Women of Color Give completes first round of grant awards

Over the past year, more than 50 Women of Color Give (WOC Give) members, allies, local businesses, and community organizations contributed to a donor-advised fund, which is held by the Community Foundation of the Holland/Zeeland Area. 

On Dec. 16, the philanthropic giving circle held its first Pitch Night to determine which organizations along the Lakeshore would receive funding.

Each year, 80% of the total fund amount is used to invest back into the community through nonprofit organizations that are focused on the development, advancement, and promotion of Black and Indigenous people and People of Color (BIPOC) along the Lakeshore.

8 nonprofits nominated

Eight local organizations were nominated to receive funding. After an initial round of voting earlier this fall, five of them advanced to the final round: Black Tulips Doula Project through Maple Avenue Ministries, I AM Academy, Lighthouse Immigrant Advocates, CultureWorks, and Tri-Cities Puentes Initiative/Mija Leadership Coaching.

Each of these organizations submitted an application and prepared a presentation for WOC Give members, outlining their mission, vision, and demonstrated support of BIPOC — not just through their programs, initiatives, and outreach, but also through their board and staff representation and the communities they serve.

WOC Give members used this information to determine the order in which these five organizations receive funding. Members used an evaluation rubric to assess each organization’s application before the pitch. 

“By providing a rubric, we hoped to emphasize inclusion and remove bias as our members cast votes for causes that are closest to our communities of color,” said Rebekah Bakker, a member of the Nominations and Distribution Committee. “It helps us intentionally invest in work that is based on a more inclusive model for community change.”

5 grants awarded

Voting took place virtually, and the grants were awarded as follows:
  • First Place ($10,150): Lighthouse Immigrant Advocates will use funding for the professional development of staff.
  • Second Place: ($6,090): I AM Academy will use funding for its school-partnered mentoring program.
  • Third Place ($4,060): Tri-Cities Puentes Initiative/Mija Leadership Coaching will develop a coaching program for women of color.
Maple Avenue Ministries’ Black Tulip Doula program and CultureWorks received $1,000 and $500, respectively.

This first round of giving helps manifest Women of Color Give’s vision of shifting the philanthropic narrative from recipients of goodwill to stewards of change.

Read more about WOC Give:
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Read more articles by Shandra Martinez.