YWI Blueprint
for Action 2021

Recommendations from 3 cohorts of young philanthropists
with something to say and more to share.

Program Structure

The Young Women’s Advisory Council (YWAC) consists of up to 20 Black, Indigenous, and other people of color who are women-identifying, trans, or gender-expansive young leaders ages 16-24 with connections to Springfield, Massachusetts. Through leadership development and social justice programming, these young leaders identify barriers, consider solutions, and make recommendations for change in their community. The program launched in 2017 and has graduated four cohorts to date.  Participants are led through sessions on topics including identity and socialization; power, privilege, and oppression; civic engagement and legislative organizing; organizing and campaign planning; and movement building.

Each year, YWAC members are charged with distributing funding to Springfield-serving organizations whose work addresses the barriers as identified by these young philanthropists.  Current cohort members and alumnae use participatory grantmaking, which is the process of shifting the decision-making power to those who are closely impacted by the work. Past grants were awarded to organizations tackling issues such as economic security; mental health awareness; school-to-prison pipeline; safety and anti-violence; leadership and visibility; gender-based care; and sexual violence.

The Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts is partnering with Arise for Social Justice on this year’s program. We want to thank 18 Degrees for partnering with us during a global pandemic, being nimble enough to keep the program moving forward virtually, and graduating two cohorts of girls and young women. The new partnership with Arise will help to evolve this powerful program to a place of active engagement for our community by offering a greater focus on activism and advocacy and encouraging participants to actively take part in movement building.

2022 Session dates and times will be confirmed soon
Career Conversations: April 19, 2022 | 5:30–7 PM EST

Check out the 2017-20 cohort’s recommendations in their Blueprint for Action or read the most recent Blueprint for Action 2021.

Eligibility 

YWAC seeks bright and self-motivated women-identified young people who are interested in exploring professional development, community leadership, and advocacy.

Potential participants must be:

  • A current resident of Springfield, Mass.
    • Young women who do not currently live in the community, due to enrollment in college, for example, may apply for consideration if they have lived a minimum of five years in Springfield and can commit to regularly attending meetings.
    • Those who do not have origins in Springfield (i.e., born and/or raised in Springfield) and are either attending college or working in Springfield must be able to demonstrate a working knowledge of Springfield and a commitment to pursuing advocacy opportunities in this community.
  • Ages 16-24 years old at the start of the program

Young leaders should prepare to participate in the program on Zoom from February 2022 to June 2022.

Applications are now closed for the 2022 Young Women’s Initiative (YWI) cohort.

If you have any questions about this initiative, please contact Nicole Young-Martin, Community Investments Manager.

Collaborative Members

The National Philanthropic Collaborative of Young Women’s Initiatives (NPCYWI) is a dynamic effort by nine leading women’s foundations that seeks to galvanize and invest resources to amplify the collective power of young women—particularly young women of color— to ensure that they are safe, healthy and economically prosperous in a world with gender and racial equity.  We have a collective mission to shift the narrative about young women of color and to address the core structural issues that have kept too many young women from reaching their full potential.

“I loved being part of YWAC. This program gave me the opportunity to not only grow personally, but to learn skills that can benefit me in the future. YWAC has inspired me to achieve my goals in life and to aspire to greater things.”
—Ramona Williams, YWAC Alumna ’18

Get ready to lead