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