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Ivanka Trump, World Bank in Preliminary Discussions About Female Entrepreneurship Fund

Ivanka Trump attends an event at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building on April 4, 2017 in Washington, D.C. Win McNamee/Getty Images

First Daughter Ivanka Trump and the World Bank have discussed a fund, or a “facility” that would aim to empower female entrepreneurs globally, but Trump would have no role in fundraising or deciding where to spend funds, the White House said Wednesday.

According to the White House, Ivanka Trump spearheaded the idea, but the fund will be run by the World Bank and she will not be involved in any solicitation of funds.

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Germany, along with other countries in the G20, are also involved in the nascent discussions, an official from the World Bank said, but nothing has been specifically decided.

“Typically, the governance of facilities we manage is decided among donors, and the secretariat sits within and is administered by the World Bank Group,” World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim said in a statement. “We are very grateful for the leadership Ms. Trump and [German Chancellor Angela] Merkel have demonstrated on this important issue.”

Axios reported Wednesday that the First Daughter was starting a “massive fund” to benefit female entrepreneurs, and that that several countries, including Canada and Germany, as well as other corporations, have committed funding, which immediately drew legal scrutiny.

“This is illegal unless it is a US government fund,” Richard W. Painter, who served as White House ethics lawyer under George W. Bush, wrote in a tweet. “Cannot be a private charity or foundation. White House should have made that clear.”

Axios later reported that the White House said the fund would be managed by the World Bank, an international financial institution headquartered in Washington. The World Bank emphasized that they would likely be in charge of the facility, rather than Ivanka Trump or the White House, although they emphasized nothing has officially been decided.

When asked about involvement from companies, a World Bank official said discussing that type of equity would be premature.

Ivanka Trump, who officially joined the White House as an assistant to her father last month, has advocated for female economic empowerment and said she wants this to be part of her agenda. She was a panelist on a conversation discussing that topic in Germany, at the invitation of Merkel.

The First Daughter also co- authored an April 24 op-ed on that topic with World Bank President Jim Yong Kim in the Financial Times. “As world leaders seek to reignite the global economy, a large part of the formula for growth and stability is undervalued: the economic empowerment of women,” they wrote.

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