Women & Girls of Color Fund

Racial justice is fundamental to gender equity and economic justice

  • Overview

    Women of Color Contribute Immensely to Our Communities

    Yet they are undervalued and underinvested in. The Women’s Foundation of Colorado’s (WFCO) Women & Girls of Color Fund is a community-developed, community-led field-of-interest fund dedicated to investing in and partnering with women-of-color-led organizations that are working to advance the economic security of Colorado women and girls of color. Women and girls of color are assets to our communities. By collaborating with and investing in them, we are investing in their inherent gifts and invaluable contributions to our communities.

    On this page: Fund background, funding priorities, information for potential grantees, advisory council application, and community survey.

  • Our Commitments

    Through the Women & Girls of Color Fund, we commit to:

    BUILD upon our commitment to equity and women of color in our WAGES grantmaking work
    INCREASE investments in work led by women of color that transform the lives of women and girls of color with a focus on advancing and accelerating their economic security. We trust the leadership of women of color to know how to make the greatest difference for their community. The Women's Foundation will contribute $50,000 per year to the fund for the next three years
    PRIORITIZE what philanthropy traditionally considers too “risky” or new to fund as well as innovative strategies developed through the lived experiences of women of color
    FACILITATE a community-led grantmaking process, rooted in the voices and priorities of women of color

  • Background

    Racial Inequity is Built Into Philanthropic Norms

    Echoing Green and Bridgespan, two leading philanthropic organizations, found in a recent research report that “racial inequity is built into philanthropic norms.” Black- and Latino-led organizations face significant disparities in revenue, assets, and acquired funding. Gender only compounds these disparities, despite the monumental achievements of grassroots, women-of-color-led initiatives.

    As the only community foundation in our state focused on Colorado women and their families, it is up to us to change that. From the purpose, goals, creation, and management of the fund, we are committed to rejecting the problematic philanthropic norms that cause women of color to receive just .5% of all philanthropic dollars.

  • Timeline

    Listening, Learning, Taking Action

    Throughout 2020, WFCO is working with a committee of women of color from across the state to develop an innovative, equitable framework for the Women & Girls of Color Fund. We are also seeking feedback from the broader community. We invite you take the survey below and share with your networks to help us understand what women and girls in your community need most from this fund as nonprofit leaders and on the path to economic security.

    Applications for the 2020-2021 advisory council have closed. Applicants will be notified of their status in late October and will be announced publicly in early November.

    The first round of Women & Girls of Color Fund rural grants will open in January 2021.

Women & Girls of Color Fund

Four ways to support the women and girls of color who LEAD our communities

LEARN

Learn more about the Women & Girls of Color Fund, our philosophy, and our grantmaking priorities

ENGAGE

Take and share our community survey

ACT

Apply for the Women & Girls of Color Fund advisory council here and share with your networks

DONATE

Give to support women and girls of color across Colorado

Thirty percent of the balance of new gifts into the fund will be designated to support WFCO’s general operations as an investment in our education, research, and philanthropy as well as public policy that also advance the goals and intent of the fund. The split will be assessed once per year.

 

*If you are on a mobile device and would like to skip directly to the advisory council application, click here, or the community survey, click here.*

Community is essential to The Women's Foundation of Colorado's vision of a future where Colorado women and girls of every background and identity prosper. That's why the Women & Girls of Color Fund is community-designed and community-led. Throughout 2020, we are taking time to listen to what women and girls of color want to see from this fund, what communities of color across Colorado need most from this fund, and how nonprofits and community leaders believe that WFCO can best serve the community. We look forward to sharing what we learn along the way.

Our Philosophy

Women and girls of color mobilize grassroots movements that create real change in our communities. They are thought leaders who shape our understanding of gender and race, and they are uniquely positioned to lead us into a better future because of their lived experiences. With all of those gifts and contributions, we know that women and girls of color are still undervalued and underinvested in. In fact, women and girls of color receive just .5% of each dollar that philanthropy grants out each year. As the only community foundation in Colorado focused on women, we are committed to changing that. We are clear and unapologetic in our focus on women and girls of color who are leading organizations serving women and girls of color on their path to economic security.

 Our Goal

Women of color face greater disparities in health outcomes, pay, wealth, access to capital, and more. At the same time, women of color contribute immensely to the health, well-being, and advancement of our communities. Economic security and direct investments in women and girls of color help level the playing field and create pathways to prosperity by removing hurdles. But even when women of color receive equal funding, they are playing catch up. Philanthropy wasn't created for justice and it will take more than equal funding to make up for centuries of inequality. We must go above and beyond, redirecting funding and sharing power.

We aim to create systems change, influence the philanthropic sector as a whole, and use our power and privilege to give women of color and communities of color the resources they have been denied to prosper.

 Our Principles
  • Trans women are women. People who do not benefit from existing gender power structures, including nonbinary people, are included and welcomed in The Women's Foundation of Colorado's work.
  • Women of color, girls of color, and nonbinary people of color don't need us to empower them. Their gifts, experiences, leadership, innate power, and potential need investment by institutions that traditionally ignore or patronize them. We will use an asset-based approach in this work.
  • We must move from an empowerment model, where we help women navigate a racist and patriarchal system, to a liberatory model that removes those constraints entirely.
  • The Women and Girls of Color Fund is equally by and for women of color, girls of color, and nonbinary people of color. We trust women of color, girls of color, and nonbinary people of color to know how best to invest in their community.
  • Philanthropy is at the service of the nonprofit sector and of our communities. The best way to use our power is to offer funding, relationships, and capacity building while letting our communities lead our priorities.
  • Centering lived experience as an essential skill, knowledgebase, and qualification as we invest in women of color leaders is critical to trust-based philanthropy.
  • We reject the traditional philanthropic norms that uphold the grossly inequitable distribution of resources to women of color that deem women-of-color-led work as "risky."
  • We will prioritize the most marginalized communities, leaders, and initiatives in our funding.
 Racial Equity is Part of Our Mission

This Women & Girls of Color Fund is an extension of our existing investments in advancing the economic security of women of color through our comprehensive programmatic WAGES research, public policy advocacy, and grantmaking as well as our work to expand our innovative philanthropic offerings such as impact investing supporting women-of-color entrepreneurs. We will continue to promote and amplify the messages of women and girls of color in our broader work for systemic change.

 What do We Mean By Women of Color?

This explanation on who is included when we use the words “woman” and "people of color" is offered not as an end point, but as a beginning, a jumping-off point from which to invite others into this crucial dialogue on diversity and inclusion we find ourselves in at this moment. As we learn, our language will evolve just as we evolve. But our goal is always, always to be as inclusive and as anti-racist as possible. We welcome your thoughts, ideas, critique, and feedback, and to taking this equity journey with you and our community

Our society was constructed with a patriarchal hierarchy designed to benefit, and exclude anyone who was not, a cisgender, heterosexual, white, man. WFCO's mission includes everyone who does not benefit from historical gender power structures, including transgender women, non-transgender women, and nonbinary people. You are welcomed into our community and the Women & Girls of Color Fund.

By women of color, we mean women who have been historically impacted by colonialism, slavery, patriarchal systems, and state violence and people who today experience violence, oppression, discrimination, and racism because of the color of their skin, their culture, heritage, language, or country of origin.

Similarly, our values compel us to use an intersectional gender lens in all of our work. First used by Kimberlé Crenshaw - a Black woman, civil rights activist, and legal scholar - intersectionality describes how someone's race, class, gender, ability,  gender identity, sexual orientation, and more connect to create unique experiences, advantages, and disadvantages within multiple systems of oppression. Using an intersectional gender lens means prioritizing Coloradans who are unequally impacted by these systems of oppression because of their identities, including and in addition to race and gender - for example, trans women and nonbinary people of color, LGBTQI people, women with disabilities, rural women, immigrants and refugees, etc.

 AN ASSET-BASED APPROACH

Women and girls of color, including nonbinary people of color, are valuable, worthy, and important members of our communities. Their leadership, knowledge, heritage, traditions, experiences, and work have the capacity to enhance our communities and make us all better. They do not need to be saved or empowered by philanthropy. But we can invest in them and support their projects while dismantling the systems that continue to oppress communities of color. Our approach will focus on elevating women and girls of color across the state of Colorado to create a better future for all of us.

 GRANTS

Our framework and priorities for the Women & Girls of Color Fund are based on your feedback. The fund will focus on organizations led by women or girls of color executive directors that are committed to building economic power and dismantling oppressive systems through direct service or community organizing.

The Women & Girls of Color Fund will open two grant cycles per year:

  • January - March 2021: Rural-focus
  • July - September 2021: Front Range-focus (Larimer, Boulder, Broomfield, Jefferson, Denver, Arapahoe, Douglas, Adams, and El Paso counties)

The first cycle will open in January 2021.

Grants will be unrestricted. Organizations are encouraged to apply for any expenses that support their current work, expand their work, increase investments in staff and leadership development, and anything in between.

The advisory committee, made up of community members with lived experience from across Colorado, will review proposals and select grantees.

In addition to funding, WFCO is committed to helping grantees and community leaders increase their capacity, funder relationships, and peer networks.

Grantees must be fiscally sponsored or have a 501c3 by March 2021. If your initiative does not have a fiscal sponsor or 501c3 but your work aligns with our funding priorities, please reach out to WFCO Donor Relations Manager Camisha Lashbrook at camishal@wfco.org.

 ADVISORY COUNCIL

The Women & Girls of Color Fund is community-designed and community-led. The Women & Girls of Color Fund advisory council will oversee two application cycles in 2021, learning together, reviewing applications, and selecting grantees. Applications for the 2020-2021 advisory council are now closed. Applicants will be notified of their status in late October and the council will be introduced publicly in early November.

The council will be made up of Colorado women of color, girls of color, and nonbinary people of color ages 17 and up passionate about The Women’s Foundation of Colorado’s mission. Community members with lived experience in our funding priorities, rural Coloradans, trans women and nonbinary people, and community organizers/activists who work on these issues were especially encouraged to apply.

The Women & Girls of Color Fund framework committee and WFCO staff will review applications and notify applicants of their status in late October.

 
Our Funding Priorities

Our funding priorities are grounded in increasing investments in Colorado women and girls of color, their leadership, their futures, and their economic security.

Led by Women and Girls of Color Focused on Women and Girls of Color Colorado-based and Colorado-focused
Women of color have the experience and community knowledge to best lead our communities into an equitable future. Grantee organizations will be led by women of color executive directors. Women and girls of color receive just .5% of all foundation funding. Programs we fund will have a focus on the power and potential of women and girls of color. Colorado is a large and diverse state. Grantees will take a range of approaches to advancing the economic security of women and girls of color based on their specific communities' needs.
Liberatory Leadership Advancing Economic Security Those Most Underfunded
Grantees will not only reject systems of racism, classism, homophobia, and patriarchy, they will also demonstrate radical practices of liberatory leadership such as self care and collective leadership, which undermine white supremacy culture. In alignment with The Women's Foundation of Colorado's mission, the fund will support programs that advance the economic security of women and girls of color. Following principles of intersectionality, the Women & Girls of Color Fund will prioritize those communities marginalized by multiple systems of oppression and most underfunded.

 

Read our recent blog post, "Learning from Our History: Investing in Women and Girls of Color" by Camisha Lashbrook, donor relations manager.


 Meet the Framework Committee

Amber Coté headshot

  Amber Coté, Colorado Nonprofit Association

Amber's diverse experience in the field of nonprofit administration, education and judicial advocacy and business informs her approach to civic engagement, collaboration-building and organizational leadership. She particularly enjoys developing alliances that leverage shared values to achieve a common vision. Amber is a life-long activist and strong proponent of consensus-building through creative partnerships. She was recently a member of Chinook's Giving Project.


Carly Hare headshot

  Carly Hare, CHANGE Philanthropy

Carly (Pawnee/Yankton) strives to live a commitment to advancing equity and community engagement through her professional and personal life. Carly was executive director of Native Americans in Philanthropy from 2010-2015 and she served as Director of Programs for The Community Foundation Serving Boulder County for five years. Carly has served on planning committees and presented at over 30 conferences at the intersection of equity and philanthropy. She is a proud daughter, sister, auntie, ally, friend and equity advocate. Carly’s Pawnee name is <i kita u hoo <i ]a hiks which translates into kind leader of men.


Nneka McPhee headshot

  Nneka McPhee, American Associates - Ben-Gurion University, SPIN (Sisterhood of Philanthropists Impacting Needs)

Nneka McPhee is an executive-level professional with over fifteen years of experience in resource development and non-profit management. Prior roles have included Chief Operating Officer and Chief of Staff for JEWISH Colorado. Nneka is a co-founder and active member of the Sisterhood of Philanthropists Impacting Needs (SPIN) giving circle and she is passionate about giving back to her community.


Angell Perez headshot

  Angell Pérez, M.A., Colorado Circles for Change, Angell Pérez Consulting

Angell has over 20 years’ experience working in the nonprofit sector and working in partnership with low income, communities of color. This has included championing racial equity in the sector and providing transformative youth programing with a specialization in gender specific programing for girls. She has lead programming for various organizations including Girls Inc., Mi Casa Resource Center, Servicios De La Raza, and many others. She is a 2019 Bonfils Stanton Foundation Livingston Fellow and professor of gender, women, sexualities studies at Metropolitan State University of Denver. Angell feels strongly that her personal lived experience is what informs her work and is only complemented by her formal education and training. Angell’s passion is rooted in opening space for youth to find their voice, build power and become self-determined.


Cori Wong headshot

  Cori Wong, PhD, Colorado State University - Office of the Vice President for Diversity, Positive Philosophy Consulting

Cori is a speaker, writer, educator, and consultant with over 10 years of training and leadership experience related to intersectional feminism, anti-racism, social justice, and inclusive culture change. Cori leads diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts at Colorado State University. Her dissertation entitled, Positive Philosophy: A Feminist Practice of Affective Therapy and Political Resistance, explored the liberatory potential of thinking critically about oppression in ways that excite, energize, inspire, connect, motivate, and heal. Cori is a member of The Women's Foundation's direct service grantmaking committee.


The Women's Foundation is deeply grateful to our framework committee and the community for sharing your precious time and invaluable expertise as we develop this fund.

Applications for the 2020-2021 Women & Girls of Color Fund advisory council have now closed. Applicants will be notified of their status in late October and the council will be introduced publicly in early November.

 

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