The Women’s Catalytic Fund (WCF) is a giving circle that believes in the power of women to drive social change. The circle has been active since 1999 and granted more than $3.7 million to nonprofit organizations in the Bay Area and California. In 2017, the circle moved its ‘home’ to EBCF.
In the past, the circle conducted an annual grant-making process. However, members recognized that women’s movements need the ability to respond to threats and opportunities with more flexible and responsive funding. This drove the circle to shift to shorter, more frequent grantmaking in 2019 in order to put resources into the hands of women more quickly.
Through its catalytic giving, the WCF is prepared to take risks, respond rapidly, and give directly to frontline organizers working to end gender-based inequity early, when resources are most needed. Typically, these are one-time $15,000 grants to ensure financial resources are not a barrier to action.
Grantees of the Women’s Catalytic Fund
- Restore 180: Restore 180 is a non-profit organization supporting to cultivate the justice transformation ecosystem in the Central Valley, and specifically in Kings County. They support justice-involved girls, women and gender non-conforming people (GNC) impacted by the criminal and juvenile injustice systems by uplifting their voices, cultivating their leadership development and social support networks, and by providing opportunities to engage in systems transformation efforts. They examine the root causes of incarceration, systemic racism, gender justice, and other forms of oppression affecting our communities, so they can generate opportunities towards social change.
- Naka Dance Theater: Founded in 2001, NAKA Dance Theater creates experimental performance works using dance, storytelling, multimedia installations and site-specific environments. NAKA builds partnerships with communities, engages people’s histories and folklore and expresses experiences through accessible performances that challenge the viewer to think critically about social justice issues. The Women’s Catalytic Fund will support a new year-long Círculo de Aprendizaje (Collaborative Learning Circle) focusing on traditional weaving practices of the Bay Area’s Indigenous Maya Mam immigrant women’s community. Weaving practice will become an exploration of individual and collective identities and a medium for Mam women to express their personal and collective narratives. The Circle helps relieve the pressures of isolation and activates the community around weaving, while fostering excitement in the Mam community about sharing cultural practices.
- Brown Boi Project: The Brown Boi Project is a community of people working across race and gender to eradicate sexism, homophobia and transphobia and create healthy frameworks of masculinity and change. From Brown Boi Project: “We work for Gender Justice, which means we are not satisfied with the traditional expectations of masculinity and femininity; they tend to box us in and make embodying femininity negative in our culture. Instead, we are fighting with others to build healthy and affirming ideas around gender. We are talking about our responsibilities and privilege as masculine people, and we are working hard to change the power dynamics in our relationships, families, and communities. We believe that by investing in the lives of feminine-identified people – especially womyn, girls, and trans folks – we will shift the balance of power. We are striving for the day when all brown bois can embody non-oppressive masculinities rooted in honor, community, and empowerment of others.”
- Transformative In-Prison Workgroup: The Transformative In-Prison Workgroup (TPW) is a statewide coalition of over 50 Community-Based-Organizations (CBOs) offering trauma-informed healing programs in California and New York prisons. Their mission is to ensure that all people living in prisons have access to meaningful, high quality programs, and to accelerate the impact of recent sentences reforms to our North Star goal of decarceration. The Women’s Catalytic Fund will support the TPW Women’s Committee to increase gender-specific and trauma-informed programs in California’s three women’s prisons. TPW will build off of momentum generated by the TPW’S recent major “1% Campaign” victory: directing $20 million of the California state budget to CBO-run in-prison programs. The TPW’s Women’s Committee will focus on the implementation of these funds in women’s prisons, and develop a bold advocacy platform and organizing strategy to bring equitable access to programs that offer trauma-informed, trauma-responsive, and trauma-specific healing to individuals incarcerated in California’s women’s prisons.
- Recognize Violence, Change Culture (RVCC)
- Orange County Justice Fund
- CHAN-BOF for Peace Collaborative
- Native Sister’s Circle
- Kitchen Table Advisors
- Legal Link
- Asian Pacific Self-Development and Residential Association (APSARA)
Due to the challenging issues of 2020, including the COVID-19 pandemic and mounting pressure for racial, social and environmental justice, the Women’s Catalytic Fund used the Fall 2020 grant cycle to provide one-time supplemental grants of $10,000 to ten of our prior grantees.
- California Coalition for Women Prisoners: #MeToo Behind Bars Documentation Project
- The Radical Monarchs: Radical Alumni Program
- Safe Return Project: Re-investing in Formerly Incarcerated Women & Girls
- ACT for Women and Girls: Truth to Power ACTion Team
- Contra Costa Family Justice Alliance
- California Healthy Nail Salon Collaborative
- Esq. Apprentice
- Mamacitas Cafe
Donate to the Women’s Catalytic Fund today and join our mission to end gender-based inequity early, when resources are most needed.
The Women’s Catalytic Fund is accepting applications for our Spring 2023 Request for Proposals (RFP) via JustFund, a digital platform to connect social justice funders, foundations, and funds directly with grassroots organizations and urgent projects. All proposals are due no later than 5pm on Wednesday, February 15, 2023. For more details, please review the full release here [PDF]. If you have any questions or would like to be added to our mailing list, please email WCFgrantinformation@gmail.com.