The Ms. Foundation returned to the Vineyard this week for its 10th annual Ms. on Martha’s cocktail gathering and conversation.

Celebrating its 50th year as an organization, the event on Tuesday at the Grange Hall in West Tisbury featured a conversation that explored the impact of legacy women’s organizations on philanthropy, policy and social justice.

The focus of these efforts, the panelists said, needs to be on women and girls of color.

This year’s fireside chat included Teresa C. Younger, president and CEO of the Ms. Foundation, Jocelyn Frye, president of the National Partnership for Women & Families, and Fatima Goss Graves, president and CEO of the National Women’s Law Center.

Errin Haines, editor-at-large of The 19th*, moderated the conversation.

Fatima Goss Graves (center) president and CEO of the National Women’s Law Center. — Ray Ewing

“This is a point of inclusion, not exclusion,” Ms. Younger said of the foundation’s current focus during an interview earlier in the evening. “In the pool of inequality, there are a lot of folks. I have a pebble through my philanthropic institution to drop into the pool and right now I’ve identified the need as women, girls and gender expansive folks of color. If we drop our pebble over that, then everybody else who’s in that pool of inequality will reap the benefits.”

The Ms. Foundation practices trust-based philanthropy, making grants totaling over $90 million to more than 1,600 grassroots organizations across the nation over its 50 years. In May, the foundation introduced its largest capital campaign yet, Creating the Future We Deserve, which aims to raise $100 million this year.

The Ms. Foundation’s chief program officer Ellen Liu said that these funds will benefit women and girls of color, whose lives philanthropy must improve.

“Women and girls of color have always been the lead on fights for any equity and justice issue from civil rights to reproductive justice to Earth justice,” Ms. Liu said. “Our program officers are all women of color, so they all connect with the grantees. They are relationship builders and connectors — that’s the role the Ms. Foundation plays in the ecosystem of philanthropy.”

The panelists also unpacked the definition of feminism, which they said is rooted in a structure that was not built for women of color to be successful. They explained that redefining feminism in terms of inclusion, which decenters white women and dissolves a baseline of privilege that resides in the traditional definition, allows organizations using the definition to respond to the needs of all women.

“For organizations that have been viewed as legacy organizations, it means something when Black women are saying ‘this is where we should go,’” Ms. Frye said. “Historically, Black women were expected to follow, and the issues that we worked on were defined by white women.”

Ms. Younger added that reimagining feminism to include all women requires examining whose voices are present in the conversation. Bringing underrepresented voices into the fold, she said, propels social progress by challenging organizations to rethink their conceptions of success, support and advocacy.

“Who’s missing at the table is a great question,” she said. “Who’s never been to the table is a better question.”