Insights to Impact

The Latest from Brooklyn Community Foundation


Bridging Boroughs, NYC Fund Grants $5 Million to Girls and Young Women of Color

We are proud to share a recently released report on the first two years of the NYC Fund for Girls and Young Women of Color, a funders collaborative aimed at supporting young women of color and transgender and gender-nonconforming (TGNC) youth. Started as a partnership between the New York Women’s Foundation and the NoVo Foundation, the fund has grown to include nineteen philanthropic organizations and has granted a total of $5,395,000 since 2015. Brooklyn Community Foundation has been involved with the Fund since 2016.

View the Report

In line with our racial justice lens and our commitment to youth in our communities, the Fund uses a participatory grantmaking approach to direct funding to organizations led by young women of color for young women of color. The Young Women’s Advisory Council, part of the Young Women’s Initiative launched in conjunction with the fund, is comprised of youth who engage in the grantmaking process, sharing their experiences, reviewing proposals, and making recommendations. The council has also helped to draft recommendations that have led to policy changes.

According to the report, more than 40% of NYC’s low-income Black and Latina girls are not provided with the support they need to finish high school, and Black girls are ten times more likely to be suspended than their white peers in NYC public schools. Combined with recent threats to immigrants and to gender justice, these issues illustrate the need to bolster the voices of young women of color and TGNC youth. In 2017, the Fund made grants to 14 new organizations, prioritizing smaller organizations led by women of color, in addition to its grants to established programs.

Our own Vice President of Programs Kaberi Banerjee-Murthy reflects on the impact of the Fund and how it has challenged the ways that local philanthropic organizations look at grantmaking. “The Fund has the potential to change how foundations do their work,” she said. “I think some of the Fund participants may have become more comfortable supporting new organizations or untested approaches. Some became willing to see outside volunteers as useful additions to the grants assessment process. And the effort as a whole really clarified the need to center girls and women of color. BCF has always operated along those lines, but I’ve had a few colleagues outside the Fund tell me: ‘We want to begin doing that, too!’”

Grants have addressed a broad spectrum of issues, including health, matters of educational and economic development, community activism and leadership, sexual and community violence, immigration, criminal justice, and anti-LGBTQi bias, creating what the report calls an ecosystem of organizations and programs that build on the unique strengths and leadership qualities of young women and TGNC youth of color.

After an initial round of grantmaking totaling $500,000 in 2015, the Fund made over $2 million in grants in 2016, and in 2017, grants totaled $2,765,000. Grantees included Spark Prize winners Make the Road New York and the Audre Lorde Project as well as Incubator Project cohort member The Alex House Project, along with many other organizations that we continue to support. A full list of grantees is included below.

Grantees have already made headway in a range of advocacy efforts and programming, from BAJI’s work in shifting narratives around policing; to Fierce!’s campaign to stop discriminatory policing of LGBTQ youth; to a collaboration between South Asian Youth Action, Casita Maria, and the Harnisch Foundation on arts education.  We look forward to all that grantees and collaborators will accomplish in years to come!


2015 Grants

African American Policy Forum

Brotherhood Sister Sol


Girls for Gender Equity

Lilly Awards Foundation

Visual Arts Research & Resource Center

Welfare Rights Initiative


2016 Grants

Arab American Association of New York

Arab American Family Support Center


National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum

South Asian Youth Action

Sylvia Rivera Law Project

Girls for Gender Equity

Ancient Song Doula Services

Atlas: DIY

Black Alliance for Just Immigration

Black Women’s Blueprint

CAAAV: Organizing Asian Communities

Casita Maria Center for Arts Education

Community Connections for Youth, Inc.


DRUM - Desis Rising Up & Moving

Hetrick-Martin Institute

Make the Road New York

New York City Anti-Violence Project

Resilience Advocacy Project

Sadie Nash Leadership Project

S.O.U.L. Sisters Leadership Collective

The Alex House Project, Inc.

The Audre Lorde Project, Inc.

The Brotherhood/Sister Sol

Turning Point for Women and Families

Welfare Rights Initiative

YWCA/The Young Women’s Christian Association


2017 Grants

(Grants were also renewed to grantees from 2016)

American Indian Community House of New York

BlackFem, Inc.

Girl Vow, Inc.

Global Action Project

La Colmena

New York State Youth Leadership Council

Restaurant Opportunities Center United

The BLK Projek

The Center for Anti-Violence Education

The New York City Urban Debate League

The WomanHOOD Project

Theater of the Oppressed

Truthworker Theater Company

viBe Theater

Rapid response grants:

The Stomp Out the Muslim Ban project by Arab American Family Support Center

Expanded youth immigration clinic activities by Atlas: DIY

Know Your Rights project by Make the Road NY


Maria Ylvisaker

Communications Coordinator
The NYC Fund for Girls and Young Women of Color uses a participatory grantmaking approach to direct funding to organizations led by young women of color for young women of color.