2017 Grant Recipients
On Monday, June 12, 2017 Womenade Boston members met to select grant recipients for 2017. Members heard presentations from 9 exciting finalist organizations - all of whom were new grant applicants to Womenade! - and then cast their votes to select the winners. This year's $102,500 in grants brings the seven-year total investment Womenade Boston has made in Boston-area non-profits serving teen girls and women to $579,100.
Organizations/Programs that Empower Teen Girls Age 12-21
Brookview House, Inc.
Investment: Self-Sufficient Girls 2 Self-Sufficient Women (SG2SW)
Established in 1990, Brookview House's mission is to help homeless and at-risk families learn the skills necessary to break the cycle of homelessness and poverty. Brookview provides a safe place to live with on-site programs to build skills and self-esteem. Moms and children practice the skills necessary to thrive as active and integral members of their community and by so doing, improve the community for all. ‘Self-Sufficient Girls 2 Self-Sufficient Women’ (SG2SW) provides a safe learning space for homeless girls and girls who are at the highest risk of becoming homeless adults because they have one or more of the following challenges: unstable and/or abusive households, abusive relationships, pregnancy, or limited education. SG2SW is part of a year round youth development program that meets daily after school and Saturdays. A full-day summer program operates for seven weeks. The program has proven highly successful with 88% of participants graduating high school. The Womenade grant will support SG2SW program expansion needed to respond to increased demand.
Friends of the Children-Boston
Investment: Find Her Spark
Friends of the Children-Boston (Friends-Boston) creates generational change by engaging children from high risk communities in long-term transformative mentoring relationships. Friends-Boston is a professional mentoring program that employs a relationship-focused model aimed at the highest risk children and youth from elementary grades through high school. Programs provide intensive and intentional mentoring in 1:1 and small groups as well as wrap-around mentoring and connector services. In the spring of 2017, Friends-Boston celebrated the graduation of their first class of youth, 100% of whom are now attending college.
Find Her Spark encompasses a range of programming including social and emotional health, safety, self-care, healthy living (including nutrition and movement/exercise), healthy relationships, school success, and career and employment. The program serves 32 of the highest risk girls and young women. Find Her Spark builds on and enhances existing programming for girls and young women by exposing them to new experiences and opportunities for growth and learning. The Womenade grant will support core services, educational and enrichment based outings, college visitation trips, transportation, and gym memberships to increase health and well-being.
Organizations/Programs that Empower Women Age 22 and Older
Citizens for Safety
Operation LIPSTICK—Ladies Involved in Putting a Stop to Inner-City Killing—breaks cycles of exploitation and violence by giving women the education, peer support and confidence to say “I refuse to be used to take a life!” LIPSTICK is a program of public awareness, peer-to-peer education, social service intervention, research and grassroots organizing to protect women from being used to put guns in the wrong hands. LIPSTICK changes high-risk behaviors and harmful social norms among women and has been proven effective in Boston, achieving a 33% reduction in firearms cases involving women and girls.
The Womenade grant will support a range of activities including training and public awareness campaigns to alert women to the high stakes for themselves, their children, friends and neighbors if they put guns in the wrong hands. The program shows women how to lead the change they seek-how to recruit and influence peers, change cultural norms around illegal gun activity, raise consciousness about the sources of guns used in crime, and advocate for policy reforms.
Investment: Resources Coordination Program
Jeremiah Program's mission is to transform families from poverty to prosperity by empowering low-income single mothers to excel in the workforce, ready their children to succeed in school, and reduce their family’s dependence on public assistance. Cited as a national leader in two-generation anti-poverty programming, Jeremiah Program is a proven prosperity solution for motivated single mothers and their young children. Jeremiah Program coordinates five fundamental services for families headed by low-income single mothers, all under one roof: empowerment and life skills training, career-track college coaching, supportive community, and referrals for safe, affordable housing and quality child education. These services, combined with mothers’ determination, put families on a pathway to prosperity.
The Womenade grant will help support a half-time Resources Program Associate to maximize partnerships and resource coordination for 20 low-income single mothers and their young children.
Sitters Without Borders (SWOB)
Investment: Part-Time Program Coordinator
Sitters Without Boarders' mission is to provide safe and affordable childcare to low-income families who are eager to pursue an education. They aim to help parents gain an education and, ultimately, economic independence in order to break the cycle of poverty. The organization was founded in 2013 to provide free and reduced-cost babysitting services to low-income, single mothers enrolled in college in the Greater Boston area. SWOB connects families with trained, selected, adult volunteer babysitters so single mothers can pursue their dreams.
The Womenade grant will allow SWOB to hire a part-time Program Coordinator and expand services to additional families. Added capacity from a part-time Program Coordinator will support two things: the recruitment and training of volunteer sitters, and the family intake process.
2017 Runners Up
City Mission, Inc.
Investment: A Lift Up Alumnae Group
City Mission, Inc. was founded in 1816 by Boston's historic Park Street Church and Old South Church, UCC to support the needs and aspirations of many of Boston's most marginalized residents. Today, they operate as an independent 501(c)(3) organization with a mission to catalyze action to root out poverty in our neighborhoods. Their strategic focus is on the prevention of homelessness among Boston's low-income households headed by single women with children. Their emphasis on preventing homelessness among such vulnerable families is to avert the social, cognitive, and emotional harms to children (and adults) who experience homelessness and that have lasting consequences for them and for our whole community.
City Mission sought funding for development of a new component of A Lift Up (ALU), their two-year voluntary homelessness prevention program that helps very low-income families with children that are headed by single mothers to remain in stable housing. They hope to form an alumnae group of program graduates to further empower vulnerable families and deepen advocacy outreach by bringing the perspectives of families who have experienced homelessness or near homelessness to public policy discussions and educational forums.
Hands to Heart Center Yoga for the People
Investment: HTHC’s Free & Accessible Yoga Program for At-Risk Women
Hands to Heart Center-Yoga for the People (HTHC) is Boston’s only yoga service and action organization. HTHC shares the healing practice of yoga with people living with addiction, poverty and trauma. HTHC serves Boston’s most vulnerable communities, including homeless men, women and children, women living in domestic violence shelters, students of high-poverty schools, children with special needs, adults in treatment for substance abuse disorder, and veterans. The individuals served are the most disenfranchised and marginalized members of society. HTHC exists to share the healing benefits of yoga with those who have the least access to it, but who could stand to benefit from it the most.
The majority of HTHC students are Black and Latino women between the ages of 25 and 65 who have complex trauma, are homeless, and/or are in recovery for substance abuse disorder. In the coming year, HTHC aims to provide 300 free, inclusive, accessible yoga classes for women living with poverty and trauma in Boston, partnering with 10 community partners, and to mobilize 50 new Community Yoga Teachers as volunteers. Funding would support a full-time Program Director position.
Girls Inc. of Greater Lowell
Investment: Girls enCourage
Girls Incorporated of Greater Lowell inspires all girls to be strong, smart and bold. Through creative programs in a safe and nurturing environment, they teach the independence and personal responsibility girls need to succeed. Girls Inc. aims to make exploration of the physical, mental and emotional self as an integral part of girls’ lives. Positive risk-taking develops girls’ bodies and minds, while participation in consistent physical activity as children and adolescents can increase girls’ chances of lifelong physical fitness and activity. This program establishes a noncompetitive, exploratory environment and puts girls’ needs first, giving them a supportive base from which they can test their limits.
The program includes four 10 week sessions conducted in the After School Enrichment, School Vacation Week, and Summer Programs. Each session serves 13 girls ages 11-18 years old. The sessions include fun and interactive activities through which girls learn and practice new skills, and become more familiar with options for outdoor adventure. Concepts such as community, leadership, self-confidence and stress management are integrated into the Girls enCourage - A Life Learning Program through Outdoor Adventures Program so girls understand the impact of these concepts on and in their lives.
Strong Women Strong Girls
Investment: Junior Mentor Program (JUMP)
First established as a student group at Harvard University in 2000, Strong Women, Strong Girls (SWSG) aims to address the notable gap in Boston’s mentoring services while simultaneously addressing girls’ low self-esteem in adolescence. Girls often experience a precipitous drop in self-esteem around age nine and do not recover until age 35, leaving girls susceptible to self-harmful behaviors and taking them off track from their educational and professional goals. SWSG fulfills its mission with a multi-generational mentoring model that pairs pre-adolescent girls from Boston’s most under-resourced communities with college women mentors and near-peer mentors.
JUMP represents a natural extension of SWSG’s mission and work by filling a need for an age-appropriate mentoring and leadership program for middle school girls in Greater Boston. JUMP empowers alumnae (former mentees) of the core program with opportunities to continue cultivating leadership competencies and self-esteem by serving as near-peer mentors during middle school, alongside college women mentors. Junior Mentors in JUMP receive the best of both worlds by mentoring elementary school girls and receiving mentorship from college women. Junior Mentors attend the 20 after-school, 1.5-hour mentoring workshops in the Core Program each week between September and April, attend 12 two- hour workshops to deepen self-discovery and skill-building by engaging with new concepts and skills, and in the spring, Junior and College Mentors have a multi-generational training to strengthen their bond and facilitate growth of this supportive community.