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GRANTMAKING APPROACH

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2015: Reaching Women and Girls Through Community-Based Solutions

2015: Reaching Women and Girls Through Community-Based Solutions

Key

Community Districts with 20% or more women and children living in poverty

Number of Women Served by Grantee Partners by Community District

  • < 100 Women
  • 100 – 399 Women
  • 400 – 1,999 Women

The New York Women’s Foundation funds women leaders building solutions in their communities. Having distributed $7.6 million in 2016, The New York Women’s Foundation’s grantmaking places it at the top women’s foundations in the U.S., and second in the world. We boldly invest in organizations and leaders that strive for justice, economic security, safety, and health for women and families. We prioritize organizations that promote women’s leadership, gender equity, and asset-based community approaches. The Foundation goes beyond funding to deliver the resources and networking opportunities that emerging organizations and leaders need in order to continue to progress and succeed. We practice participatory grantmaking—guidance for grantmaking comes directly from the communities to be supported; and grantmaking is principally carried out by volunteer activists. Our approach provides diverse stakeholders with a deep, first-hand knowledge of the key issues and players, and continually reinforces their determination to promote success.   

Our grantmaking is driven by the following beliefs and values:
  • Grantees are partners and knowledgeable experts.
  • Holistic and sustainable solutions come from within the community.
  • Women are authors of their lives and change makers in their communities.
  • A participatory approach—between community members, leaders, and funders—creates opportunities for local solutions and long-lasting change.
  • Investment across the lifespan of women increases self-suciency.
  • Long term investment in grantee partners facilitates organizational sustainability.

Rooted in principles of inclusiveness and empowerment, decision-making at The Foundation is drawn from an alliance comprising women of all backgrounds and means. Through our Grants Advisory Committee, we engage volunteers by training them in activism and philanthropy to build and sustain women’s progress.

The Foundation invests to remove barriers and create opportunities in the following focus areas: Economic Security; Anti-Violence and Safety; and Health, Sexual Rights, and Reproductive Justice; and Capacity Building for Grantee Partners. We are keenly aware that these focus areas are often inextricably linked through the lived experiences of girls, women, and gender-fluid individuals.

  • Economic Security
  • Anti-Violence & Safety
  • Health, Sexual Rights & Reproductive Justice
  • Capacity Building for Grantee Partners

Economic Security

The New York Women’s Foundation supports organizations and programs that promote economic well-being and independence of women, girls, and gender fluid individuals living at or below the poverty level by providing greater access to education, job training, employment, business development/entrepreneurship, asset building, and work supports for individuals while also working to achieve economic justice.

GRANTEE SPOTLIGHT

Per Scholas was an outstanding experience for Kimberly. Her instructor provided her the skills that she needed to get to where she wanted to be. She gained knowledge and certifications, but also build a network that has supported her through her journey and beyond.

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Kimberly

Per Scholas
READ Kimberly'S STORY

Per Scholas

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“If you asked my discouraged 17-year old self if I would be here, I wouldn't have seen it for myself.”

Kimberly
Per Scholas

Per Scholas provides tuition-free technology training to unemployed or underemployed adults for careers as IT professionals.

I came to New York City from Baltimore at the age of 17 with the dream of becoming a computer programmer. I studied at NYU and at the time, found out this path wasn’t for me. I was discouraged by the male-centric attitude of technology and it was difficult to adjust to the teaching style. I switched majors a couple of times and eventually, I ran out of money. I went on to work in the restaurant industry, taking jobs such as hosting and eventually serving to make ends meet.  At some point, I moved into management. During the course of my career, I always found myself gravitating toward technology within this field. I realized that even though I shelved my dream of a career in tech, I was often taking on projects that centered around technology in my place of work. The hospitality group I worked for wasn’t giving me the opportunity to pursue my interest, instead they offered me a position that took me farther away from it. I made a counter offer, which they rejected. After working in the restaurant industry for over 10 years, I decided to leave.

I started job hunting immediately—sending resumes far and wide, hoping someone would take a chance on me. One day at the unemployment office, the counselor really looked at my resume and where I was applying to for jobs. Understanding my interest in tech, the counselor suggested I go to Per Scholas (PS) to get the training and certifications that would help me compete for tech jobs. I took the entrance exam and was invited to interview for admittance into the program. PS was an outstanding experience for me— my instructor gave me the skills that I needed to get to where I wanted to be. I gained knowledge and certifications, but I also built a network that supported me through my journey and beyond. Most importantly I gained confidence in myself and my skill set.

Through PS, I had the opportunity to gain a mentor from Bloomberg, which happened at the same time that I was interviewing for a job there. I am proud to say that I have been at Bloomberg for almost 3 years now. I brought all the “soft skills” I learned in the hospitality industry—communication, working with a sense of urgency, teamwork—and combined them with the rich technical and industry knowledge I gained at PS. Every day, I combine this set of skills to bridge the gap between tech and end users.

If you asked my discouraged 17-year old self if I would be here, I wouldn’t have seen it for myself. Now I can see that I was always able to live my dream of a career in tech–I just learned differently and needed the right teachers. PS creates agency, networks and confidence in people like me who are told on a daily basis they don’t have the experience, the education, for this kind of work. And most importantly, I can always go back and get guidance and advice because Per Scholas is a family.

 

 

Anti-Violence & Safety

The New York Women’s Foundation provides resources to support organizations that address the immediate needs of women, girls, and gender-fluid individuals who suffer or have suffered physical, emotional and sexual abuse as well as programs that seek the root causes of genderbased violence in order to create lasting changes in institutions and beliefs that perpetuate genderbased violence. Genderbased violence can include intimate partner violence, sexual assault, the trafficking of women and minors, cyberstalking, and other forms of cyberviolence, gun violence, and elder abuse and The Foundation supports work in prevention, intervention, and/or advocacy and policy change.

GRANTEE SPOTLIGHT

Deeba* walked into Women for Afghan Women’s New York Community Center for the first time in the beginning of 2016.

*For the subject’s safety, we’ve used the name Deeba.

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Deeba

Women for Afghan Women
READ Deeba'S STORY

Women for Afghan Women

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“Deeba shared that her father-in-law, who resided with her and her husband, had hidden her Green Card approval and Social Security Card.”

Deeba
Women for Afghan Women

Women for Afghan Women (WAW) is a grassroots civil society organization dedicated to protecting and promoting the rights of Afghan women and girls.

Deeba walked into Women for Afghan Women’s New York Community Center for the first time in the beginning of 2016. She didn’t share much about herself during her first visit but did register for English as a Second Language (ESL) courses. Deeba had recently moved from Afghanistan with her husband and was adjusting to her new life. As Deeba’s comfort level with our center grew, she disclosed some of the issues she was facing at home.

Deeba shared that her father-in-law, who resided with her and her husband, had hidden her Green Card approval and Social Security Card. She also disclosed that her husband suffers from a mental health disorder, which was kept secret from her prior to her wedding. Finally, Deeba also shared that her father-in-law was abusive and controlling and would no longer allow her to attend ESL classes at the Center.

Although Deeba’s husband was not abusive, he remained silent about his father’s abuse toward her. Her husband also experienced his father’s controlling behavior and was totally dependent on him. Initially Deeba did not want to leave her husband because she felt sorry for him, but as time passed, and the abuse continued, she left him.

Since she didn’t have any family in the U.S., Deeba stayed with a friend who was related to her in-laws for a week. She came to the Center asking for help. Deeba needed everything–a place to stay, a job to help her pay for rent, Medicaid, a New York State ID, and lawyers who could help her to obtain her Legal Permanent Resident card as her conditional Green Card was soon expiring. Due to safety concerns, WAW could not connect her with community members, as Deeba’s mother-in-law was looking for her. Instead, WAW’s staff found Deeba a roommate who was willing to wait until she had a job to collect her share of the rent and then helped her find a job. Deeba was so motivated and hard-working that WAw’s staff found it easy to place her in a job. Now, she is financially independent, and even helps out her family who lives in India.

Deeba is getting her learner’s permit and plans on starting a college education. With help from the Queens Family Justice Center, Deeba is working to obtain her permanent residency status and finalizing her divorce. Perhaps most exciting, Deeba recently traveled back to India to see her family, which she’d been apart from for four years. Deeba’s story is one of strength and resilience. The team at Women for Afghan Women are proud to have been a part of her brave journey.

*For the subject’s safety, we’ve used the name Deeba.

Health, Sexual Rights & Reproductive Justice

The New York Women’s Foundation recognizes health as a fundamental right and necessity for a woman to achieve and sustain complete mental, spiritual, political, economic, and social well–being. A core value of Foundation funding in this area is that as women, girls and transgender individuals become informed about and take control of their health, they are better able to advocate on behalf of themselves and their families and communities. Preference is given to groups that emphasize peer education and outreach, organizing, advocacy, and/or policy work, in addition to direct services. Work may fall in the area of prevention, intervention, and/or advocacy and policy change.

GRANTEE SPOTLIGHT

Blue, an 18-year old gender-fluid person of color didn’t learn about financial literacy at home or in school – they had other things to worry about.

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Blue

Pride Center of Staten Island
READ Blue'S STORY

Pride Center of Staten Island

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“Coming to Grrrl Power really helped me," they explained. "I got to see people that made my day. Coming here and doing discussion groups, projects, and events, that really helps me and it really makes me feel okay in some way. So coming hear really empowers me to keep on pushing.”

Blue
Pride Center of Staten Island

The Pride Center of Staten Island creates a safe and welcoming space, offers comprehensive resources, provides LGBTQ empowering programs and events, and celebrates our diversity.

Blue, an 18-year old gender-fluid person of color didn’t learn about financial literacy at home or in school—they had other things to worry about. “A few years ago I had some issues in my mom’s house with her partner. The Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) got involved and now I’m in foster care.”

In the tumultuous time between entering the foster care system and being placed with a family, Blue kept coming to Grrrl Power, a group for LGBTQ and allied young women and gender non-conforming youth ages 13-24 at the Pride Center of Staten Island. The group provides dinner and discussion every week allowing youth to share their experiences and provide support so that they live empowered, inspired and full lives.

“Coming to Grrrl Power really helped me,” they explained. “I got to see people that made my day. Coming here and doing discussion groups, projects, and events, that really helps me and it really makes me feel okay in some way. So coming here really empowers me to keep on pushing. Just coming here was really helpful in the long run.”

In addition to the social support Blue found at Grrrl Power, they have learned about banking, budgeting, and credit. Blue has created a budget and is working on incorporating it into their daily life. Blue has noticed a difference: “I like to be out here and buy food and games and this and that,” they say, “but now I have the money to buy the things I actually need, like clothing and necessities. … It [budgeting] helps me manage my life better and save for the future.”

Blue is currently saving up for a video camera. With their newfound budget savviness, we are confident that they will be filming in no time!

Capacity Building for Grantee Partners

As an early funder of emerging, women-led, community-based nonprofits, The Foundation is fiercely committed to ensuring our grantee partners’ programmatic and organizational sustainability, as well as strengthening the leadership of their staff at all levels. Our capacity building support enables one-on-one consulting services and cohort learning opportunities for our grantee partners. In addition, grantee partners may apply for individual capacity-building grants to pursue customized technical assistance services from consultants of their choosing.

 

There are four key components to the New York Women’s Foundation capacity building strategy:

  • Organizational Development
  • Leadership Development
  • Program Sustainability and Innovation
  • Advancing Gender and Racial Equity

 

GRANTEE SPOTLIGHT

Beverly is an experienced thought leader, advocate, and national organizer with nearly three decades of experience working in social justice movements.

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Beverly Tillery

Anti-Violence Project (AVP)
READ Beverly Tillery'S STORY

Anti-Violence Project (AVP)

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“The Foundation enrolled me in a training program for emerging women leaders of color that was nothing less than lifesaving.”

Beverly Tillery
Anti-Violence Project (AVP)

Anti-Violence Project works to address and end all forms of violence through organizing and education and supports survivors through counseling and advocacy. 

The New York Women’s Foundation was the first philanthropic institution to provide AVP with significant, sustained funding support. The Foundation has been particularly helpful in supporting the development of new and appropriate leadership for AVP.

The Foundation enrolled me in a training program for emerging women leaders of color that was nothing less than lifesaving.  It equipped me to think strategically about the challenges that I was encountering as AVP’s first black female executive director. It provided me with an invaluable support network of fierce fellow women leaders and it clarified the need to focus on self-care as we negotiate the isolation and stresses of simultaneously juggling service, advocacy, and management tasks while also defending our positions as women of color.     

The Foundation’s grants have helped us to proactively reach out to young trans individuals and LGBTQ women of color; helped us to educate our own board and staff about the particular situations and potential of those populations; and helped us raise consciousness within the organizations with which we regularly collaborate. Perhaps most importantly, their support has allowed us to begin nurturing a robust cohort of young leaders within those two populations—to tap the authentic talents and perspectives that AVP so vitally needs for its ongoing progress.       

The connections between leadership development and systemic change are inseparable. You can’t change deeply imbedded societal views and structures without supporting the individual leaders best positioned to bring about those changes.  You can’t separate structural progress from individual and institutional progress.  And no one understands those interrelationships better than The New York Women’s Foundation.         

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