There is joy in giving. If you want to feel good about your own success, you need to help others. Moneeka Sawyer’s guest in this episode is Catherine Gray, the Co-Founder of She Angels Foundation. Catherine talks with Moneeka about how it’s crucial for women to get behind women and invest in one another. To prove this point, do you know that women and girls get less than 1.6% of all charitable giving? That’s why Catherine helped create the She Angels Foundation. To help women! If you want to experience the joy of giving, tune in to this episode.
I am excited to welcome to the show our guest and a dear friend of mine, Catherine Gray. She is the Founder of She Angels Investors, a producer, author, and TEDx speaker. She is also the host of Invest in Her Podcast. Her focus is on getting women funded and she launched a new online video course called Six Ways to Fund Your Business. She is also the Cofounder of the She Angels Foundation, a nonprofit that gives grants to female foundation nonprofits that are helping women to thrive. Catherine, welcome to the show. How are you?
Moneeka, I always love your beautiful energy. Thank you for having me.
Ladies, I wanted to let you know that for about a year and a half, I have been on the advisory board with Catherine. Catherine’s one of the Founders of the She Angels Foundation. She is someone who I’m very close to and we do amazing things together. That’s why we wanted Catherine to come on the show because I wanted to emphasize that as we’re going through the holiday hustle and bustle and thinking about our families and all of those things, sometimes we get a little frustrated.
Catherine and I started with a little bit of a gripe fest. I don’t normally indulge in that but Catherine is uplifting that I felt like I could bend and she would uplift with me. Even blissful people need help. We’re going through stuff. Although the holiday is as joyous as it can be, it can bring up some stuff. I find that one of the things that help me to get out of that place is to think about giving to others. How is it that I can serve a family a little bit better?
This is one thing that Catherine and I talked about. I’m not going to be able to keep everybody happy. This is one of those seasons where everybody is as determined as me to stay happy but I can’t keep myself happy. A lot of that has to do with my mindset. I love opening presents on Christmas morning. For us, my husband has got instructions. There need to be lots of gifts under the tree. He can buy a box of pencils and wrap each pencil separately. I want lots of little gifts. That’s the fun thing for me. It’s not about the presents.
That’s the little girl in me wanting to have fun on Christmas morning. What keeps me uplifted through the whole season is thinking about how I can be of service. How can I be of service to my family? When I’m buying gifts, it’s like, “What would this person love?” It’s thinking about the best in each of the people that I love and then giving that person the best of me.
What can I get them that they would love? It doesn’t have to be expensive. I got someone pepper jelly. What is it that would make them smile? I imagine that smile. There’s that. There’s also the broader vision. How can I give to the world? You know that for me, bliss is about how I contribute to the world.
I wanted Catherine to come on because I want to focus to help everybody and on this idea of giving. Christmas is the season of giving. We get out of our way and allow joy in. That’s what this show is about. Since Catherine and I are in this foundation together and she’s the Founder, I thought there was no person better to have this conversation with than Catherine.
Women and girls get less than 1.6% of all charitable giving.
Happy holidays. We’re excited. You and I both love the holidays. I agree with you that giving can mean giving a gift but also what we’re talking about is giving something to an organization or nonprofit that’s helping somebody who’s underserved. What a great feeling that is. That’s why we launched the She Angels Foundation, which Moneeka and I are both on the board for that.
The reason that we started it is because women and girls get less than 1.6% of all charitable giving. It’s bleak. We thought, “Let’s create a foundation that we give to women and girls’ initiative.” We give to female-founded nonprofits that are helping women to thrive. Let me give you an example. We gave to an organization that helped women veterans get back on their feet. Women came back from the war and they are very underserved as getting financial and other help to get them back in the workforce. We gave it to an organization that helps that.
We gave to another one called Hope Gardens that helps women of domestic violence have a place to be housed while they are getting back on their feet. They help educate them, get a job, and get back in the game. Another one is the People’s Pottery Project. They help formerly incarcerated women that need to learn a profession. They teach them the craft of pottery making and sell the pottery on their site to employ these women to give them a future.
This is a cross-section of who we’ve given to. It’s a collective giving circle. When you become a member like we are, it’s tax-deductible. It goes to a grant that helps one of these entities that’s helping women. The fun part of it is all the members are invited to both online and offline salons with other fabulous and amazing accomplished women for free.
Once you’re a member and make your tax-deductible donation, you get to attend everything for free, collaborate with other incredible women, and be part of the check-giving for the grants’ recipients. You’re stronger when you do collective giving. When we all pool our money together, we have more money to make more of an impact than you and I writing a $100 check to some organization. We don’t see or know where it goes.
This way, you get to meet the recipients, hear what they’re doing with the funding, and feel like you’re a part of it. It is a magical organization. It’s SheAngelsFoundation.org for any readers there that’s a female-founded nonprofit that is helping women to soar, or if you are around the holidays or anytime during the year and you want to become a member and make a donation. Giving is one of the biggest highs that we can feel.
It has been named. It’s called the giver’s high.
It releases endorphins when you give and help other people. It’s a real thing. It’s something everybody should be partaking in during the holidays.
I want to mention a couple of other things. First of all, you can give without giving by going through AmazonSmile, because the She Angels Foundation, you can look them up and put them in as a foundation that you want to give for AmazonSmile. A portion is donated every time you make a purchase. It’s like giving on secret or blindly. As you go along, there’s this wake of giving that happens. Everybody in my world is donating to the She Angels Foundation through AmazonSmile. I love that you set that up.
That’s passive giving. Every time I make a purchase on Amazon, I do see it says you gave two She Angels Foundation. It reminds the person that a portion went to a nonprofit. It’s so cool.
When we’re doing all of our shopping, I don’t know how many people are out and about. I tend to be more of a hermit. I cocoon during December. My Christmas shopping is done but if you’re shopping online, that’s a great way to do it. We all like passive forms of dealing with money. This is a real estate show. We like passive income and can also do passive donating.
The other thing that I wanted to mention is I’ve been to several of the salons both online and in real life with the She Angels. What’s fascinating about these ladies is, first of all, they’re all very successful. You go and you have these conversations with all these women that are so much smarter than you in what they do. It’s a huge expansive experience hanging out with these ladies.
The other cool thing is that much of the time, as women that are aspiring to success or have reached a certain level of success, what we start to notice is that the people around us don’t support us in that success or they’re not happy for us. There might be some jealousy, some people making unkind comments like, “Don’t get too big for your britches,” or whatever it is that people say.
When you hang out in a community like with the She Angels, all of those women are dealing with those same things and they become successful anyway, not by stepping on others but by lifting others. You’re in a community of women that are like-minded and can help you to expand and where the conversations and the connections are magical.
Together, we raise our bliss by making contributions to uplift other women. It’s this beautiful synergy of women supporting women all the way from the top and to the people that we give money to. It’s the people that we’re giving money to who they serve. It’s indescribable until you experience it. From Catherine and Deb, Catherine’s wife, I know why it’s this way, because I know them and I know it would be this way. It’s hard to describe that until you experience it.
To feel good about your success, help others.
I would recommend that you go to SheAngelsFoundation.org and check it out and see what they’ve got. The website’s never going to produce the enthusiasm or understanding that talking to people would or anything like that but they do have salons where you can attend as a non-member for free to check it out. If you’re interested in that, you can contact Catherine or me and we can get you hooked up. This isn’t supposed to be a total sales pitch for She Angels Foundation but both Catherine and I are passionate about it, so we thought we should bring it up. Let’s move on.
It’s a gift when we get to talk about it because when people participate, it impacts their life in a beautiful way. It’s a piece of information we’re sharing and we’re saying, “This is a way to lift your soul during the holidays throughout the year and feel good about your success by helping others.”
Let’s talk specifically about funding women. This is one of those things you’re passionate about. That’s what your TEDx was about. Talk to us a little bit about what this looks like in the world, why women aren’t getting funded, and what the statistics are like.
I certainly am passionate about it, as you know. I did a TEDx Talk called Fund Women-Save The World. I do believe that by funding women, we can save the planet. Many women have the solutions for the environment, cures, and all kinds of technical innovations and they need to be funded. Why are we talking about this? It’s because just like in the charitable world, in the for-profit world, women get less than 2% of venture capital funding. This means 98% goes to men and that is mostly White men.
Why is that? People tend to invest in people they identify with, as I mentioned in the TED Talk. That’s because they understand better the connection that the product of someone that looks like them. That’s why it’s important that we have more women and more people of color in the investment decision-making world. What does that mean? In venture capital, young people can start studying business and say, “I’m going to go work for a venture capital firm and start from the ground up learning that exciting world of new innovations that are helping to change the world.”
The more women we have involved in that, moving up the ranks into the decision-making arenas of venture capital firms, the more it will level the playing field. What else can we do besides that? Every woman reading should become an Angel investor in another woman. There are many ways that you can do that. It could be as easy as a $100 donation on a crowdfunding site, such as IFundWomen or an equity crowdfunding site like Wefunder, StartEngine, and Republic, which is affiliated with SheWorx. There are many out there.
Equity crowdfunding is something new. You don’t have to be an accredited investor to invest in equity crowdfunding, which is something new since Obama signed this into law. It made it possible for smaller businesses to sell equity in their company. An accredited investor has over $1 million in assets and earns over $200,000 a year. That’s a small part of the population that used to be the only people that could invest for equity shares in a company but now that has changed. Equity crowdfunding is something that everybody should educate themselves on and jump into.
Sometimes I hear all these words and I’ve been listening to them, so I’m like, “I understand all that.” Ladies, do you know what equity an equity share is in a company? I’m sure you do. You’ve heard of it. It’s called stock. That’s how normally a layman is interested in a company but isn’t formally involved in the company. They’re not on the board, working for the company, or any of that stuff. We can invest, so we buy stock. You can buy that for very smart portions.
A lot of these smaller women-owned companies have not yet gone public. They still need funding. It used to be that as a venture capitalist, you could come in, have $100 million, invest, and have equity. Those of us that have a $100 don’t get any equity. It’s not stock, so don’t misunderstand me, but I’m going to say it as an analogy. You can buy stock in a company to help them to start and get off the ground. You in return, get a piece of that company. You might have a $100, $1,000, or $50. You can get in for any portion of a company that you believe in or a company that’s providing a service that you believe is needed in the world.
That’s what we’re talking about. Equity funding is a new way of funding for the people that don’t have a ton of money. That wasn’t available to us before. We’ve heard a little bit of this stuff like with Kickstarter, some of the others that are out there, and the crowdfunding. It’s a similar thing but with crowdfunding, you don’t usually get equity in the company.
It’s like a donation. You get swag or the product.
If you go with some of these other organizations, you get equity in the company, which means you are a piece of their growth and excitement of what they’re going to do in the world. It is exciting and fun because you’re watching them, not because you’re going to get something cool but because of the impact that you’re now making on many women’s lives.
Women tend to be more successful business owners.
If you want to play a little bigger game, more women need to be Angel investors. There are so many Angel investment companies and groups popping up all over the country, just about in every city. You can look up angel groups that focus on women and go and learn. What does it mean? How do I become an Angel investor? It’s exciting.
It can be way more profitable than investing in stocks, bonds, or things of that nature that are our typical investments. A lot of Angel investors will make 6 to 10 times their money. You could also lose your money like in any stock. You could buy a stock on the stock exchange and lose your money in that or make money on it. When you do Angel investing, you’re in on the ground floor before companies are going public.
It’s a rare opportunity. It’s where the very wealthy make a lot of money but now it’s more of an opportunity for smaller entities or people to invest $1,000, $5,000, or $20,000 as they jump into it. Don’t do it blindly. Go to an Angel investment group and learn about it. They already know how to vet the people and understand that.
I’m not saying to Angel invest in someone on the street that asks you to invest in their company but these Angel groups are wonderful. They have groups of women that are doing this and they vet it for you. You can learn and understand about how they value it, caps, and all these things that let you know if it’s a good investment. It’s an exciting world.
It’s like the new book club. Instead of getting women and reading a book, you get with a group of women, look at a pitch deck, and see all the innovations that are happening. This is one of the things I love about doing Invest in Her Podcast. Every week, I either have on women that are investing in other women or women that are looking for funding. They always have incredible, extraordinary innovations.
I’m exposed to this every week and anybody could be by being an Angel investor and joining one of these groups. You get to hear about the newest, latest innovations that are coming on the horizon that women are inventing. Without them, the world would be suffering from not having all these innovations. It’s important that women get behind women and invest in another woman.
Whenever I have a platform as I do with your show, I always say, “Everyone that’s reading, be sure that this week you go and invest in another woman, whether it’s in an Angel group if you’re a bigger investor as a venture capital partner or just $100 in an equity crowdfunding campaign.” Everyone can do this. If everyone does it, we will move the needle more quickly so that we’re getting at least 50% of all the funding and not such a small percentage. It will impact the world and you will have a part that you’re playing to solve this issue. It starts with each of us.
What’s important to remember is that so much of the time, we think, “I can’t make an impact. I’ve got $5. I can’t even make it to get enough gifts for my kids.” $5 makes a difference. A hundred thousand people getting $5 is $500,000. Don’t minimize your ability to contribute if it’s in your heart to contribute. Find it in your heart to contribute simply because then you get to have that experience of the giver’s high and understand why I call this one of the bliss practices. You can make it a part of the way that you live your life to help to up-level your bliss in your life.
Whatever it is that you have to contribute, find a place that makes your heart sing and speaks to you. Catherine and I would say to contribute to something that supports women in some way. We’d love it if you did SheAngelsFoundation.org but there are lots of different organizations that you can give to that might speak more to you.
I give a lot to She Angels. My husband gives a lot for women, specifically in our area that are victims of domestic violence. In our area, there are many women that are very wealthy that get abused and they don’t get a lot of compassion. It’s not spoken about but they still need support. My husband feels for these women. They need support and they’re not getting a lot anywhere else. He contributes locally to that organization. We’ve got our places where our heart goes to those people and it makes us feel good.
You also know that I continue to contribute to a school in India to raise the education of women and girls in the villages in India and the boys that support them. For me, it’s all about community. If a woman’s trying to rise but the men are pulling them down, it’s still a patriarchal society. The women will never rise. You got to educate everybody.
I put a lot of my time, energy, and money into an organization. SchoolOfHopeFund.com is the website. That one is where I contribute to the education of girls in India to uplift those communities. We’ve created a huge impact in those communities over the years that I’ve been contributing there. We all have our places that our hearts feel like we want to make an impact.
It’s funny that you mentioned this because we’re talking about Amazon and while Amazon is very convenient, there’s another site that I’m a big fan of called guudguuds because everything you buy on the site goes to a cause for the greater good. You might buy socks and it helps save the rain forest or you might buy a belt and it helps save the elephants. Every product you buy on that site does something for the greater good. There’s another one called TheWMarketplace. It’s all women-owned businesses so it’s women helping women. I’m a big fan of both of those.
There’s SchoolOfHopeFund.com and TheWMarketplace. There are some places to go take a look at ways that you can contribute but don’t be limited by those. Find a way to make a contribution that makes your heart sing. What Catherine and I are trying to emphasize is to make sure that we’re supporting each other as women. A friend of mine, Leeza Gibbons, has a quote that I love. She says, “Girls compete but women collaborate.” I hate to say it this way but so much of the time, we women don’t pay attention to the way that we need to support each other.
We’re focused on our children, husbands, or the men that we work for at work. A lot of the time, there are a lot more women out there at the top, fortunately. There are so many people that we’re trying to satisfy that we forget that we need to support and uplift one another. We feed each other. We’re the ones pouring tea in each other’s cups to keep ourselves uplifted and capable of continuing to give to all the people out there. Remember to support each other. We need it.
In the profit world and the nonprofit world, every woman needs to be doing something to help lift another woman, whether it’s for nonprofit or for-profit. We should be doing both. Women are very comfortable giving to a charity but women need to get more comfortable investing in another woman. Women tend to be more successful business owners, so it’s a good bet and investment. I hope we plant that message that it’s important in every way we can to be supporting other women. You and I are big believers in that. We’re big supporters of each other and there’s such magic or gratification in helping other women.
Ladies, we have more with Catherine. We’re going to be doing a deep dive on the Six Different Ways to Fund Your Business since we’re all about funding. Catherine, can you tell us a little bit high level what we’re going to be covering in EXTRA?
In EXTRA, I’m going to be talking about my eVideo online course called Six Ways to Fund Your Business. Every week, I have the honor of talking to all these different women entrepreneurs that have incredible ideas that they’re launching or businesses that they’re growing. They always want to know, “How do I launch it? How do I take it to the next level?” I’ve done all the leg work for them as to what are the various ways that you can get funded and how do you access that funding. That’s what the core Six Ways to Fund Your Business is about. That’s what we’ll be talking about.
People can find out about it on my website www.SheAngelInvestors.com and everything’s there. When you sign up, we give you a free white paper that talks about the various ways you can get funded. If you want to get the online course, it’s a deeper dive so that you learn what is the best fit for you, what are the options, and how do you access it.
Could you tell us one more time how people can get in touch with you if they’ve got questions about She Angels Foundation, the eCourse, or any of that stuff?
You can always reach me at [email protected] right from the website. You can go to the website and send me an email. You can also find me on LinkedIn. I’m on Instagram Catherine Gray. Invest in Her is my podcast, which you can tune into any time. Follow us there. She Angel Investors is on all the other social media like Facebook, Instagram, and @SheAngelsInvest on Twitter. We would love to connect with you online wherever you’re swimming.
This has been an amazing conversation. Thank you much for talking about this with me.
It’s my pleasure.
Stay tuned for EXTRA. We’re going to be talking specifically about Six Ways to Get Funding for Your Business. It’s going to be exciting. If you are subscribed, stay tuned. If you’re not subscribed but would like to be, go to RealEstateInvestingForWomenEXTRA.com. You get the first seven days for free. You get signed up and check things out. If you decide to stay, that’d be amazing. For those of you that are leaving us now, thank you for much for joining Catherine and me in this conversation. I wish you very happy holidays. May your heart be filled with joy, love, and laughter. I will talk to you next time.
I’m Catherine Gray – a Producer, Author, TEDx Speaker, Host of www.InvestInHerPodcast.com, the Founder of www.SheAngelInvestors.com and the Co-Founder of non profit www.SheAngelsFoundation.org.
Also, I am an angel investor in several companies, a member of Wealthing VC Investment Club, and an equity crowdfunding investor too.
My focus is always on empowering female entrepreneurs. My passion is to utilize our multi media platform to fund women, to level the playing field, since women are severely underfunded- getting less that 2% of venture capital funding.
This is why I produced an e-video online course called “6 Ways to Fund Your Business” about Funding Female Founders. It can be found on our website www.SheAngelinvestors.com, along with a free download of tips on funding your business.
Also, I produce and host a popular podcast series called INVEST IN HER, to discuss ways to accelerate the funding of women, and provide resources and inspiration to our listeners. We feature both female founders and funders! It is distributed on Apple, Spotify, IHeart and wherever you listen to podcasts.
She Angels is my multi-media platform that creates everything from films and shows, to game-changing events to empower women, plus informative and compelling podcasts, and more.
In my past, I am so grateful and proud to have produced several award-winning films including the very first documentary film about gay marriage called ‘I Can’t Marry You,’ narrated by Ellen DeGeneres’s mom Betty, which aired on PBS in more than 60 cities nationwide. Also, I co-produced several documentary films for the LOGO network. That led me to start my own production company called Showbiz Shorts aka Corp Shorts, and eventually 360 Karma Productions- before launching SHE ANGEL INVESTORS.
As the top producer in the country in cable television advertising in Miami for 15 years, I left the position to become Vice President of Advertising for the first ever gay cable network and decided from that day forward, all of my ventures would be working on projects for the greater good.
My favorite quote is from Mahatma Gandhi “Happiness Is When What You Think, What You Say, and What You Do Are In Complete Harmony.” I also believe the quote of the Dalai Lama, “The Western Women will save the world”!
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Moneeka Sawyer is often described as one of the most blissful people you will ever meet. She has been investing in Real Estate for over 20 years, so has been through all the different cycles of the market. Still, she has turned $10,000 into over $5,000,000, working only 5-10 hours per MONTH with very little stress.
While building her multi-million dollar business, she has traveled to over 55 countries, dances every single day, supports causes that are important to her, and spends lots of time with her husband of over 20 years.
She is the international best-selling author of the multiple award-winning books “Choose Bliss: The Power and Practice of Joy and Contentment” and “Real Estate Investing for Women: Expert Conversations to Increase Wealth and Happiness the Blissful Way.”
Moneeka has been featured on stages including Carnegie Hall and Nasdaq, radio, podcasts such as Achieve Your Goals with Hal Elrod, and TV stations including ABC, CBS, FOX, and the CW, impacting over 150 million people.