Celebrating International Women’s Day
Our Philanthropic Advisors share nonprofits that are empowering women and girls locally and globally
March 08, 2019
In honor of International Women’s Day on March 8, Seattle Foundation’s Philanthropic Advising team is sharing a list of organizations working to empower women and girls, locally and globally. Each advisor has chosen a nonprofit organization that they have a personal connection with to celebrate this special day that recognizes women’s achievement and encourages a gender-balanced world.
I’ve long admired the mission of Reel Grrls to empower young women and gender non-conforming youth from diverse communities to realize their power, talent, and influence through media production. They support young people to explore, critique, and author media through a feminist lens.
Recently, they hosted a mid-winter break 48-hr film challenge and the films that were made by the participating youth were all so impressive!
Rwanda Girls Initiative educates and empowers girls in Rwanda to reach their highest potential through both innovative programs and the Gashora Girls Academy of Science and Technology. When girls receive educational opportunities, the societal benefits include increased economic earnings and productivity and better health for women and children. Education is also a key component to ending the cycle of poverty.
I was first introduced in 2004 to Powerful Voices, trailblazers in empowering girls in King County. The organization was launched in 1995 by three visionary women who were researching the availability of and essential elements for programs to support the unique needs of girls to develop into strong women. Today, Powerful Voices creates brave spaces where girls of color take charge of their own power as leaders, igniting their abilities to confidently express themselves, build community and act against injustices affecting their lives.
As a long-time volunteer with Mother Africa, I am constantly inspired by the strength of the women I’ve encountered through this nonprofit. Mother Africa works with immigrant and refugee women to help them reach their fullest potential. What I love about Mother Africa is that all of their programs are created with community members to ensure that their services reflect the needs of the community.
I’ve been so impressed by the program, staff and volunteers who partner with Girls on the Run, a program that helps girls develop confidence and competence through running. Girls on the Run increases participants’ strength of character and creates positive connections with peers and adults. The day of the final 5K race is overwhelmingly emotional as you watch a sea of girls cross the finish line with pride on their faces!
As a lifetime member and volunteer of the Girl Scouts, the world’s largest girl leadership organization, I’m giving a shout out to the fantastic outreach programs that the Girl Scouts of Western Washington runs (and don’t forget to buy cookies!). My favorite smaller organization is Rain City Rock Camp for Girls, which uses music education to foster leadership, encourage social change and cultivate a community of female peers and mentors.
Landesa invests in women through the mechanism of land rights in developing countries. When land is held in a woman’s name, it often results in increased security for families, access to education for children and other positive outcomes. Secure land rights help create a stable foundation for other important development work like literacy, clean water and nutrition to improve quality of life for generations. Landesa’s transformative work earned it the Hilton Humanitarian Award for adding land rights to the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.
In partnership with Hillside Church, World Relief's Women's Sewing Class creates a space where refugee women learn valuable skills that can be applied to a new job. They also practice English and build deep friendships with each other and the volunteers that work with them. I’ve been deeply touched by the program’s power to create a community and build the resilience of participants.
Techbridge Girls empowers girls to realize their potential through science, technology and engineering. Its innovative after-school and summer programs inspire 5th through 12th grade girls from under-served communities to change the world, providing girls with hands-on projects and career exploration through curriculum, as well as role models and field trips.
Women and girls,