Ottawa County

Women of Color Give ‘thrilled’ to launch first grant distribution

Women of Color Give (WOC Give), the philanthropy collective that brings together women from diverse cultural backgrounds, seeks to reframe the philanthropic narrative by empowering women of color to become stewards of change.

This September, WOC Give launched its first grant distribution, which will provide organizations along the Lakeshore with up to $21,800 in funding.

“We are thrilled to kick off our first give,” says Kim Koeman, Chair of the Nominations and Distribution Committee. “We’re acting on our commitment to bring a more inclusive and equitable approach to giving, and in doing so, we’re challenging the underrepresentation of women of color in formal philanthropic sectors.”

Registered members of WOC Give are invited to nominate organizations that serve BIPOC communities in Ottawa and Muskegon counties. Nominations must be for organizations that are 501(c)3 or tax-exempt and able to prove their commitment to supporting the advancement, development, and promotion of BIPOC along the Lakeshore. Organizations also must be able to provide specific documentation, such as a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion statement.

80% of fund to be distributed

The WOC Give fund — a donor-advised fund — is held at the Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland Area. Each year, 80% of the total fund amount will be distributed at a ratio of 50%, 30%, and 20%. This year, the total fund equals $27,360, with $21,800 available for distribution.

The organization received a $20,000 grant from CFHZ as part of an effort to address issues of racial equity and implicit bias, and to support local community members of color.

As part of WOC Give's distribution process, nominated organizations with the least number of votes will receive $1,000 and $500, respectively, for participating in the pitch session. 

“This is the first time we’re coming together to distribute funds in this way,” says Koeman. “We hope that more women of color will be inspired to join us in creating greater opportunities for underinvested groups among us.”

The deadline for nominations is Sept. 30. Organizations with the most nominations will be invited to complete a more detailed application and the opportunity to pitch their idea to members on Dec. 16, 2020. During the pitch event, WOC Give members will cast their votes to select the order in which organizations will receive funding.

Women of Color Give creates a shared space for members to connect, reimagine, and invest. It was founded in 2018 by Robyn Afrik, Yah-Hanna Jenkins Leys, and Lucia Rios with the intention of giving women of color who are invested in using their voice an opportunity to change the giving landscape.

The collective has grown to 70 women from along the lakeshore. Koeman says she was drawn to the organization after moving back to the Holland area in 2018 following nearly a decade living abroad in London. 

“I was looking to get involved in the community in a way that elevates and focuses on people of color,” says Koeman, a 2000 graduate of Holland Christian High School. “I knew Robyn, one of the co-founders from when we were younger, so I was excited when she reached out to reconnect. When she told me more about Women of Color Give, I was immediately intrigued and excited to be part of it because it centers around women as investors and empowers us to create equitable giving in our community."

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