Campaigning for the Next Shirley Chisholm
This week, as we mark Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day, we’re putting our focus on the future instead of the past. Yes, Brooklyn has been home to great women since its founding—national figures like Shirley Chisholm, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Barbara Boxer (and of course Barbra Streisand), and slightly lesser known but hugely influential leaders like Joan Maynard, Jeanette Gadson, and Mary White Ovington.
However, our challenge at the Brooklyn Community Foundation is to see that the next generation of strong Brooklyn women is larger in number and impact than any before it.
Girls growing up in Brooklyn today face many of the same roadblocks as their mothers and grandmothers—a future where they’ll earn less than their male peers and be less likely to reach top leadership positions in government and corporate arenas—especially true for young women of color.
Yet more are making it to college, getting interested in science, technology, and math, and disproving just about every gender stereotype out there.
Much of their success is due to devoted mothers, mentors, counselors, teachers, and coaches who instill confidence, ambition, and above all determination to succeed—whether it’s through showing them how to rock out on the drums, write the next great American novel, or inviting them into the board room.
Last year, we supported a dozen organizations specifically serving Brooklyn’s young women, investing more than $235,000 in their inspiring work.
This includes grants to Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls (WMRC), Girls for Gender Equity, Girls Write Now, the Center for Anti-Violence Education (CAE), and the Sadie Nash Leadership Project—as well as a grant to Girls, Inc to facilitate an association we helped found: the Brooklyn Girls Collaborative.
A Collective Effort to Better the Lives of Brooklyn’s Girls
In our role as Brooklyn’s Community Foundation, we’re helping nonprofits that serve young women do more, together. A perfect example of this is the Brooklyn Girls Collaborative. After years of working with a core group of nonprofits, we recognized that many of their needs—administrative staff, professional development, capacity—could be met by working together. With our seed funding, the Collaborative was born.
Its 20+ member organizations meet bi-monthly at the YWCA on Atlantic and Third Ave—a newly renovated facility made possible with support from the Brooklyn Community Foundation—to discuss policy issues, share resources and expertise, and plan events like the youth-run Girls Summit on equity and education taking place this August.
“CAE is lucky to be a part of a group of professionals who are united in their belief that there is no more important work than the health, education, and empowerment of girls and teen women here in Brooklyn,” says Susan J. Moesker, Community Violence Prevention Program Coordinator at the Center for Anti-Violence Education. “Especially at a time when financial resources have dwindled for so many of us, Brooklyn Girls Collaborative helps to fill the gap. There is a creativity which flows when we are in an environment which encourages us to think as collaborators instead of competitors: the upcoming Summit provides a perfect example of what can happen if we all work together for the greater good.”
"Being a part of the Brooklyn Girls Collaborative has been great for us," says WMRC Executive Director Karla Schickele. "Sometimes it's hard for peer organizations to get together, but the BGC gives us a forum to trade ideas and tips and make our programs stronger. It feels exciting to be part of a community of like-minded organizations."
Celebrate Women's History Month By Investing in Our Future
What's Happening Across Brooklyn
Here are a few highlights of news and events we’ve shared with our followers this week. Don’t miss a thing! Like us at Facebook.com/DoGoodBklyn and follow us at Twitter.com/DoGoodBklyn.
Calling All Rock Music Enthusiasts!
Willie Mae Rock Camp for Girls seeks campers and volunteers for its 8th summer camp season. The music and mentoring organization, a longtime Community Foundation grantee and member of the Brooklyn Girls Collaborative, will be holding two summer camp sessions this year, in Brooklyn (July 2 - 7) and Manhattan (August 20 - 25). Girls and young women aged 8 - 18 are encouraged to apply. No musical experience necessary! Sliding scale tuition / full financial aid available. Willie Mae also encourages women and trans-identified musicians and non-musicians to apply to volunteer. For more information, visit www.williemaerockcamp.org.
30 Years of Hip Hop Videos at MoCADA
Don’t miss the opening reception for The Box That Rocks: 30 Years of Video Music Box and the Rise of Hip Hop Music & Culture at MoCADA in Fort Greene tomorrow. Video Music Box was the first TV show to focus on hip-hop videos and paved the way for MTV, VH1, and BET. The exhibition features photography, painting, mixed media, video installation and interactive digital art, by participants including Fab 5 Freddy, Bobbito Garcia, and Daniel Amazu Wasser.
Build a Better Brooklyn
Please take a moment to cast your vote for Brooklyn Community Foundation in Bay Ridge Toyota's Build a Better Brooklyn Facebook contest. The dealership will give the winning charity a percentage of the proceeds from every car sold during the first quarter of this year. Vote here!