The Female/BIPOC-led foundation receives support from Pivotal Ventures, a Melinda French Gates company, to further efforts dedicated to women and girls of color in the South
New Orleans, LA – April 10, 2022
Southern-based non-profit Women’s Foundation of the South (WFS) is pleased to announce a partnership investment from Pivotal Ventures, a Melinda French Gates company, to provide capacity and catalytic support as WFS pursues its vision of a flourishing South, where women and girls of color are healthy, safe, and well-resourced to determine their own destinies and ensure that they and their families thrive.
The Women’s Foundation of the South (WFS) is a revolutionary first-ever foundation dedicated to BIPOC womxn and girls across 13 states, guided by grantmaking experts of color. WFS centers and invests in the collective power, health, well-being, economic security, and leadership of womxn and girls of color (WGOC) in the South. WFS is writing the next chapter for WGOC in the South by building an endowed institution that is founded on the principle that solutions are often held by those closest to the problem.
Historically, womxn of color have been frontline leaders and organizers, breaking gender and racial barriers as they effected change. Yet, they are most affected by inequity, at the intersection of multiple systems of oppression. Their work is continually under-resourced, keeping the South – indeed, America – from achieving its highest vision for its future. Southern states consistently rank at the bottom when it comes to comprehensive measurement of women’s rights and opportunities in America.
The very creation of WFS is spurred by the fact that Womxn-of-Color-led nonprofit organizations receive the least funding from philanthropic sources: only 0.25% of funding actually reaches womxn/girls of color. WFS is motivated by the deep understanding that funding – and elevating – BIPOC womxn in the South will simultaneously lift their families, and that this work will similarly impact and elevate future generations as well, breaking the cycle of entrenched, generational poverty. This is especially important right now, as COVID-19 has exacerbated racial disparities in health and economic prosperity over the past two years. At the same time, the recent social injustice and racial reckoning movement has opened the nation’s collective mind to righting the wrongs of the past and finally making room for equity and inclusion.
Because WFS’ leadership consists of womxn BIPOC of the South who collectively have over 100 years of grantmaking experience, they have personally experienced the challenges their constituents are navigating today. WFS will act as an impact investment fund for people to support organizations led by southern womxn of color, transforming legacy philanthropy by centering racial and gender equity from the start. It is their goal to change the economic trajectory of at least 2.5 million womxn and girl BIPOCs by 2031. To this end, WFS has established a bold campaign with the goal of raising $100M by 2027. This campaign will address immediate needs for BIPOC womxn in the South, kick off an impact investing fund and grow the long-term sustainability of the foundation’s work by supporting its operations and establishing an endowment. WFS will also focus on longer-term systemic change in the region, where opportunities to address gender and racial injustice are high, yet philanthropic support is low.
WFS is deeply grateful to those organizations and individuals who have invested in its work.
WFS is a 501(c)3 organization for women and girls of color in the South, and led by the same, founded on the principle that solutions are often held by those closest to the problem. WFS raises funds for active programs, services, and resources for women and girls of color and their families to stimulate building health, wealth, and power, and will serve women of color in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, and West Virginia.
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