We have been participating in a lot of discussions focused on how funders, the non-profit community, and government systems can change the way we work so that we are more inclusive. This is the reflective statement you will find on our website about our own work in this area:
We have worked diligently to
invest in and advance social change for women and girls.
We have focused our funding on projects and programs outside systems that have historically excluded women and girls. We acknowledge that this work has primarily benefited white, cis women and girls. We are an organization with a thirty-year history of white women’s leadership, embodied by white privilege.
We actively work with and within racist systems that have intentionally and systemically concentrated wealth, power, resources, and opportunity.
We are part of a system of philanthropy that was founded on the wealth built and birthed by the bodies of enslaved Black people and the lands and other natural resources stolen from Indigenous Peoples.
We have been actively working to change our grant making to address the needs of all women and girls in Maine. The process is slow. Our commitment is steady. We will keep learning, acting, engaging. In the past several years, we have seen improvement in our grantmaking capacity to advance this work.
The resources we steward are benefiting more communities and supporting more women, girls, and gender expansive people who challenge us to keep thinking differently about social change for women and girls.
Our decision makers (our Board, grantmaking committees, and staff) are increasingly reflecting more communities and more perspectives, including the voices of grantees.
We are bringing more of our time, attention, and support to communities of women and girls experiencing the greatest disparities.
We understand that all oppressions are tied up together, and that others’ freedom and access to resources depends on our ability to free ourselves and the resources we steward.
We are consciously, thoughtfully, and actively learning to use our organizational power and privilege to redistribute and rebalance power and resources.
We are committed to continuing the evolution of the Maine Women’s Fund, knowing changing ourselves is how we change the unjust systems within which we work:
- Continuing to examine our own behavior and systems. Are we redistributing power or concentrating it?
- Focusing on intersectional oppressions.
- Proactively redirecting and leveraging resources with an eye towards rebalancing.
- Freeing ourselves from our limited understanding by intentionally expanding the perspectives of those we have the honor of learning and working with.
- Reimagining, one step at a time, what the following could look like: leadership, accountability, reciprocity, grantmaking, investing, partnerships, power, etc.
We look forward to all we will learn from each other and with our grantee and other organizational partners, as we move forward, together.