Our response to COVID-19 has been informed by you, our community.
Staying connected to you is our top priority. We care about the women and girls in Western MA and have made an effort to stay connected while physically apart.
Our existing work:
- We extended the deadline to our open grant cycle to address sexual violence in Western MA to April 30, 2020. With all the uncertainty the pandemic brought, we wanted to relieve the stress to nonprofits seeking this funding. Read more about the $45,000 we’re mobilizing in Western MA.
- We rushed funding to our grantees–Elizabeth Freeman Center and Community Action–and provided flexibility to funding policies to help with the continuity of their operations and service to the Western MA community.
- LIPPI and YWI are still meeting and working toward gender equity in their work. Click to read our blog post on how our program participants are persisting.
Our responsive work:
- Our CEO, Donna Haghighat, has joined the Community Foundation of Western Massachusetts’ COVID-19 Response Team as an ambassador, bringing a gender and racial lens to the relief effort in Western MA.
- We have been convening the service providers of Western MA who address domestic violence to collaborate on how to combat the rise in domestic violence in this time of isolation.
- We connected Pioneer Valley Workers Center with Universal Plastics to disseminate protective masks to local essential workers. Thank you to both organizations for their generosity and commitment to protecting community members.
”We pass the masks out at our weekly food distributions in Springfield and Northampton. Farmworkers are especially grateful for them–many tell us that they do not currently receive protection from Covid-19 at their jobs on local vegetable farms, plant nurseries, and tobacco fields. Together we are protecting our community and our frontline workers.Reverend SawyerLead Organizer and Co-Director at the Pioneer Valley Workers Center
”May God bless and protect everyone in this time. Especially those that are working, may they be protected in their comings and goings from work and home, may we all try to protect ourselves.FranciscaFarm worker and Leader at the Pioneer Valley Workers Center
Pia Kumar of Universal Plastics and former board member of the Fund, reached out to Donna, Women’s Fund CEO, after reading Donna’s opinion piece, “Who gets protection on the pandemic frontlines?” Pia was seeking to reach essential workers who would otherwise go unprotected in their everyday work.
Donna connected Pia with Reverend Sawyer who shared her appreciation in the effort to support all those working diligently in the community. Reverend Sawyer shares, “we are so grateful to Universal Plastics for the donation of heavy-duty protective face shields, and to the Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts for thinking of our front-line worker members to receive them. We pass the masks out at our weekly food distributions in Springfield and Northampton. Farmworkers are especially grateful for them–many tell us that they do not currently receive protection from Covid-19 at their jobs on local vegetable farms, plant nurseries, and tobacco fields. Together we are protecting our community and our frontline workers.”
One of the workers and leaders of the Pioneer Valley Workers Center shared a photo of her wearing the mask and a kind quote for all to keep with them in their day-to-day during the pandemic.