Supporting Women & Girls of Color to Innovate

by Ms. Foundation for Women
Play Video
Supporting Women & Girls of Color to Innovate
Supporting Women & Girls of Color to Innovate
Supporting Women & Girls of Color to Innovate
Supporting Women & Girls of Color to Innovate
Supporting Women & Girls of Color to Innovate
Supporting Women & Girls of Color to Innovate
Supporting Women & Girls of Color to Innovate
Supporting Women & Girls of Color to Innovate
Supporting Women & Girls of Color to Innovate

The Ms. Foundation for Women deeply appreciates donors to our GlobalGiving project, Safety for Women and Girls of Color. Your investment comes at a critical moment when the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted entrenched and growing disparities for both women and communities of color.

As we have learned, women have borne significant economic, health, and caregiving impacts from the pandemic, and have been vulnerable to violence in particular ways under shelter-in-place regulations and in the escalation of violence we are seeing across the country now. Your support has enabled us to bring a gender equity lens to many important philanthropic conversations about economic recovery and advancing social justice, and allowed us to:

  • Continue flexible, reliable “no strings attached” funding to women of color, indigenous and transgender women of color leaders working across the nation.
  • Expand multi-year, direct grantmaking to women of color led organizations.
  • Strengthen the short and long-term sustainability and the leadership of these organizations by providing training, coaching, technical assistance and healing/wellness resources.
  • Expand our Program Related Investments and our Building Connections Initiative nationally to support the diversity of resources for advocacy, power building and leadership, with an emphasis on the South, Midwest and U.S. territories, where women of color have the least access to resources.
  • Amplify the voices of women of color leaders and narrative change about feminism in print and digital media through communications.

Since the onset of COVID-19, the Ms. Foundation has stretched to accelerate and increase funding to women and girl of color-led organizations. In our most recent grant cycle we granted over $4M in funding to over 100 organizations. As an experienced funder in grassroots social change at the intersection of race and gender equity, the Ms. Foundation is tracking a dire need for additional rapid response to ensure that a key network of leaders and organizations is able to survive historic strains on capacity and limited (or nonexistent) reserves. The Ms. Foundation is working to ensure that communities of color throughout the United States have critical, life-saving services, access and advocacy.

We’d like to share the work of one organization that benefited from the support of donors to the Safety for Women and Girls of Color project.

 

National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF)

Founded in 1996, NAPAWF is the only organization focused on building power with Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) women and girls to influence critical decisions that affect their lives, their families and their communities. Using a reproductive justice framework, NAPWAF elevates AAPI women and girls to impact policy and drive systemic change in the United States. Ms. is proud to have supported NAPAWF this past year with a special grant and technical support as they responded to the spike in anti-Asian violence, specifically the spa shooting in Atlanta, GA on March 16th. Given that mainstream reporters and media outlets repeatedly overlooked how Asian American women are targeted because of their race and gender, NAPAWF worked hard to amplify a key narrative in mainstream media – that the targeting and killing of six Asian American women was an overt act of gender-based violence and sexual violence – the worst kind of racist misogyny that dehumanizes AAPI women because of their race and gender.

 

The Ms. Foundation for Women appreciates your support that enables our grantees to ensure the safety of their communities. To learn more about our work and to sign-up for our regular email updates, visit our website at: forwomen.org.

Links:

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

The Ms. Foundation for Women strengthened grassroots leadership and infrastructure of 21 organizations across the country that are fighting for freedom and liberation, and building power for women and girls of color.  Our spring cycle of strategic core grantmaking totaled $1,945,500 across 21 general operating grants; 20 of which were two-year grants. 

Our plan for the new southern grantmaking strategy is complete and we are currently drafting a Request for Proposals with updated criteria and rationale, which includes a new initial Letter of Inquiry stage. We anticipate a launch in early 2021 with the hope of funds out the door by mid-March. We anticipate awarding $1 million to a diverse pool of new southern grantee partners in FY21 through our trust-based grantmaking approach of flexible, multiyear general operating support. In the spring, we also plan to award a final round of multiyear transition aka legacy grants from our previous grantmaking strategy.

We are also excited to report that in collaboration (and with a grant from) the Collaborative on Gender and Reproductive Equity, the Ms. Foundation is conducting a Indigenous Women’s Reproductive Justice Planning Assessment over the next nine months. Lead staff for this project, Program Officer Coya White Hat-Artichoker, will conduct information gathering sessions with various indigenous leaders to determine opportunities and best practices for making a significant investment in reproductive justice organizing in indigenous communities. This effort is historic in its possibilities, and would support some of the core work of the Ms. Foundation as an early and consistent funder of the reproductive justice movement, as well as the Collaborative on Gender and Reproductive Equity’s interest in galvanizing other funders to invest in indigenous reproductive justice work.

Through our redesigned Capacity Building Program, the Ms. Foundation launched the Activist Collaboration Fund in January 2020 to strengthen collaboration in and across social justice movements for women and girls of color, including Transgender women and girls of color, and Indigenous women and girls. The goal of the fund is to deepen movement-building collaborations and support the often unfunded relationship and trust building work that is crucial for transformational work that leads to social change for women and girls of color.  Our ACF grantmaking process spanned the months of January to April, an intense period of time when Covid19 emerged in full force exacerbating all of the existing structural inequalities that women and girls of color face in our country.

In this pilot round of funding, we prioritized organizations led by and for women and girls of color, Transgender women and girls of color, and Indigenous women and girls with budgets at $1M or under. The ACF received over 160 nominations from organizations by and for women and girls of color across 33 states in the US and the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Guam and made grants totaling $275,000 to support 15 organizations across the country including Puerto Rico, that are led by and for women and girls of color, trans women and girls of color, and indigenous women and girls. Grants ranged from $15,000 - $25,000. This is the first time in eight years that the Ms. Foundation has brought on new grantee partners.

Our Girls Fund Initiative has focused on continued learning, engagement and relationship building with the field. We embarked on a rigorous landscape study in partnership with the Institute for Women’s Policy Research earlier this summer and we are continuing to build the internal infrastructure to support the program and grantmaking strategy we are developing.  Most importantly, we are beginning to engage with girls of color and the organizations that support them.

This fall (2020), the bulk of our engagement with girls of color and organizations is happening through our national advisory approach. Newly formed national advisory bodies for the initiative include an advisory council of experts including: representatives from organizations that serve girls, philanthropic partners and academics. There is also a separate advisory council composed of youth leaders. This approach is critical for a variety of reasons. First, it allows us access to the language and lived experiences that will inform our investments in girls of color. Secondly, it also allows us to experiment, and to troubleshoot challenges in close to real time. Above all, it shifts power to girls of color, and makes sure their voices are centered from beginning to end. 

Our engagement with advisory bodies supports our project landscaping and framework design by providing a pool of research participants for focus groups and interviews, as well as providing connections to girl leaders and emerging work in the field.  It supports the Ms. Foundation in finding and understanding the best mechanisms to move resources to girl leaders and girl-led organizations. Additionally, our engagement with the advisory bodies helps us move resources to the field to support critical existing work through partnership grants of $10K each to support their work with Girls of Color.

National partners include organizations working across the country in all of the major geographical regions, including Hawaii and Puerto Rico. These organizations work across age, race, gender, sexuality and most of the sociopolitical issue areas we are interested in interrogating including: racial justice, criminalization, gender based violence and sexual health, immigration, LGBTQ justice, disability justice and environmental justice.

Capacity building and learning activities included a two-part virtual learning workshop with 24 grantees on Financial Resilience in a Time of Uncertainty.  Given the ongoing financial challenges during the COVID pandemic and the economic downturn, we are collaborating with Financial Management Associates, a long-time partner to Ms. Foundation grantee leaders on strengthening nonprofit financial management skills, to offer capacity building and technical assistance. Through the interactive workshops, grantees have the opportunity to learn to assess their financial health, build scenarios for contingency planning over the next year, and connect with their peers. Follow up one-on-one coaching with FMA is available to grantees after the workshops to support their financial resiliency goals.

Recent media highlights include:

  • Placing a critical op-ed, We Need To Fund Women And Girls Of Color On The Front Lines, with Essence.com. Penned by our CEO and President, this piece was released in conjunction with a suite of articles on philanthropic giving to the Black community and reached 824,317 unique views upon its initial run.

 Press Releases

 Statements:


Editorial Press Coverage:

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

The Ms. Foundation for Women launched the Activist Collaboration Fund in January 2020 to strengthen collaboration in and across social justice movements for women and girls of color, trans women and girls of color and indigenous women and girls. The goal of the fund is to deepen movement-building collaborations and support the often unfunded relationship and trust building work that is crucial for transformational work that leads to social change for women and girls of color. 

Our ACF grantmaking process spanned the months of January to April, an intense period of time when Covid19 emerged in full force exacerbating all of the existing structural inequalities that women and girls of color face in our country. Through our conversations with applicants grappling in real time with the pandemic, we observed the following:

- Movement building organizations led by and for women and girls of color are best-equipped to meet the needs of and build power with people most impacted by racism and inequity. Each organization we reviewed had deeply rooted relationships and practices that support healing, organizing and power building.

- In moments of crisis, these organizations move the quickest to meet community needs, respond to attacks against communities, and build offensive strategies to build power to fight back against oppressive systems.

- For WGOC organizations working at the state and local level, direct service is very much part of organizing work.

- Healing is a critical part of the power building process; time and care must be taken to ensure leaders and individuals are supported and are able to stand in their power to demand change for themselves and their communities.

- WGOC organizations are significantly underfunded, and could do even more with more resources. Many grantees in this docket have budgets well under $500k.

 To build women's power, the Ms. Foundation has prioritized organizations led by and for women and girls of color, trans women and girls of color, and indigenous women and girls with budgets at $1M or under, and ensured at least half of funded organizations centered trans women and girls of color and indigenous women and girls. Overall, we aimed to support a national portfolio that was geographically diverse, and prioritized historically underfunded regions including the South, Southwest, Midwest, and U.S. territories.

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

We continued to build power through strategic grantmaking that zeros in on the most hot button gender and racial justice issues of our time; for instance, we support Girls for Gender Equity, based in Brooklyn, NY, and their work around the Surviving R. Kelly docuseries and highlighting the sexual violence towards women and girls of color; SisterReach, based in Memphis, TN, and their work to ensure reproductive autonomy of women and girls of color; Atlanta Jobs with Justice in Atlanta, GA, on their work to increase wages for women and girls of color; and EveryBlackGirl in South Carolina to combat the violence towards and criminalization of Black girls.

We strengthened the infrastructure of women of color-led social justice organizations through increasing our grantmaking to $2.05 million this year for 28 grantees. This is an increase of 16% over 2018 grantmaking. Highlights of our grantmaking include:

ü  Increased amounts of the majority of grants; our average grant size was $58,000.

ü  12 grants are multi year.

ü  All grantees in the Safety cohort are women of color led and received two-year grants.

ü  With funding from other sources, we gave our grantees a total of $183,000 this year in lobbying funds: $88,500 in direct lobbying and $94,550 in grassroots lobbying. Note that funds from GlobalGiving/CHIME FOR CHANGE were not used to support lobbying.

ü  All grantees received a stipend of $2000 to attend key conferences or participate in other leadership development.

In 2019-2020, under the direction of Ellen Liu, in her new role, we will continue to revamp our capacity building and learning strategy.  Over the next year, we will do a landscape scan involving stakeholders, grantees, and others in the field, develop a pilot project to include capacity building/leadership development partners and women and girls of color grantee partners in the South. We plan to tailor our capacity building and measurement approach to better support women and girls of color organizations’ needs overall.

In this process, we are honing in on three specific areas for what a leadership support program should look like for the Ms. Foundation: a) Sustainability; b) Transformative collaboration; c) Impact; and d) Collaboration with funders.

This work corresponds to our new program strategy and theory of change and will be intentionally aligned across our integrated grantmaking areas of safety, women’s health, and economic justice, with the possibility of focused supports around organizational strengthening and leadership development.  Initial surveys and one-on-one conversations with a variety of stakeholders have highlighted the need for increased spaces for women of color leaders in diverse progressive movement spaces to be in community with one another and the need for developing second line leadership building opportunities.  In the process of revamping our capacity building strategy, we will also be developing a stakeholder engagement strategy in consultation with key stakeholders, including grantees, and other foundations and leadership development intermediaries.  We will also be developing a robust learning plan for this component.

Other programmatic work included the development of a new Girls Initiative, Activist Response Fund, an increased Regional focus on the South and Midwest, and the Building Connections Initiative challenge grants for women's funds nationally.

Collaborative Grantmaking: We are creating new grantmaking partnerships and recently joined the Fund for Trans Generations, a collaborative fund to ensure that frontline trans activists and organizations have the financial resources and engagement needed to advance the safety, security and rights of trans people.

Girl's Initiative: We are developing a new grantmaking initiative to support girl-centered/girl-led work, in partnership with the NoVo Foundation. We are in the process of designing our approach to support these movements, aligned with our overall strategic and programmatic direction. We will be in peer learning with a cohort of other grantees and look forward to gaining expertise, insights and learning with each other and the broader movements. In this process, we intend to advance the collective liberation of girls through collective impact.

Regional Focus: We know that there is a dearth of support for movement building in the U.S. South and we seek to expand grantmaking and increase capacity building in this geographic region. Over the past several years, we have deepened our commitment to building power in the South to amplify and move resources in a region where women-of-color are most marginalized, in partnership with Grantmakers for Southern Progress (GSP). Our current grantee partners in the South include SisterReach, Sistersong, ReproAction, Women with a Vision, EveryBlackGirl, PowerU, Mississippi Low income Child Care Initiative (MLICCI), Blueprint NC, West Virginia Free, Miami Workers Center, and the Southern Rural Black Women’s Initiative. We see opportunity to build upon our existing grantmaking in the South with more collaborative approach across our focus areas, including support for girl-led/girl-centered work. We are in the process of a landscape scan of the South to determine the best direction and role that the Ms. Foundation can play in the region.

Activist Collaborative Fund:We are in the process of hiring a consultant to help us develop the new Activist Collaborative Fund for grantees and other progressive movement leaders and organizations to respond to a range of both short-term and long-term opportunities.  We envision that the fund will support the building power for women and girls of color, and to be in service to the larger movements fighting for gender and racial equity and justice.  The Activist Collaborative Fund is set to launch in January of 2020

Building Connections Initiative: We developed a new challenge grant program targeted to public women's funds nationally to increase funding to women and girls of color and push philanthropy to more effectively support organizations and projects led by and centering their concerns and advocacy agendas. The effort also seeks to build partnerships with and between women's funds working at the local or regional level to advance gender and racial equity. The Ms. Foundation made nine (9) matching grants of $25,000 each; grantees will be required to demonstrate a 100% match by the end of the grant period.

As a high-engagement funder, the Ms. Foundation maximizes its grantmaking investment by offering various ways for grantees to access capacity building and technical assistance.  In the past, we have provided a diverse range of one-on-one and cohort-based capacity building support including leadership transition and executive coaching, advocacy and communications support, financial management coaching, and technical assistance to respond to opposition attacks. 

We are currently in the process of implementing our new program strategy and updating our capacity building strategy and tailoring our capacity building approach to better support organization's led by women and girls-of-color. This corresponds to our new program strategy and theory of change and will be intentionally aligned across our three issue area portfolios of women's safety, health, and economic justice (SHE) with the possibility of focused supports around organizational strengthening and leadership development.  Initial surveys and one-on-one conversations with grantees have also highlighted the need for increased spaces for women of color leaders in diverse progressive movement spaces to be in community with one another and the need for developing second line leadership building opportunities.  As part of this development processes, we are engaging grantees leaders and conducting interviews with foundations and leadership development organizations.

Our intended long-term programmatic impacts are:

  • Safety: Women and girls of color, including transgender women and girls of color, will experience less violence in their schools, communities, and workplaces.
  • Health: Women and girls of color, including transgender women and girls of color, will have freedom and agency over decisions about their body, sexuality, and reproductive health. They will be trusted and respected to make those decisions for themselves.
  • Economic Justice: Women and girls of color, including transgender women and girls of color, will experience greater levels of economic security and opportunity.
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

With support from Gucci's CHIME FOR CHANGE and you, the Ms. Foundation continues to lift up and leverage our voice and the voices women and girls of color through strategic grantmaking. We also share our grantee partners' activities on our social media and promote our voices in press statements and releases. Additionally we moderate and facilitate different media outlets that allow us to lift up our grantees, including how we design and promote our graphics, such as the new strategic image we developed for our 45th Anniversary gala.

We are working to strengthened women of color-led grassroots movements by elevating the advocacy and policy work of grantee partners. Highlights of our narrative change work include over the past year include:

  •   Black Women’s Blueprint Speaks Out about Police Sexual Violence

(It’s Time to Listen to Black Women. We’ve Been Talking About Police Sexual Violence for a Long Time)

  • Girls for Gender Equity Speaks Out for survivors of sexual violence

(Seek A Better World)

  • Reflections on Take Our Daughters and Sons To Work Day by Former Ms. Foundation President and CEO (https://forwomen.org/daughters-to-work-day-2019/)
  •  Ms. Foundation on Equal Pay day (https://forwomen.org/equal-pay-day-2019/)
  •  Ms. Foundation honors dream hampton and Sana Amanat at 31st Annual Gloria Awards (https://forwomen.org/31st-gloria-awards/)
  • Ms. Foundation Speaks Out in Response to the State of the Union (https://forwomen.org/state-of-the-union-2019/)
  • Ms. Foundation Speaks Out on 10th Anniversary of Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act (https://forwomen.org/lilly-ledbetter-19/)

The Ms. Foundation is also supporting narrative change through sponsoring the Baltimore Museum of Art's upcoming exhibition on the Art of Women of Color.

We continued to build power through strategic grantmaking that zeros in on the most hot button gender and racial justice issues of our time; for instance, we support Girls for Gender Equity, based in Brooklyn, NY, and their work around the Surviving R. Kelly docuseries and highlighting the sexual violence towards women and girls of color; SisterReach, based in Memphis, TN, and their work to ensure reproductive autonomy of women and girls of color; Atlanta Jobs with Justice in Atlanta, GA, on their work to increase wages for women and girls of color; and EveryBlackGirl in South Carolina to combat the violence towards and criminalization of Black girls.

We strengthened the infrastructure of women of color-led social justice organizations through increasing our grantmaking in 2019-2020 and supported 28 grantees. Highlights of our grantmaking include:

  •  Increased amounts of the majority of grants; our average grant size was $58,000.
  • 12 grants are multi year.
  • All grantees in the Safety cohort are women of color led and received two-year grants.
  • We gave our grantees a total of $183,000 this year in lobbying funds: $88,500 in direct lobbying and $94,550 in grassroots lobbying.
  • All grantees received a stipend of $2,000 to attend key conferences or participate in other leadership development.

Other programmatic work included the development of a new Girls Initiative, Activist Response Fund, and increased Regional focus on the South and Midwest, and the Building Connections Initiative challenge grants for women's funds nationally.

Building Connections Initiative: We developed a new challenge grant program targeted to public women's funds nationally to increase funding to women and girls of color and push philanthropy to more effectively support organizations and projects led by and centering their concerns and advocacy agendas. The effort also seeks to build partnerships with and between women's funds working at the local or regional level to advance gender and racial equity. The Ms. Foundation made nine (9) matching grants of $25,000 each; grantees will be required to demonstrate a 100% match by the end of the grant period.

As a high-engagement funder, the Ms. Foundation maximizes its grantmaking investment by offering various ways for grantees to access capacity building and technical assistance.  We provide a diverse range of one-on-one and cohort-based capacity building support including leadership transition and executive coaching, advocacy and communications support, financial management coaching, and technical assistance to respond to opposition attacks. 

As a national voice for women working in partnership with grantees, the Ms. Foundation can continue to serve as an important incubator for fresh new strategies that serve to integrate the specific ways that multiple issues impact the lives of women and girls in the current context. Thank you for your support.

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
 

About Project Reports

Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.

If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating.

Get Reports via Email

We'll only email you new reports and updates about this project.

Organization Information

Ms. Foundation for Women

Location: Brooklyn, NY - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @msfoundation
Project Leader:
Tamara Vasan
Brooklyn, NY United States

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
   

Still want to help?

Find another project in United States or in Gender Equality that needs your help.
Find a Project

Learn more about GlobalGiving

Teenage Science Students
Vetting +
Due Diligence

Snorkeler
Our
Impact

Woman Holding a Gift Card
Give
Gift Cards

Young Girl with a Bicycle
GlobalGiving
Guarantee

Sign up for the GlobalGiving Newsletter

WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.