue doing so.
What inspired you to make a $1M+ commitment to women and girls? What do you want to say to others who are considering a bold investment in women and girls?
I was raped at 25 years old and was a victim of gender-based violence both before and after that occurrence. These experiences were so hard to process and overcome, even with the resources I had available. I recognize most people do not have access to the same level of resources, so I saw opportunity to bridge that gap. Crimes against women are far more prevalent than people recognize. Most go unreported or at best are underreported. You cannot stand in a room of people without being in the company of someone who has been impacted by sexual violence in their lifetime. I’ve spent the last 40 years dedicating my time and resources to create pathways for survivors of sexual violence to have healing opportunities and to prevent the occurrences from happening in the first place. Less than 1.9% of philanthropic dollars goes to women and girls causes, according to the 2021 Women & Girls Index produced by the Women’s Philanthropy Institute. We can do better than that. We have to do better than that. I ask that if you’re considering supporting this movement, please get involved.
How will this bold investment help us realize a gender equal world? What impact do you hope to have?
My organization, The Jensen Project, works year-round to identify and support nonprofits directly serving women and girls who have been affected by sexual violence. To date, we have distributed millions to organizations who offer direct services to survivors. This funding helps maintain and grow these imperative programs, who without, would leave survivors in the vicious cycle of re-exploitation and recidivism back into violence. The Jensen Project is my legacy. I have no children, so my hope is for this organization to live long beyond my lifetime and continue to pour into qualified and capable organizations and help fuel the fight against sexual violence.