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 for 13 years and granted over $1.5 million to non-profit 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.
In 2019, WCF offered two cycles of grants and received a total of 101 proposals in response to our Requests for Proposals. WCF is proud to announce our 2019 grantees, listed below:
Community Restorative Justice Circles
In this pilot project, four women of color will be trained in restorative justice principles and practices so each can design and complete a restorative justice circle in their community. This is the first time that nonprofessionals will lead restorative justice circles.
Building Nail Salon Worker Power in California
This grant will fund a statewide organizing campaign for nail-salon workers’ rights, including the first nail-salon worker gathering to bring 25-30 California member leaders to build relationships and leadership skills, deepen political analysis, and create collective goals towards a statewide nail-salon worker movement.
This organization uses California’s existing legal apprenticeship program to create a formal, no-cost pipeline for low-income people of color, particularly youth and women, to gain entry to, and reimagine, the legal profession. Already, Esq. Apprentice is helping to drive tangible improvements (e.g., increased wages) in the lives of the women in the program.
System Involved Young WOC/TGNC Thrive Incubator
Mamacitas Café will host a series of movement-building conversations with the Young Women’s Freedom Center, system-involved youth, and other stakeholders to deepen relationships and envision how to build an incubator and pipeline of leadership for system-involved girls, women and TBNC/non-binary youth of color in Oakland.
#MeToo Behind Bars Documentation Project
This project will elevate the voices and stories of TGNC (transgender and non-conforming) survivors of prison violence, create public awareness and educate both the public and legislators about the existence of the problem and the need for change. The project grew out of a campaign that includes a lawsuit against the CA Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation and a grassroots mobilization. In addition to supporting ongoing advocacy for incarcerated individuals, the project will be part of a healing process for survivors.
Radical Alumni Program
Founded in Oakland in 2014, The Radical Monarchs empower young girls of color (grades 3 – 5) so they can stay rooted in their collective power, brilliance and leadership in order to make the world a more radical place. This grant will support the development of a Radical Monarch Alumni program for girls in grades 6-10, keeping older girls engaged while cultivating civic leadership, community engagement, and workforce development.
Reinvesting in Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls
Safe Return Project (SRP) is based in Contra Costa County and driven by those who have been impacted by the criminal justice system and inequity. This grant will support a county-wide campaign that will provide a holistic perspective on women and girls’ lives in reentry. The Contra Costa-based campaign will train women and girls impacted by criminalization in organizing skills; work in partnership with county supervisors to create policy recommendations for local justice administrators; and collaborate with successful gender-specific programs throughout the state to create a road map for reinvestment in the healing
Truth to Power ACTion Team
ACT is a reproductive justice organization based in Tulare County building power through leadership development, community organizing, advocacy and policy change in the community. This grant will support a 12-week program to engage young women and gender non-conforming youth in a reproductive justice leadership development ACTion Team. The team aims to introduce a reproductive justice-centered bill with the state legislature in 2020.
WCF is now accepting proposals for consideration in our spring 2020 docket. The RFP is available here. If you have any questions about WCF or our grant process, please email WCFgrantinformation@gmail.com. Please note the deadline for submitting a proposal is February 18, 2020 at 5:00 PM Pacific Time.