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The Women’s Fund of Rhode Island Announces 2020 Grant Recipients

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (June 15, 2020) – The Women’s Fund of Rhode Island (WFRI) is excited to announce financial commitments totaling $120,000 in grant funding to seven organizations over the next two years for their innovative proposals to advance gender equity and help level the playing field for women and girls in Rhode Island. $60,000 will be distributed in 2020 and the same amount in 2021. Several of the grants include a racial justice component and all are relevant to concurrent health and racial disparities.

WFRI uses social change grantmaking 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 $810,000 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.

The grants impact a variety of gender related issues. While the gender wage and wealth gap has been extensively covered over the years and particularly for women of color, the COVID-19 crisis shines a spotlight on how these gaps impact women in the U.S.  Women disproportionately hold low wage jobs in industries with little to no paid family and sick leave, including fields that expose them to the virus, and many are unable to work in a virtual environment. Funding to RI Community & Justice, SEIU and the Center for Women and Enterprise tackle these issues.

Racial disparities in health have also been exacerbated, particularly in reproductive health. Even before the current health crisis, domestic violence was already a global pandemic. Paired with restrictions meant to protect people from catching the coronavirus, the stage is set for a growing domestic violence crisis. Funding for SistaFire, Sojourner House, RI Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Planned Parenthood of Southern New England address these issues.

“The projects this funding supports could not have come at a better time, as the concurrent health and racial disparities crises have thrown our world into turmoil,” said Kelly Nevins, Executive Director of the Women’s Fund of Rhode Island. ‘With our two year financial commitment, we are investing in longer term impact for these programs.”

The grant recipients and awarded programs are:

 – SISTA Fire ($20,000)– Support for reproductive justice work centered on the experience of working class womxn of color and disrupting the norms of white supremacy culture, by building a network for doulas and birthworkers of color

– Sojourner House ($20,000)– Support for intimate partner violence prevention education for youth, teaching about the dynamics of healthy relationships, promoting self-respect within relationships and warning signs of abusive relationships at DelSesto Middle School, Nathanael Greene Middle School and Cranston High School West

– RI Coalition Against Domestic Violence ($20,000)– Support for Advocates of Color Leadership Development to Advance Economic Justice Initiative, providing strategies to enhance leadership skills and professional development opportunities delivered by and designed for women of color and to increase the number of advocates of color engaged in policy advocacy related to economic justice

– Center for Women & Enterprise ($20,000)– Support for Spanish language entrepreneurship and business planning training

– SEIU Education & Support Fund ($20,000)– Support for business courses for 30 family child care providers based on the model of All Our Kin, to increase understanding by family child care providers of best business practices, improving financial practices and enhancing the efficiency of their programs

 – Rhode Island for Community & Justice ($10,906)– Support for Young Women’s Equity Council to establish a Diversity, Equity & Inclusion training and mentoring program and ensure there is a cohort of women of color who are enthusiastic and qualified to fill open DEI roles right out of college

Planned Parenthood of Southern New England ($9,094)– Support for the Coalition for Reproductive Freedom to focus on legislative activities related to reproductive justice, currently the Equality in Abortion Coverage Act, Doula Reimbursement Act, No Co-pay for Birth Control and RI Parentage Equality Act. Note that PPSNE requested $10,000, but we did not have enough left in budget to fund their full request

“The grant process was very competitive. 24 non-profit organizations submitted proposals for a combined request of $208,000 in funding,” said Christina Castle, WFRI Board Member and Chair of the Grant Review Team.  “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 Women’s Fund of Rhode Island

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 achieve gender equity through systemic change. For more information, visit wfri.org.

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