Grantees & Nominees
THE XX FUND is proud to present the 2018 grantees and nominee, organizations doing incredible work on the front lines of social change, all worthy of awareness and support.
Seven out of 10 people experience some form of trauma in their lifetimes, and the A Window Between Words (AWBW) arts program is a powerful way to process and cope with these experiences. Creating art can be a catalyst to release trauma, build resilience and ignite social change. It allows for self-expression without the need for words, and often participants gain insights into their lives during AWBW workshops, as well as find new ways to communicate and connect with themselves and others. Since its founding in 1991, more than 200,000 adults and children have participated in AWBW art workshops. This includes approximately 9,000 women and girls in Los Angeles in 2017. To provide these workshops to the community, AWBW collaborates with over 200 shelters, outreach centers, schools and other organizations across the country. At each site AWBW helps incorporate hands-on art creation into existing services for survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and other types of trauma. AWBW trains and supports facilitators at these organizations in creating a safe, non-judgmental atmosphere where participants can authentically express themselves. This type of environment is crucial to the healing process and is not often present in other parts of participants’ lives. When individuals create art in a safe community they can be heard and respected — replacing violence and shame with safety and hope.
Black Women for Wellness is committed to the health and well-being of Black women and girls through health education, empowerment, and advocacy. BWW organizes innovative and relevant programs for reproductive justice, environmental justice, access to quality prenatal, maternal, and child health care, voter mobilization, and civic engagement. Over the course of the 2017 grant period, BWW conducted workshops in Locke and Centennial High Schools, which reached 238 students, as well as a series of workshops at the Spring into Love youth summit that reached over 150 students. The workshops contained information about sexual harassment, healthy relationships, and general sex and reproductive health education, framed in a culturally and age appropriate curriculum. In 2017, BWW held their second annual reproductive justice conference with a youth track; their Get Smart B4U Get Sexy staff have developed 2 fact sheets on birth control and sexual harassment/sexual assault/sexual abuse/rape culture, determined by their work in local schools with more than 300 youth from January to April 2017. BWW hired a new Environmental Research & Policy Program Coordinator who will develop the list of chemicals of concern marketed to black women, organize the beauty salons in Inglewood, and push BWW’s policy agenda on labeling chemical toxins in professional products by supporting the state assembly bill AB 1575. BWW has also co-sponsored SB 245 which seeks to secure comprehensive sex education for foster youth. In November 2017, they released the Black Women’s Policy Agenda with In Our Own Voice in a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, DC. They co-sponsored California’s Reproductive FACT Act that was signed into law and is currently facing a challenge in the US Supreme Court. BWW’s Sisters in Motion programs focus on decreasing health disparities in black women’s communities and changing our dismal statistics around preventable deaths and disabilities within a reproductive justice framework Recent focus on endometriosis in black women. BWW also co-sponsored the state bill that banned BPA in baby bottles and sippy cups. BPA had disproportionately affected black women’s infants, because black mothers were being discouraged from breast feeding and had a higher rate of bottle-feeding as a result. This year’s theme for BWW’s annual reproductive justice conference is Power Forward. “POWER FORWARD will strategize and mobilize, build on our knowledge and analysis of the state of our communities, and highlight actions that we are taking through education, research, policy and voting to build our collective power. This Power will move us Forward and focus our efforts on protecting our reproductive rights through demanding reproductive justice and holding our elected officials accountable to do the same.”
California Latinas for Reproductive Justice is the only organization created, led by and for Latinas/xs in the state fighting for reproductive justice. CLRJ amplifies the voices of 7.5 million Latinas/xs in the state to promote policy and culture shifts that advance reproductive justice, and is committed to building cross-sector alliances with other organizations and legislative offices in order to do so. Their Latina/x reproductive justice lens encompasses all aspects of the Latina/x community’s identity–as immigrants, as queer people, as young people, as mothers, and as women—and emphasizes the ways that race, identity and sexuality impact health outcomes. CLRJ focuses on creating accessible pathways to policy by training and mobilizing Latinas/xs to advocate at the state capitol to fight for policies that promote reproductive justice, access to health, and protection from violence. Nevertheless, much of the pushback around reproductive justice issues comes not only from institutions but also from within the Latino/x community. With a strategic plan goal around Reproductive Justice Movement Building that advances their intersectional work, CLRJ is developing its own embodied community organizing model, research, and policy proposals to help cultivate more community-based leadership and dialogue to potentially impact local, state, and federal policies.
CHIRLA’s mission is to achieve a just society fully inclusive of immigrants. As the largest immigrant rights organization in the state of California, CHIRLA has achieved several strong wins for immigrants: healthcare for undocumented children age 0 to 19, the California Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, implementation of driver’s license legislation for undocumented immigrants, and the California Dream Act which give access to in-state tuition and financial aid support to undocumented college students, and wage theft legislation in Los Angeles. In the tumultuous political climate following the 2016 presidential election, CHIRLA has served as a beacon of support to immigrant and mixed status families in Los Angeles County. In 2017, CHIRLA helped nearly 900 immigrants file for citizenship, and completed over 1,500 DACA applications, compared to 681 and 944 applications respectively in all of 2016. CHIRLA completed 339 Know Your Rights Workshops and educated 83,028 community members about their civil and constitutional rights as immigrants. Also, CHIRLA provided information about the City of Los Angeles’s wage theft and minimum wage ordinance to 7,152 low-wage immigrant workers. CHIRLA has also been assisting young people by working with the LAUSD and other school districts in the county, providing guidance to teachers searching for information to protect and empower their undocumented students—and to encourage them not to be afraid to fill out their financial aid FAFSA forms. In 2018, as a membership-based organization, CHIRLA has been working to increase membership by 4,000 new members and mobilize 18,000 members to participate in CHIRLA’s campaigns and outreach, and contact 256,000 voters by the November 2018 election, with a primary focus on engaging low propensity Latino voters, new voters, young voters, and new American voters.
Director: Kent Wong
Led by a nearly all-women staff, the Dream Resource Center is a project of the UCLA Labor Center. It holds the annual Dream Summer, a national 10-week paid summer fellowship, and has partnered with various social justice organizations across the country to provide over 650 fellowship opportunities to immigrant youth and allies. The Dream Summer Alumni Network uplifts, connects, and channels the collective power of 650+ Dream Summer alumni across the country. To guide this work, as well as lead continued personal, professional, and leadership development for alumni, is the Dream Summer Alumni Network Council. Liberty Hill funded a convening of their Dream Summer alumni in December 2016, and coordinated with them to send a delegation of Dream Summer alumni — six women — to the Women’s March in DC in January 2017, with support of a Liberty Hill donor advised fund. Through the support of the XX Fund, the Dream Resource Center produced its first-ever immigrant women’s conference for 200 participants. The Dream Resource Center hosted Immigrant Women: Resisting, Leading, Empowering, a conference that amplified and celebrated the leadership of immigrant women across the state of California and the nation. The conference engaged participants in discussions with other women breaking barriers and leading change across various fields, such as media, politics, health, and entrepreneurship. The Dream Resource Center would like to continue uplifting the voices of immigrant women and building their leadership. Support from the XX Fund would be critical.
CEO: Laverne Delgado-Small
Founded in 2008, Freedom & Fashion has created empowering programs that mentor, love, and bring freedom to at-risk young women and survivors of the sex trade, homelessness and other injustices. Los Angeles is, according to the FBI, one of the highest child sex trafficking areas in the nation. Since 2015, the Freedom and Fashion Lofs Angeles Mentorship Program has provided 4-22 week mentorship programs in the fashion & beauty industries to empower 120 at-risk young women, many of whom are survivors of the sex trade. By infusing practical lessons about working in the fashion and beauty industry with important conversations about self-image, self-identity, objectification of women in the media, leadership, women’s rights, and self-expression, the students gain professional skills and work experience, and are empowered to break through unhealthy cycles, heal from past traumas, and create a future for themselves that they cannot see; an extraordinary life. Students in the fashion mentorship create several garments, debuted in an annual fashion show. They get hands-on industry experience in a Pro Studio Day working as makeup and hair artists. Each student leaves with professional photos to jumpstart her portfolio. They also get a professional stylist experience, choosing clothes that they need and that reflect who they truly are. After successful partnerships with Aviva Center and Covenant House, F&F launched programs with CAST and New Village in the fall 2017. Freedom & Fashion’s newest program, in partnership with CAST and Sephora, is a Beauty Day Series that allows them to reach even more women overcoming sex trafficking. Funds from the 2017 XX grant were used to help them contract a program director and assistant for their programs in the busy months of December and January.
FreeFrom is working to dismantle the nexus between gender-based violence and economic violence so that survivors have the opportunity to thrive and live free from abuse. A survivor of domestic violence returns to her abuser an average of seven times due to economic instability; Freefrom helps survivors achieve financial stability so they heal, rebuild and build long-term safety for themselves and their children. FreeFrom’s small business entrepreneurship, credit building, and compensation programs are responsive to the needs of survivors and support their agency in determining their own path towards financial, physical and emotional well-being. FreeFrom’s small business entrepreneurship program supports survivors in building the living wage income they need. Last year, FreeFrom worked with 24 survivors in California to launch their small businesses. 100% of the businesses yielded a profit within their first month of operation and, 12 months later, not one of their clients has reentered an abusive situation. Instead they are investing in safe housing, the health and wellness of themselves and their children, debt repayment and saving for the future. In April 2018, FreeFrom launched Gifted By FreeFrom, a social enterprise exclusively selling products made by their clients and employing survivors for a living wage of $20/hour to operate the store. So far, the store has done $47,000 in sales. In addition FreeFrom’s first-of-its-kind Online Self-Help Compensation Tool provides survivors anywhere in California with the information and resources needed to pursue compensation for the cost of the harm they have suffered and has been accessed by almost 100,000 individuals since it launched 7 months ago. In July 2019, FreeFrom will host the first ever Survivor Wealth Summit in Los Angeles, bringing together survivors, movement leaders, policy makers, and innovators in the economic security space.
The Garment Worker Center (GWC) is the only center in Los Angeles and the state dedicated entirely to garment worker issues, a field predominated by women workers (75% of their members are women and 80% of their member leaders). GWC’s mission is to organize low-wage garment workers in Los Angeles in the fight for social and economic justice, addressing the systemic problems of wage theft, unhealthy and unsafe working conditions, and the abusive and inhumane treatment faced by workers on-the-job. They hold worker-led Know Your Rights workshops, support and educate members about making wage claims through direct negotiation and through the Labor Commission (49 claims in 2018 so far, 71% by women), and train their members to be participatory action researchers on working conditions. With the XX Fund grant in 2017, GWC significantly increased their Raids Rapid Response trainings for staff and members, produced key immigration resources (a member hotline, fact sheets, U-visa/VAWA/T-visa information, immigration attorney referrals) for workers, and established emergency response systems. A needs assessment within GWC’s Women’s Circle led to the launch of the Parent Leadership Project with an intergenerational framework that develops youth leaders while also supporting parents’ needs and development into campaign leaders. GWC is participating in a new Garment Strategy Team of the State Labor Commission, supporting pre and post investigation needs to ensure better worker participation. After a member-driven process assessing their own policy priorities, GWC’s policy advocacy priorities in 2018 and 2019 are now: 1) eliminate the piece rate, and 2) push for a state bill to close a loophole in the California Labor Code and improve workers’ ability to hold fashion brands liable for unpaid wages. GWC has already identified a sponsor for their proposed statewide bill. After creating reports with members, GWC will hold educational hearings with legislators and relevant committees in summer 2018. Perhaps most significantly, their Ross Exploits! Campaign expanded to a university speaking tour and won the support of the International Labor Rights Forum, which helped amplify their message and provoked a response from Ross. 2019 will include a joint meeting between ILRF, GWC, and Ross regarding the workers’ demands. GWC is working with the ILRF to develop a brand agreement model and monitoring body, and has launched a High Road employer campaign. GWC will research, outreach to, and organize ethical apparel producers in LA to act as leaders with their peers by 1) publicly supporting GWC’s brand accountability and policy efforts, and 2) formalizing their commitment to sweat-free production by signing onto binding brand agreements with the GWC.
JDI is the only organization in the world dedicated exclusively to ending sexual abuse behind bars. JDI works to: hold government officials accountable for prisoner rape; promote public attitudes that value the dignity and safety of people in detention; and ensure that survivors of this violence get the help they need. One of JDI’s core strategies is to work closely with corrections officials and inmates inside detention facilities to stimulate meaningful and lasting change. JDI has worked with all of California’s 34 adult prisons, three youth facilities, and 45 fire camps to build their relationships with local rape crisis centers and ensure that incarcerated survivors have access to crisis intervention services, including male and transgender survivors. Suicides had spiked at women’s prisons in California over the past 3 years, and eight of the nine suicides occurred in Chino at the California Institution of Women (CIW). Coming in this year to CIW, JDI has revamped a Peer Education program on prevention of prisoner rape, established confidential professional trauma support services (confidentiality is key; otherwise, mental health services are put on the inmate’s record and can impede her chances for parole), created the inmate-run Council for Inmate Wellness to improve leadership and community-building, and launched a series of art workshops that the inmates named ‘Blooming Within These Walls.’ Most inmates have experienced sexual assault or domestic violence before arriving at CIW, and JDI’s programs are aimed at providing crucial support to inmates for rape, assault, domestic violence, and other trauma experienced at all stages of the their lives, not only in prison, addressing key factors that contribute to recidivism.
Older women are twice as likely as men to live in poverty, due to wage discrimination, low wage jobs, death of a spouse, and divorce. Twenty-five percent of black women over 65 and twenty-three percent of Hispanic women over 65 live in poverty. Older women spend an average of $5,036 on out-of-pocket health care expenses; women over 85 spend an average of $8,574 annually on health care. Justice in Aging advocates for access to affordable health care and economic security for older adults with limited resources, focusing especially on populations that have traditionally lacked legal protection such as women, people of color, LGBT individuals, and people with limited English proficiency. Justice in Aging was founded in Los Angeles, and has offices in Oakland and Washington DC. The safety net programs JIA works to improve – Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, SSI, Assisted Living – all impact many more women than men. Past support from The XX Fund grants in 2017 and 2016 were used to provide training and technical assistance for advocates, as well as policy advocacy, to improve the health and economic security of low-income women in Los Angeles. Most recently, Justice in Aging has provided 20 trainings attended by 1,601 advocates in Los Angeles alone. Each advocate is estimated to reach 100 seniors—that’s over 160,000 Los Angeles seniors reached by Justice in Aging’s advocacy. Justice in Aging was also able to utilize The XX Fund grant funding to secure key policy wins, such as their effort to convince the California legislature to fully restore adult dental benefits in the Medi-Cal program, which will have a tremendous impact on the aging female population. Justice in Aging also helped to secure a change in SSI policy that makes SSI recipients once again eligible for CalFresh, which is a big step forward in preventing food insecurity in this population. Future funding would continue to be utilized to protect the social safety net of the growing aging population and ensure that Los Angeles area advocates have the resources they need to improve the lives of low-income older women in California.
Miriam’s House is a transitional sober living home for women and their children in West Los Angeles. Their mission is to keep families together and help mothers build the foundations for a sober, self-sustaining future for their families. Miriam’s House fulfills the urgent need for long-term transitional housing programs that allow mothers to maintain custody of their children while in recovery. It is one of only a handful of places in all of California that allows mothers and children to live together during the recovery process. This program serves a diverse population of low-income mothers seeking a clean and sober environment while developing the skills to overcome poverty and addiction. Miriam’s House is a uniquely structured transitional living home that focuses on education and job skills training. All women who enter the program are asked to make a plan during their first month, which can include returning to school, finding a job, or both. Each woman has a designated counselor for weekly check ins and goal setting, and over 95% of the women who participate in the program are enrolled in school, gainfully employed, or receiving job skills training by their third month in the program. The XX Fund Grant of 2017 was used towards the services of an onsite therapist for the mothers in Miriam’s House programs, and was also helpful in helping some mothers return to school. Seventy-five percent of the women in Miriam’s House programs returned to school to gain their GED or complete another higher learning program during the grant period. Miriam’s House offers a scholarship program, and is currently seeking funding through Measure H and the HHH fund. They are in talks with Supervisor Mark Ridley Thomas’ office to access Measure H funds for prevention of homelessness for families, and with Councilmember Mike Bonin’s office for help purchasing a building or leasing city properties to house more women.
The mission of MOSTe (Motivating Our Students Through Experience) is to mentor and empower girls from underserved neighborhoods of Los Angeles County to become the next generation of college-educated women. From 7th grade through college, MOSTe provides programming that combines personal growth with academic skill-building, believing that change happens at the individual level, with one girl at a time. MOSTe serves 265 girls each academic year and has three phases: middle school, high school, and college and beyond. In the middle school phase, scholars are recruited to apply and are interviewed in cooperation with MOSTe’s partner Title I middle schools (Johnnie Cochran Middle School, LA Leadership Academy, Samuel Gompers Middle School, Carver Middle School, Markham Middle School, and Wilson Middle School). Accepted scholars stay in their middle school cohorts and are matched with mentoring teams. Mentors are college-educated professionals who plan excursions with their students and serve as yearlong role cheerleaders showing them college is possible. MOSTe provides middle school college workshops, regional college tours, cultural programming and weekend events. Students who complete the middle school program are invited to continue in the high school program. Each high school scholar is matched with a team mentor, attends monthly college workshops and given unlimited access to a dedicated college counselor on staff, and opportunities to visit local colleges. As juniors and rising seniors, they receive free SAT/ACT test preparation, the opportunity to participate in a long-distance overnight college tour back East and intensive college application/essay writing and financial aid workshops. Once in college, MOSTe scholars receive social-emotional and academic support through workshops focused on college transition, check-ins with staff and upperclassmen, summer internships, social events during school breaks, resume writing, mock interviews, and networking. The XX Fund Grant for 2017 was used to underwrite the 2018 Eastern US College Tour, funding a 9-day multi-state college tour for ten high school juniors in Massachusetts, Connecticut, and New York. In the past six months, MOSTe scholars have been offered over $1,000,000 in grants and scholarships; all 20 of their graduating seniors are going to college.
Mujeres en Acción (Women in Action) was formed in 2011 by 7 domestic worker leaders of the Instituto de Educación Popular del Sur de California – IDEPSCA (Southern California Popular Education Institute) and focuses on domestic worker leadership development and labor rights through skills building and advocacy. They seek funds to support outreach to close the gap of isolation in the domestic work industry. Most women in this industry work alone and often are pitted against each other to compete to work for lower wages. Increased outreach will give them an opportunity to engage with more workers, build trust, and share necessary information (such as the 2016 bill that made overtime pay a permanent right for domestic workers in California), as well as bring workers together to discuss wage negotiations, marketing and skills development so that they see themselves as part of a united sector. They conduct outreach and education on the advocacy of wage enforcement, support wage claim cases and wage negotiations, and teach skills building including jewelry making, marketing, and referrals to programs at local community colleges. All the aforementioned are connected to deep civic engagement about how systems work and how to work within them regardless of language or immigration status. Mujeres en Acción has grown from 7 to 25 member leaders, and seeks funding to increase staff time and capacity for the outreach team to further develop the membership model launched in 2017, through which they engaged over 500 workers through street outreach, workshops on wage enforcement, advocacy campaigns, and text messages. In 2018, Mujeres en Acción will expand their work to budget advocacy to ensure state funding for the enforcement of domestic worker rights, as a steering committee member of the California Domestic Workers Coalition.
Ready to Succeed (RTS) supports and empowers transition-age foster youth in college to graduate and pursue meaningful careers. They achieve this through an innovative Career Accelerator + Internship program that provides these talented and motivated students – all who’ve overcome tremendous adversity in their lives – with the skills, opportunities and relationships they need to become self-reliant and successful adults. What makes this program unique is a focus on building social capital and work experiences through mentorship and internships – two critical components underlying the success of most students with family support, yet are rarely within reach of foster youth. With a goal to help foster youth not only survive, but thrive and change the trajectories of their lives, the RTS program is composed of 5 core components: career counseling and executive coaching, one-on-one mentorship, a minimum of two paid internships, a bridge fund to cover undergrad + post-grad expenses, and wellness + housing partnerships. RTS started with 6 students in 2016 and will be serving 100 students in 2019. 90% of our students are female. 100% have graduated from college. 94% have been placed in internships. 92% have been placed in full time jobs within 3 months of graduation.
The Champion Fund helps the most vulnerable youth achieve stability in their physical and mental health by supporting the innovative programs and services of the Division of Adolescent Medicine, Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. The program meets youth on the streets through its outreach with Hollywood Homeless Youth Partnership, in the clinic, and in group support settings. #SHECANDOIT is a group therapy program for young women ages 15-25 with a mental health diagnosis who have endured some form of physical or emotional violence/trauma. The program’s focus is to help these young women build coping skills, resiliency, empowerment, self-advocacy and friendship, creating positive futures for themselves. Older girls from the first group came back as mentors and role models for the second group of teen girls between ages 15 and 19. The XX Fund 2017 Grant provided direct support for the 13-week comprehensive trauma-informed group therapy program for adolescent and young adult women. Funds were specifically used for the fourth round of #SheCanDoIt, supplying materials for activities, transportation to and from groups, and a healthy meal at each session. In addition, #SheCanDoIt chose to dedicate an extended period of time (December 2017 – April 2018) to facilitate consecutive graduate group sessions in response to feedback and requests from graduates. During this time, they had consistent attendance from graduates and their higher level of group experience and closer relationships to each other allowed for deepened discussion of issues related to stress management, social justice, gender inequities. Graduates expressed not having other outlets for group support similar to that which was established within this group and consistently expressed their appreciation for the additional opportunities. Most recently, the fifth round of group therapy is getting started for which the organization recruited a total of 10 young women 17-23 representing a wide range of programs within DAYAM (homeless youth, parenting teens, substance use, and behavioral health).
The TransLatin@ Coalition is an organization of Trans Latin@ leaders from all over the country who came together in 2009 to organize and advocate for the needs of Trans Latin@s who are immigrants and reside in the US. Since its inception, The TransLatin@ Coalition has done advocacy work across the US to ensure that the voices of Trans Latin@s are heard. The TransLatin@ Coalition’s sole purpose is to address the unique and specific challenges and needs of Trans Latin@s who live in the United States. Working with policy makers and supporting organizations, they find solutions to their unique needs and create structural changes to better their quality of life. TransLatin@ Coalition works to empower underserved and marginalized communities specifically transgender, racial & ethnic minorities, and undocumented immigrants. In 2017, the coalition worked with the City of Los Angeles Investment Board, who sponsored their workforce needs assessment to understand the workforce needs of trans people in Los Angeles. 2017 also saw the curriculum development and implementation of the very first statewide Transgender Policy Institute in California, sponsored by The California Endowment. Translatin@ Coalition also opened the Violence Prevention and Transgender Wellness Center in Los Angeles last year.
The Westside Infant-Family Network (WIN) provides early childhood mental health care and comprehensive basic supports to families with young children aged 0-5 facing substantial trauma. WIN is the only program in Los Angeles providing intensive, in-home child-parent psychotherapy and in-home individual parent/caregiver therapy paired with health, social service, and early education programming – regardless of the child of family’s immigration status or ability to pay. The XX Fund Grant in November 2018 was used to underwrite the salaries of WIN in-home therapists who help families end cycles of trauma before they give rise to the long-term health and mental health issues children face when they grow up with abuse and neglect. In the last 12 months, WIN served 316 children and family members from 75 families. Eighty nine percent of children who screened as being in an “area of concern” or in a zone that indicates a need for monitoring moved out of one or more identified area of concern after receiving at least six months of early childhood mental health therapy and/or case management. Ninety percent of young children receiving early childhood mental health therapy showed an increase in secure attachment behaviors in the same 12-month period. Ninety-eight percent of families referred in the last six months were linked to case management and/or mental health therapy services. Two years ago, WIN launched its Intergenerational Wellness Health Neighborhood initiative, which brings together nine other community organizations to reduce the transmission of intergenerational trauma in the community. In March, the Department of Mental Health awarded WIN a four-year contract to identify children and families at risk for trauma, extending and expanding upon the earlier identification and warm-referral work that WIN and partners have pioneered in the community. However, the contract will not pay for the actual mental health services families need to address their trauma itself. Substantially more families will join WIN’s already long waitlist for in-home mental health therapy, which makes XX Fund’s support of their core programming still much-needed.