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 delivered in partnership with 18 Degrees, 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.

2021-2022 Session dates and times will be confirmed soon
Career Conversations: January 26, 2022

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


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

Specific dates for the 2021-2022 Young Women’s Initiative cohort will be announced soon. Young leaders should prepare to participate in the program from October 2021 to May 2022.

To nominate a woman-identified young person for the 2021-2022 cohort, please fill out this short form.

If you have any questions about this initiative or the upcoming cohort, please contact Stephanie Steed at ssteed@18degreesma.org or 413-584-5690 x 110.

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