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Micro Funding for Creative Women: “FunderWoman”

Written by Nathan Bennett, Team NY

What happens when you combine the super powers of Wonder Woman with fundraising and the dynamic leadership of Julia Molloy? You get Funderwoman! Funderwoman is Julia Molloy’s brain child and is a possibility that allows women to be successful and creative, while supporting a life they love.

Born in Northern California, Brooklyn-based architect Julia Molloy had a vision to support other talented women around the world in their quest for financial freedom. Having completed school at Barnard and Columbia, Molloy now proudly spreads her talented wings at the Guggenheim where she is currently the Design Associate for the Abu Dhabi project.

Architecture wasn’t Julia’s first passion. Her love for children gave her dreams of becoming a clown doctor. However, after living in Ghana and Italy during college, she decided that impacting the world and making beauty through building structures was the way for her. Julia was on a new path and committed to being an unstoppable force in the architectural design world.

Julia’s expansive knowledge has allowed her to teach Architecture Thesis on the University level for two years. She also credits Landmark Education for contributing to her growth and development. The most influential courses for her have been the Communications courses and coaching in the Self Expression and Leadership Program.

Embracing her love for travel, Julia has worked and studied in Caracas, Vancouver, Shanghai, South Africa, Istanbul, and Thailand/Burma, among other exotic places.

Nathan:  How did you select the women in your first class of Funderwoman?

Julia:  For Phase 1.0, our goal is to get our feet wet, so to speak, and to build a team and momentum. These women have been chosen for the first phase of campaigning and funding, because the diverse range of creative projects – from the practical – spice rack – to fantastical – twin world documentary (this is the project that the Manhattanite film maker created). It is beyond fascinating and a must see!

Again, the big goal is to create an online micro finance platform for female founded creative projects throughout the world.

Nathan:  What calls you to philanthropy?

Julia:  As a young business owner of a design firm, XLXS, at age 27, my partner and I did not know how to source and manage money. Yes, we were “successful,” winning international design competitions, building small projects, and exhibiting and publishing our work, but we didn’t know how to earn a living. The first racket was that design school, architecture school in our case, didn’t train us properly for the real world, and then I created the possibility of a different model of working.

I have won over $300,000 of grants and scholarships to fund my creative career, but at the end of the day, the money barely covers the project budgets, and sourcing and income out of this work is near to impossible.

Potentially, the Funderwoman Foundation will sponsor loans for a curated batch of artists each year, so the Funderwoman will not only have the opportunity to develop a creative project, but also a financially sustainable model for her work. She will be able to pay for her own project as well as future projects in her career. The hope is that she will also eventually be able to pay it forward and sponsor future Funderwomen.

I wanted to have a little fun with Julia, so I probed her with a few out of the box questions.

Nathan:  If you could choose a celebrity to endorse Funderwoman, who would that person be?

Julia:  Linda Carter – I guess. The icon of ‘having it all’ – fulfilling life while impacting the world.

Nathan:  So, you get this huge funder and are told you could have your headquarters in ANY building in the United States, where would it be?

Julia:  Tough question, most likely, I would want a network of buildings. The dream is to have field partners throughout the world sourcing artists and creative pitch videos predominantly in the Middle East, Africa, Latin America, Asia, as well as Europe, Australia, and North America – like the model. As far as the headquarters, I would love an old brick warehouse – adaptive re-use on the water for offices, event space for lectures, workshops, business planning and development women creatives. I would 100% like to be a part of the design of this facility.

Nathan:  What an even bigger dream of yours? What’s something that you’ve envisioned and would like to see it manifest itself?

Julia:  Funny you ask that question. March 13, 2013 is International Woman’s Day, on this day, I would like to have Funderball, which will bring together the foundation sponsors and sponsored, including the most extraordinary women in the world from creative to philanthropic – curators, artists, collectors, filmmakers, etc. The Fundraising Ball would be in the atrium of the Guggenheim. I can see Funderware being sold, Funderwomen rings for gold memberships and so much more. I plan to live and breathe Funderwoman someday, as it is what I am most passionate about.

Nathan Bennett writes under the pen name Nathan Seven Scott and recently published a novel  “My Turn.”