THE XX FUND is proud to present the 2017 grantees and nominees, organizations doing incredible work on the front lines of social change, all worthy of awareness and support.
Envisioned and designed for women experiencing re‐entry by women who have experienced re‐entry, ANWOL’s approach is community-based, therapeutic, holistic, individualized and gender-specific. Since its founding in 1998, more than 1,000 women and their children have been supported through the organization’s five safe homes. As a community resource, ANWOL operates weekly legal clinics which assist clients (both men and women) with expunging and or reclassification of records, accessing occupational licenses and litigation against employment rights violations. In order to inspire a new generation of advocates, ANWOL offers an annual Women Organizing for Justice & Opportunity (WOJO) Leadership Lab which has trained over 100 formerly incarcerated women to become leaders in social justice organizing. ANWOL also hosts All of Us or None – Southern California (AOUON-SC), which includes chapters in both Los Angeles and Long Beach, working to fully restore the civil rights of individuals with histories of convictions/incarceration.
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. In 2016 BWW published a voter education guide and a ballot proposition guide, hitting 50,000 households and reaching 10,000 people; produced a video series and curriculum for peer educators at Compton, Pasadena, LAUSD, and Locke High School addressing Black girls’ experience of sexual harassment; and secured MOUs with Title X clinics, including Planned Parenthood and community clinics, to increase access for youth to reproductive health services. In 2017, BWW will hold 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 recently 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 and is releasing a policy brief and report with In Our Own Voice in a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.
The Center for the Pacific Asian Family works to end family violence and violence against women, especially in the Asian and Pacific Islander communities.
CPAF aims to build safe and healthy communities by addressing root causes and consequences of family violence through cultural and language needs of API women and their families. CPAF provides services in more than 30 languages to women across LA County, and also to API immigrant survivors in San Bernardino, Riverside, and Orange Counties. In addition to operating a multi-cultural domestic violence shelter and a transitional shelter CPAF recently relocated its public community center to a larger facility in Koreatown/Mid-Wilshire to increase access to services and expand programs and community partnerships. In 2017, Asian Pacific Women’s Center and CPAF integrated into a unified organization and as a result, CPAF operates a second transitional shelter site and can accommodate 20 families at one time, with an average of 140 women and children per year. Because some abusers are using the threat of deportation as a scare tactic in an effort to prevent domestic violence and sexual assault survivors from reaching out for help, CPAF has reinforced its messages and outreach that it is a non-governmental organization, will serve them regardless of their immigration status, and will not cooperate with law enforcement in a potential deportation situation.
DWC meets the unique needs of these women through four streams of programming: Day Center, Housing and Supportive Services, Health and Wellness, and Job Readiness and Supportive Employment programs. DWC provides 119 units of on-site permanent supportive housing, 200 housing placements in the community, mental health services for over 400 women, physical health services for over 300 women, and workforce development resources for over 950 women, per year. The XX Fund Grant in 2016 supported DWC’s new Advocates Program which empowered six DWC residents and participants to become confident advocates for policies and legislation to end homelessness. The program provided training on the building blocks of advocacy, developing key messaging and storytelling, as well as preparation for community activities such as meetings and lobby days with elected officials in Los Angeles and Sacramento. The Advocates Program was instrumental in generating support for Proposition HH and Measure H, two LA-based initiatives that provide vital funding for housing and supportive homeless services. DWC advocates also successfully advocated for funding to train Los Angeles County’s first responders in Trauma-Informed Care through its Trauma Recovery Center which offers survivors of violent crime mental health support, information, referral, and advocacy services.
Director: Kent Wong
The Dream Resource Center, a project of the UCLA Labor Center, launched Dream Summer in 2011, the first national fellowship program designed for and run by undocumented immigrant youth to give them a professional internship experience, to further develop their leadership skills, and deepen their connection to social justice movements.
Dream Summer has graduated more than 700 participants over the past 7 years, placing them with 200 social justice organizations in 15 states. The majority of the staff and participants have been young undocumented women, and 70% of all participants are from California. Participants describe the experience of meeting other undocumented youth during Dream Summer as transformative, healing, liberating and powerful. Their paid internships include organizations working for immigrant rights, immigration reform, access to health care, legal services, and legislative advocacy, among others. Dream Summer fellows were instrumental in the campaign for DACA, the California Dream Act, and California legislation to provide health care for undocumented youth. The Dream Resource Center reecently held a national “Hack-a-thon” in September 2017 to develop online resources to support immigrant youth and communities, and are launching a “Rapid Response” network of immigrant youth to mobilize support for immigrant rights and to oppose deportations.
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.
According to the FBI, Los Angeles is one of the highest child sex trafficking areas in the nation. Since 2015, the Freedom and Fashion Los 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 will launch programs with CAST and New Village in the fall of 2017.
Executive Director: Marissa Nuncio
The only center in Los Angeles and the state dedicated entirely to garment worker issues, the Garment Worker Center organizes low-wage predominantly female 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 abusive treatment faced by workers on-the-job.
They hold worker-led Know Your Rights workshops on labor and immigration concerns, support and educate members to make wage claims through direct negotiation and through the Labor Commission, and train their members to be participatory action researchers on working conditions. As a result, in 2017 GWC has recovered $300,000 in unpaid wages for members, released an occupational health report, and launched an occupational health and safety training series on chemical safety, ventilation, and indoor heat. With the 2016 XX Fund grant, GWC launched a weekly Women’s Circle and Zumba class, and trained 5 female member leaders to conduct media interviews and act as spokespersons for the Garment Worker Center; these members provided interviews to PBS, LA Times, Hoy, Racked, Reuters, and local new stations. They were also trained to lead messaging at two GWC rallies and pickets in the Ross Exploits campaign, and to conduct stakeholder visits in policy work on wage theft and occupational health and safety. Acting on the Women’s Circle discussions, GWC has entered into an agreement with child care provider Para Los Niños located in the LA garment district to increase workers’ access to subsidized child care.
Girls aged 14 to 18 participate in a program designed to provide hands-on insight into one of LA’s bravest jobs. Youth are challenged to learn about future career opportunities with fun activities using firefighting tools and equipment. Girls Fire Camp was initiated by and is run entirely on a volunteer basis by female firefighters through the LA Fire Dept. Foundation; there are only 100 female firefighters in the City of Los Angeles. It is part of an important effort to drive women into the department, as well as to diversify the department ethnically and increase local hiring. The camp also serves as an important public service and consciousness raising experience for the girls. Even for girls who will not become firefighters in the long run, this camp is teaching girls that they are strong and will receive support if they choose professions outside of the traditional mold. For those interested in continuing with LAFD, they can gain access to a 6-8 week integrated training and the 2-year cadet program, leading to a potential future with these well-paid careers.
Executive Director: Lovisa Stannow
Detailed surveys from the Bureau of Justice Statistics document that 200,000 adults and youth are sexually abused in US detention facilities every year, violating their civil rights and impacting their parole, re-entry, and recidivism.
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.
Poverty also disproportionally affects women of color: 25% percent of black women over 65 and 23% of Hispanic women over 65 are aging in poverty. Older women spend an average of $5,036 on out-of-pocket health care expenses, and for women over 85 the average is $8,574. Justice in Aging advocates for access to affordable health care and economic security for low-income older adults, focusing especially on populations that have traditionally lacked legal protection such as women, people of color, LGBT individuals, and people with limited English proficiency. The safety net programs Justice in Aging works to improve – Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, SSI, Long-Term Care – all impact many more women than men. The 2016 XX Fund grant was used to support trainings and advocacy to improve the health and economic security of low-income older women in Los Angeles. Specifically, the funds bolstered the efforts to increase access to Supplemental Security Income (SSI), protect adults from improper billing, improve oral health, and defense of Medicaid, Medicare and other safety net programs as the President and Congress attempted to cut them. In 2016, 2,274 advocates were trained in Los Angeles and the surrounding areas (Pasadena, Santa Monica, Claremont, Pacoima, Rancho Cucamonga, Newport Beach, Santa Ana, Irvine). Each advocate is estimated to reach 100 seniors—that’s 227,400 older adults reached in Los Angeles and surrounding areas. JIA has offices in Los Angeles, Oakland, and Washington, DC.
Executive Director: Brenda Valiente
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 the past 4 years, 85% of the women who participate in the program became enrolled in school, gainfully employed, or received job skills training by their third month in the program. Miriam’s House has capacity for 15 women and 30 children at any given time. Potential residents are referred by partner organizations, alumni, and the Sober Living Network. Some come directly from prison or treatment. Pregnant women are accepted into the program; in 2016, one-sixth of women who entered Miriam’s House were pregnant at the time of admission. This is significant because at many detox centers, pregnant women are refused or turned in to Child Protection Services.
CEO: Miry Whitehill-Ben Atar
Launched in November 2016, Miry’s List uses crowdsourcing and social media to connect people who want to help New Arrival refugee families whose needs have not been met by the resettlement system.
Miry’s List has found that each family has unique needs (small children, elderly grandparents, family members with disabilities or health issues). Each family has the opportunity to make a list of supplies that they need to get started. After hearing of a newly arrived refugee family, volunteers and staff from Miry’s List will meet them in their first place of residence (often a small apartment or motel room). With the help of a translator or Arabic- or Farsi-speaking staff member, they construct a list of items prioritized by need, then turn it into a shoppable Amazon Wishlist to make it available to donors who want to help by purchasing specific items for specific families. The items are then sent directly to the families. As of August 2017, 130 families from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Iran are enrolled in The Miry’s List program. Two of the women in early Miry’s List families are now its paid staff members. More than 2,000 donors have sent gifts to Miry’s List families through the organization’s lists in the last 12 months. Fiscal sponsorship is currently being provided by Tiyya Foundation while Miry’s List awaits its 501c3 status.
From 7th grade through college, MOSTe utilizes programs that combine personal growth with academic skill-building to create a “smart girl” culture, while firmly believing that change happens at the individual level, with one girl at a time. MOSTe serves 200 girls at a time and has three phases: middle school, high school, and college and beyond. In the middle school phase, scholars are recruited, apply and are interviewed in cooperation with MOSTe’s partner 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 are matched in groups with mentoring teams who provide 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 an group mentor and given monthly college workshops, two-week college 101 and essay writing boot camp for rising seniors, unlimited access to a dedicated college counselor on staff, free SAT/ACT preparation and regional and long-distance college tours. Additionally MOSTe offers social-emotional and academic support to college scholars through workshops focused on college transition, check-ins with staff and upperclassmen, internships, social events during school breaks, resume writing, mock interviews, and networking.
Principal: Andrea Purcell
New Village Girls Academy was the first tuition-free, all-girls charter school in the state of California. It provides an empowering and highly supportive learning environment for young women living in urban communities throughout Los Angeles.
Students engage in project-based learning, competitive internships, highly personalized academic curricula, and mentorships in the classroom and in their community. New Village Girls Academy aims to provide an education equivalent to that of the best high schools in Los Angeles, an often unattainable goal for young women living in traditionally underserved areas. New Village is located in the Rampart/Echo Park neighborhood of Los Angeles. Students learn about it from current and former students, case managers at St Anne’s (home for female foster youth), probation officers, social workers, therapists at Children’s Hospital, and community organizations. The XX Fund 2016 grant was used to underwrite operating expenses during the 2016-2017 school year, helping close the 33% gap between government charter school funding and the actual cost of the program. New Village served 182 students throughout the school year, with an average of 80 percent daily attendance. Seventy students participated in STEM research classes, 75 percent of students completed an internship placement, and all students received focused wellness education and access to free medical care, child care, and mental health therapy through their social worker and community partners. New Village students are embracing the opportunity to enroll in community college classes, and New Village sponsored college visits to seven universities in Northern California. A makerspace and curriculum in design production (low- to high-tech tools and machinery) is planned for 2017-2018.
The program provides safe shelter, counseling and training for homeless female veterans as they heal from the wounds of war and rebuild their self-sufficiency. The goal for all participants is to return to self-sufficiency by addressing mental health and substance abuse disorders, developing and maintaining a stable income, and obtaining permanent housing. Participants receive job training, military skills transfer counseling, job search assistance and economic literacy training. Oasis also provides financial counseling, benefits assistance, remedial education classes, life skills development, and housing placement. Oasis’ transitional housing program for female veterans includes Mitchell House, a 90-day emergency shelter, where residents may stay and attend parenting and anger management classes, addiction and therapy groups, and computer classes. Residents are able to further their education and resolve legal and/or financial issues before moving on to the second phase residence, Keaveney House, designed for veterans who are employed and/or going to school. Oasis serves 25-30 women veterans per year, and more than 600 since it was established.
The adolescent program meets youth in group support settings, in clinic, at their home, and on the streets through its outreach with Hollywood Homeless Youth Partnership. #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 2016 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 third round of #SheCanDoIt, supplying materials for activities, transportation to and from groups, and a healthy meal at each session. Ten young women take part in each group (40 total so far) and many have returned as mentors and presenters to the subsequent groups.
With two volunteer social workers on staff, the camp offers therapeutic support group sessions per cabin based on age and gender identity. The camp tackles the emotional and social challenges of trans youth by constructing an environment that supports the mental and physical welfare of participants. Participants are encouraged to support each other, cultivate a strong support network with peers and engage in learning/enhancing of life skills (e.g., communication, leadership, responsibility, cooperation, risk-taking, goal setting and teamwork) which help them build a self-sufficient, productive, healthy life. Trans volunteers serve as cabin counselors, trained by Dr. Johana Olson-Kennedy, MD at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles who specializes in Adolescent Medicine for gender non-conforming children and transgender youth, and Mr. Aydin Olson-Kennedy, Executive Director of the LA Gender Center. Participants will be a part of year round programming, in which The Laurel Foundation provides “Day Camp” opportunities and continued connections. The Laurel Foundation plans to add an additional Family Camp program in 2018 and a younger youth camp (ages 6-10) in 2019.
They raise awareness of various immigrant and civil right issues in the API community, advocate for equality, and uplift the narratives of API undocumented youth in the immigrant rights movement, while building lasting relationships to empower and strengthen the next generation of leaders. At its inception in 2010, UPLIFT (formerly known as ASPIRE LA) was a student immigrant rights organization within IDEAS at UCLA. It was created as a response to the concerns of Asian students feeling like “a minority within a minority.” The organizers formed DREAM Summer’s first API cohort and envisioned the organization. The original objective of the organization was to seek out and befriend other undocumented Asian students; their ultimate goal was to strengthen and unify the undocumented Asian and Pacific Islander students both on and off campus, raise awareness among the community, and to promote immigrant rights through education. In 2012, they made the decision to transition out of the campus and expand to the greater Los Angeles area, in order to reach and serve beyond the student population. Currently, UPLIFT has 35-40 active members focused on local and statewide campaigns such as: Not1More, ICE out of LA, ICE out of CA, Health4all, and Education for All. It is sponsored by Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Los Angeles. The community organizer, Trina Lei Pasumbal, is a recent graduate from Cal State LA where she was a recipient of an Erica Glazer Scholarship for undocumented students from Liberty Hill Foundation.
Executive Director: Anna Henderson
The Westside Infant-Family Network (WIN) provides early childhood mental health therapy and comprehensive support services to families with young children (prenatal through 5) struggling with generations of trauma, abuse and neglect.
WIN is the only program in Los Angeles providing free, intensive, in-home child-parent psychotherapy and in-home individual parent/caregiver therapy paired with health, social service, and early education programming, regardless of immigration status and arbitrary time limits. Over the last decade, WIN has won four national awards for its strong outcomes, and has an ongoing partnership with the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University. The XX Fund Grant for 2016 was used to help support families end cycles of trauma, train 2 new masters-level clinicians in early childhood mental health through its internship program. In 2016, WIN served a total of 641 children, parents, family members and agency partner staff and clinicians. Eighty percent of children moved out of one or more identified areas of concern or the monitoring zone, 78 percent of children showed an increase in secure attachment behaviors and 99 percent of identified needs were linked to services. One hundred percent of families referred during 2016 received case management and/or mental health therapy services, and 67 agency directors, administrators, managers, direct-service staff and community members from 5 agencies serving young children received ongoing, professional-level mental health consultation from WIN therapists.