For black girls and young women of color, it can seem like the deck is perennially stacked against them. A recent study by Georgetown Law Center on Poverty and Inequality quantified what many of us have intimately experienced: that adults view black girls under 14 as less innocent and more adult than white children of the same age. The implications of this innocence erasure are seen in other data: In school, black girls are punished more harshly while youth of color are more likely to be shuttled into the harsh juvenile detention system.
This makes today, the International Day of the Girl, that much more important. An annual call-to-action, Day of the Girl is a time to reflect on how we view girls and their potential and take the right actions to create a more equitable world for them.
As someone who has spent the past 10 years thinking about ways to better empower young black girls, I’ve curated seven nonprofits that I believe are prioritizing the needs and challenges of black girls in health, education, empowerment, and the arts. With a mix of new and established, grassroots and national, these charities are a fit for a variety of giving preferences.
Giving to these nonprofits doesn’t have to be difficult, in fact, in 2018 I joined ALMA, a modern donation platform created to empower everyday donors like us to help to amplify the great work nonprofits do for the community, and never looked back. Knowing that little-by-little can become a lot, you can have a big impact on any of these organizations with a donation as small as $10.
- Black Girls Smile: This New York and Atlanta-based charity focuses on increasing mental health literacy, coping skills and self-care methods for young black girls. Through programs for youth and their teachers/caretakers, Black Girls Smile uses evidence-based strategies to ensure young girls have the ability to cope with life’s stressors. Give.
- Brown Girls Do Ballet/Gymnastics: This philanthropic organization grew from a photography project by the mother of a three-year-old. While scouting classes for her daughter, she was stunned by the lack of diversity in ballet studios and decided to highlight ballerinas of color—Hispanic, Asian, East Indian, Native American and African—to draw attention to the issue. Now Brown Girls Do, which is the umbrella organization for Brown Girls Do Ballet and Brown Girls Do Gymnastics, aims to increase participation in those activities for brown girls with scholarships, mentor programs and other resources. Donate.
- Girls for Gender Equity: Working locally in New York City and nationally, Girls for Gender Equity brings attention to the unique challenges faced by girls and gender-nonconforming youth of color. Through community-led research, organizing and physical fitness, GGE fulfills its mission to “remove barriers and create opportunities for girls and women to live self-determined lives.” Support.
- Girls on the Run: This Charlotte, N.C.-based nonprofit uses a running-based curriculum to encourage girls in grades 3-8 to be joyful, healthy and confident. Though not exclusively for black girls, Girls on the Run prioritizes access and inclusion by eliminating barriers to participation and training coaches to create inclusive environments. Gift.
- Girls Embracing Mothers: Based in Dallas, this unique nonprofit works with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice to help incarcerated mothers nurture a relationship with their daughters and break the cycle of imprisonment for girls. Mothers are a fast-growing prison population who might rarely or never be able to interact with their children as jurisdictions eliminate face-to-face visitation, jack up prices on phone calls or both. Girls with mothers in prison are the most at-risk for incarceration themselves and GEM’s programming helps them create a positive vision and purpose for their lives. Contribute.
- Uniquely You Summit: This annual empowerment conference in Philadelphia offers a much-needed forum for discussion and problem-solving on the unique challenges of black girls 11-18 years old. With an aim to eliminate feelings of isolation, Uniquely You Summit gives voice and hope to the distractions that can hijack a girl’s formative years: preoccupation with their skin complexion, hair texture, body type and sexuality; navigating depression, emotional stress and trauma. Ante Up.
- Black Girls Code: The roots of this nonprofit were formed when founder Kimberly Bryant experienced cultural isolation as a black girl studying computer science. Now Black Girls Code is a national organization that provides opportunities for girls of color to learn valuable technology and computer programming skills in the hopes that they’ll pursue a career in STEM. Share.
Whitney Teal is head of marketing and community at ALMA, a modern donation platform empowering a new generation of philanthropists. Join more than 10,000 members giving with ALMA today.