We put young people at the helm of advancing solutions to the problems they encounter in their lives and communities, to advance gender equity and racial justice in DC and surrounding regions.


The Young Women’s Initiative (YWI) is a national initiative of eight prominent women’s foundations to ensure all young women—particularly young women of color—lead, prosper economically, and live safe and healthy lives.

Our Strategy

Our comprehensive strategy to achieve YWI’s mission in DC and surrounding regions include:

We engage young women and gender-expansive youth of color as agents of change in their communities through participatory grantmaking by our Rock Star Fund.

We provide flexible and reliable funds to organizations building youth’s voice, power, and leadership to advance gender equity and racial justice.

We support coalitions and groups advocating for policies and practices that center the needs and solutions of young women and gender-expansive youth of color.

Our Blueprint For Action

The blueprint outlines recommendations, by young women of color, to reform policies and practices so young women thrive in DC. It recommends changes in how systems run and in culture, procedures, programs, and policymaking.

Our Grantee Partner

The DC Girls’ Coalition is a youth-led organization that works to elevate and amplify the voices of young women, girls, femmes, non-conforming, and young women and girls of color of trans experience in the DC.

The coalition brings together organizations dedicated to implementing policies put forward by young women and gender-expansive youth of color and strives to reduce the criminalization and adultification of them by:


Launched in 2019, the Rock Star Fund, is an innovative participatory grantmaking program that amplifies the voices of young women and gender expansive youth of color in Washington, D.C. Through our partnership with DC Girls’ Coalition, its Youth Advisory Board reviews applications and selects awardees on our behalf, advancing gender and racial equity while channeling more funds directly to grassroots initiatives.


Since 2019, our Young Women’s Initiative has:

Awards Provided

Provided 33 awards to young women and gender-expansive youth of color to invest in their own learning, leadership, and community projects.

Cool Number

Strengthened and amplified leadership and advocacy skills of over 150 young women and gender expansive youth of color in DC and provided opportunities for them lead change.

Given funding to launch the DC Girls’ Coalition, the only coalition in DC that centers the leadership and addresses the needs of young women and gender expansive youth of color.

Uplifted the voices and priorities of young women and gender-expansive youth of color in DC through our Blueprint for Action.

"The Rock Star Fund has given me the courage to continue pursuing a dream that I have had in my heart for a long time. Witnessing it come alive before my eyes is quite literally a dream come true. Receiving the investment and support from the Women’s Foundation means the world. Thank you for believing in me.”
Adjo E.
2021 Rock Star Fund Awardee, Founder Of JoJo’s Outstanding Jojoba Oil

Meet Our 2023 Rock Star Fund Awardees

✨ Ronjai Beckwith will develop a mentorship program for pregnant young moms.

✨ Nevaeh Bright will develop care packages for women and children in shelters.

✨ Eris Aubrie Busey will create a program that supports young women and fosters creativity through fashion.

✨ Aniya Coffey will create a safe space for students after school to sew, stitch, and design their own clothing and accessories.

✨ Destiny Daniel will create a space for young women to find inspiring content while on their journey to becoming confident and purposeful women.

✨ Helina Deres will create a program that supports immigrant students by alleviating stress and helping them navigate through their education.

✨ Kyiniyah Graham will host restorative justice circles for girls living in Washington, D.C.

✨ Taiyler Henderson-Thorpe will build a network for young women of color living in Washington, D.C. to gain access to peer-to-peer mentorship.

Contact us

Are you interested in learning more about our Young Women's Initiative or Rock Star Fund?

Contact our Program Officer, Chika Onwuvuche!