From the start of the COVID-19 pandemic and the forced economic shutdown that followed, our early research showed that there were gaps in emergency funding provided to women-led nonprofits, particularly those led by women of color.
In early 2021, as we saw this resource gap continue to widen, we decided to launch a proof-of-concept initiative to help bridge the gaps.
We selected Atlanta for our project home base because the city offers both a rich history and a vibrant culture of encouraging social entrepreneurship in Black and Brown communities, albeit not always to new startups.
Our strong Atlanta professional networks in the social impact ecosystem also helped us get off to a running start when designing and implementing the initiative.
Based on our own size and expertise, we decided to provide small catalytic seed grants coupled with customized fundraising guidance that would help attract additional investment and build capacity within the nonprofit organizations we selected.
We enlisted Changing Our World, a philanthropic and fundraising consultancy, to partner with us on the project.
Because we knew there would be many organizations and leaders to consider, we wanted to explore innovative ways to identify and vet potential candidates. We knew from our previous work with social entrepreneurs that grantors’ application processes often put a heavy burden on the time and resources of small organizations — time that could usually be better spent in providing direct services.
Putting the needs of the social entrepreneur first was a core principle we tried to embed in our work. We did not want to add work for under-resourced nonprofit leaders with requests for information that we could collect on our own. This meant that we needed to do our own due diligence process based on gathering research from public sources.
We selected five women-led nonprofits for hands-on consulting and fundraising support:
In addition to seed grants for capacity-building, we provided tailored pro bono consulting services to each of the five organizations over a period of several months. Specific deliverables from our engagements included:
In 2021 we launched a proof-of-concept initiative to support women-led nonprofits in Atlanta, GA.
The key take-aways from our initiative are:
New York, NY
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