Ms. Foundation Seeking Vice President, Strategy and Programs

The Ms. Foundation for Women seeks an exceptional individual with strong leadership, management and strategic ability for the position of Vice President, Strategy and Programs. Reporting to the President and CEO, the Vice President, Strategy and Programs will be a member of the leadership team, providing direction for the programs team and organizational strategy.

This is a critical and exciting time for the Ms. Foundation for Women as a new and bold strategic plan is being rolled out to make the organization more visible, viable and valuable to the women’s movement, social justice movements, the philanthropic community and the country.

The Vice President, Strategy and Programs will have responsibility for leading the Foundation’s new strategic initiatives with the goal of connecting existing programmatic grantmaking/capacity building/movement-building work to the Foundation’s new broader intersectional work on policy advocacy, cross-sector alliances and external partnership building. Acting as a sophisticated thought partner to both the President and CEO and the staff, the Vice President will help to shape and execute new strategies for the Foundation to meet its own ambitious targets for expanding the movements that affect the lives of women while building a sustainable institution.

The Foundation seeks a skilled listener, collaborator and team builder with significant experience in women’s rights and social justice issues, movement-building, base-building and organizing. S/he will have big vision views of advocacy and strategy, as well as an understanding and value of enhancing the capacity of community-based organizations.   The Vice President will bring a broad understanding of feminism, the women’s movement, and the intersections of race, class, and gender as well as the ability to connect with other social justice issues. In addition, the successful candidate will bring a background in philanthropy and fundraising that will inform her/his ability to collaborate with other departments to grow the Foundation’s core strategies.

Learn more and how to apply on the Ms. Foundation website.

Hurricane Relief Efforts – Opportunities to Provide Support


Our thoughts remain with those most affected by the hurricanes in the U.S. and around the world, and the groups and individuals organizing on the ground to help. Below are some opportunities to provide support.


ColorLines: How to Donate Money and Other Aid to Communities of Color in Houston

New Florida Majority: Support Grassroots Florida Organizations Helping Communities Recover and Rebuild

Grassroots International: Haitian-led Hurricane Recovery Support

UpRose: Support Communities in Puerto Rico

Miami Workers Center: Support the Miami Workers Center, which organizes and develops conscious leadership within Miami’s working- class communities.

Native Voices Rising Announces 2017 Request for Proposals

Common Counsel Foundation and Native Americans in Philanthropy are pleased to announce that Native Voices Rising (NVR) is now open for applications by Native-led groups with a membership base in the community that have a leadership development program and seek to take collective action to win progressive social change.

Historically, less than 0.5% of foundation funding goes to support Native issues. This is a level of support that is inadequate to address the historic harms that Native people have experienced and the current need.

NVR provides general operating support grants to strengthen Native-led organizations in the United States that are improving the lives of their community members. To-date a total of $410,000 has been awarded to 43 grassroots Native community organizations that are involved in organizing and advocacy. Previous grantees are collectively engaging thousands of community members across ten states. They focus on a wide range of critical issues, from human and civil rights, to reproductive justice, to environmental health and sacred sites protection. Past NVR grantees had a significant presence at Standing Rock, advocating against the Dakota Access pipeline for the protection of land, water, and the recognition of Native sovereignty.

Please share with your network. Donors that would like to add funds to this year’s pool can contribute online or contact Common Counsel Foundation. Grantees can find more information and apply at NVR will make grants of up to $10,000 to support grassroots organizing led by Native communities.

The application deadline is August 2, 2017.

See the full announcement here.

#GenIndigenous Response Fund to Support Movement Building

We are living in a pivotal moment for youth-led movements. Across the country, and at Standing Rock, young people are playing leading roles in social justice movements that advance a vision for a just society. Now is a critical moment to support Native young people who are showing a readiness to organize in building lasting movements for social change.

As a connector between grantmakers and Native organizations and communities, Native Americans in Philanthropy (NAP) has engaged and educated philanthropic leaders about the issues facing Native communities for the past 26 years. We have been a consistent advocate for the protection of tribal sovereignty, land and water rights, women rights, and Native youth healing. Standing Rock and their fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) provided NAP an unprecedented opportunity to advocate for immediate support in response to the current situation and to leverage this opportunity to encourage a long-term commitment from philanthropy to Native communities.

The NAP #GenIndigenous Response Fund will provide grants up to $5,000 to youth organizing groups responding to the current moment in ways that build long-term power for Native youth. This fund will provide grants to organizations playing leadership roles at Standing Rock while considering efforts to support the long term engagement of youth leaders in advocacy efforts. We believe that youth engagement, organizing and leadership is central to this movement moment, therefore we will prioritize funding efforts that are Native and youth led.

Learn more and download the #GenIndigeous Response Fund Guidelines here.

NYC Fund for Girls and Young Women of Color Announces Participatory Review Committee 2017 Recruitment

The New York City Fund for Girls and Young Women of Color is pleased to announce that it is launching recruitment for its Participatory Review Committee (PRC) for the upcoming Fall 2017 Cycle.


The NYC Fund for Girls and Young Women of Color is a collaboration of a diverse and growing group of funders coming together to expand philanthropic investment for girls and young women of color in NYC. The first of its kind in the United States, The Fund envisions a city that offers every opportunity for all girls and young women of color, inclusive of two-spirited, transgender and gender non-binary youth, to succeed economically and socially. It pools money to invest in non-profit efforts that promote the well-being and leadership of young women of color as change agents, and partners with communities and other allies to advance equity. It is managed by and housed at The New York Women’s Foundation.


The Participatory Review Committee (PRC) forms the heart of the Fund’s participatory grantmaking model. It educates and engages diverse community members as activist philanthropists to leverage the strengths of girls and young women of color toward cultural and systemic change. In teams of 3 – 4 members and in partnership with NYWF staff, the PRC assists The Fund in reading proposals, conducting site visits, and making grant recommendations. By drawing on a range of perspectives that are reflective of New York City’s diverse community of women and local community leaders, this participatory grantmaking model creates a more inclusive process responsive to the needs of low-income girls of color and the broader community.

Application Instructions:

– Complete the following application form and submit by 11:59 PM on Tuesday, July 25, 2017.

– Email your resume to [email protected] by 11:59 PM on Tuesday, July 25, 2017.

– You will be notified about the final status of your application by August 11, 2017.

Apply here.


New York City Fund For Girls and Young Women of Color Announces Fall 2017 Grant Guidelines

The New York City Fund For Girls and Young Women of Color (The Fund)* is pleased to announce its Fall 2017 Grant Guidelines. The Fund seeks proposals around advancing young women’s voice and collective leadership, with an emphasis on advocacy, community organizing, and participatory research approaches to broad-based change (e.g. policy, institutional practices, etc.) and long-term active participation in community and civic life. The Fund also seeks proposals around amplifying narratives centered on young women of color and their communities through social media, arts activism, or other communications strategies.  Organizations working in the Bronx, Staten Island, and in First Nations or Native American communities within the Tri-State area are particularly encouraged to apply.

The process begins with submitting a Letter of Inquiry using the template provided below.  If your organization is selected to advance to the full application stage, you will receive further instructions for next steps in the process.  Only organizations invited to submit full proposals will be considered for a grant award. More details are available by reviewing the grant guidelines below.

The deadline for submitting Letters of Inquiry is before noon on June 19th, 2017. Please direct any questions to [email protected].

Learn more here.

‘We Are Powerful’ Women Share Thoughts About NoVo Foundation Effort

When you decide to commit $90 million to a cause, it’s best to consult some experts. For the NoVo Foundation, those experts are girls and women of color.

The grant maker spent a year traveling the country, listening to children, teens, and young adults describe their goals, challenges, and ideas for improving their lives. In April, the foundation announced it would apply what it learned by pouring its big pledge into community-led programs that target racism and sexual violence and that help activists collaborate.

There’s ample work to be done. Black girls are more likely to be suspended from school than their peers of other races, according to federal statistics. Women of color are victims of sexual violence at high rates: Half of multiracial women, 46 percent of Native American women, and 36 percent of black women. And black and Hispanic women make less money than white women with similar levels of education.

NoVo will be among the participants Wednesday at the annual Grantmakers for Girls of Color meeting in New York to explore safety concerns and other problems.

The Chronicle talked to five of the women who participated in NoVo’s national listening tour and are influencing its grant making. Some of them lead or work for nonprofits the foundation supports. Here’s what they said about the process and their hopes for the people they serve.

“When you support girls and women of color and their children, you are actively sustaining their own healing, the reclamation of their femininity, and the reclamation of their culture.”

Autumn Billie, 23
Office coordinator, Wise Fool New Mexico
Santa Fe, New Mexico

In indigenous communities, it’s common for grandparents to raise their grandchildren. As time passes, the roles reverse, and many Native young women find themselves serving as caretakers for elderly relatives while balancing school and work responsibilities.

Such a girl “doesn’t even have casual downtime for herself,” explains Autumn Billie.

It’s just one of the nuances Ms. Billie, a college student who works for nonprofits in New Mexico, thinks many foundations miss when they attempt to fit indigenous people “into a cookie-cutter system” in ways that are ill-suited to their lives.

But organizations created by and for those people know how to address their needs. For example, in Ms. Billie’s previous job as a project facilitator with the nonprofit Tewa Women United, she oversaw programs that taught young Pueblo women about sexuality and reproduction using a curriculum adapted to be more culturally relevant and translated into the Tewa language.

“We’re trying to sustain a bloodline,” she says. “I’m not just protecting these women, but I’m protecting a heritage and culture that she’s the matriarch of, the carrier.”

That kind of wisdom was evident at the NoVo listening session in which Ms. Billie participated in Española, a New Mexico town of 10,000. She was pleased that foundation leaders wanted to hear opinions directly from local girls.

“When you support girls and women of color and their children, you are actively sustaining their own healing, the reclamation of their femininity and the reclamation of their culture,” Ms. Billie says. “The most important part of that is you validate their leadership.”

“We’re going to be the ones who move the social-justice movement. We’re going to be the ones who carry it on where it needs to be. … We are powerful.”

Read the full story and all five women’s reactions on Chronicles of Philanthropy.

Local Activists’ Voices Drive New Effort to Invest in Girls and Women of Color

The work that the NoVo Foundation wants to fund is already happening, though it may not yet have the benefit of big-foundation money.

Black girls in Mississippi know that the world too often sees them as angry, man-hungry, uneducated baby mamas. Their perceived value can depend on how light their skin is, how thin their bodies are, and how loosely their hair curls. They sometimes withstand sexual assault and depression, and a culture of secrecy makes it difficult to talk about trauma.

Young women of color in New Mexico are often so busy taking care of family members in the context of intergenerational addiction that they lack the time or support to make their own plans or pursue their own dreams. They live in the shadow of a potential border wall and long for “a world where there is healthy masculinity.”

These are some findings from a year-long, nationwide listening tour undertaken by the New York–based NoVo Foundation, which this month announced it will invest $90 million in efforts to serve girls of color over the next seven years—the largest commitment to that demographic by a private foundation to date. Hosting listening sessions, which were attended and summarized by cultural anthropologist Aimee Cox, was a critical step in the foundation’s process of determining how and where to distribute its funds.

For Autumn Billie, a 23-year-old indigenous feminist and activist who talked with the foundation last year about her sex-education work with Native American students in rural northern New Mexico, the experience was unique. “Wow, someone is coming in and actually valuing the authentic mission and the authentic programming and organizing that we actually want to do, instead of [asking us to] fit in a kind of cookie cutter,” she said, reflecting on the conversation.

Giving girls of color and their advocates this sense of being in the driver’s seat was precisely what NoVo intended with its approach to developing its grant-making strategy. “We listen deeply because we know foundations are not the experts,” Jody Myrum, who directs the foundation’s Initiative to Advance Adolescent Girls’ Rights, told me. “Really, girls and movement leaders are the experts.” Based on feedback from those experts, NoVo is taking a three-pronged approach:

It will invest in local organizations around the country that work directly with teenage girls of color on issues such as “ending sexual violence, confronting anti-black racism, building solidarity across communities, intergenerational healing, or directly supporting girls’ ideas,” according to the foundation’s application for community-based groups.

It will begin by placing special priority on the South—where the foundation says 40 percent of the nation’s girls of color live—and seek out a regional partner who can help strengthen efforts there. “There’s not a lack of leadership or progressive infrastructure [in the South], but a lack of philanthropic investment,” Myrum said.
Finally, NoVo will continue its support of national groups that work to improve the lives of girls of color.

In recent years, organizers and scholars have pushed to make sure that the needs of girls and women of color—and the clear ways these needs are distinct from boys and men of color as well as from white girls and women—receive appropriate attention and resources. Their efforts have gained newfound support and recognition, including from officials during the Obama administration. The statistics that drive the focus on this demographic are stark: According to federal data, black female students are suspended at higher rates than girls of any other race or ethnicity and at higher rates than white boys. Black girls represent nearly a third of the girls who are detained in and committed to juvenile justice facilities. Native American girls are only 1 percent of the population, but 3.5 percent of the girls in those facilities. A 2015 report titled “The Sexual Abuse to Prison Pipeline” found that girls in the juvenile justice system are disproportionately victims of sexual violence, and end up criminalized because their trauma isn’t often identified or treated.

Read the full article in The Nation.

NoVo Foundation to Devote $90M to Organizing by Women and Girls of Color

Jennifer and Peter Buffett and their NoVo Foundation, founded in 2006, have announced they have finished their study meant to help them understand how to spend $90 million in grants to local and regional groups taking on “the deep systemic, societal and institutional challenges” faced by girls and young women of color. NPQ’s Shafaq Hasan wrote about the start of this study period.

To figure out what their priorities and approach should be, the foundation took the all-too-rare approach of talking to those meant to benefit. Foundation staffers spoke with more than 300 girls in Michigan, Ohio, Tennessee, Mississippi, New Mexico, Alabama, and Georgia, “regions in the country that have remained largely isolated from philanthropic attention and from the chance to engage in national conversations on gender and racial justice.”

The NoVo Foundation’s plan has a number of distinguishing characteristics; it will start intensive funding in the Southeast, an area largely ignored by big philanthropy, and it will support existing movement groups directly addressing social injustice. The Buffetts said in a press release,

“We believe that girls of color are experts in their own lives and wield immense power to transform their communities and the country…We are excited to partner directly with girls of color and their advocates so that they can live in safety and peace, dream and imagine all the possibilities of their futures, access all that’s necessary to live in dignity and fulfill their dreams, and feel celebrated and seen through love and connection.”

Pamela Shifman, NoVo’s executive director, said, “A vibrant movement to build power with and for girls of color already exists, and it is time for philanthropy to follow its lead. Meaningful change for girls of color in our country is only possible if we shift power to those who are most affected and center the leadership of people who live every day with injustice.”

Read the full story on NonProfitQuarterly.

Buffett Foundation Unveils $90M Plan to Help Girls of Color

AP – In the 15-year existence of her girls’ empowerment organization, Joanne Smith has dealt with funders and donors but never quite like this: a foundation putting $90 million toward helping girls of color by letting them determine their needs instead of being told what the funds have to be used for.

The NoVo Foundation, founded in 2006 by Jennifer and Peter Buffett, the youngest son and daughter-in-law of billionaire investor Warren Buffett, officially announced on Thursday how its $90 million commitment over seven years will be carried out.

It comes a year after the New York City-based foundation first announced the investment and spent the intervening time talking to minority girls and advocates around the country about how best to carry it out. At the time, the foundation said it was the largest single investment aimed specifically at this demographic

What was heard was that different communities of minority girls face different issues, and “one size fits all was never going to work in terms of the kind of support we offer,” said Pamela Shifman, executive director of the foundation. “We wanted to let girls of color and their advocates really determine their most important needs because they are the experts on their own lives.”

Minority girls are disproportionately affected by a number of social ills, including poverty and sexual assault, but are largely overlooked in philanthropic giving, she said.

The foundation is allocating money in three ways. One stream of grants will be open to community-based organizations around the country that work directly with minority girls. Another stream will focus specifically on the Southeastern United States and, through a regional partner, allocate funds to existing groups as well as new organizations and even people working with minority girls outside of formal organizations. The third will go toward supporting national policy and research organizations that focus on issues facing women and girls of color.

Shifman said applications for the various streams would be accepted over the next several weeks, with the first grants being distributed in the fall. She said the foundation was expecting to distribute about $13 million in the first year of funding.

The foundation said the focus on creating the first regional hub in the Southeast was because of how much the area has been neglected by philanthropy, especially in terms of supporting work focused on girls of color, even though it said 40 percent of the nation’s girls of color live in the South.

That’s very welcome, said Kameisha Smith, who works with girls in Durant, Mississippi, and throughout the Mississippi Delta through the Nollie Jenkins Family Center. She appreciated the process, which saw people from NoVo coming down to her area and being taken through their rural communities.

“Our organizing work looks very different from organizing in New York,” she said. “Our success looks different than success in New York.”

Smith, founder of the Brooklyn-based Girls for Gender Equity, said she’d never had a funder approach grants from a position of following the guidance of the people doing the work to say what the needs are. She’s worked with NoVo before and appreciated the opportunity “to be able to do the work that you have set forth as a priority, not them.”

That’s the point, Peter Buffett said. Instead of picking a singular focus area, “I’d rather see organizational capacity get built so they can decide.”

Full story from the AP.