News

Investing in Women and Girls Matters

Claudia Williams, Washington Area Women's Foundation November 2020

At The Women’s Foundation, we believe that investing in young women of color is a powerful strategy for igniting social change, and we are excited to partner with the Crimsonbridge Foundation to support organizations uplifting young women of color in our community.

We know young women are the backbone of our society. They commit themselves wholeheartedly to their communities, drive dynamic change in our economy, politics, and culture, and know best what policy solutions they need to succeed. Even so, the proportion of philanthropic funding dedicated to building their voice and leadership in our region is extremely limited—less than one percent.

At The Women’s Foundation, we are committed to changing things by focusing on a grantmaking strategy that accounts for the ways in which multiple systems of oppression are interwoven in young women’s lives, how these systems impact young women differently based on where they stand, and recognizing the most innovative solutions to address the structural barriers that affect young women’s lives come directly from them.

Through Crimsonbridge’s investment in the Young Women’s Initiative, we are supporting leadership opportunities for young women of color who are part of the DC Girls Coalition.

The coalition centers the voices and experiences of young women of color and firmly believes that in order to generate solutions that are affirming for all girls, including non-conforming and girls of trans experience, we must see them as they are: multi-faceted, multi-dimensional, and lively.

The coalition envisions a city in which youth are at decision-making tables, identifying solutions for the issues they face every day. They uplift young women as leaders providing them with the tools and skills they need to advance gender equity and racial justice in the District of Columbia, and work directly with a network of organizations dedicated to advocating with and for youth of color, to adopt policies and practices that center around their needs.

It is time for the philanthropic sector to steer away from investments oblivious to the dynamics of gender, race, and other identities young women have and acknowledge such attributes as strengths and assets. Without acknowledging the multifaceted reality of young women’s lives, our grantmaking will continue to perpetuate and exacerbate disadvantages for young women, girls, and gender-expansive youth of color.

The Crimsonbridge Foundation’s Women & Girls Leadership program awards grants to organizations that develop leadership and advance civic engagement in women and girls.

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Press Release: Despite Pandemic, Latino Enrollment in Catholic Schools at an All Time High

40 students receive Crimsonbridge Foundation’s Hispanic Education Imperative Fund support

Bethesda, MD, September 29, 2020 – Through a unique collaboration of education partners called the Hispanic Education Imperative, 40 Hispanic* students will receive partial scholarships for the 2020-21 school year to obtain a quality education at six high schools and one elementary school in the Archdiocese of Washington.  Launched in 2016 by the Crimsonbridge Foundation, the initiative brings the collective strengths of Crimsonbridge, the Archdiocese of Washington Catholic Schools Office, and the Latino Student Fund to expand Hispanic family access to Catholic schools and improve educational outcomes for Latino students.

The Archdiocese of Washington encompasses 91 schools, pre-kindergarten through high school, and serves about 26,000 students. This makes them the largest non-public school system in the Greater Washington region. 

Crimsonbridge Foundation Executive Director Danielle M. Reyes, states, “Many Hispanic families are interested in the academic environment and graduation rates of Catholic Schools, yet there is a significant disparity in their enrollment numbers.”   – In the U.S. approximately 60% of Catholics under the age of eighteen identify as Hispanic, but only 17% of students who attend Catholic schools are Hispanic. “Through this partnership we are closing the gap in this region.”

Indeed, the Catholic Schools Office has seen positive growth since it identified Hispanic enrollment and engagement as a priority for the Archdiocese of Washington five years ago.  With encouragement and support from Bishop Mario Dorsonville, the Foundation’s team partnered with the Catholic Schools Office to develop a variety of complimentary strategies to achieve this goal.  In 2016, Crimsonbridge created and launched the Hispanic Education Imperative, which has invested $1.2 million in innovative linguistic, cultural, and professional development strategies in addition to scholarships.

The Hispanic Education Imperative Fund, a financial component of this comprehensive initiative, provides partial scholarships for new Hispanic students to attend Catholic schools of their choice. It also connects students to another partner, the Latino Student Fund, a regional nonprofit that administers the Fund,  walks with families through the private school application process and offers students robust academic support and college preparation programs.  Since 2016, the Hispanic Education Imperative Fund has awarded more than $550,000 in partial scholarships, which have supported 85 students.

“The Hispanic Education Imperative Fund is one piece of a larger initiative that goes beyond scholarship assistance to increase Hispanic enrollment in Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Washington,” Crimsonbridge Foundation Program Officer Caitlin Mayo shares. “We are taking a multi-pronged, whole community approach that includes linguistic and cultural capacity building and collaboration with principals, teachers, pastors, families, and students.”

This academic year, Crimsonbridge has awarded $120,000 in partial scholarships through the Hispanic Education Imperative Fund.

*Latino and Hispanic are used interchangeably for the purposes of this article.  


About the Crimsonbridge Foundation: The Crimsonbridge Foundation is an entrepreneurial philanthropic organization that works across sectors to innovate, invest in, and create transformative solutions in education, leadership development, and capacity building to help our nation’s youth, families, and nonprofits succeed.

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For more information or to arrange an interview, contact Abigail Galván at agalvan@crimsonbridge.org.

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