YWI Blueprint for Action

Recommendations from 20 young women with something to say and much to share.

Program Structure

The Young Women’s Advisory Council (YWAC) consists of up to 20 young women, ages 16-24. Through leadership development and social justice programming delivered in partnership with 18 Degrees, formerly known as Berkshire Children and Families, these young leaders investigate barriers, explore solutions, and make recommendations for change in their community. The YWAC will form task forces to implement projects in partnership with community organizations in Western MA. Participants will be encouraged to share their knowledge with school and peer communities by launching clubs or hosting workshops.

2019-2020 Session dates are:
October 8 & 22 | November 5 & 12 | December 3 & 10 | January 7 & 28 | February 4 & 11 | March 10 & 24 | April 7 & 14 | May 5 & 19

All sessions will be held from 5:30-8:00 p.m. in Springfield.

Selected Topics: Leadership Skill Building, Aspirations and Identities, Community Building, Women’s Economic Empowerment, Exploring Themes of Gender and Racial Equity, Social Justice and Advocacy

Check out the 2018-19 Cohort’s recommendations in their Blueprint for Action.


The Women’s Fund seeks bright, self-motivated, and collaborative young women with a history of community leadership and personal achievement. Requirements include:

  • Must be a resident of Springfield, Mass.
    Young women who do not currently live in the community, due to enrollment in college, for example, may apply if they have lived a minimum of five years in Springfield and can commit to regularly attending meetings. 
  • Ages 16-24 years as of program start date.

Applications are now closed for the 2020-2021 Young Women’s Initiative (YWI) cohort. Applicants will hear from the selection committee in the coming weeks with interviews to follow.

If you are looking to nominate a young woman for next year’s 2021-2022 cohort, you may fill out this short form.

Collaborative Members

The National Philanthropic Collaborative of Young Women’s Initiatives (NPCYWI) is a dynamic effort by eight 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 are on 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