Bay Area Nonprofit First Recipient of NoVo Grant Supporting Women, Girls of Color

The Young Women’s Freedom Center, a San Francisco-based organization leading advocacy efforts from and on behalf of low-income girls and women of color, will receive $615,000 from NoVo Foundation as part of its $90 million commitment to addressing issues affecting girls and women of color across the United States.

Formerly known as the Center for Young Women’s Development, the Young Women’s Freedom Center brings “the leadership of girls from the margins to the fight for justice.” Its work engages systems-involved young women with outreach services, leadership and advocacy training, and participatory action research, which engages these women in identifying problems and solutions facing their community through research.

Member of the Young Women’s Freedom Center in San Francisco. Photo: Young Women’s Freedom Center

The latter includes projects like one the organization launched in 2016, led by women and girls affiliated with the organization, to determine how systems-involved women and girls are impacted by a “gentrification and economic crisis” causing displacement from metropolitan areas, and “how this migration is impacting their survival, their needs and opportunities.”

The center will receive the $615,000 over three years, geared toward general operating support. With this funding, the Young Women’s Freedom Center plans to “focus its work around reducing the incarceration of young people, challenging out-of-home placements, and limiting the power of juvenile probations departments,” according a May 9 press release.

According to the same press release, the organization’s top priorities include creating a Bill of Rights around issues facing young women and girls in the system, organizing community meetings and town halls and continuing to develop policy recommendations to “stem the cycle of young women who are pipelined from poverty to incarceration and system involvement.”

Advancing adolescent girls’ rights is one of the pillars of the NoVo Foundation, started by Peter and Jennifer Buffett in 1999. Research shows that girls of color face dramatic disparities across systems in the United States. They are disproportionately represented in foster care, and are the fastest growing population in the juvenile justice system, according to NoVo.

As part of the plan to allocate its $90 million dollar investment, “NoVo will deeply invest in community-based organizations that center girls of color as agents in their own decision-making and create spaces for connection, healing, and consciousness-raising with and for girls of color,” according to an April statement from the foundation.

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Elizabeth Green
About Elizabeth Green 39 Articles
Elizabeth Green is the community outreach and education manager for Fostering Media Connections, and a general assignment reporter for The Chronicle of Social Change.