Strengthening Organizations and Young Women
Introducing the Girls of Color Mentoring Network
Across New Haven and the Greater New Haven region, organizations – long established community-based groups and programs just getting started, all led by women of color – work on behalf of girls and young women. They provide mentoring programs that focus on college readiness or esteem building, or on career or business development.
Now, with support from the Fund for Women & Girls, nine mentoring organizations will form a collective, finding new ways to bolster their work and each other within the Girls of Color Mentoring Network. The goal is to strengthen the organizations, their leaders and staff so they can provide young girls and young women of color with as many resources, tools, and the guidance they need to thrive particularly at time when the long-term implications of the pandemic on education, mental health, youth violence, and financial needs of families are becoming apparent.
Strength in numbers will be helpful, say nonprofit leaders, in reaching guidance counselors, school administrators, teachers and parents who interact with girls and understand the benefits of mentoring programs.
The Girls of Color Mentoring Network grew out of a series of spring focus groups with leaders of mentoring organizations that serve girls of color. The groups explored the challenges facing young girls pre/post pandemic; the supports needed to help participating mentoring organizations meet their mission in serving young girls; and the potential collaboration opportunities among mentoring organizations. Participating organizations include: D.E.S.T.I.N.E.D to Succeed; National Coalition of 100 Black Women, Inc.; Phenomenal I Am; Spanish Community of Wallingford; Collaboration of Minority Women Professionals; Theta Epsilon Omega Chapter, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.; New Haven Alumnae Chapter, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.; Iota Chi Sigma Chapter, Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc.; Urban Community Alliance.
The Network builds on the Fund’s gender specific work and is designed with a racial equity lens, directing resources to community-based and grassroots organizations led by women of color with the goal of supporting young women of color. The one-year pilot program will provide individual grants of $3,500 to the mentoring organizations.
This article is part of the Winter 2021 edition of The Community Fund for Women & Girls' newsletter.