Ms. Foundation for Women Announces New Strategy to Protect Women’s Safety

New York, NY  — Today, the Ms. Foundation for Women announced its support of 7 organizations that safeguard the wellbeing of women and girls. Reflecting a new strategy for the organization’s safety-focused grants, the groups selected share a commitment to addressing the issues of criminalization, sexual assault and violence, and state-sanctioned violence that undermine the wellbeing of Black women and girls.

The social and political climate has exacerbated race and gender-based violence and allowed violence against women, in particular women of color, to thrive. This trend renders Black women and girls especially vulnerable to violent attacks. Addressing the multiple breaches to safe living conditions for cisgender and transgender Black women and girls will require changing the policies and practices that lead to the criminalizing of this particularly vulnerable population. It will also require a cultural shift in how funding relates to gender expression and gender identity.

“It is past time for the safety of Black women, girls and feminine of center gender nonconforming people – cisgender and transgender – to be made a priority area for philanthropy and the women’s rights movement,” said Nakisha M. Lewis, Program Officer for Safety at the Ms. Foundation for Women. “Through investment in this new cohort of grantee partners, the Ms. Foundation seeks to bring to light the urgent needs and vulnerabilities of the most marginalized among us while supporting a dynamic group of grassroots organizers to address state sanctioned violence, sexual assault, and criminalization.”

The organizations were specifically chosen because of their unique work, disrupting racial and gender justice frameworks that traditionally fail to include feminine of center gender nonconforming people – cisgender and transgender.  The grantees are groups led by Black women that are organizing and advocating for policy changes and healing justice; working to dismantle the systems that harm Black women and girls. In addition to financial assistance, each grant is coupled with hands-on capacity building, and communications and advocacy support for the grantee organization and leadership to support and strengthen the organization’s infrastructure.

“Since our founding, the Ms. Foundation for Women has prioritized the safety of women and girls and supported organizations that work to end all forms of violence against them,” said Teresa C. Younger, President and CEO of the Ms. Foundation for Women. “This directed approach, focused on black women and girls, is only the first step in continuing to uphold our legacy of prioritizing the needs of women of color. The crucial work of these organizations will help build the momentum needed to ensure that all women – regardless of their race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, age, or income — have a true level of safety and access to equal opportunities.”

FY 2017 grantees include:

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For more than 40 years, the Ms. Foundation for Women has secured women’s rights and freedoms with a special commitment to building the power of low-income, immigrant and women of color. The foundation invests funds, time, expertise and training in trailblazing organizations nationwide.