FIU Foundation News

FIU Foundation Office of Inclusive Philanthropy launches Women in Philanthropy Council

FIU Foundation Office of Inclusive Philanthropy Women in Philanthropy Council

Destiny Washington believes that FIU’s newly formed Women in Philanthropy Council (WIP), a component of the FIU Foundation Office of Inclusive Philanthropy (FOIP), has the chance to create positive, profound change.

“I think that this initiative gives a great opportunity and great hope for societal shift in philanthropy, something we typically think of as a historically male-dominated space,” said Washington, President of the Higher Education Student Association and WIP founding member. “I think that it’s great that we are making space for younger generations of women to find their own place within philanthropy.”

Washington shared this belief with her fellow council members and leadership of FOIP at WIP’s second meeting in late October, with the official launch occurring at the council’s inaugural retreat a month earlier.

WIP was created with the mission of amplifying the philanthropy of women in order to honor them and ignite new legacies of change. It is led by Lili Betancourt Space, director of development for FIU CasaCuba, Team Lead, FOIP Women’s Initiatives and Livia Souza, associate director, FIU Estate & Planned Giving, co-lead, FOIP Women’s Initiatives. The council’s founding members are:

  • Dr. Kimberly Green, president, Green Family Foundation Trust
  • Dr. Bita Sarah Pishevar Haynes, CEO, Founder of
  • Chanel T. Rowe, Esq., FIU Trustee and Founding Attorney at Uriel Law, PLLC
  • Dr. Yolangel “Yogi” Hernandez Suarez, senior associate dean, FIU Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine
  • Dr. Luxme Hariharan, pediatric ophthalmologist and global health expert, Division of Ophthalmology at Nicklaus Children’s Hospital
  • Destiny Washington, President, Higher Education Student Association

At WIP’s initial retreat facilitated by Dr. Shanequa Fleming, CEO of Culture Accelerators, the council created its mission and vision statements, discussed the pillars that would define its work, and identified the guiding principles that it would look to follow. Although still in its early stages, WIP has identified the opportunities and challenges that it will seek to address and has also pinpointed its strategic imperatives, which are generating measurable impact, creating valuable partnerships, and being relevant in the overall work of FOIP.

“I appreciated that we didn’t shy away from how complex these issues can be,” said Dr. Hernandez Suarez. “I have great hope in what we can accomplish. I went home and shared this with enthusiasm this initiative with friends and family! I think that bodes really well.”

Reflecting on how her initial experience with WIP had been, Dr. Haynes said, “Comparing my experiences with other organizations, this was really welcoming and a breath of fresh air. I appreciated Dr. Fleming’s ability to facilitate our conversations, be authentic, and build out trust. There’s some magic on this team.”

At its meeting on Thursday, the council set its strategic goals and discussed how best it can affect change in the coming months and years ahead.

“We’re going to be forward looking, forward thinking, and intersecting with diversity and inclusion issues,” Rowe said. “We hope to raise money and increase access for students, particularly for women students and women-focused organizations. In a perfect world, I also would like to see FIU partnering with more organizations that are supporting women and young girls in our community.”