50 WOC-Led Organizations in the U.S. That We Should Support

Radha Friedman
Jun 1 · 8 min read

How We Can Move Money to Move Power

[Image from Young Women Empowered (Y-WE)]

I’ve worked on intersectional gender equality issues for two decades, and I get a lot of questions. Questions like, “Which organization is doing the best work on racial and gender equity?” or “Where should I donate?”

It’s a tricky question, because there isn’t one answer.

Part of my work involves asking questions that require deep reflection. How does your power and privilege show up? What is the unfinished work you have to do? What example do you want to set for your children or nieces and nephews or any young person in your life, so that you don’t have to explain to them how this injustice could have happened during your lifetime? How can you use your resources to heal the historical harm that has been done?

Everyone’s answers are different, and there are 1.6 million nonprofits in the U.S. alone.

Because of this, many people feel overwhelmed, so they wait or are paralyzed and do nothing.

Here’s the thing: Doing nothing is a choice, just as much as choosing where to invest your money. And doing nothing is a privilege we cannot afford.

From local soup kitchens to domestic violence shelters, hundreds of thousands of organizations are contributing to equality — racial equality, gender equality, disability equality, LGBTQI equality, immigrant and refugee equality, or intersectional equality.

But these organizations are not equal. Nonprofits are still 80% white led. Even fewer have women of color in leadership. In 2016, only 0.6 percent of foundation giving was targeted to women of color.

Let me say that again: Less than 1% of donations.

As Vanessa Daniels of the Groundswell Fund stated in her NYT piece, Philanthropists Bench Women of Color, the M.V.P.s of Social Change, “our misdirected philanthropy is costing us beyond measure.”

White women: We know we have to do more. What you may not know is that women give more than men. Despite the gender pay gap (a gap which is wider for women of color), women not only give more gifts than men, but we contribute a greater proportion of our dollars, across income levels and generations. And women’s and girls’ organizations receive substantially more support from women donors. Women’s wealth is also rising, which means we have a tremendous opportunity. Imagine what could be possible if we all contributed to organizations led by women of color?

One way I can do my part in the antiracism work we all need to do is by making it easier for you. So, here is a list of 50 organizations led by women of color in the U.S. to support.

I believe that money moves power. Let’s move it.

50 WOC-Led Organizations to Support in the US

1. A Long Walk Home. A national non-profit that uses art to mobilize young artists and activists to end violence against girls and women.

2. A New Way of Life Re-entry Project. Promoting the healing, power and opportunity for formerly incarcerated people by mitigating the effects of — and, ultimately, eliminating — mass incarceration.

3. Abundant Beginnings. A collectively run community education and empowerment initiative that is re-imagining how communities can grow learners who think critically, live responsibly, and create meaningful change.

4. Acta Non Verba. Elevating life in Oakland and beyond by challenging oppressive dynamics and environments through urban farming.

5. ACLU of Washington. The ACLU of WA is one of the largest affiliates of the nation’s leading civil rights organization. The ACLU takes no government funds and is completely people-powered.

6. The Afiya Center. Established in response to the increasing disparities between HIV incidences worldwide and the extraordinary prevalence of HIV among Black women and girls.

7. API Chaya. API Chaya empowers survivors of gender-based violence and human trafficking to gain safety, connection, and wellness by mobilizing South Asian, Asian, Pacific Islander, and all immigrant communities to end exploitation, creating a world where all people can heal and thrive.

8. Astraea Lesbian Foundation for Justice. Astraea centers women, gender nonconforming, intersex and trans people of color in its work to fund LBGTQI organizations who seek to make transformative change in their communities.

9. Be the Bridge. An organization working to ensure that people and organizations are responding to the racial brokenness and systemic injustice and no longer conditioned by a racialized society but grounded in truth.

10. Black Futures Lab. Led by Alicia Garza, one of the co-founders of Black Lives Matter, the Black Futures Lab works with Black people to transform communities, building Black political power and changing the way that power operates — locally, statewide, and nationally.

11. Black Girls CODE. Black Girls Code works to increase the number of women of color in the digital space by empowering girls of color ages 7–17 to become innovators in STEM fields, leaders in their communities, and builders of their own futures through exposure to computer science and technology.

12. Black Mamas Bailout. An organization working to bail out more than 300 black mothers and caregivers from jails nationwide. (Note: Incarceration rates for women of color are rising faster than those of men, particularly because they can’t afford bail.)

13. Black Women’s Blueprint. Black women’s blueprint envisions a world where women and girls of African descent are fully empowered and where gender, race and other disparities are erased.

14. Black Women for Wellness. Black Women for Wellness is committed to the health and well-being of Black women and girls through health education, empowerment and advocacy.

15. Black Women’s Health Imperative. BWHI is committed to improving the physical, emotional and financial wellness of Black women and girls across America, via policy advocacy, programing and research.

16. Black Visions Collective. A Minnesota-based organization that believes in a future where all Black people have autonomy, safety is community-led, and we are in right relationship within our ecosystems.

17. Black Youth Project 100. BYP100 (Black Youth Project 100) is a member-based organization of Black youth activists creating justice and freedom for all Black people.

18. Bold Futures. Building reproductive justice in New Mexico by and for women of color.

19. Chief Seattle Club. A human services organization for urban native people to connect with traditional ways and community for stability and support.

20. Feminist Press. A WOC-led independent nonprofit literary publisher that promotes freedom of expression and social justice.

21. FreeFrom. FreeFrom works to create pathways to financial security and long-term safety that support survivors of gender-based violence.

22. Girls for a Change. Girls for a Change supports girls of color and inspires them to visualize their bright futures and potential through discovery, development, and social change innovation in their communities.

23. Girl Trek. An organization with a goal to get 100,000 black women walking and change their health, and our nation, in the process.

24. Higher Heights. Higher Heights is building a national infrastructure to harness Black women’s political power and leadership potential.

25. Highlander Research Center. A grassroots organizing and movement building organization in Appalachia and the South.

26. MANA, A National Latina Organization. MANA is a grassroots membership organization that empowers Latinas via advocacy, leadership development and community service.

27. Mijente. A pro-Latinx, pro-Black, pro-woman, pro-queer, pro-poor movement.

28. Mother Africa. Helping African refugee and immigrant women & their families in WA state reach their fullest potential.

29. Na’ah Illahee Fund. A native-led organization for women and girls in undeserved native communities in the pacific northwest.

30. National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum. Working to advance human rights and social justice for Asian American and Pacific Islander girls and women in three policy areas: economic justice, immigrant rights and reproductive health.

31. National Black Women’s Justice Institute. Working to reduce racial and gender disparities that impact cisgender and transgender Black women and girls.

32. National Domestic Workers Alliance. Led by MacArthur Genius Award winner Ai-Jen Poo, NDWA works for respect, recognition, and inclusion in labor protections for domestic workers, the majority of whom are immigrants and women of color.

33. National Indigenous Women’s Resource Center. Seeking to enhance the capacity of American Indian and Alaska Native (Native) tribes, Native Hawaiians, and Tribal and Native Hawaiian organizations to respond to domestic violence.

34. National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health. Elevating Latina leaders to help secure unfettered rights to reproductive health, justice and dignity.

35. Powerful Voices. Powerful Voices creates brave spaces with girls of color to take charge of their own power as leaders, igniting their abilities to confidently express themselves, building community, and act against injustices affecting their lives.

36. Project South. An organization rooted in the legacy of the Southern Freedom Movement, working to cultivate strong social movements in the South powerful enough to contend with some of the most pressing and complicated social, economic, and political problems we face today.

37. Ramp Your Voice! The brainchild of Vilissa Thompson, a disabled women who couldn’t find self-advocacy resources that were inclusive of women of color. The organization promotes empowerment, education, inclusion and self-advocacy for people with disabilities.

38. Rockwood Leadership Institute. A POC-led institute providing social justice training (see their fellowship for unmarried, low-income Black mothers).

39. She the People. An organization encouraging women of color to run for office, and turn non-voters into voters.

40. Sistersong. Sistersong strengthens and amplifies the collective voices of indigenous women and women of color to achieve reproductive justice by eradicating reproductive oppression and securing human rights.

41. Springboard to Opportunities. Connecting families living in affordable housing with resources and programs that help them advance themselves in school, work and life.

42. Southerners on New Ground. SONG is a multi-issue southern justice movement united across class, age, race, ability, gender, immigration status, and sexuality in which LGBTQ people take our rightful place as leaders shaping our region’s legacy and future.

43. Team Child. Juvenile justice intervention for youth of color who are disproportionately involved in the justice system.

44. TEWA Women United. Located in the ancestral Tewa homelands of Northern New Mexico, Tewa Women United is a multicultural and multiracial organization led by Native women.

45. The Essie Justice Group. An organization of women with incarcerated loved ones taking on the rampant injustices created by mass incarceration.

46. Thousand Currents. Thousand Currents funds, connects, and walks alongside grassroots groups — led by women, youth, and Indigenous Peoples in the Global South —transforming their communities.

47. TransWomen of Color Collective. Uniting trans and gender nonconforming people of color to share their narratives and elevate them to leadership positions in the fight for collective liberation for the oppressed.

48. United for Respect. A multiracial national nonprofit organization fighting for big and bold policy change that improve the lives of people who work in retail.

49. Young Women Empowered. Y-WE cultivates the power of diverse young women to be creative leaders and courageous changemakers through transformative programs within a collaborative community of belonging.

50. Women’s Islamic Initiative in Spirituality and Equality. Promoting Muslim women leaders to support a peaceful and prosperous world anchored in gender equality and human dignity, addressing injustices including domestic violence, child marriage, genital mutilation and violent extremism.

***

If there is a WOC-led organization that you know and love that is not listed here, please let me know. I want to amplify as many organizations as I can.

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