Early Investor

Throughout our 30-year history, The New York Women’s Foundation has been a crucial partner to organizations implementing local, community-based solutions. The Foundation’s Early Investor strategy deepens this key element of our work: identifying, funding, and supporting small and/or emerging organizations and programs that serve historically underinvested communities of women, girls, and gender-fluid individuals. Our goal is to ensure the effectiveness and impact of these organizations, programs, and community leaders in order to create long-term economic security for these individuals and communities living at or below the poverty line in the five boroughs of New York City. 


The Foundation also uses targeted initiatives to further propel positive change for underinvested women and girls.

Accelerating Change

The New York Women’s Foundation leverages targeted investment to accelerate change for women, families and gender-fluid individuals in New York City with the highest levels of poverty, violence, unemployment, and related social, educational and economic disparities. This funding expands the approaches and strategies implemented by our grantee partners and are carried out in partnership with grantee partners as well as donors, and other philanthropic organizations.


To learn more about funding opportunities through The Fund to Support the Me Too Movement and Allies, please click here.

  • The Fund to Support the Me Too Movement and Allies

    The Fund for the Me Too Movement and Allies, in partnership with Tarana Burke, launched in 2018 to ensure that the momentum and awakening of the #MeToo Movement is sustained beyond news cycles and hashtags. The Fund supports organizations around the country working to prevent sexual violence and promote the healing of survivors and victims with a specific focus on supporting the activists, leaders, and advocates in the ‘Me Too’ movement. The Foundation provided an initial $1 million and will seek additional philanthropic investment. It’s creation builds on The Foundation’s long history of responding to the needs of women leaders who are building transformational movements and investing in community-led solutions that confront gender violence in NYC.



    For the 2018 grantmaking cycle, the Fund prioritized organizations led by and for communities of color that give voice to women, immigrants, and LGBTQ people.  The first grant recipients are:

    To learn about funding opportunities through the Fund to Support the Me Too Movement and Allies, please click here. 


  • The Justice Fund

    The Justice Fund is a new collaboration to help dismantle mass incarceration. Part of a seven-year grantmaking and philanthropic mobilization effort, the initiative will focus
    specifically on incarceration and its effects on women, girls and TGNC communities. The fund is the first of its kind in the country to engage in criminal justice reform through a lens of gender and racial equity.

    Through The Justice Fund, The Foundation will invest in community-based and cross-sector solutions that significantly decrease the involvement of women and families in all phases and aspects of the justice system. Key among the priorities will be closing Rikers Island and
    investing in alternatives that promote justice, safety and overall well-being for these communities. Please click here to learn more. 



    The New York Women’s Foundation is committed to ending mass incarceration in New York City as a crucial element of our long-term goal of achieving economic justice for women and families throughout the city. In order to accelerate our work in this area, The Foundation partnered with The Prisoner Reentry Institute at CUNY to publish Women InJustice: Gender and the Pathway to Jail in New York City, with the goal of fostering understanding of the role of gender in the New York City justice system. This report also aims to bridge information gaps—to help those steeped in criminal justice reform better understand the unique needs of women, and to help those steeped in women’s services better understand the context of the criminal justice system.

  • Belmont Backstretch Workers Project

    The New York Women’s Foundation has embarked on a project to advance the health, welfare and economic potential of women and families working in thoroughbred racing and “backstretch” jobs that serve Belmont Park, Aqueduct Raceway and Saratoga Race Course of Greater New York and New York State. The Foundation is partnering with three existing nonprofit organizations that service this community: The Backstretch Employee Service Team, The Belmont Childcare Association, and the NY Racetrack Chaplaincy. Together, these organizations provide a range of services including primary, mental health, substance use and reproductive health care services, support groups on a range of issues, community social events, and early childhood education. The partnerships include both individual support for each organization’s work with women and families in their communities, as well as the creation of a collaborative project that will leverage the unique resources and expertise of each organization to uplift their well-being on a larger scale.

  • The Hildegard Fund

    The Hildegard Fund at The New York Women’s Foundation was launched in 2015 with the purpose of funding organizations engaged in movement-building strategies and systems change initiatives in a new economy that works for all.  The Foundation leverages grant-making, public education, and advocacy to amplify women’s voices in a newly evolving economy. In doing this work, we seek to empower women as leaders, lifting up their voices to help architect an economy that enables everyone to thrive. Funding areas include: 1) Women’s Leadership; 2) Faith-Based Organizing towards a New Economy; and 3) New Economy Special Initiatives.

  • IGNITE! with Girls, Young Women, and Gender-Fluid Youth of Color

    A 7-year, multi-pronged, multi-million dollar initiative, IGNITE! unites the power of community, government, philanthropy and—most importantly—girls, young women, and gender-fluid youth of color themselves to radically change the way that society views and supports the strengths of this vital population. 

    The Foundation’s recent report, Blueprint for Investing in Girls and Young Women, highlights both the urgent need for and the vast potential of the IGNITE!. The report notes that 75 percent of NYC’s 800,000 girls and young women (ages 9-24) are members of communities of color or immigrant communities.  It highlights that most of those girls and young women live in serious poverty; many are sexually abused; many battle ill-health; few receive the support required to graduate high school or succeed in college; and thousands are pushed into the child welfare and juvenile justice systems or are victims of commercial sex trafficking.

    IGNITE! works to spark discussion and leverage diverse resources, expertise and insight toward promoting community-based solutions to the structural inequities facing girls, young women, and gender-fluid youth of color.

  • Girls IGNITE! Grantmaking

    As part of the IGNITE! Initiative, The New York Women’s Foundation launched Girls IGNITE! Grantmaking (GIG) with our grantee partner, YWCA of New York City. GIG is a youth grantmaking program aimed at engaging, educating and empowering economically, racially and culturally diverse self-identified girls and gender-fluid youth through philanthropic education and giving. The program aims to:

    • Educate, prepare and activate a new generation of philanthropists.
    • Promote an awareness of social justice issues.
    • Develop leadership, teambuilding, consensus building, and decision making skills.
    • Understand the history of philanthropy, grantmaking and The New York Women’s Foundation.
    • Design grant guidelines and make recommendations for funding to The Foundation.
  • Initiative Against the Sex Trafficking of Minors (IASTM)

    After releasing a report, Sex Trafficking of Minors in New York: Increasing Prevention and Collective Action in 2012, The Foundation launched a five-year Initiative Against Sex Trafficking of Minors to establish a “zero tolerance” policy towards the sexual exploitation of minors.  Driven by its ongoing commitment to the focus area of Anti-Violence and Safety, the Initiative Against Sex Trafficking of Minors focuses on prevention and early intervention and seeks to build shared ground for collective action against the sex trafficking of minors.

    The program’s goals include working with philanthropic, nonprofit, public, and private sector partners to

    • Increase funding for NYC based direct service and advocacy nonprofit organizations addressing sex trafficking of minors.
    • Increase public awareness and involvement in combatting sex trafficking of minors.
    • Increase systemic responses that create a zero tolerance policy environment toward sex trafficking of minors in NYC.
    • Increase in girls’ leadership.

Rapid & Sustained Response

The Foundation responds to unexpected stressors that affect women and their communities with rapid investment, followed by sustained support. Examples include our response to unexpected events such as the tragedy of 9/11, the Great Recession, and Hurricane Sandy. In these cases. The New York Women’s Foundation provided emergency funding to community-based organizations working on the ground to help women and families during and also provided sustained investment, which is crucial to the success of recovery approaches.

  • Hurricane Sandy Response and Recovery Fund

    The New York Women’s Foundation provided emergency funding to community organizations responding to the devastation caused by the storm. While emergency funding is necessary for relief, sustained funding is essential for long-term recovery, to ensure that the obstacles created and exacerbated by Hurricane Sandy do not continue the cycle of inequity in New York City. The funding initiative supports organizations in the heaviest-hit neighborhoods as they continue to guide, supplement, and leverage city-wide and national recovery support.

    Click here to read our report about the initiative.

  • RISE-NYC! (Response, Inspire, Solve, Engage)

    In 2009, driven by our commitment to promote the long-term economic security of New York City’s women and families and in response to their increased need during the Great Recession, The Foundation boldly launch of RISE-NYC! which mobilized financial and human resources to:

    • Increase economic security using microenterprise financing, training and small business development.
    • Increase access to higher paying jobs in high-growth, high-demand sectors such as technology, healthcare, and childcare, as well as nontraditional fields, such as construction.
    • Increase family stability through access to work and income supports such as child care, after-school programs, and government benefits; and providing urgent, culturally sensitive crisis intervention services.
  • Resilience NYC

    In December 2016, The Foundation launched a $1 million initiative in response to changes in the national political landscape and the impact of federal-level policy changes on women and other disadvantaged communities. Resilience NYC also includes the belief that a sustainable, deep and broad cultural philosophy of civic engagement must become a part of everyday life.

Cross-Sector Partnerships

The New York Women’s Foundation leverages strategic partnerships to accelerate change for women, families and gender-fluid individuals in New York City with the highest levels of poverty, violence, unemployment, and related social, educational and economic disparities. Our partnerships with institutions and stakeholders support a variety of customized, place-based solutions promoting peace, safety and prosperity as determined by the community members. Partnerships include, but are not limited to geographic and population-based institutions; research and thought-leader institutions; regional and national advocacy organizations and movements; and other philanthropic stakeholders. Grantmaking supports the strengthening of existing, authentic networks of community partners working together towards common goals, including the initiation, refining and scaling up of such solutions.

The New York Women’s Foundation is committed to providing comprehensive support to women of color leaders working to advance economic, gender, and racial and economic justice. To that end, we are proud to support the Center for Research and Policy in the Public Interest’s  Lead the Way Leadership Retreat and Fellowship. The retreat seeks to build the pipeline of women of color leaders in the social sector. This opportunity is for Executive-Directors and Mid-level Managers working in social change or community-based organizations in the United States. If you are interested in applying, please click here.

  • Catalyst Fund

    For the 8th consecutive year, The Foundation partnered with the Groundswell Fund, which provides funding to increase investments and visibility of the vital contributions of women of color who are leaders in the reproductive justice movement.

  • Lead the Way

    The New York Women’s Foundation is committed to providing comprehensive support to women of color leaders working to advance economic, gender, and racial and economic justice. To that end, we are proud to support the Center for Research and Policy in the Public Interest’s  Lead the Way Leadership Retreat and Fellowship. The retreat seeks to build the pipeline of women of color leaders in the social sector. This opportunity is for Executive-Directors and Mid-level Managers working in social change or community-based organizations in the United States. If you are interested in applying, please click here.

  • The New York City Fund for Girls and Young Women of Color

    Why Girls & Young Women of Color in NYC?

    According to the 2010 census, New York City is home to approximately 800,000 girls and young women, ages 9-24.1  Nearly 75 percent in that group are girls of color (Black, Asian, Latina, Arab, and Native American). Nearly 40 percent are immigrants or the daughters of immigrants.2 And a significant segment lives in absolute or near poverty. Subject to multiple systems of public scrutiny that punish rather than support, including child welfare agencies, school-based discipline, and the juvenile justice system, girls often face cumulative disadvantages, inheriting multiple and compounded generations of harm. The New York Women’s Foundation’s Blueprint for Investing in Girls and Young Women, reports that more than 40 percent of NYC’s low-income Black and Latina girls are not provided with the support they need to finish high school3 and Black girls are 10 times more likely to be suspended than their white peers in the city’s public schools.4

    Among the most vulnerable are young transgender women of color. Epic advancement in LGBTQ rights have also come with the highest murder rate of transgender and gender non-binary people in recorded history along with recent backlash such as bathroom legislation eliminating anti-discrimination protection for LGBTQ individuals. The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs’ 2014 report on hate violence documents multi-year trends of anti-LGBTQ hate violence disproportionately impacting transgender women for whom the average life expectancy is under 35.

    The lived realities of girls and young women of color in the most under-invested communities and across identity spectrums parallel those of their male peers and too often leave them without basic tools to achieve their full personal and economic potential. At the same time, only 7 percent of U.S. foundation giving is targeted to women and girls (Foundation Center, Women’s Funding Network, 2014), a microscopic 0.015 percent of foundation funding goes to transgender issues (Funders for LGBTQ Issues, 2013), and when it comes to girls, cisgender young women (cisgender (cis) meaning a person whose self-identity conforms with the gender that corresponds to their biological sex), transgender and gender non-binary youth of color, they are virtually invisible to the philanthropic eye.

    Our success as a vibrant, participatory and just democracy hinges on how we invest in the future of all girls and young women of color (cisgender and transgender alike). The focus is on girls and young women of color (ages 12- 24, particularly from low- and moderate income families) including those who identify as African American, Afro-Caribbean, Afro-Latina, Latina, Asian American/Pacific Islanders (AAPI), Arab, Middle-Eastern, Muslim, South Asian (AMEMSA), Native American, multi-racial, immigrants from developing countries; as well as female-identified transgender, intersex, queer and gender non-binary youth). It is time to make girls and young women of color a bold philanthropic priority in New York City.

    Fund Members

    1. See Citizens Committee for Children New York:
    2. See ibid:
    3. Kemple, James J.; The Condition of New York City High Schools: Examining Trends and Looking Towards the Future; Research Alliance for New York City Schools; NYU Steinhardt; March, 2013;; and Shih, Howard and Peiyi Xu; The State of Asian American Children; Asian American Federation; NYC, 2014.
    4. Columbia University, Center for Internationality and Social Policy Studies and African American Policy Forum,Black Girls Matter: Pushed Out, Overpoliced and Underprotected, NYC, 2015.

    What is the NYC Fund for Girls & Young Women of Color?

    The NYC Fund for Girls and Young Women of Color is a collaboration of a diverse and growing group of funders coming together to expand philanthropic investment for girls and young women of color in NYC. The first of its kind in the United States, The Fund envisions a city that offers every opportunity for all girls and young women of color, inclusive of two-spirited, transgender and gender non-binary youth, to succeed economically and socially. It pools money to invest in non-profit efforts that promote the well-being and leadership of young women of color as change agents, and partners with communities and other allies to advance equity. The Fund’s goal is to shift philanthropic practices by increasing sustained investments for girls and young women of color and sharing knowledge on effective strategies and approaches to:

    • Grow and sustain resourced organizations led by/for young women of color in NYC toward long term generational shifts
    • Advance life outcomes of girls and young women for successive generations through structural change efforts while also addressing individual immediate harms and historical trauma

    Guiding Principles:

    The Fund operates with the following guiding principles:

    • Partnership: As a pooled fund, we engage multi-sector (community, government, philanthropy and corporate) partners at various levels.  The Fund expands and deepens philanthropic investments through collaboration and learning. Focused on girls and young women of color across race and ethnicity, The Fund is also an ally to boys and young men of color work.
    • Broad Based, Lasting Change:  The Fund supports advocacy, community organizing, and policy change strategies necessary to advance the systems with which girls and young women interact, as well as the culture in which they live, while also addressing immediate harms and historical trauma.
    • Accountability: The Fund both partners with and supports organizations working to hold government accountable in addressing the needs of the most marginalized girls and young women of color, while also supporting them as leaders who have much to contribute.
    • Perspective: Issues of gender, race and class are critical to any strategy for change with intentional inclusion across race and ethnicity, sexual orientation, non-binary gender identities, and differently-abled (physical, cognitive, emotional ranges).
    • Youth Leadership: The Fund supports youth leadership and centralizes the voices of young women of color as active and compensated advisors. It prioritizes organizations led by and for young women of color across race/ethnicity, gender/sexuality, and physical/cognitive abilities in the most economically challenged communities.

    Who Can Participate?

    The Fund welcomes traditional philanthropic institutions as well as other philanthropic groups particularly within communities of color directing dollars toward community needs that may be invisible to mainstream funders. This is a unique opportunity for donors to advance philanthropic strategies that authentically center young women of color toward social change. Together, we can accomplish more than any one of us can do alone to accelerate broad-based shifts in New York City, opening a window to the country and the world.

    Managed and housed by The New York Women’s Foundation, The Fund is structured to allow maximum flexibility for participation and learning.  For more information about how to participate, please contact Kate Landon, Program Director,

  • Partnership for Women’s Prosperity

    The New York Women’s Foundation is a member of the Partnership for Women’s Prosperity (PWP), a national partnership with five other women’s funds. PWP strengthens opportunities for economic security for low-income women facing high numbers of obstacles in their pursuit of living wage employment and other income generating opportunities. Our funding through PWP is supporting our work in the Bronx and Upper Manhattan. Building off of previous Foundation investments, the work of these programs span strategies of: 1) education, training and job placement; 2) business development; 3) asset building; and 4) wrap around supports and services to comprehensively address women’s unique assets and needs, such as language ability, education level, status as caregivers, and histories of criminal justice involvement, substance abuse, and intimate partner violence. PWP is supported by the Walmart Foundation. 

    Collectively, they:

    • Increase the number of low-income underinvested women served by these programs.
    • Broaden these programs’ reach to include the increasingly diverse nature of these neighborhoods.
    • Increase opportunities for career advancement that leads to more sustainable living wage and middle skill employment in key high growth industries such as health care administration, technology, construction, child care, and the culinary industry.
  • Prosperity Together

    In November 2015, The New York Women’s Foundation joined 27 public U.S. women’s foundations, along with the Women’s Funding Network, in announcing Prosperity Together, a five-year, $100 million funding initiative to create opportunities and break down barriers to women’s economic security across the United States. This announcement, made at the White House’s 2016 Advancing Equity for Women and Girls of Color Summit highlighted the dire situations of low-income women across the country who face poor working conditions, insufficient wages, and lack of support for their overall wellbeing. Prosperity Together builds on the over 30 years of expertise and leadership of U.S. women’s foundations to fund programs that have proven effective nationwide including job training, child care, and research.

  • The Young Women’s Initiative

    In May 2015, New York City Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito announced the Young Women’s Initiative (YWI), the nation’s first municipal effort solely dedicated to creating policy, legislative and funding recommendations in support of young women of color. YWI convened a variety of experts, including young cis and transgender women and gender-fluid youth, through focus groups and participation in working groups to shape the direction and recommendations of the Initiative. We were a proud co-chair of YWI, alongside Joanne Smith, Founder & Executive Director of Girls for Gender Equity (GGE) and Dr. Danielle Moss Lee, CEO, YWCA of New York City.

    In February 2016, The New York Women’s Foundation and NoVo Foundation announced an initial commitment of $10 million in new philanthropic funding for programs targeting girls, young women and trans youth of color in New York City, matching a $10 million public commitment announced by City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.

  • National Young Women’s Initiative Collaboration

    In June 2016, The New York Women’s Foundation’s President and CEO, Ana Oliveira, was joined by leading women’s foundations at The White House’s United State of Women Summit to announce the launch of seven new Young Women’s Initiatives (YWI) nationwide. Inspired by the work done in New York City, these initiatives will be led by local women’s foundations, government officials, community leaders, and young women and girls of color themselves.

    Click here for Ana’s announcement at the White House (starting at approximately 8:18).