Finally, some good news to come out of Black Women’s Equal Pay Day: On Tuesday, the Ms. Foundation for Women announced a new strategic plan (PDF) which “will route $25 million to grassroots organizations led by, or serving, women and girls of color over the next five years in an effort to improve outcomes for all women.”
Already the nation’s oldest women’s foundation, the Ms. Foundation is now pledging not only financial and programming resources, but is establishing its first-ever 501(c)(4) fund to “support grassroots political movements, develop long term strategies to elect women, and advance legislative policies central to women’s lives—particularly women and girls of color.” In the words of Teresa C. Younger, President & CEO of the Ms. Foundation for Women:
An accurate herstory tells us that women of color have been on the frontlines of nearly every movement in this country — from reproductive rights, immigrant rights, and civil rights, to economic justice, and criminal justice reform. We are a political force to be reckoned with, and in 2018, we delivered unprecedented electoral wins in Alabama, Georgia, and New York — yet we are sorely underrepresented in philanthropic investment, with only 2% of that spending going to women and girls of color. It’s time that we champion and do all we can to ensure that women and girls of color are in power, at the tables of power and are supported as movement leaders.
Notably, over its 44 year history, the foundation has invested over $65 million to “build grassroots movements fighting for gender equity for women across the country.” Their decision to focus future efforts and resources on women and girls of color will make a significant impact, as currently, organizations either led by or serving women and girls of color only receive 2% of philanthropic dollars. As Jocelyn Frye, Board Chair of the Ms. Foundation for Women, explained:
At a time when there is an urgent need for bold leadership to lift up all women and push back against divisive rhetoric and regressive policies, we are being explicit and unapologetic about our focus on women of color. ... we want to be clear about our goal to build power and enable women and girls of color to strengthen their communities while working for justice and equity for all.