Who runs the world? Girls. Now, they’re getting a little more help.
The Black Girl Freedom Fund, an initiative of Grantmakers for Girls of Color, has announced its first grant recipients. Guided by an advisory committee of seven Black girls and Black gender-expansive youth between the ages of 13-17 years old, the first round of grants will be allocated to organizations that address the safety and wellbeing of Black girls.
The fund came out of a need to disrupt funding disparity to Black-led organizations, particularly those dedicated to serving Black female youth. Only 0.5% of $66.9 billion by foundations, totaling just $5.48 per woman and girl of color in the United States, according to the Ms. Foundation. In 2017, one of the most recent years for which data exists, less than $15 million was specified as benefiting Black women and girls.
Along with the fund, the #1Billion4BlackGirls campaign aims to mobilize $1 billion for Black girls and young women over the next 10 years. The campaign has mobilized $17 million since it was first launched in September, a news release explains.
“We affirm that Black girls are sacred, and are deserving of love and abundant resources to heal, grow, and thrive,” says Dr. Monique W. Morris, President and CEO of Grantmakers for Girls of Color, and cofounder of the #1Billion4BlackGirls Campaign. “Black girls present some of the boldest, wisest, most creative articulations of justice in our society. We’ll all benefit when we listen to their experience and needs and fund their solutions.”
First-round grantees received $50,000-$100,000. They include The F.I.N.D. Design (Nashville), Pretty Brown Girl (National), Healing the Black Body (National), Get Smart B4U Get Sexy (California), The Hive Community Circle (South Carolina), 3D Girls (Atlanta).
Each of the organizations that received grants is led by Black girls and/or Black women, Black femmes, gender-expansive Black people, and serve Black girls, Black femmes, and/or gender-expansive Black youth. Additionally, Black Girl Freedom Fund requires that each organization is U.S.-based, focuses on leadership development, works to center the power of Black girls, facilitates programming for Black girls, centers the wellness and safety of Black girls in its mission and/or programs.
“It has been a joy to have this empowering and transformative experience guided by the brilliance and leadership of Black girls and gender-expansive youth in the fund’s Youth Advisory Committee,” said Cidra Sebastien, Manager of the Black Girl Freedom Fund. “I look forward to more collaborative opportunities to imagine and co-create alongside them. We are eager to support more Black girls and gender-expansive youth in every city, every state, in every way.”