SPRINGFIELD — The Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts (WFWM) announced $135,000 in grant awards to organizations working with women and girls that address safety and anti-violence; gender-based sexual violence; parity in leadership, representation, and power; and economic security.
Reinforcing a commitment to racial equity, WFWM prioritized awarding grants to organizations fronted by women and black, indigenous, and people of color (BIPOC) leaders. These grants will support efforts across Berkshire, Franklin, Hampden, and Hampshire counties and work with a broad range of entities, including small startups, grassroots organizations, and well-established nonprofits.
Individual committees formed to review more than 70 applications and recommend a slate of grant awardees through participatory grantmaking — a process that puts the power into the hands of those most impacted by funding decisions — in which girls, women, people of color, and survivors of domestic violence and sexual abuse were at the table. Additionally, the WFWM has been working to address power imbalances within philanthropy by employing a trust-based philanthropy model that includes simplifying the application and reporting processes, offering unrestricted funding, remaining transparent, and supporting organizations beyond the awards.
“We are so grateful to be selected for support by the Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts. This grant is very important for our immigrant women workers and mothers,” said Hodaliz Borrayes, a community organizer with Pioneer Valley Workers Center. “Many women live with psychological or emotional abuse, in the workplace or at home. We want every woman to know her rights and feel strong in expressing what she feels and thinks — to be herself and live her dreams.”
WFWM distributed $70,000 through this initiative to organizations whose work aligns with one or more strategic pillars (economic security, parity in positions of power and leadership, and freedom from gender-based violence, harassment, and abuse). Grant recipients for this general funding include Flying Cloud Institute, New England Learning Center for Women in Transition, New North Citizens Council, Pioneer Valley Workers Center, Sow Well Tots Early Education Center, Voices from Inside, and WAM Theatre.
Additionally, the WFWM continues to support organizations through the Fund for Me Too Movement and Allies for the prevention and intervention of sexual-based violence. Grants awarded through this fund total $50,000. This year’s recipients include Breathing Space, Elizabeth Freeman Center, the Rites of Passage Project, Root Studio, Safe Passage, the Salasin Project, Survivor Arts Collective, and the Women of Color Health Equity Collective.
For the grants awarded through the Springfield Young Women’s Initiative (YWI) of WFWM, members of the current cohort and alumnae convened over two months to make nominations for funding. The YWI distributed $15,000 in grants to Springfield-serving organizations whose programs address safety and anti-violence, economic security and prosperity, or leadership and visibility. Recipients of this grant include a summer-camp program focused on leadership development, an initiative that provides public-speaking coaching for young people, and a healthy-relationships outreach program partnering with local schools. YWI grant awardees include Alianza (formerly known as Womanshelter/Compañeras), the Care Center, Lady Soldiers, A Queen’s Narrative, and Take the Mic.