Last March our lives were severely altered by the pandemic, and classrooms, as well after-school programs, were migrated from gathering spaces to squares on a screen.
Resilience and reciprocity during a year of pandemic
It’s hard to believe that we’ve spent an entire year battling multiple pandemics. Last March, as schools went virtual, organizations and businesses lost funding, and families with already limited access to safe and affordable healthcare struggled, we could not have imagined what lay ahead.
The devastation of this global health crisis has been particularly harmful to Black, Indigenous, and other people of color, and has had acute impacts on girls and gender-expansive youth of color in these communities. Recognizing the deep divide, in April of 2020 we launched our Love is Healing COVID-19 Response Fund. To date, we have granted over $3 million to 140 outstanding organizations in 28 states and Washington, D.C. that are responding directly to girls and gender-expansive youth of color, holding space for them, and uplifting their leadership.
In addition to funding direct services and interventions, we also supported a number of organizations engaged in participatory research with girls and gender-expansive youth of color, to document and help us better understand how they have experienced the past year. While this collection of data is still being analyzed, there are already important findings emerging, including:
- The pandemic has exacerbated the vulnerability of girls and gender-expansive youth of color to experience abuse and gendered violence in their homes (Politics of Sexual Violence Initiative);
- Many girls and gender-expansive youth of color are essential workers themselves, or live in homes with essential workers who continue to lack access to basic personal protective equipment, and other protections;
- In California, 40% of girls in one survey reported needing to take on additional caregiving responsibilities in their homes (Alliance for Girls); and,
- Girls and gender-expansive youth of color nationwide are facing serious economic burdens since the start of the pandemic, including job loss, or the pressure to choose between their education and supporting their families (Girls at the Margin National Alliance).
Racism and xenophobia continue to be ever-present in the lives of girls and gender-expansive youth of color, especially in the context of racial justice uprisings last summer to address anti-Black racism, continued surveillance and targeting of immigrant communities, and anti-Asian violence that has increased since the start of the pandemic. Organizations supporting girls and gender-expansive youth of color are also experiencing losses in access to funding, and financial and mental strains.
“Our partners described being exhausted and drained from their work in the context of COVID-19. Most of our partners are from the communities most impacted by colonization, structural racism, and patriarchy, and thus even more affected by COVID-19. In the context of both the pandemic and the ongoing virus and public health crisis of racism, there is a need to support longer term self-care, rest, and rejuvenation for the women of color advocates, organizational leaders, and staff working to support girls of color.”
Despite these challenges, our grantee partners continue to show up, not only for their communities, but also for each other. At G4GC, we believe in engaging in what we call “reciprocity as praxis.” We know that our organizations that center girls and gender-expansive youth of color are, and have always been, as much of a resource to one another as their donors. This notion was exemplified by ProCure Hope, one of our grantee partners, when they generously donated 70,000 masks to us, to distribute to the rest of our grantee community.
ProCure Hope was launched in response to the many healthcare and social crises created by COVID-19. Joni Bessler, one of the co-founders, shared that many of the volunteer founders had access to masks through networks in China, long before masks could be sourced in the U.S. ProCure Hope raised funds, and distributed nearly 2 million masks to front-line workers and marginalized communities, including those in the Black trans community, homeless shelters, Native American reservations, and domestic abuse organizations.
G4GC proudly supports ProCureHope’s free after-school enrichment program Full STEAM Forward, which supports girls of color with programs that promote equity in science education. They engage young girls of color from under-resourced communities in STEAM-based programs designed to develop a sustained passion for the sciences.
“ProCure Hope is thrilled that we were able to provide Grantmakers for Girls of Color with 70,000 masks for distribution to their grantee partners. We are immensely thankful for G4GC’s support of our free, online, after-school enrichment program, Full STEAM Forward, and were honored to pay it forward with a donation of masks for our sister organizations. We look forward to participating in future projects to further our common goals for the benefit of girls and gender expansive youth of color across the U.S.”
~ Joni Bessler, ProCure Hope’s co-founder and Executive Director
We remain hopeful that, as inequities are further unveiled, we can continue our work to resource girls and gender-expansive youth of color and the organizations that support them from a place of abundance and reciprocity. We remain committed to centering girls and gender-expansive youth of color and their needs during the ongoing recovery efforts, and working with the White House Gender Policy Council to maintain these issues at the forefront. We know that the work of rebuilding and healing requires us to move with intention and care. We are grateful to our G4GC community for continuing to be a loving example of what it means to show up for the needs of our young people and their families.
Monique W. Morris, Ed.D.
Grantmakers for Girls of Color
Funding Opportunities from some of our philanthropic colleagues
Request for proposals: Cross-Racial Healing and Solidarity
The Nellie Mae Education Foundation has opened the “Cross-Racial Healing and Solidarity in a White Supremacist World” Rapid Response grant fund, to provide urgent support to organizations looking to continue relationships or begin new relationships of cross-racial solidarity.
Recognizing that the COVID-19 virus has disproportionately impacted the Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) communities, this funding opportunity will continue to support those who have been promoting cross-community solidarity, and serve as a stepping point for those we are ready to embark on the hard work of building deep, sustained bridges. Applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis, and the deadline for proposals is May 6, 2021. Learn more and apply here.
Request for proposals: Own Our Power Fund
The Third Wave Fund, launched in 2017 to ensure that youth-led reproductive and gender justice organizations are able to grow at their own pace, has reopened the Own Our Power Fund for new capacity building project proposals.
The Own Our Power Fund builds stronger reproductive and gender justice movements by increasing the power, agency, and self-determination that young women, trans, and queer youth of color have over their organizations. The 2021 cycle is open and proposals are due on April 30, 2021. Learn more and apply here, and for Spanish here.