2020 Grant Partner Spotlight Series: Part 7

July 10, 2020

Our collective power creates social change that transforms the lives of women and girls. We invest in building the capacity of grant partners who make long-lasting change a reality. Through our Grant Partner Spotlight series, we’re proud to share with you the tremendous work they’re doing.
Featured: League of Women Voters of Ohio gives young women leaders real world experience, Glow Up! envisions brave spaces for girls of color, Otterbein Women’s Leadership Network creates leadership opportunities across generations, and Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland empowers girls to be civically engaged.

League of Women Voters of Ohio

The League of Women Voters of Ohio (LWVO) encourages informed and active participation in government, increases understanding of civic issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy. The Women’s Fund invests in LWVO’s Women’s Voices: Next Generation of Women Leaders program that develops young women leaders in civics and public policy through dialogue, mentorship, and advocacy. 

LWVO creates social change not only by empowering young women to actively participate in voting and civics, but also by encouraging their families and networks to be more socially engaged. When young women know how to make their voices heard and advocate for change, the gender leadership gap in politics shrinks. 

As a result of the pandemic, LWVO doubled down on internships, giving young women real world leadership experience. The interns are digital natives and empowered to work together as a team to build social campaigns and programming in the digital space to educate their peers and other voters. One intern shares her experience:

“I have acquired a wealth of hands-on experience and gained exposure to the inner workings of a nonprofit. I had the opportunity to draft a letter for the League’s 100th birthday celebration. This event was more than a celebration, it was an opportunity for LWV to acknowledge the exclusion of Black women during the suffrage movement. Writing this letter was quite difficult for me because I was promoting the progress that it has made in gaining suffrage for women, while also addressing how this progression was exclusionary of Black women. This allowed me to understand the importance of transparency and accountability when trying to cultivate a more inclusive and diverse organization.”
– Eryka Harper, Intern, League of Women Voters of Ohio

Glow Up!

Glow Up! is a camp for girls of color ages 12-17. The camp provides education and increases awareness around reproductive and sexual health and provides a platform for creative expression as a vehicle to process and articulate emotions related to these topics. The Women’s Fund supports Glow Up! as they create social change through comprehensive, medically accurate sexual education that widens the lens under which girls learn about their bodies and take control of their narratives. 

The camp is currently postponed due to the pandemic, but Glow Up! organizers emphasize the importance of creating brave spaces for girls of color at this critical moment in time.

“Earlier this year, Angela Dawson, Executive Director for the Ohio Commission on Minority Health, and Jessica Roach, Founder of ROOTT, testified before Ohio state legislators to assert that racism is, indeed, a public health crisis. We intend to carry the mantle in developing brave spaces for young girls of color to identify, process, and, in some cases, unlearn the messaging they receive about their bodies from their trusted sources. As society continues to unearth the deep, systemic impact of racialized treatment, we intend to equip succeeding generations with the tools to communicate effectively and catalyze change. Using writing and other forms of creative self-expression we hope to allow girls of color to emote, process and begin (or continue) to self-actualize.”
– Tiffany Williams, Glow Up!

Otterbein Women’s Leadership Network

The Otterbein Women’s Leadership Network, known as “The NET,” provides a stream of networking, educational, and transformational leadership opportunities for an intergenerational alliance of girls, university students, and women community leaders. The Women’s Fund invests in The NET as they create social change by debunking myths about the leadership of women and girls, dissolving negative stereotypes, and breaking down barriers to success.

Over the first half of the year, The NET hosted sessions for over 60 teen girls on issues ranging from self esteem to leadership skills; brought college women together to share strategies for navigating campus issues; started the first collegiate chapter of WELD (Women for Economic and Leadership Development); and hosted the inaugural campus summit on human trafficking for over 150 campus participants.

As a result of the pandemic, the university moved to remote learning; however, The NET continued to stay engaged. Shifting focus to meet the needs of students who became food insecure, student leaders stayed on campus to maintain the campus food pantry and mobilized resources to grow produce at the Otterbein Community Garden. Additionally, the WELD Collegiate Chapter continued their programming virtually. Nine Otterbein students completed training to earn their Nonprofit Board Leadership Credential through WELD, readying them for participation on local nonprofit boards this fall. 

Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland

The Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland builds girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place. The Women’s Fund invests in their VoterGirl program that creates social change by teaching girls the power of voting, the importance of civic engagement, and the way to become proactively involved at any age. 

“Women are less likely to run for office and are underrepresented in elected political positions at the local, state, and national levels. The VoterGirl program, in partnership with the League of Women Voters, seeks to eliminate these biases and encourage girls’ engagement in civics at every level. By instilling the value of civic involvement at the elementary school level and reinforcing it at the middle and high school level, the VoterGirl program gives girls the confidence in their own personal power to advocate for themselves, their peers, and the causes they care about. The program instills the value of girls and women supporting each other in civic engagement. With the support of The Women’s Fund, we are helping girls and young women unleash their inner leaders as they create positive change through advocacy and action.”
– Courtney Jackson, Girl Scouts of Ohio’s Heartland