BWF Grantmaking 2009
For 25 years, the Boston Women’s Fund has provided seed money, program support, and on-going funding for women-led, grassroots community groups. Through BWF’s multi-cultural, community-based, grant-making process, emerging groups are able to expand, and effective social change organizations which often are neglected by mainstream funding continue to contribute to the integral base for social justice. In FY09, despite the financial crisis, BWF distributed $442,500 in grants to women and girl-led social justice organizations throughout the Greater Boston area. Despite the economic difficulties faced by the entire non-profit community, BWF increased its grant-making between FY08 and FY09 by over 20%. Compared to FY07, the increase in FY09 was almost 40%. As always, BWF is deeply grateful for the work being done in our communities by our grantees, listed below.
Adbar Ethiopian Women’s Alliance
Adbar works to empower and strengthen Ethiopian women and girls by encouraging them to become agents of change. They work to enhance the status of Ethiopian women through community organizing, advocacy, empowerment programs and service linkages to other providers, as well as legislative and judicial advocacy to meet the needs of Ethiopian immigrant/refugee women who have been traditionally unserved or underserved.
Association of Haitian Women (AFAB)
The Mission of AFAB is to empower Haitian women by helping them develop their individual and collective capacity to improve social, economic and political status and effect positive changes in their livese and their families’ lives. With their BWF grant in FY09, AFAB began to implement organizational structure changes and develop an immigrant support group for newly arrived Haitian women in Boston. The dual aspects of their work aimed to address structural measures for building community and increase awareness and empowerment skills for newly arrived immigrant women.
Boston Black Women’s Health Initiative
Devoted to improving the health and wellness of black women, Boston Black Women’s Health Initiative, (BBWHI) provides the structure and support for members to take care of themselves and address personal health issues while working for systemic change in health care delivery systems. The organization links personal empowerment with community empowerment and organizes members to analyze health care policies. BWF funding in FY09 supported a coalition-building effort to develop the Sister to Sister Black Lesbian Health Project to promote health, awareness and activism of black lesbians in regard to specific health-related issues.
Boston Day & Evening Academy
Boston Day and Evening Academy (BDEA), a unique, innovative, year-round alternative public high school, serves 350 students who are over-age for grade level and who are either at high risk for dropping out or have already dropped out of high school and are returning to earn a BPS diploma. With BWF funding, BDEA organized Ladies First, a skill-building resource to help pregnant or parenting teens to live independently by offering them mentoring and methods of recognizing and anticipating obstacles inhibiting their success. The program focuses on 8th grade girls and provides training for older BDAE students who reach out to the middle school girls, sharing their experiences, as well as discussions on not joining gangs and on drop-out prevention.
Brazilian Women’s Group
The Brazilian Women’s Group promotes political and cultural awareness and contributes to the development of the Brazilian community. BWF provided general operating grant and supported a full time staff member to provide information and advocacy on issues such as immigrant rights, negotiating US systems, community organizing, and other critical issues in the Brazilian community.
With sites in Roxbury and Dorchester, Brookview House helps homeless and at-risk families learn the skills necessary to break the cycle of homelessness and poverty in a safe community setting. BWF supported Brookview House in its efforts to develop a new “Teen Visionaries” program to train young women in the shelter to help change community attitudes towards stress-related mental illness using technology and traditional/non-traditional activities to reach homeless communities throughout out Boston.
Center for New Words
The Center for New Words has a simple mission: To use the power and creativity of words and ideas to strengthen the voice of progressive and marginalized women in society. BWF funding supported Taking Our Place in Public Conversations, a program to build capacity of the 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 of issues and concerns reflecting women’s real lives. BWF enabled CNW to promote movement- building among women and girls and spotlight issues pivotal to our communities and supported the program at On the Rise with homeless women, the Reluctant Writers Program for low-income women in Cambridge, and outreach older women, immigrant women and women with disabilities.
Chelsea Citywide Tenants Association
Chelsea Citywide Tenants Association represents low-income residents in Chelsea public housing, private subsidized housing, and non-subsidized market rate housing in dealings with the Chelsea Housing Authority, other public entities and private landlords; and mobilizes tenants to protect, improve and expand public housing and private affordable housing in the city. Their BWF grant helped to support the salary of a full-time housing organizer to reach out to female-headed households in public housing in Chelsea, which are among those with the lowest income and least access to resources. With funding from BWF, the CTA organizer concentrated on the following: ensure that public housing is sanitary, rodent and mold-free, and safe for all tenants; preserve “expiring use” housing developments in Chelsea; address the problems caused by predatory lending in Chelsea; diversify the base of those fighting for Extremely Low Income (ELI), low-income, and affordable housing in Chelsea.
The City School develops and strengthens the power of youth to work toward building a just society through creative education and critical thinking, leadership development, action and service, and promoting understanding and relationships across difference. Funds from BWF supported the staff of the “Rose from Concrete” program, to provide ongoing leadership development training and services for 20 to 30 young women involved with the court and juvenile justice systems. Funding also underwrites program materials, food and other elements of this powerful, transformational program.
Cooperative Economics for Women
Cooperative Economics for Women (CEW) provides low-income women, primarily women of color, with the ability to gain and control income through group organizing, cooperative leadership skills development, advocacy and organizing for policy change, and promoting community development. In line with the Mission, CEW programs address community food insecurity, English language skills, violence prevention, and the lack of essential support serves for immigrant women and their families. BWF provided general support to CEW in FY09 to continue organizing, leadership development and community outreach effort with immigrants & refugee women in Revere and Greater Boston.
Dorchester Community for the Visual Arts/DotArt
DotArt makes exemplary visual arts education available to everyone in Dorchester, Boston’s largest and most diverse neighborhood. In FY09, BWF providing funding for Sisters for Change, a collaborative program led by Dot Art in partnership with the Salvation Army Jubilee House, which supports the healthy development of at-risk girls ages 11 to 14. By offering quality arts programming to girls who otherwise would not have access to such education because of geographic and/or economic barriers, Sisters for Change promotes community consciousness, and critical thinking to recognize how choices and actions affect individuals and their communities.
Encuentro Diaspora Afro
Encuentro Diaspora Afro is a grassroots organization dedicated to dismantling racism, improving the lives of women and men of African descent, and creating a just society for all. Encuentro members and staff envision a society where women and men of African descent enjoy full rights, opportunities, and equal benefit from resources, and in order to contribute to the wellbeing and development of their families, communities, and societies. The Boston Women’s Fund provided support for HER (Hermanas Exchanging Roots), a young women’s leadership project, and the Women’s initiative. These women-centered components of Encuentro achieve goals through community-building, cross cultural dialogues, and events to strengthen Afro Latino unity. HER unites and builds solidarity among young women of color. Through skill-building and personal development activities, young women identify what they have in common and explore what divides them. Working in schools such as City on a Hill, Tenacity, and Hyde Park – Social Justice Academy, they explore questions such as: What are the consequences of identity-based power struggles within communities of color? How do we overcome this and establish common ground?
Garrett Pressley Autism Resource Center
Because women of color and women who do not speak English are at a disadvantage when advocating for their children under the best of circumstances, and resources for developmentally disabled are usually not located in their communities, not multilingual and not sensitive to diverse needs, low-income and/or minority mothers and children may be labeled as “trouble-makers” and stigmatized. Too often urban schools offer “cookie cutter services” that do not meet the individualized needs of children with autism. The Garrett Pressley Autism Resource Center was organized to ensure that children of color and immigrant children diagnosed with a spectrum disorder such as autism, or Asperger’s syndrome, have the highest quality of life possible. BWF funding was provided to assist the Center with outreach, educational/healthcare advocacy, and mentorship training for parents and other caregivers.
Girl Talk Theatre
Girl Talk Theatre uses the art of theatre as a tool to empower homeless, poor and marginalized women by offering a safe, nurturing environment for telling their stories. Out of these stories, the women of Girl Talk Theatre create performance opportunities which honor their experiences, giving them tangible evidence that they are important for what they were, what they are now, and what they can be in the future. BWF funding was provided to continue the growth and development of the Girl Talk Theatre Alumni Class to build Girl Talk Theatre into a stronger and more visible entity in the community of homeless women and in the Boston community in general, giving voice to the voiceless. The Alumni Class serves the dual purpose of empowering actresses and enlightening the audience – creating a springboard for action and change.
Healing Our Community Collaborative
The HOCC Mission is to empower women who are infected, affected, or at risk for HIV to advocate for themselves by creating and maintaining a collaborative group of HIV providers and consumers whose purpose is to increase understanding and improve care; advance knowledge about women’s experience of HIV/AIDS; enhance problem-solving capacities of providers and consumers; promote healthy behavioral changes, create solutions together to prevent HIV infection and transmission; reduce health disparities for women of color and improve access to and retention in optimal health care. With BWF support, HOCC provided gender-specific, culturally relevant educational program to women infected or affected by HIV/Aids funding at on-going luncheon series and workshops.
Homes for Families
Homes for Families is a statewide advocacy organization committed to ending family homelessness through permanent and emergency solutions. A collaborative of families who have experienced homelessness, service providers, and advocates, Homes for Families members educate, organize, and advocate for improved public policies to address the root causes of family homelessness with holistic and community-based solutions. In FY09, BWF continued its support of the organization’s Leadership Development Institute to recruit, organize and fully involve the people most affected by the injustice of family homelessness — women and their children who experience homelessness. Through the Institute, homeless families themselves advocate for access to education, training and jobs that pay a living wage; for homelessness prevention resources; and to expand access to and production of housing for extremely low-income households.
MassCOSH brings together workers, unions, community groups, and health, safety and environmental activists to organize and advocate for safe, secure jobs and healthy communities throughout eastern and central Massachusetts. Through training, technical assistance and building community/labor alliances, MassCOSH mobilizes its members and develops leaders in the movement to end unsafe work conditions. BWF funded a new MassCOSH initiative called Leadership Education and Action to promote Safety (LEAPS) for young workers. LEAPS was designed to engage 25 -30 high school students in investigating, gaining critical skills and developing action plans to promote safety and prevent workplace violence. Participants will examine issues such as sexual harassment from the perspective of young women in the workforce.
Massachusetts Alliance on Teen Pregnancy
The Massachusetts Alliance on Teen Pregnancy provides statewide leadership to prevent teenage pregnancy and meet the service needs of pregnant and parenting teens and their children through policy analysis, research, education, and advocacy. The Alliance works to ensure that Massachusetts’ youth have access to comprehensive pregnancy-prevention services and that pregnant and parenting teens and their children have the resources and support they need to thrive. For the Alliance, the means for achieving these outcomes are to educate, empower and support young people and the adults who work with them to become leaders on the issue of teen pregnancy prevention and the needs of young parents. BWF provided support in FY09 to fund the Alliance’s Teen Parent Advisory Board.
Massachusetts Paid Leave Coalition
The Mass Paid Leave Coalition is a women-directed alliance of advocates, community organizations, and policy and data experts who collaborate to educate the public and policymakers about the critical need for policies that ensure all workers have access to paid leave, specifically helping low-wage working women stay employed, build assets, and enhance the well-being of their children and families. BWF funding in FY09 enabled the Coalition to continue its efforts to secure mandated paid sick days in the Commonwealth. This campaign seeks legislation that would provide up to seven paid sick days per year for any illness, injury or health condition that requires staying at home or professional medical care, attending routine medical appointments, and absences for domestic violence victims. As being female doubles the chance of job loss due to family illness, this bill is of particular importance to low-wage women. The passage of this legislation would enable workers, particularly women, to keep their jobs and take care of their families, reduce health care costs, and provide domestic violence survivors with the job security they need.
MataHari: Eye of the Day
MataHari organizes and works with individuals and communities impacted by family violence, sexual violence, migrant labor exploitation and human trafficking. The Mission is to create community solutions and mediate safe, respectful and empowering spaces for freedom, dignity and human rights. BWF funding for MataHari supports their progressive, equitable approach to outreach, as well as organizing and empowerment meetings, primarily in Southeast Asian communities.
Neighbor to Neighbor
Neighbor to Neighbor Massachusetts builds power in low-income and working class communities around economic justice issues. The N2N community organizing model includes voter registration and education, candidate endorsements, public policy advocacy, coalition building, and the development of sustainable grassroots leadership. The Working Family Agenda – good jobs, education and training, affordable child care, health care and housing, a welfare safety net, and progressive taxation – is the cornerstone of the program. By bringing low-income people back into the political process, developing local leadership, and organizing a coalition of allies, N2N holds politicians accountable to their constituents and is building a progressive majority in Massachusetts. BWF funding was provided for N2N in FY09 for women’s leadership development in the Worcester chapter. The goals of this project are to (1) develop the leadership of a group of 10 – 20 low-income women activists in Worcester, and (2) 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 domestic violence and battering in lesbian, bisexual women’s, and transgender communities. Through a community-based multi-cultural organization in which battered/formerly battered lesbians, bisexual women, and transgender folks hold leadership roles; community organizing, education, and support services; and coalition-building with other movements for social change and social justice, the Network/La Red seeks to create a culture in which domination, coercion, and control are no longer accepted and operative social norms. BWF funded the continuation of the organization’s Visibility Campaign, supporting outreach and education in the LBT community, as well as organizing to encourage community members and institutions to see DV as their issue, involve themselves both in raising awareness of battering, and in create safer/accountable communities. In FY09, BWF supported the Communities of Color Outreach Committee; a formal relationship with Casa Esperanza; the work of the Youth Outreach Committee; a formal relationship with BAGLY; the “Help a Friend” campaign; recruitment/training campaign for volunteer organizers and educators; increasing media attention to LBT battering; and work with the statewide EMPOWER/Sexual Assault Prevention project coordinated by Jane Doe.
Reflect and Strengthen
Reflect and Strengthen (R&S) was organized to provide young women with a creative and nurturing environment for positive social change through social justice education, community building and creative expression. Through R&S, young women gain support from one another, identify the issues they are facing and learn about the systems that maintain oppressive structures.
ROAD- Reaching Out About Depression
ROAD is a community-based program created by and for women who are suffering in low-income communities with depression and its related issues. All services are offered free-of-charge. By creating a network of support in the community, ROAD helps women experiencing stress or depression understand that they are not alone, while offering strategies and resources to promote their self-empowerment and improved quality of life. ROAD offers leadership opportunities for women who join the network so that they can become peer supports for their fellow ROAD members and change agents in their communities.As a community-based support system for low-income women, ROAD also actively educates, trains and influences the mental health and social service provider community about the complex needs of the women ROAD serves. BWF has offered on-going funding to support the ROAD workshop series and social action events
Science Club for Girls
The Mission of Science Club for Girls is to offer free after school programs that provide experiential learning, mentorship, and leadership opportunities for K–12th grade girls belonging to groups which are underrepresented in the sciences, and to increase their self-confidence and science literacy. Their grant from BWF supports the training of adolescent girls to be more effective and confident in leading science activities and being mentors for younger students, and also facilitated development of a youth council to prove additional authentic leadership opportunities.
Survivors, Inc. mobilizes a broad welfare rights constituency to fight for economic justice. The group empowers low- income women to become leaders in the organization, in communities and in statewide matters related to economic and social justice and builds upon the power of poor women through leadership development, community organizing, education and advocacy concerning policy and practice related to poor women and families. BWF provided funding for general operational costs, supporting publication of Survival News and keeping the group’s outreach workers in welfare offices around the area. BWF funding meant continuing coalition work with other organizations for the Human Rights Cities Initiative, CORI Reform, and CPCS stability, continuation of WEAVE workshops and the Survivors, Inc Club at UMass Boston, and expansion of the newly formed Youth Advisory Committee, to develop new leadership within Survivors, Inc.
The Mission of Teen Voices is to further social and economic justice by empowering teenage and young adult women to develop communication and journalism skills and to use these skills to reach out to other girls, locally and nationally, and communicate information on critical issues from a girl’s perspective. Through skills-based competency training combined with social justice education Teen Voices fosters feminist leaders. BWF supports Teen Voices’ Boston Girls Writing Community, a series of public forums that bring together primarily low-income teen girls of color with adult women writers. These forums include Pens of Power, an intergenerational summer forum of workshops led by women writers; Poetically Speaking, a citywide spoken-word open mike event organized by Peer Leaders; and My Life…My Words!, a full-day spring gathering where girls create multidisciplinary autobiographical narratives. All gatherings empower teen girls to voice their experiences and point of view on important issues and to support activism in their own lives and communities. Peer Leaders are at the center of creating and implementing these forums which support an intergenerational community of activist writers.
Tenants on Victory
Tenants in Victory addresses tenant rights and housing violations in Villa Victoria, an affordable low-mixed income housing development in the South End. BWF provided startup monies to conduct meetings and activities, and supported presentation of workshops on tenant rights issues.
WE LEARN/Women Expanding Literacy Education
WE LEARN promotes women’s literacy as a tool for personal growth and social change through networking, education, action, and resource development. The program addresses the barriers, consequences, and impact of gender-based differences on women’s learning and how those differences affect women’s success and their ability to progress socially, economically and politically. Organization goals include: to create widespread visibility and support of issues related to women’s literacy and adult basic education; to expand the availability of women-centered literacy materials and curriculum resources; and to be a strong and sustainable constituency-centered organization. WE LEARN is the only national U.S. organization directly addressing the issues of adult women’s literacy and the needs of women in adult basic education. For WE LEARN, BWF funded the Writing Circles Project in FY09
Wellesley Centers for Women/Gender and Justice Project
Since 2002, the Gender and Justice Project (GJP) has conducted social justice research to inform policy makers, judicial personnel, legal advocates, victims’ rights groups, scholars, and others about conditions faced by women victims of crime, women in the civil and criminal justice systems, and women in poverty. The GJP disseminates evidence-based data gained from this research to a variety of decision-makers, helps shape policy, and documents best practices so they can be replicated in community institutions. BWF provided funding to enable GJP to develop and pilot-test a new family court advocacy training curriculum for service providers who work with battered immigrant and minority women. The curriculum will be distributed to every service agency in the Greater Boston area as well as courts, cultural organizations, and relevant professional organizations. The project is designed to empower battered women by providing them with substantive, strategic knowledge.
Women’s Fightback Network
Jamaica Plain $15,000
WFN is a multi-national, multigenerational grassroots organization of women activists from diverse communities who stand in solidarity with sisters under economic and political attack. The group mobilizes against racism, sexism, LGBT oppression, budget cuts, poverty, and war. BWF provided funding in FY09 to enable the Network to build a wider coalition of women and women’s organizations around Boston to fight back against the cutbacks initiated by the Bush administration. The group organized demonstrations, rallies, speak outs, and forums in Boston, and conducted classes and workshops for women. With BWF support, Women’s Fightback Network continued their State of Economic Emergency campaign focusing on the impact of the deepening economic crisis on poor and working class women and their families and sponsored a Sistah Summit in the spring, which included cross-generational dialogue, testimonials, an art exhibit, and new action proposals.
Women’s Institute for Leadership Development
WILD advocates for a labor movement that includes unions and all other organizations and people who fight for the rights of working people and for social justice. The group aims to strengthen women’s influence in the Massachusetts labor movement by increasing the number and diversity of women leaders, and providing them with tools to be effective organizers in their unions and organizations, as well as to increase democratic participation in the labor movement, particularly among women and people of color. BWF funding for WILD supported building the leadership of diverse working women in the Boston area through core programs such as the Summer Institute, the Winter Institute, and Black & Brown. Black & Brown is a new project, which grew out of WILD’s Women of African Heritage and Latina caucuses in 2008, to heal divisions between African American and Latino/a communities in Boston and build mutual understanding while also supporting the leadership of women of color.
Youth Enrichment Services
The goal of YES is to inspire and challenge youth by engaging them in physical and mental activities that foster life-long respect for self, others, and the environment. BWF funding for YES supports Girls Outdoor Adventure Leaders (GOAL), a youth development program that uses outdoor sports to empower girls. YES (Youth Enrichment Services) received funding last year to expand GOAL and firmly establish the program as a key component of the organization.