Announcing our 2023 annual grant partners

February 14, 2023

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The Women’s Fund of Central Ohio is investing $249,000 in the following 19 partner organizations focused on women and girls in Central Ohio. 68% of these partners specifically focus on women and girls of color; 32% are programs that have not been funded by The Women’s Fund before; and 58% support women and girls in counties other than Franklin. We’re thrilled to stand with them in 2023 to create social change and build a more equitable world.

⭐ = made possible in part by the Monica Terez Girl Power Fund
👕 = made possible in part by HOMAGE Works

Accompanying Returning Citizens with Hope (ARCH)
Be the Change
Be the Change is a leadership program developed with ARCH and Horizon Prison Initiative to provide incarcerated women with leadership skills and education on civic issues. Through the program, women learn how to use their voices effectively to address policy issues that are important to their successful reintegration.

Central Community House ⭐👕
TRANSIT ARTS Black Girls Glow+
TRANSIT ARTS, a program of Central Community House, will expand the Black Girls Glow program to include Black, Indigenous, People of Color (BIPOC) girls. The program helps girls build self-esteem and leadership skills and develop a promising future through arts and mental wellness activities. Three cohorts will experience self-growth through intensive, intimate workshops. As participants discover their strengths and talents, they will continue their artistic journey, gain professional experience, and receive ongoing mentorship and access to mental health resources through ongoing TRANSIT ARTS programs.

Equality Ohio Education Fund
Supporting Trans Girls in Sports through the Ohio Can Play Project
Transgender youth are being marginalized by policy-makers. Eighteen states have banned transgender girls from playing sports on teams matching their gender identity; similar bills are pending in Ohio (as of fall of 2022). This directly harms transgender girls by increasing suicidal ideation and stigmatizing an already misunderstood group. This program seeks to advance its educational work so transgender girls continue to have access to sports respecting their gender identity. We seek to expand the power of #OhioCanPlay in Central Ohio to elevate the voices of transgender girls and those who support them.

GHRO Your Future
GHRO Your Future is a life-skills development and mentoring program for girls ages 12-18. Each participant is matched with a strong female leader from the community to discuss personal goals and ambitions and receive social-emotional support. In workshops, participants engage in hands-on activities in the areas of academic support, career exploration, workforce readiness, leadership development, mental wellness, and confidence building. GHRO operates in schools for limited, targeted programming, and as a community-based program where girls connect with mentors at least once per month, attend two monthly life-skills workshops, and attend a two-day conference.

Freedom a la Cart
Pioneering a Road to Economic Recovery for Survivors of Human Trafficking
Freedom a la Cart’s workforce development program effectively empowers survivors of human trafficking to lead new lives of personal and economic self-sufficiency. Moving human trafficking survivors out of vulnerability and poverty and into stability and economic self-sufficiency requires more than just a job. The program melds case management, trauma counseling, workforce development, career coaching + mentorship, financial literacy training, and savings incentives. By walking alongside women on the road of recovery and providing them with resources, community, and employment, women are empowered to build a life of independence, advance into fulfilling careers, and build wealth.

Girls L.E.A.P. ⭐
Girls LEAP STEM Program
Girls LEAP STEM Program is a year-long monthly educational program that includes summer camp. It is built upon the successes of a week-long STEAM Camp held in 2021 and 2022, during which the girls learned how to code by creating their own unique characters that “talked”, built websites, and created robots using basic materials like cardboard for propeller cars. These experiences allowed for an increased interest in technology-based careers, curiosity in STEM, and confidence in their ability to learn technical subjects. The program will empower girls from under-served communities that experience more disadvantages at home and school.

Groundwork Ohio
Strong Voices make a Strong Community – Advocacy Day
Decisions deeply impacting the lives of women and young children are often made without their voices being heard. Public policy plays a critical role in our society but can perpetuate structural inequities that prevent certain populations from leading healthy lives.

Groundwork Ohio is an advocacy organization informing early learning and healthy development policies for Ohio’s young children. We will train and engage women and families in the process of using their voices to support policies that most influence the positive life trajectories of young children: maternal and young child health and access to quality early learning.

ICE Mentors (Eryn PiNK) ⭐
She’s Gold Leadership Program
The concept of Eryn PiNK is based on a fictional, 12-year-old African American animated girl who illustrates what it means to be an empowered leader. Her real-life experiences underscore the needs our organization addresses and steer our curriculum.

Eryn PiNK Girl Empowerment is dedicated to the development of girls, with a targeted emphasis on creating pathways of advancement for girls of color to thrive. Led by a dedicated team of “role models,” our programs implement culturally relevant solutions to develop leadership skills, increase confidence, and provide opportunities so they may amplify their voices through our in-school and community programs.

Justice for Migrant Women
Channeling the Power of Migrant Women to Advance Gender Equity
Justice for Migrant Women will channel the power of migrant women in Central Ohio to advocate for gender equity through policy change. In the next year, we will work alongside migrant women to raise awareness of and shift engagement in the priority issues we collaboratively identify with these women, who are too often excluded from places of power and missing from the public policy decisions that impact their lives. We will work toward policy changes that improve pay equity, increase migrant women’s protections from workplace harm and exploitation, and increase access to justice for survivors of sexual violence.

LifeCare Alliance
We Are Worth Defending
IMPACT Safety’s “We Are Worth Defending” initiative aims to make the proven and tested methodology of empowerment self-defense (ESD) easily available, affordable, culturally relevant, and accessible. Additionally, programs will be implemented by women of color for women and girls of color. The initiative includes ongoing research, training, instructor certification, community advocacy, and violence prevention awareness in Franklin County and contiguous communities.

MY Project USA ⭐
Expansion of Leadership and Empowerment Program for Immigrant and Refugee Girls
The Girls’ Leadership and Empowerment Program is a safe space for young women to develop as leaders within their community while they build self-esteem, grow their communication skills, and define their hopes and ambitions. Girls will learn to build their power with the Ohio Women’s Alliance, work with local leaders to address violence and other community issues, and provide community service—emphasizing the Muslim tradition of service to fellow human beings. MY Project USA’s staff and volunteers will expand opportunities for young Muslim, Arab, and Hispanic women, ages 14 to 18, to explore who they are and who they will become.

New Directions Career Center
Women’s Advocacy Program
The Women’s Advocacy Program is a leadership and nonprofit board training program for women who have experienced life circumstances requiring them to seek local social services. The goal is to ensure that programs and policies designed to support women and families include their voices and perspectives. The Women’s Advocacy Program’s 2023 cohort will receive training in leadership skills, public speaking, advocacy, communications, board responsibilities, and community engagement. Cohort 2022 and Cohort 2023 graduates are placed on boards and board committees across Central Ohio to inform programs and policies that serve women and families.

Ohio Women’s Alliance
The Reproductive Justice Table
The Reproductive Justice Table is a year-long fellowship and campaign training program for women community leaders pursuing positive change in their communities. Applicants must have experience as a community volunteer or leader to apply, which they share in their application. RJ Fellows commit to monthly training sessions that sharpen their skills in community organizing, campaign planning, issue-based advocacy, and organizational financial management. Throughout the year-long fellowship, RJ Fellows collaboratively develop and implement a reproductive justice campaign of their choosing to educate and engage more women across Ohio.

Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio
Ohio Center for Sex Education Peer Education Program
Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio’s education arm, the Ohio Center for Sex Education, runs an innovative Peer Education Program that engages young people by training them on evidence-informed reproductive and sexual health education while strengthening their confidence, leadership, and presentation skills. Because we know that teens often turn to their friends with questions about sexual health, peer educators share their newfound knowledge with peers to improve their understanding of reproductive health and sexuality. Peer educators work to increase protective factors that prevent unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections and combat harmful gender stereotypes in their schools and communities.

Policy Matters Ohio
Economic Security and Opportunity for Women
Policy Matters Ohio’s long-term goals include making childcare affordable for all who need it, paying childcare workers a living wage, and helping women get and keep good jobs. Right now, a single mother of two earning $16/hour spends more than half her income on childcare but makes too much to qualify for public support for childcare. Childcare workers, who are disproportionately Black women, earn poverty-level wages. We will advocate for affordable high-quality childcare, a living wage for childcare workers, and economic security for women and families through research, community education, strategic communications, and coalition building.

Proyecto Mariposas ⭐
Elevating the Voices of Young Latinas (ages 13+)
This Elevating the Brave and Strong Voices of Young Latinas (ages 13+) will focus on preparing young women (former Mariposas participants) to mentor our younger girls in areas of mental health, cultural humility, breaking biases, education, and leadership. Through this program, they will earn a certificate, a letter of recommendation, and a stipend. This program will continue to prepare them to gather data, develop and lead programming, and coach/mentor girls ages 13+.

The Women’s Center for Economic Opportunity
Women’s Rise to Wealth Accelerator
The Women’s Rise to Wealth Accelerator is a money management program offered in a psychologically safe space for women of color to debunk money myths and raise their financial emotional intelligence. Participants learn practical skills to reduce debt, raise credit scores, and deepen their knowledge of investing. Participants learn and practice using the language of money and wealth to negotiate and better navigate a financial system that is not designed to prosper them.

Vote Run Lead
RUN/51: Training Women to Lead Ohio
RUN/51 is Vote Run Lead’s revolutionary campaign to transform state legislatures to be 51% women — reflective of the country’s population.

This first-ever effort to create a majority-women office will not only build a more equitable, more representative government body; it will also create policy impacts that are good for women and girls (research shows that more women at decision-making tables result in policies that support them, such as economic equity, reproductive health, and more). With more women in visible power, RUN/51: Ohio will also help shift a still-held narrative that women cannot or should not lead.

YWCA Columbus
Bright Futures
Bright Futures is a community-based program that empowers girls in middle and high school to understand and disrupt systemic oppression, develop agency, and take up roles of leadership needed to advocate for changing the systems that perpetuate inequities. The program seeks to provide participants with tools for understanding and dismantling the structures of inequity that impact their lived experiences and communities.