The Women’s Fund of Rhode Island (WFRI) announced this week a total of $50,000 in grant funding to five organizations for their innovative proposals to advance gender equity and help level the playing field for women and girls in Rhode Island.
WFRI uses social change grant-making to advance gender equity and social justice, focus on systemic solutions and address the unique needs of women and girls. Since its launch in 2001, the WFRI Grant Program has awarded more than $700,000 to organizations and programs in Rhode Island that empower women and girls. This year’s grants were made possible through the generosity of donors of the WFRI.
For this grant cycle, perspective grantees were asked to focus their proposals on addressing one or more of WFRI’s 2019 advocacy priorities, including disparities for Women of Color, and more generally, economic justice and access to reproductive health and freedom.
According to WFRI’s report “Women of Color 2018: A Snapshot”, wages of women of color are disproportionate to the overall gender wage gap. Women of color also spend more of their income on housing and have higher poverty rates than their White counterparts. Copies of the report can be accessed at www.wfri.org/research.
“With Black and Latina women making lower wages than white women, addressing the issue of income equality is critical to ending poverty. Ten thousand dollars can go a long way in closing the skills and leadership gap among women of color, and that’s why this grant is so important,” said Lisa Ranglin, President and CEO of the Rhode Island Black Business Association (RIBBA) in a press release. RIBBA received funds for their Emerging Professionals Program in this grant cycle.
The grant recipients and awarded programs are:
- Building Futures– “Women in the Trades” leadership program to grow the percentage of women in the building and construction trade, promote stories of women succeeding in the trades and identifying/addressing structural barriers to women’s success in the trades.
- Girls Rock– “Changing Our Tune Project” to decrease the incidence of gender based violence within the music and creative community and provide resources to survivors and community members. The project will train owners and staff of local music venues, as well as bookers/promoters, musicians, artists and audience members in sexual harassment and violence prevention. Includes creating resources to support the work.
- RI Black Business Association– “Emerging Professionals Program” designed to create a leadership pipeline of women of color (the most underrepresented and socioeconomically disadvantaged group in RI). This is the first program proposed to specifically offer a solution the “double jeopardy” hypothesis which renders Black women “invisible” when being considered for hiring or promotion.
- Sista Fire– addressing the maternal health crisis that Black women, women of color and their children face within RI. Funds will allow SistaFire to provide leadership development training with a focus on maternal health and related systemic inequities, and engage members in participatory resource to deepen the understanding of women of color’s experience in pregnancy and birth. Funding will also help to create “Perinatal Safe Spots” in RI.
- Planned Parenthood– Funding would provide support for the RI Coalition for Reproductive Freedom to protect and advance access to reproductive health care through advocacy and legislative action. The goal is to build an inclusive, intersectional reproductive justice movement that recognizes how race, gender, poverty, and citizenship status impact society’s marginalized communities.
“The grant process was very competitive. 26 non-profit organizations submitted proposals for a combined request of $211,000 in funding,” said Christina Castle, WFRI Board Member and Chair of the Grant Review Team in a press release. “Each proposal was subject to a rigorous review by a team of community volunteers with training in gender-lens giving. These programs clearly rose to the top.”
About the Women’s Fund of Rhode Island
The Women’s Fund of Rhode Island is a non-profit organization located in Providence, Rhode Island. The mission of the WFRI is to invest in women and girls in our community through research, advocacy, grant making and strategic partnerships designed to advance gender equity through systemic change. For more information, visit www.wfri.org.