The Women’s Fund of Central Ohio is investing $251,900 in 21 grant partners in 2021.

Since early 2020, the economic fallout caused by the pandemic has exacerbated gender and racial inequities and has laid bare the systemic barriers that have always held women, especially women of color, back. In The Women’s Fund’s 20th year and second generation of impact, it’s more important than ever that we continue to seek out and name these gender and racial inequities and remove systemic barriers forever.

With the 2021 annual grants slate, we’re investing in experts and advocates who will advance policy to ensure women aren’t forced out of their jobs when crisis hits. We’re investing in leaders who will continue to break down barriers to power. We’re investing in women of color-led organizations who are building movements to create social change. We’re investing in girls whose leadership will accelerate progress for us all.

2021 Annual Grant Partners

Economic Empowerment: Women’s Health

Bhutanese Community of Central Ohio (BCCO): W.O.K.E. (Women of Knowledge and Excellence)

W.O.K.E. provides culturally responsive sex education for young Bhutanese women in Franklin County. Led by community leaders, W.O.K.E raises awareness, decreases cultural stigma, and empowers women by providing a supportive platform.

Equitas Health: Hey Gurl Hey

Hey Gurl Hey is a virtual space for LGBTQ+ female, femme, non-binary, gender non-conforming, genderqueer youth ages 15-29 in central Ohio. Incentivized sessions meet biweekly and provide support for youth with topics including safe sex during the pandemic, combating isolation, LGBTQ+ youth empowerment, and voting rights.

Planned Parenthood of Greater Ohio: Peer Education Program

The Peer Education program trains young people on reproductive health and sexual health education while strengthening their confidence, leadership, and presentation skills. Peer Educators share their newfound knowledge with peers to improve their collective understanding of reproductive health and sexuality and help prevent unintended pregnancy, reduce rates of sexually transmitted infections, and combat harmful gender stereotypes in their schools and communities.

Restoring Our Own Through Transformation (ROOTT): Reproductive Justice and Comprehensive Sexual Education Program

Through two comprehensive reproductive health curriculums for teens and adult caregivers, the Reproductive Justice and Comprehensive Sexual Education Program is rooted in a reproductive justice framework, lifting autonomy, safety, and consent.

US Together, Inc.: New American Reproductive Choice Initiative

In partnership with Refugee Women in Action, the New American Reproductive Choice Initiative is a comprehensive, hybrid, digital-interpersonal model sexual education program that provides a safe space for women and girls to ask questions, learn safe practices, access contraception, and understand anatomy, autonomy, and consent.

Economic Empowerment: Paid Leave, Child Care, & Pay Equity

Groundwork Ohio, a fiscally sponsored project of Community Initiatives: Child Care Advocacy

Groundwork Ohio’s child care advocacy initiative conducts policy research and development, engages stakeholders, and educates policymakers to improve health, education, and economic outcomes for Ohio’s young children and their families.

Innovation Ohio Education Fund: The Ohio Women’s Public Policy Network

The Ohio Women’s Public Policy Network is a coalition of nearly 40 organizations working collaboratively to advocate for public policy solutions that build economic opportunity for women and families. The coalition is united by a shared vision in which all Ohio women have the resources to thrive and the opportunity to lead economically secure, safe, and healthy lives.

Ohio Poverty Law Center: Advocacy for Women Unemployed Due to COVID-19

The pandemic highlights how many women have found themselves unemployed or working while juggling education and child care needs. Family responsibilities have fallen primarily on women and prevent women from fully benefitting from economic recovery efforts. Ohio Poverty Law Center will advocate for Ohio’s unemployment compensation and child care policies to adjust so that they support the needs of women who are disproportionately impacted.

Policy Matters Ohio: Just and Equitable Child Care

Policy Matters Ohio’s long-term goal is to make child care affordable for all who need it, pay child care workers a living wage, and help more women get and keep good jobs. This initiative supports more affordable and more just child care through research, public education, and advocacy in the state budget cycle.

Leadership: Advocacy & Running for Office

League of Women Voters of Ohio: Women’s Voices: Next Generation of Women Leaders

Women’s Voices: Next Generation of Women Leaders encourages young women to become civically engaged through an internship program, Ohio Statehouse Day, and the formation of a Student Caucus that will provide programs for young women and advise the League of Women Voters on programs.

Muslim Family Services of Ohio: New Voter-Smart Voter 

The New Voter Smart Voter program inspires and empowers women to express themselves actively in civics, voting, and engagement with the political process. The program employs a combination of educational and social workshops to empower participants as they gain confidence in their roles as citizens.

VoteRunLead: RUN51: Infusing the State Legislature with Barrier-Breaking Women Leaders

The RUN51 initiative is a revolutionary approach to transform state legislatures, enrich democracy, and create reflective government. VoteRunLead trains a highly diverse group of women to run for Ohio state legislative office with the goal to win and occupy 51% of state senate and house seats. VoteRunLead selected Ohio to be one of four RUN51 pilot states, after an analysis of 40+ data points of all 50 states showed that Ohio had the potential to respond well to this data-driven, community-responsive project (other pilot states are Georgia, Minnesota, and New York).


Leadership: Girls

Central Community House: Black Girls Thrive: Building Creativity, Wellness, and Leadership

Black Girls Thrive, led by TRANSIT ARTS, a program of Central Community House, is a program that provides Black girls with the opportunity to develop leadership skills and grow their self-esteem through programming focused on art and mental wellness. After completing the program, girls will extend their leadership journey with the opportunity to become positive mentors to peers and younger girls beginning a similar experience.

Eryn PiNK Ltd. : Lunch Girl Talk Virtual School Program, She’s Gold Leadership Program, and Give that Girl the Mic

Eryn Pink is a 13-year fictional character, who illustrates what is means to be an empowered leader and role model. Based on her story, Eryn PiNK programs disrupt the impact of stereotypes, empower girls to become leaders, and explore their purpose. Participants receive support, tools, resources, and mentorship through the school program, community leadership program, and non-competitive talent showcase.

Girls on the Run of Central Ohio: Girls on the Run of Central Ohio, Columbus City Schools

Girls on the Run is a physical activity-based positive youth development program designed to enhance girls’ social, psychological, and physical skills and behaviors to successfully navigate life experiences. The program’s intentional curriculum places an emphasis on developing competence, confidence, connection, character, caring, and contribution in young girls through lessons that incorporate running and other physical activities.

HelpLine of Delaware & Morrow Counties, Inc.: Thank Goodness I’m Female (TGIF) Leadership Cohort

The Thank Goodness I’m Female (TGIF) Leadership Cohort is a skill-building leadership group for high school girls to develop, cultivate, and implement skills to lead and inspire others to action toward common goals by engaging with diverse peer and adult mentors and completing a capstone project.

Proyecto Mariposas: Valiente | Fuerte 

The Valiente | Fuerte | Latina program provides Latina girls and mothers a year of empowering activities through a 12-month program focused on setting goals, healthy relationships, building self-confidence, and self-care. The mother-daughter program inspires participants to embrace their heritage, learn about potential, and invest in themselves to achieve leadership and gender equality.

YWCA Columbus: Bright Futures

Bright Futures is a neighborhood-based leadership program for girls in middle school that provides confidence building and empowerment training focused on social justice concepts in under-resourced communities with high rates of youth-vulnerability. The program examines the root causes of oppression that intersect with lived experiences and identities and provides participants with the tools and motivation needed to take up roles of leadership and advocacy to change the systems that perpetuate inequities.

Leadership: Women’s Influence on Policy

Central Ohio Women in the Trades: Build Up! Developing Allyship Between Tradeswomen and Decision Makers

Build Up! addresses policy and system change targets that affect tradeswomen on the job such as equitable working conditions through roundtable conversations between tradeswomen and decision makers within the community. Through these conversations, a cohort of tradeswomen will connect, empowering them to advocate for and achieve their goals.

Godman Guild: Educate, Empower, Elevate (E3) Advocacy Program

The E³ Advocacy Program is a leadership and nonprofit board training program for women who have experienced life circumstances requiring them to seek local social services. Participants will receive training in leadership skills, public speaking and communications, board responsibilities, and community engagement.

Horizon Prison Initiative: Returning Women’s Advocacy Group

Horizon Returning Women’s Advocacy Group prepares women to use their voices to influence public opinion about women’s specific issues as they return to society. Participants learn how to research legislation and policy that affects them and how to work together to prepare as advocates for themselves and other women in public forums.

★ Recipient of funds raised by the Monica Terez Girl Power Fund