Women of Color Give distributes $40k to 5 groups

Read the Spanish version of this story in El Vocero. 

Women of Color Give (WOC Give) recently awarded a total of more than $40,000 to five local organizations that took part in the collective’s second annual Pitch Night on Dec. 15.

From August 2020 to July 2021, more than 50 WOC Give members, sponsors, and allies contributed to WOC Give’s donor-advised fund, which is held at the Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland Area. This fund exists to support the advancement, development, and promotion of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) on the Lakeshore in Ottawa and Muskegon counties.

In September, WOC Give members nominated 12 local organizations that met its funding criteria. The five organizations with the most nominations were invited to submit a detailed funding application. 

This year, these organizations include Escape Ministries, First Voice Generation Film
(in cooperation with Boys & Girls Club of Greater Holland), Latin Americans United in Progress (LAUP), The Diatribe, and TRIO Upward Bound.

Making their pitch

During the Pitch Night event, each organization shared how it is supporting BIPOC communities — not just through programs, initiatives, and outreach, but also in the ways they are dismantling oppressive systems; centering the needs of those whom they serve; and prioritizing diversity, equity, and inclusion in their organizational structure and policies. 

Members evaluated each organization’s application and pitch and then voted to collectively determine the order in which funding would be distributed across these five organizations.

“This has been another interesting year for our collective, where we continued a hybrid approach of in-person meet-ups and virtual calls,” said Kim Koeman, chair of the nominations and distribution committee. 

“It’s provided us with an opportunity to be creative and more intentional in how we connect with each other and with our community, and ultimately that has helped us nearly double the size of our fund from last year to support the causes we care about.”

Votes cast, grants awarded

Members of WOC Give gathered at the Outdoor Discovery Center for Pitch Night, with a virtual option available, to hear from the five organizations. Members cast their votes, and the grants were awarded as follows:
  • First place ($20,000): LAUP, to add a career coaching component to the ¡Más Adelante! program and also provide graduating seniors with support to purchase business attire as they move on from secondary school.
  • Second place: ($12,000): Escape Ministries, for a new program, Empowered Women Empower Girls.
  • Third place ($8,000): First Voice Generation Film (in cooperation with Boys & Girls Club of Greater Holland), to support costs associated with post-production and film distribution.
  • TRIO Upward Bound and The Diatribe received $1,000 and $500, respectively, for participating in the event.

This second round of funding helps manifest WOC Give’s vision of shifting the philanthropic narrative where women of color become philanthropists in their own right instead of being seen only as recipients of goodwill.

Women of Color Give creates a shared space for members to connect, reimagine, and invest. Founded in 2018 by Robyn Afrik, Yah-Hanna Jenkins Leys, and Lucia Rios, WOC Give is for and by women of color who are invested in using their voices to change the giving landscape.