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.
The Rock Star Fund provides young women of color between the ages of 12 and 24 living in DC with up to $2,000 to invest in their own learning, leadership, ideas, and community projects. We designed the Rock Star Fund as participatory grantmaking. It goes beyond traditional grantmaking, allowing YWAC fellows the opportunity to review applications and decide awardees.
This fund goes beyond traditional grantmaking, on one hand young people have the opportunity to review applications and decide which projects to invest in, on the other, young people receive resources to make their ideas a reality. A culture of participatory grantmaking is important to advance gender and racial equity, center the experiences of young women of color, and to allow more funding at the grassroots level!
Meet our 2023 cohort below, and learn more about their innovative projects that advance the recommendations of our Blueprint for Action.
Meet our 2023 Rock Star 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.
Since 2017 the Young Women’s Initiative has:
- Provided awards to 19 young women and gender expansive youth of color to invest in their own learning, leadership, and community projects.
- Strengthened and amplified the leadership and advocacy skills of over 100 young women and gender expansive youth of color in the District of Columbia, and provided opportunities for them to leverage their leadership to create change.
- Provided seed funding to launch the DC Girls Coalition, the only coalition in the District of Columbia that centers the leadership and addresses the needs of young women and gender expansive youth of color.
- Uplifted the voices and priorities for action of young women and gender-expansive youth of color in the District of Columbia through a Blueprint for Action.
We are part of the National Philanthropic Collaborative of Young Women’s Initiatives (NPCYWI) with a focus on galvanizing resources and creating cross-sector partnerships to advance equity and outcomes for young women of color.
Through YWI, each partnering foundation seeks to support community organizations serving young women of color that are committed to racial and gender equity and that provide leadership opportunities for young women of color. Partnering foundations also invest in organizations led by women of color.