Meet the foundations we that we are honoring in Los Angeles, CA at 2023 NCRP Impact Awards
“SMASHING SILOS” IMPACT AWARD FOR INTERSECTIONAL GRANTMAKING:
the New York Women’s Foundation
Since 1987, The New York Women’s Foundation (NYWF) has advanced a dynamic philanthropic strategy that is rooted in the belief that people living the issues know the answers and that when women and gender-expansive people thrive, their families and communities also thrive.
The Foundation has used the blueprint of radical generosity and radical collaboration to drive the future we collectively desire, locally and globally.
The Foundation, among the largest women-led grantmaking organizations in the world, has used a trust-based philanthropic model to support multi-issue and cross-identity efforts affecting women and families. NYWF’s grant-making is driven by a Grant Advisory Committee that has donors, grantee partners, and community members collectively making the investment decisions. The grants themselves are multi-year and general operating support.
As the Foundation writes in its recently published “History of Our Future” strategic plan, “We are working to achieve a 2033 where funders across the sector approach their grantee partners from a place of trust, humility, and transparency. Movements and affected communities are at the center of foundation and government grantmaking as they decide who and what to fund to make our collective world stronger.”
Leveraging Resources & Trust to Build Community-centered Power
At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, The Foundation recognized that economic, gender, racial, health, and environmental justice are all intertwined. To address these meaningfully, new approaches were needed to foster justice and solidarity at the hyperlocal level. That is why in 2020, The New York Women’s Foundation, with support from Fondation CHANEL, launched a three-year, placed-based economic justice initiative to invest in organizations working collectively to interrupt the negative impacts of gentrification while strengthening racial justice and economic prosperity for women and gender expansive people and their families in four neighborhoods in Brooklyn: Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brownsville, Bushwick and East New York.
Major achievements of the economic justice initiative’s first three years of engagement included a successful micro-granting program that redistributed resources to support emerging community leaders as they led projects to support low-income entrepreneurship, enhance neighborhood safety, and improve health, wellness, and collective healing for Black residents.
The Central Brooklyn Economic Development Corporation (CBEDC), an anchor partner offered individualized coaching to address the unique needs of women at the various stages of their entrepreneurial journey while also spearheading local environmental initiatives promoting clean and sustainable industries in Brownsville and launching job training programs in wind and solar industries, manufacturing, and services. The New York Women’s Foundation’s innovative approach resulted in a close to $1M investment for the first three years, setting the stage for leveraging more funds for these types of community-designed investment models.
Additionally, The Foundation bolsters its grantee partners by providing an array of opportunities to support organizational efficiency and growth. They also facilitate access to philanthropic spaces and related stakeholders to accelerate and sustain forward progress and collaboration.
Post Roe Funding
A recent testimony to The Foundation’s nimble and community-led approach was in response to the Supreme Court’s decision to in June 2022. When that decision overturned the protections that had been codified in Roe v. Wade, the Foundation was ready to strengthen investments in its Reproductive Justice portfolio, and rapidly supported groups coalescing nationally with current grantee partners. Grants to national efforts such as the Liberate Abortion Campaign and the work of Pregnancy Justice and If/When/How were disbursed within weeks of the announcement, bringing our 2022 investments to just over $500,000 in this strategy.
In 2023, continued threats and rollbacks on the federal level and a new administration at the city and state level in New York only added to the uncertainty for the status of reproductive, sexual, gender-affirming, caregiving protections and resources. In response, the Foundation’s open grantmaking cycle prioritized reproductive justice and leveraged its participatory grantmaking model to especially bring community members into the review of proposals and decision-making of final recommendations. The grantmaking committee also committed five years of general operating funding to the work and evolution of the organizational structure of the New York Abortion Access Fund (NYAAF), becoming one of their first foundational investors. The Foundation has proudly doubled our 2022 investments and plans to reach $1M in 2023 for this strategy.
The work and growth organizations like NYAAF not only ensures protections of reproductive rights, but also uplifts effective models of mutual aid and collaboration built by women and gender expansive individuals and the intersectionality of reproductive justice, economic justice, racial and gender justice.
Today as the world increasingly faces escalating crises, it is critical to recognize that economic, gender, racial, health, and environmental justice all intertwined and must be addressed at the local level using a place-based approach rooted in community solutions.
“We take pride rooting our work in the interconnected needs of women and gender expansive people in New York City and beyond,” says NYWF President and CEO Ana Oliveira. “At a time of unprecedented attacks on our bodily autonomy and national abortion rights, it more important than ever for funders to address the immediate health and reproductive needs of communities and invest in pathways for long-term solutions.”