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YWI Spotlight

18 Degrees Leads Young Women’s Initiative

Artist: Alana Seltsam (Read more about Alana)

We are excited to announce a new partnership with 18 Degrees, formerly known as Berkshire Children & Families. Stephanie Steed, Vice President of 18 Degrees, will take the lead managing and facilitating the Fund’s Young Women’s Initiative (YWI) sessions this year. The new slogan for 18 Degrees, “Where New Beginnings Come to Light,” is equally true for the young women who participate in our YWI program. This announcement marks a new milestone in our journey to develop partnerships with high-performing community organizations that can deliver quality programming (To learn more about what is next for the fund, read Donna’s article, From Program Delivery to Partnership.”).

After every successful year of YWI, we review the feedback from the young women and from the National Philanthropic Collaborative of Young Women’s Initiatives to improve the design of the program and strengthen the tools and community we build for YWI. The data we receive from the young women and from the National Collaborative are analyzed by local and national evaluators, respectively, to give us a comprehensive view of our progress. In our partnership with 18 Degrees, we can further enhance the experience of YWI for future generations of young women leaders to be a more impactful, experiential learning, leadership development, and economic empowerment program.

This next year of YWI includes many exciting changes including a National Young Women’s Advisory Council (National YWAC). National YWAC is a national council of representatives from each local Young Women’s Advisory Council (YWAC) across the eight states with local YWACs. The launch of a National YWAC is a response to feedback received from YWAC members across the country: there needs to be more opportunities to connect and strategize across localities. National YWAC will be composed of two representatives from each local YWAC. National YWAC will be jointly facilitated by The National Philanthropic Collaborative of Young Women’s Initiatives and Girls for Gender Equity. All meeting content, however, will be shaped by its members. By participating in YWAC, these young women will have the opportunity to influence change in their local community and on the national level.

YWI offers so much opportunity to each young woman. Amiya Phillips, YWI alumna from the first cohort (2018), reflected on her time in YWI by saying, “YWI was an amazing experience that allowed me to meet girls around my age who I could learn from. I gained leadership skills, public speaking skills and have gotten the opportunity to travel with YWI to many different empowerment events. YWI has definitely left a positive impact on my life.”

The YWI was an amazing experience that allowed me to meet girls around my age who I could learn from. I gained leadership skills, public speaking skills and have gotten the opportunity to travel with YWI to many different empowerment events. YWI has definitely left a positive impact on my life.

– Amiya Phillips, YWI ‘18

Applications for the 2019-2020 Springfield YWI will be released in the coming weeks. Young women, trans women and gender non-conforming youth in the community who want to be a champion of their own life and promote positive change for a socially just Springfield should apply.

Links in this article:

  • Read more about Alana, the artist (https://nationalcrittenton.org/meet-alana-seltsam-winner-of-the-in-solidarity-art-contest/)
  • 18 Degrees (https://18degreesma.org/)
  • Donna’s article, “From Program Delivery to Partnership” (https://www.mywomensfund.org/programtopartnership/)
  • National Philanthropic Collaborative of Young Women’s Initiatives (http://www.nationalywi.org/)