We build women’s collective power in the U.S.

May 27, 2020

Ms. Foundation for Women Announces Activist Collaboration Fund



Grants totaling $275,000 made from the fund will support activists seeking to strengthen
collaboration in and across social justice movements for women

NEW YORK (May 27, 2020) – Today, the Ms. Foundation for Women announced $275,000 in grants to fifteen organizations across the country that are led by and for women and girls of color, trans women and girls of color, and indigenous women and girls as part of the organization’s Activist Collaboration Fund.

The Activist Collaboration Fund (ACF) received over 160 nominations from organizations by and for women and girls of color across 35 states in the United States and the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and Guam. Launched in late January, the ACF seeks to deepen collaboration across movement building organizations, learn with movement leaders, and increase investment in social justice movements across the country, supporting the often unfunded relationship and trust-building work that is crucial for transformational movement building work, particularly among organizations led by and for women and girls of color. 

Ranging in amounts from $15,000 to $25,000, the grantee recipients include African American Roundtable (Milwaukee, WI), Black Child Development Institute (Denver, CO), Black Trans Media (New York, NY), Black Women Rising (Dayton, OH), California Black Women’s Health Project (Inglewood, CA), Collective Action for Safe Spaces (Washington, D.C.), HEART Women and Girls (Chicago, IL), Marsha P. Johnson Institute (Columbus, OH), Native Movement (Anchorage, AK), Pueblo Critico (San Juan, Puerto Rico), Rise Up Kingston (Kingston, NY), Safe Return Project (Richmond, CA), Solutions NOT Punishment Collaborative (Atlanta, GA), Southwest Women’s Law Center (Albuquerque, NM), and Youth Rise Texas (Austin, TX).

“We’re thrilled to announce the first grant recipients of the Ms. Foundation’s Activist Collaboration Fund,” said Teresa C. Younger, President and CEO of the Ms. Foundation for Women. “This Fund comes at a time when movements for justice and equality face increased political challenges, which have been further intensified due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As multi-pronged attacks on women and girls of color, immigrants, LGBTQ, indigenous, and low-income communities continue, social justice activists and organizations across diverse movements are organically coming together to build stronger relationships and collaborations to defend against threats and proactively strategize toward a future of justice and shared liberation. The Ms. Foundation is proud to play a role in this fight, and welcome fifteen incredible organizations into our network to support their work towards issues of climate, criminal justice, education, and reproductive rights across the country.”

The Ms. Foundation for Women used a flexible application and vetting process in order for the ACF to be as accessible as possible. “We designed the Activist Collaboration Fund with trust-based philanthropy best practices in mind even before the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Ellen Liu, Director of Capacity Building and Learning.  “Streamlining our grant process, listening deeply, and offering flexible, general operating support was essential during the last two months, as groups’ capacity were already overstretched responding to community needs in the crisis.” The ACF included a simple nomination form and the option to engage with the Ms. Foundation via phone or video calls so that Ms. staff could generate their grant proposals. All groups were considered, regardless of specific issue areas across the social justice spectrum that affect women and girls of color. 

The ACF accepted applications from 501(c)(3) or fiscally sponsored organizations led by and for women and girls of color, trans women and girls of color, and/or indigenous girls of color, with annual budget of $1 million or less, operating in the United States or U.S. territories and a focus on state or local movements and campaigns. It invests in one or more of the following areas:

  1. Relationship Building: Deepening relationships and building trust across organizations, including proactively preventing conflicts by building shared understanding, repairing relationships, and working through challenges that can stall cross-movement collaboration.
  2. Shared Analysis: Increasing shared analysis, messaging, and mobilization of constituencies across intersecting social justice movements.
  3. Strategy and Planning: Co-creating strategy, plans, and managing the logistics of projects, campaigns, and initiatives across multiple organizations.
  4. Healing Justice Support: Creating policies; providing support, training, or spaces for healing, resiliency, wellness, and restoration for staff working on collaboration and organizations’ sustainability.

Since 1973, the Ms. Foundation has invested over $65 million to build grassroots movements fighting for gender equity, particularly women of color around the country. The Ms. Foundation is determined to center the voices of women of color on the frontlines and bolster them through grantmaking, capacity building, policy and advocacy, leadership development, strategic communications, and political organizing.

To learn more about the Ms. Foundation for Women and the Activist Collaboration Fund, visit here.

# # # 

About the Ms. Foundation for Women:

For 45 years, the Ms. Foundation for Women has worked to build women’s collective power in the U.S. to advance equity and justice for all. The Ms. Foundation invests in, and strengthens the capacity of women led movements to advance meaningful social, cultural, and economic change in the lives of women. With equity and inclusion as the cornerstones of true democracy, the Ms. Foundation works to create a world in which the worth and dignity of every person are valued, and power and possibility are not limited by gender, race, class, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability or age.