BWF Grantmaking 2005
I grew up thinking that girls were just like boys. As I grew older I realized that women struggle every day to receive the rights they deserve. Being a Salvadorian girl, I face challenges everywhere I go. There are issues of racism and the problems of being a youth. It is difficult for adults to realize that youth also have a voice and need to be heard. Working at the Boston Women’s Fund gives me an opportunity to express my opinions as a youth as well as a girl. —Claudia Contreras
In the spirit of optimism and renewal, the Boston Women’s Fund ushers into its grantmaking circle 37 organizations whose endeavors have created and will continue to create a space for social change to sprout its wings. Welcome to you all.
Asian Sisters Participating in Reaching Excellence (ASPIRE)
Boston, $6, 825
ASPIRE is a career development and exploration program for Asian American (AA) high school and college girls. ASPIRE Sisters help young women to build a strong base of professional and educational support through shared experiences and networking. The results are improved leadership skills, higher levels of confidence through career and leadership panels such as “Road to College” workshops and mentorship, and the desire to complete high school and attend college. The Boston Women’s Fund (BWF) grant supports ASPIRE’s capacity-building goals and will be used to hire a part-time coordinator whose work is to improve outreach to high school and college girls in low-income, new and emerging Asian American communities.
Association of Haitian Women (AFAB)
The Association of Haitian Women in Boston’s (AFAB) formed 16 years ago in response to emerging personal safety and survival issues for immigrant Haitian women. Issues such as domestic violence, lack of basic knowledge about fundamental rights, and low self-esteem have forced many women into lifestyles of fear and silence. AFAB’s advocates for the rights of Haitian women, works to denounce the myth of women’s inferiority, and helps women understand the roots of exploitation in order to work to change them. Advocacy, training, and leadership development help victims break free of fear and affirm their right to be safe from harm. BWF’s grant provides general operating support to the Association of Haitian Women, to support the organization’s capacity and work to end domestic violence and persistent poverty for immigrant Haitian women.
Bosnian Community Center for Resource Development (BCCRD)
The Bosnian Community Center for Resource Development (BCCRD) works to provide culturally and linguistically appropriate services to nearly 8000 Boston-area refugees from the former Yugoslavia. The Center serves a diverse constituency of Bosnians, Croatians, Serbians and former Yugoslavians who are largely Muslim and primarily women and victims of abuse. BCCRD clinicians believe that the abuse is tolerated because the women are not aware that it is wrong or that they can change it. The BWF grant supports the implementation of BCCRD’s Domestic Violence Initiative and long-term goal to build a network of community women working to end domestic violence. Aimed at educating women one-on-one, the Domestic Violence Initiative will also feature “Women’s Health Night” workshops and “Mother-Daughter Health Nights”.
Boston Black Women’s Health Institute, Boston
The Boston Black Women’s Health Institute (BBWHI) supports and motivates Black women to enhance their personal wellness and the health of their communities through education, organizing and community forums. Barriers to reproductive health care affect all women but women of color face unique obstacles that jeopardize their reproductive health. The result is women of color are more likely to experience poor reproductive health outcomes: contraceptive failure, unintended pregnancy, maternal and infant mortality and sexually transmitted disease. BBWHI’s work is to advocate for and promote the activism of black women and women of color around health and reproductive justice through collaborations, coalition-building and individual activism. BWF’s grant provides general operating support to BBWHI to meet its capacity-building goals.
Boston Childcare Alliance
Jamaica Plain, $6,825
The Boston Childcare Alliance leadership program, known as the Leadership Empowerment Action Project (LEAP), provides leadership development for members of the early care and education community. The program seeks to expand the role of childcare providers through leadership development and advocacy toward the goal of expanding the base of leaders and advocates who reflect the diversity of the childcare workforce and also includes those who have traditionally been excluded. In 2004, Governor Romney signed a law creating a Consolidated Department of Early Education and Care to administer the state’s early education and care system, laying the groundwork for universal access to voluntary, high-quality programs for preschool children in the commonwealth. Advocates, including LEAP graduates, won this victory. The LEAP curriculum promotes a three-stage process in leadership development: coming to awareness, engaging in inquiry and analysis, and taking action. BWF Funding supports the implementation of a LEAP II class.
Brazilian Women’s Group
The Brazilian Women’s Group (BWG) is a volunteer run organization of immigrant women whose mission is to promote political and cultural awareness and contribute to the development and self -sufficiency of the Brazilian community, especially women and children. BWG works collaboratively with the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition (MIRA), the Brazilian Immigrant Center, the Brazilian Consulate General in Boston and several other groups in planning and implementing community events throughout the year. In addition to providing educational services such as English as a Second Language, BWG coordinates discussion groups, seminars and meetings concerning education, employment, immigrant rights, Brazilian American culture, female leadership and women’s issues. BWF’s grant is for general operating support.
Center for New Words
The Center for New Words (CNW) offers readings, workshops, forums, discussions, open-mike nights and an annual conference, all aimed to bring the voices, words, and opinions of progressive and marginalized women into the public conversation. CNW uses the power and creativity of words and ideas to strengthen the voices of progressive and marginalized women from writing and reading life stories to opinion making in the media. BWF’s grant will support in part, CNW’s 3 -year project, “Taking our Place in the Public Conversation” wedging open space for women’s and girl’s words to flourish. The project promotes movement building among women and spotlights issues pivotal to diverse communities. Funding supports the Center for New Words goal to build their capacity to reach and support these groups through larger program venues and publicity, community outreach, and the enhancement of CNW’s web streaming capacity to deliver multicultural, feminist programming to people across the globe.
Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy
The mission of the Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy (CWPPP) is to promote women’s leadership in politics and public policy by serving as a resource for diverse groups of women across Massachusetts. CWPPP’s work pays particular attention to the intersection of gender, race, ethnicity and class and its affect on power relationships in women’s lives. BWF’s grant will support the Center’s Women to Women project; low-income women will canvas others to explore whether recent changes in Massachusetts welfare law are an aid to enrollment or whether the increased work requirement acts as a disincentive. This information will be disseminated to policymakers and other stakeholders with the goal of increasing low-income women’s access to a wide continuum of educational resources.
Close to Home
When domestic violence comes knocking at your door, how will you respond? Close to Home is a resident-driven community organizing and public awareness organization working to prevent domestic violence in Dorchester and beyond. Their campaign seeks to develop a broad-based civic response to domestic violence by turning community residents into foot soldiers, who will walk from door to door in their home neighborhoods to interrupt family-based violence. BWF’s grant provides general operating support to Close to Home, to They will be armed with education, resource materials and support. They seek general operating support which will enable them to engage and mobilize more women from the Dorchester community, building their capacity to organize themselves on the issue of domestic violence through the development of stakeholder committees, resident education and support, communications and grassroots political organizing.
The Color of Film Collaborative
The Color of Film Collaborative, Inc helps foster, support and aid in the creation of diverse images of people of color in film, video, theater and other media, by providing artists of color with opportunities to exhibit, distribute and fund their work. The Collaborative also provides a supportive environment for artists of color to share and develop their ideas, visions and work with peers. BWF’s grant supports the Collaborative’s Oral History and Digital Storytelling Project. The project uses writing, storytelling and multimedia to engage teen girls and older women of color, in telling the story of their lives and its impact. The intergenerational project will explore creative potential and issues of race, class, gender, age and sexual orientation with the goal to produce a documentary for distribution within the community.
Cooperative Economics for Women
Jamaica Plain, $11,330
Cooperative Economics for Women (CEW) serves those most marginalized by the US economic system: refugee and immigrant women who do not have the language, support systems or skills to move easily into the US labor market. In the past year, CEW has ministered to a new wave of young Cambodian women brought to the U.S. by a husband or boyfriend with the promise of green card, which is then withheld by the men in their lives. Their undocumented status has silenced many of these women who believe that they have no right to access services. BWF’s grant supports the development of a physical space and permanent organizing presence on the North Shore to benefit the growing community of Cambodian women and their families.
Crossing Communities Collaborative (CCC)
Crossing Communities Collaborative (CCC) reports the absence of qualitative leadership among young women in progressive community organizing. In response to this problem CCC has developed an educational project using as a model, the successful struggles of the civil rights movement of the 1960’s, freedom school ideology, and histories of women who are still role models such as Fanny Lou Hamer and Ella Baker. BWF’s grant will help fund the project’s “Civil Rights Movement Tour”. The tour will be composed of young women of color ages 14 – 35, drawn from BWF grantee organizations and other community groups who will travel to significant sites throughout the south.
Girls Incorporated of Worcester
Girls, Inc. of Worcester offers facility based after-school programs that target the comprehensive needs of girls’ development by providing girls with constructive skill-building alternatives to destructive behavior. Their Action for Safety Project is a 32-week program designed to prepare girls and young women to avoid becoming victims or perpetrators of violence and abuse. BWF’s grant supports the ongoing development of the Action for Safety Project curriculum, which combines self-defense education with critique of gender and other stereotypes. The girls learn negotiation, assertiveness and self-defense skills to avoid violence and increase personal safety. A variety of strategies and methodologies are used to promote personal safety including class and small group discussion; role-play; writing and dramatic productions.
The immediate and long term impact upon girls is severe when their voices are not fostered and their unique needs are not recognized. The Hermanas/Kinship program is designed to create a kinship environment that consistently offers girls meaningful opportunities to use their voices and serve as leaders. As part of its design, Hermanas/Kinship arrange opportunities for young women to learn from and network with established female leaders in the community who are willing to share their knowledge and experience. BWF’s grant supports the development of a replicable intergenerational model that places girl’s center stage in assessing and improving themselves, their community and the society.
Homes for Families
Homes for Families recruits, organizes and fully involves the people most affected by the injustice of family homelessness: women and their children. Together, they advocate for access to education, training and jobs that pay a living wage, and homelessness prevention resources, which include access to affordable housing and production of housing for extremely low-income households. BWF’s grant provides general operating support to this 13-year-old organization, to support its work to involve the voices of current and former homeless families in public policy debates. The work of Homes for Families includes direct services, leadership development, assessment, advocacy and public policy.
Hyde Square Task Force
Jamaica Plain, $9,555
The Hyde Square Task Force, Inc.’s Women Engaged in Political Activity (WEPA) Project is a community organizing initiative led predominantly by Latina and African American middle and high school girls in the Hyde/Jackson Square neighborhood of Jamaica Plain. Following extensive training in leadership development, community organizing and issues related to girls, this team of 30 girls ages 13-18 is ready to organize. BWF’s grant supports WEPA’s goal to organize around two issues related to girls: sexual harassment on the street and advocacy for a proposed $200 million dollar urban development project planned for the neighborhood. The girls plan to lead a creative and active campaign against harassment and also plan to strongly advocate that facilities and programs for girls continue to be a priority in the Jackson Square Development.
LGBT Aging Project
Jamaica Plain, $910
The LGBT Aging Project is a volunteer-based initiative that exists to promote equal access for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender elders to the life-prolonging benefits, protections, services and safety nets that already exist in the mainstream culture. The Project identifies a dual constituency: LGBT elders, historically an invisible, isolated and disenfranchised population, as well as mainstream elder service providers who are willing to serve all clients competently, equally and sensitively, but need to learn how. BWF’s grant supports the work of the Women’s Outreach Workgroup (WOW) to increase the involvement of older lesbian women in the Project’s activities and to ensure the presence of an active older LBT voice in the Project’s mission. WOW will plan and host, organize and provide publicity for three events in 2005, to engage a core group of older LBT’s in social action, advocacy and socialization activities for older LBT women.
Massachusetts CEDAW Project
Massachusetts CEDAW Project is a collaboration of individuals and organizations engaged in participatory research to identify and create opportunities for implementing international human rights law in Massachusetts. A grant from the Boston Women’s Fund will enable Mass CEDAW to extend the impact of its research through targeted outreach, field organizing and popular education programs in select communities in support of proactive human rights legislation. These activities will increase the number of diverse constituent communities in becoming comfortable with using a human rights framework to expose discrimination and to demand that their rights be respected and fulfilled.
The Massachusetts Coalition for Occupational Safety and Health’s Teens Lead@Work program engages youth in organizing for jobs that are free from sexual harassment, discrimination and other dangerous working conditions. Through peer education, leadership development, organizing and advocacy, the group works to promote safe job opportunities for young people, while building a multi-ethnic young worker movement. Immigrant girls and youth of color have the fewest resources and the least power to effect change in both the workplace and their communities. Through Teens Lead @Work, young people voice issues of concern to them, learn about the roots of these issues, and design strategies for change including campaigns. BWF’s grant supports Mass COSH youth in the development of a campaign to address the high rate of violence against youth working in retail stores. They will continue to organize to pass a strong Child Labor bill and investigate issues that particularly impact Dorchester’s diverse youth.
The Network/La Red
The Network/La Red was founded as and remains a place for battered/formerly battered LBT folks to organize around domestic violence in their communities. Network/LaRed seeks funding for Phase II of their visibility campaign. Phase I involved the creation of information, awareness, reporting and organizing around same-sex battering within GLBT and mainstream communities to create a climate of intolerance for domestic violence. BWF’s grant supports this second phase of the campaign to engage the lesbian/bisexual/trans community in taking ownership and responsibility for the issue of domestic violence through community collaborations, the Help out a Friend campaign, strategic planning, training, media relations, advertising, and other initiatives.
Older Women’s League (OWL): The Voice of Mid-life and Older Women
OWL is a membership organization that addresses the social, economic and political concerns of midlife and older women through advocacy, education and empowerment. Current social policies, whether in health care, social security or employment, do not correspond to the realities of mid-life and older women’s lives according to OWL: The Voice of Mid-life and Older Women. BWF’s grant supports OWL’s initiative to diversify their membership by age, race, ethnicity, sexual preference and class using outreach and leadership development strategies in working class neighborhoods toward the goal of supporting the genius and power of older women toward becoming an organized social justice constituency.
Public Housing Organizing Committee
The Chelsea Public Housing Organizing Committee organizes low-income tenants living in public and private subsidized housing around their legal right to safe, affordable housing and a say in decisions affecting their lives. This women-led grassroots organization addresses and advocates for the needs of 8000 very low-income tenants within the broader context of prejudice and sexism. BWF’s grant will support the expansion of the Committee beyond public housing tenants to create a citywide tenant organization and greater influence with the Chelsea Board of Commissioners. This goal will be accomplished through a series of tenant education forums and workshops.
Rape Crisis Services of Greater Lowell, Inc
The Rape Crisis Services of Greater Lowell’s Girl’s Empowerment Group uses art therapy as the foundation for a ten-week after-school program and safe haven for girls. The program explores a wide variety of topics, from healthy relationships, self-esteem and racism to the influence of the media on girls’ identity. BWF’s grant supports the continuation of this important resource for girls many of whom are dealing with experiences that have caused emotional and psychological trauma.
Reflect and Strengthen
Reflect and Strengthen is a group of young women, dedicated to positive social change at the community level through learning in social justice education, community-building and the outgrowth of the two: creative, constructive expression of their learning. Through ethnically- mixed groups of girls and women from working-class Boston neighborhoods, the purpose of Reflect and Strengthen is to nurture sisterhood and learning about the institutional structure of racism, classism, sexism, capitalism, and homophobia. BWF’s grant is for general operating support and the continuation of Reflect and Strengthen’s work to help young women resist violence, drugs, poverty and other forms of oppression by learning through history about the struggles of people around the world, their connectedness and the power to create positive growth in humanity.
Science Club for Girls
Science Club for Girls increases girls’ confidence, understanding and enjoyment of science in an effort to alleviate the gender and racial gap in science and technology. They provide girls with direct mentoring and leadership opportunities through free, hands-on science and technology after-school clubs. With a particular focus on serving the diverse populations in Cambridge, they bring women scientists and girls together in a nurturing and interactive learning environment. BWF’s grant is for general operating support and the continuation of a program model that mentors girls, fosters leadership, affirms college as an expectation, and promotes careers in science and technology as goals and options.
Sisters Program for Empowerment, Action & Knowledge (SPEAK)
SPEAK is a community based program developed to address the need to support Vietnamese girls who are often invisible in both the Vietnamese community and the community at large. BWF’s grant is for the development of a mentoring program that will provide a safe space for twelve Vietnamese American girls to build a support network to address issues of sexism, sexual and mental health, and economic empowerment for girls and women. SPEAK’s goals will be accomplished through educational and empowerment workshops, one-on-one mentoring, retreats, street outreach, home visits, community organizing projects and collaborative efforts.
Somali Development Corporation (SDC)
Jamaica Plain, $9,064
While strengthening the Somali community by promoting mutual assistance, cultural identity and leadership, the Somali Development Center, fosters the ability of Somali individuals and families to advocate on their own behalf and participate constructively in the larger community. BWF’s grant is to support SDC’s African Women’s Empowerment Initiative, which will address the psychological and physical needs of client who have undergone Female Genital Mutilation (FGM). This cultural practice, which is still supported by many Somali women, will be examined through workshops on culture, religion, gender roles, female empowerment and legislation. The ten-month forum will introduce healthy reproductive norms in a culturally sensitive environment, with the ultimate goal of eradicating FGM.
Southeast Asian Bilingual Advocates (SABAI)
The mission of SABAI is to improve the health and well-being of Southeast Asian Women through education, cultural brokering, advocacy and building individual capacity for self-advocacy. Working at the grassroots level, they are committed to the reduction of barriers between Southeast Asians and western health beliefs through the development of programs that are respectful of cultures and individuals, family and community needs. BWF’s grant is to support the development of resources available in the Khmer language to provide information on reproductive health and advocacy, specifically focused on pregnancy, self-care and general health care access. This project is a successor to SABAI’s involvement in the Conversation Project, which helped SABAI to identify barriers around communication and access to health education for women.
Survivors, Inc. leads a broad based grassroots movement to challenge deep-rooted economic injustices. The group mobilizes around welfare rights, poverty and low-income survival by building leadership among low-income women of diverse backgrounds and advocates for policies that sustain mothers of young children. Through Survivor’s Inc., many women who are initially denied food stamps, cash benefits, childcare and housing do receive these benefits. BWF’s grant provides general operating support to Survivor’s Inc. which mobilizes poor people to organize for progressive economic and social policy, advocates for the expansion of training, childcare and other work supports for women on welfare and works to change public perception of women who receive welfare.
Tempest Productions in collaboration with Dimock Community Health Center has formed a grassroots initiative to raise awareness about the interconnected issues, which lead teenaged girls to sexual exploitation and prostitution. Adult mentors who are police officers and attorneys will partner with Tempest Productions to help guide the research of teen peer leaders in the areas of sexual exploitation, Massachusetts State Law, the role of the law enforcement officers and the judicial system and human trafficking. BWF’s grant supports the production of Body & Sold: Talking with Communities, a theatrical presentation and community building initiative. Teens will lead public discussions after the performance and participate in subsequent community roundtable conversations about strategies for change.
Theater Offensive’s company, Plays at Work, mines the rich talent of Boston’s diverse communities of queer women of color and produces new theatrical work to encourage community activism. Plays at Work offers an intensive series of playwriting workshops, staged readings of local new works, and workshop productions of selected plays. BWF’s grant is for general operating support, giving voice to lesbians of color on stage and Plays at Work’s ongoing initiative to introduce new theatrical works.
Transition House is a pioneer domestic violence agency in Massachusetts. Founded in 1975, it is the second battered women’s shelter in the United States and since its inception has sheltered more than 5000 women and children. Transition House works towards the prevention and cessation of domestic violence through education, outreach and intervention. BWF’s grant is to support the Transition Housing Dating Violence Intervention Project, which provides extensive preventive education and direct clinical services to teens, mainly girls, ages 12-22 as a means of breaking the cycle of domestic violence and reducing its long-term harms. Specifically, funding will be used to support the Intervention component of the DVIP by providing both group and individual clinical counseling to girls who are at risk for or already are victims of abuse.
United Teen Equality Center
United Teen Equality Center’s (UTEC) Young Women’s project brings young women together to support each other and strengthen their sense of connection. The overall goal of young women’s programming at UTEC is to empower young women to be agents for positive social change by becoming problem solvers focusing on the specific needs of young women in Lowell. BWF’s grant is to support leadership development for girls in the UTEC program, by exploring institutional oppressions such as racism, sexism, classism and heterosexism, and working to identify resources to address barriers to opportunities. The leadership and networking skills the participants’ gain will work to increase their communication skills and ability to advocate for themselves and their communities.
Women of Color Roundtable
The Women of Color Roundtable’s, Raising Our Voices Project, is a grassroots collaborative of women service providers working in the HIV/AIDS field. The Project’s purpose is to mobilize women and girls of African descent to take leadership in preventing new HIV infections in the African-American community. In the face of an alarming increase in new HIV/AIDS diagnoses for women of color, BWF’s grant supports ongoing leadership development and advocacy initiatives to address issues of social and racial justice, education and reproductive rights as they relate to HIV/AIDS prevention, treatment and services for women of color. BWF’s grant will also support the development of a five-year strategic plan for the Women of Color Roundtable to support these goals.
The Cambridge Women’s Center’s, Women of Action program is a multi-issue, grassroots organization comprised of low income women, primarily women of color and single mothers who have joined their resources to support each other and organize campaigns demanding social and economic justice. Women of Action are organizing to promote a socially and economically just society that provides for the needs of all people, values people over property, compensates the caretaking of people over the caretaking of money, technology and machines, and, treats all people with dignity and respect. The BWF grant supports Women of Action’s goal to develop a leadership development component for low-income women, provide training and win victories on behalf of low-income women impacted by local institutions with unjust practices.
Women’s Institute for Leadership Development (WILD)
The goal of the Women’s Institute for Leadership Development (WILD) is to empower women to overcome barriers, speak out against them and to provide leadership that celebrates democracy and diversity. Sexism, racism and the other isms divide working people from other working people and diminishes their capacity to struggle together for economic and social justice. BWF’s grant is for general operating support as WILD works to rebuild their organizational infrastructure and continue its core programming: WILD Summer Institute; WILD in the Winter and the Latina and Women of African Heritage caucuses.
Women’s Theological Center
The Women’s Theological Center (WTC) provides spiritual, theological and ethical resources for organizations and groups working together for social justice. Their work is rooted in diverse histories, cultures and religious traditions and in the struggle to create common ground. BWF’s grant is to support the Spiritual Leadership Development Project, a new initiative designed to increase the capacity and effectiveness of individuals and organizers working for justice, through the development of their spiritual leadership. This project involves the creation of a training series in the various dimensions of spiritual leadership, partnerships with individuals who can help WTC create and deliver programs in spiritual leadership, and, the development of study/action communities that will sustain individuals as they continue to develop and apply their spiritual leadership over the long term.