BWF Grantmaking 2008
The Boston Women’s Fund proudly supports the exceptional work of the following organizations in promoting social and economic justice for women and girls.
Asian Women’s Social Justice Project (AWSJP)
Asian, South Asian, and Pacific Islanders are the fastest growing ethnic/racial minority in Massachusetts. Organizing women to work on their own behalf is at the core of the Asian Women’s Social Justice Project. They work to give Asian women the tools they need to lift up their voices, develop leadership skills, organize as a community and create social change in their lives. There is a need for HIV prevention among Asian women using culturally and linguistically appropriate interventions. The AWSJP Women’s Health Initiative offers this by preparing women to work as health advocates and educators in their own communities. AWSJP develops and disseminates their Women’s Health Initiative HIV prevention model to address HIV/AIDS among under-served, at-risk Southeast Asian women and girls. AWSJP is a project of MAP.
Avery Institute for Social Change
Jamaica Plain $10,225
The Avery Institute for Social Change is committed to quality health care for all and to feeding the policy discussion around health care with the data, experience, opinions and skills of the most underserved communities. The organization takes a visionary approach to health care reform and justice by joining the grassroots, academic and public policy communities. “Hear Us Now! Raising the Voices of Marginalized and Women of Color” is a project designed to provide critical input to the national debate on the availability of universal ac- cess to health care. In addition it creates a pipeline of community activists to push a policy agenda for health care reform. The project will conduct small group conversations with ethnically diverse women about Massachusetts health care coverage and their specific needs for health care reform.
Bosnian Community Center for Resource Development (BCCRD)
BCCRD works to establish and provide culturally and linguistically appropriate services to refugees from Bosnia and other parts of former Yugoslavia who have resettled in the wider Metro Boston area. The Boston Women’s Fund grant supports BCCRD’s domestic violence initiative, which provides education about domestic violence and victims’ rights to women who are linguistically, culturally and economically isolated and vulnerable. Ultimately, refugee women become their own advocates, while sharing information and their experiences with others in their communities.
Brazilian Women’s Group (BWG)
Since the immigration raids in New Bedford in March of ‘07, the Brazilian Women’s Group has seen an increase in weekly walk-ins and phone calls on issues regarding worker’s rights, domestic violence and sexual abuse. The BWG mission is to promote political and cultural awareness, and contribute to the development and self-suffi ciency of the Brazilian community, especially women and their children. The group promotes discussion groups, seminars and meetings around topics such as education, immigrants’ rights and women’s issues. They coordinate events that promote Brazilian-American culture and female leadership, while providing educational services such as English as a Second Language. BWG also organizes campaigns to encourage civic engagement by their constituency. BWG is home to a cooperative of Brazilian women housecleaners who organize and advocate for the use of environmentally friendly and safe cleaning products. A Boston Women’s Fund grant assisted them in hiring a full time staffer.
Center for New Words (CNW)
CNW uses the power and creativity of words and ideas to strengthen the voices of progressive and marginalized women in society. Boston Women’s Fund supports CNW’s Taking Our Place in the Public Conversation initiative, which offers creative and skill-building workshops and facilitated book groups to homeless women, women in transitional housing, low-income women and women who have been marginalized because of race, ethnicity, class, immigration status, disability, age or sexual orientation. CNW seeks to build the capacity of various feminist movements, promote women’s voices and ideas, expand educational/skill-building workshops to marginalized women, feature writers from “the margins,” and initiate discussions about issues and concerns reflecting women’s real lives. Supported in part by the Christina Callan Grant-Making Bequest at BWF.
Chelsea Citywide Tenants Association (CTA)
Chelsea Citywide Tenants Association mobilizes lowincome women and other public housing residents to fi ght for safe, sanitary, affordable housing. The Boston Women’s Fund grant helped to support a fulltime housing organizer, who reaches out to femaleheaded households, which are among those with the lowest incomes and least access to resources. The organized women of CTA work to ensure that public housing is sanitary, rodent and mold-free, and safe for all tenants; preserve “expiring use” housing developments in Chelsea; address problems caused by predatory lending; and diversify the base of those fi ghting for low-income and affordable housing in Chelsea.
The City School
The City School develops and strengthens the power of youth to build a just society. BWF’s grant supports Rose from Concrete (RfC), a program that builds leadership with court-involved, young women in Greater Boston. Focused on healing, deepening self-awareness and increasing self-efficacy, RfC helps young women gain greater insight and understanding of the political context and systems that have contributed to their present circumstances. Through learning activities and creative and community service projects, RfC youth begin to experience themselves as important and valuable members of our community who are able to make meaningful change.
Cooperative Economics for Women
State programs that provide cash assistance, food stamps and ESOL classes were some of the supports that were lost due to sweeping changes in laws and policy since 9/11. These changes have severely impacted women & children in marginalized communities. Cooperative Economics for Women (CEW) targets those who are most marginalized by the US economic system: refugee & immigrant women who do not have the language, support systems or skills to move easily into the US labor market. CEW organizes them to address the problems they face as they struggle to meet their basic needs. The organizing method relies on members identifying the root causes of problems and then working together in activities that result in systematic change. The Food Security Program enables members to participate in community supported agriculture for organic and less expensive sources of produce. The ESL Women in Action program provides education, promotes an understanding of the root causes of injustice, and encourages women to use their knowledge and skills to create lasting changes within their families and communities.
Encuentro Diaspora Afro
Encuentro Diaspora Afro is a grassroots organization, which gives voice to the experiences of Afro-Latinos, a huge but largely invisible and marginalized group of people in Boston and across the United States. It is dedicated to dismantling racism, improving the lives of people of African descent, and creating a just society for all. The Boston Women’s Fund supports the Hermanas Exchanging Roots, a young women’s leadership program, and the Women’s Initiative, which builds awareness and solidarity among various ethnic groups of women of African descent. Both projects promote cross-cultural dialogue and education, women’s leadership, alliance-building and Afro Latino unity. Supported in part by the Christina Callan Grant-Making Bequest at BWF.
Matahari: Eye of the Day
Matahari: Eye of the Day creates community solutions to prevent and end human traffi cking, genderbased violence and migrant labor exploitation. The Boston Women’s Fund supports Matahari’s organizing in South Asian, Filipina and Haitian-Caribbean communities. Women are organized to develop solidarity groups and come together to help break isolation, tap into leadership potential, develop political commentary and establish networks for employment, childcare, education, and affordable housing. Each group engages in anti-violence and anti-oppression education and dialogue.
Neighbor to Neighbor (N2N)
Neighbor to Neighbor (N2N) Massachusetts builds power in low-income and working class communities by bringing low-income people back into the political process, developing local leadership, and organizing a broad coalition of allies who hold poli- ticians accountable to the needs of their constituents. The grant from Boston Women’s Fund supports Neighbor to Neighbor – Worcester’s project to develop the leadership capacity of low-income women activists in Worcester. Through door-to-door visits, one-on-one mentoring, individual and group skill development, issue education, and learning-by-doing public advocacy training, N2N – Worcester prepares low-income women to advocate for change on the economic justice issues that affect their lives and build voter power in their neighborhoods.
The Network/La Red
The Network/La Red addresses battering in lesbian, bisexual women’s, and transgender communities. The Boston Women’s Fund supports the Network/La Red’s visibility campaign, which raises awareness of and community responsibility for lesbian/transgender domestic violence. Through a combination of organizing, education, outreach, community collaborations, and media activism, the Network/La Red works to create a culture in which domination, coercion, and control are no longer accepted and operative, social norms.
Pleasant Street Neighborhood Network Center
Pleasant Street Neighborhood Network Center is home to Women Together (WT), a group of mothers, sisters, neighbors and residents of the Piedmont Neighborhood in Worcester who came together in response to youth violence in their neighborhood. BWF funding supports their organizing of a diverse membership, which will develop and work for a common vision for their community. Supported in part by the Christina Callan Grant-Making Bequest at BWF.
Project Hip-Hop is a youth-led organization that uses hip-hop culture and the history of resistance to injustice as tools for engaging and developing young people as activists and organizers. Working in the Dudley Square neighborhood, youth members and their adult supporters create a new dynamic where young people work together to uplift their community. Boston Women’s Fund supports Project HIP-HOP’s two-year initiative to explore sexism, misogyny, and homophobia while also increasing support for gender-specific programs for young women activists. The young women of Project HIP-HOP increase their ability and comfort in confronting gender oppression through the Summer Leadership Institute, a collaborative project about domestic violence with Casa Myrna Vasquez, and Girlz Cypher, a spoken word performance group for young women.
Project: Think Different
Youth often turn to the entertainment media and popular culture for information. The dangerous effects of mainstream media on the self-esteem, empowerment, and the well-being of young women is apparent in girls’ violence statistics, current fashion trends, and rising rates of teen pregnancy. Project: Think Different’s Youth Media Institute cultivates leaders who believe in their power to create change in the media. Education, employment opportunities, job skills training in media arts, youth co-facilitation of workshops for other youth, and mentoring opportunities help girls to explore the ways in which the media contribute to young women’s perceptions of themselves as well as how young people can utilize media to create positive shifts in their community.
Reaching Out About Depression (ROAD)
Reaching Out About Depression (ROAD) is a grassroots mental health and organizing program run by and for low-income women with depression. ROAD addresses not only the symptoms of women’s depression, but also the social conditions and inequalities that can cause, infl uence and exacerbate mental health diffi culties. ROAD offers leadership opportunities for women so they can become peer supports for their fellow ROAD members and change agents in their communities. Experienced ROAD participants mentor new members, design and deliver presentations for local service providers, and participate in skill building workshops on team-building, grant writing and public speaking. The BWF grant supports ROAD’s ongoing work and helps increase leadership opportunities for ROAD members.
Sociedad Latina’s Young Women Organizing Project trains girls ages 14-18 on the elements of community organizing, providing them with a voice in the world and helping them to develop youth-led strategies for media justice. This program provides girls with leadership development skills that pertain to researching issues, interviewing and educating their peers and working with state and local decision makers. This year the Young Women Community Organizers focus their efforts on policy changes to address the negative effect that storefront advertising has on young women’s physical and mental health. They also work with Area B2 police personnel to devise and implement trainings on the issue of girl-on-girl violence.
Women Express cultivates the power of girls and young adult women to create social change through writing and art. Women Express creates opportunities for low-income teen girls of color to develop communications and journalism skills and to use these skills to express their point-of-view on critical issues. The young women involved produce a national print and online magazine, Teen Voices, now in its 17th year of publication and the only alternative print magazine for girls in the United States. BWF supports Teen Voices’ Boston Girls Writing Project Community, an outreach and engagement effort to involve and work with an additional 225 girls from the Boston area.
United Teen Equality Center
United Teen Equality Center (UTEC) is a “by teens, for teens” safe-haven for youth development and grassroots organizing. The Young Women’s Organizing (YWO) program is a social issues- focused program, specifi cally for young women, within UTEC’s Youth Development Center. YWO develops young women leaders who in turn educate their peers about issues signifi cant to women and girls in their communities in Lowell. YWO promotes young women’s agency in their own community so that they become problem solvers focusing on the specific needs of Lowell’s young women. YWO and its young women leaders together create a system of supported leadership training. Currently, YWO participants focus on becoming experts on the issues of domestic violence, abuse, and cyber-stalking as they relate to young women in Lowell.
We Learn/Women Expanding Literacy Education Action Resource Network
WE LEARN addresses the barriers and consequences of gender-based differences on women’s learning – differences, which affect women’s success and ability to progress socially, economically and politically. WE LEARN promotes women’s literacy as a tool for personal growth and social change through networking, education, action, and resource development. BWF funds support WE LEARN’s collaboration with Boston area adult literacy programs, which provides Women Leading Through Reading (WLTR) discussion circles for women with limited literacy skills. The circles utilize women-centered literacy materials, group reading, facilitated discussion, and refl ective writing to provide unique opportunities to address gender-based barriers to women’s learning. Supported in part by the Christina Callan Grant- Making Bequest at BWF.
We’re Educators A Touch of Class (WEATOC)
Sister2Sister is a peer education program of WEATOC that educates young women about their bodies, informs them about critical issues, empowers them to make healthy choices, and helps them to improve their self-esteem. They are one of the fi rst groups in Boston to use and establish the peer modeling technique for educating youth on issue affecting their lives. WEATOC uses drama, education and counseling to teach young women about abuse, themselves, and their relationships. Sister2Sister empowers young women so that they are likely to avoid victimization. Each member participates in various levels of training to create curricula, games and skits that educate their peers in schools, health centers, youth centers and women’s programs. Through their dynamic performances that both educate and entertain, they are changing and breaking the negative stereotypes of youth.
YWCA Boston’s Girls Get REAL is the only program in Boston that focuses exclusively on the comprehensive health and well-being of adolescent girls. The program empowers at–risk girls to challenge destructive messages of sexism and racism and to develop healthy identities and individual voices against violence. They work together to address how poverty negatively impacts health and the reality of health disparities in Boston. Twenty young women of color receive training in leadership development and health education during after-school sessions and community workshops. They also participate in a variety of hands-on health and wellness workshops, field trips. They also conduct health and wellness surveys of their peers. These Peer Health Leaders then host outreach events and an annual Girls’ Health and Wellness Summit to advocate for social change in their communities and promote greater health awareness among their peers.