YWCA Awarded Grant to Expand Advocacy Work in Region

YWCA Southeastern MA to expand policy advocacy work with new position funded by Women’s Fund

NEW BEDFORD, MA – The Women’s Fund recently awarded a grant to the YWCA of Southeastern MA to expand advocacy work in Southeastern Massachusetts.

“The YWCA is excited to create this new position which will build on our current advocacy work and increase our capacity to advocate for issues important to women, girls and people of color,” said Gail Fortes, YWCA Executive Director.  This grant will revive and expand a coalition of local women to take action collectively which will have a greater impact on our region.

The Women’s Fund has shifted its grantmaking to focus on the Economic Blueprint for Women, priorities developed in collaboration with community partners, all aimed at increasing the percentage of women in the region earning a living wage and enjoying economic security.  One of those priorities is to build a stronger civic and political leadership pipeline of diverse women and girls, which is a priority recently affirmed by the YWCA’s Board of Directors.

YWCA is committed to raising awareness, providing education, promoting inclusion and building coalitions for all people, regardless of race, gender, class, sexual orientation, gender expression or identity, immigration status, as well as underrepresented populations and protected classes. Intersectionality, defined as analysis and action that takes into consideration multiple factors of identity like those listed above, is central to the work the YWCA does.

“A foundation for equity in this region is to have more women, especially women of color and those who have faced economic challenges, in decision-making and leadership roles. We also want to strengthen the broader women’s and economic justice movements in our region. With more clout locally and at the state and federal level, laws and policies will better match the realities and needs of women and girls. This grant to the YWCA builds on their history of involvement in advocacy work and allows them to stretch out and take on a bigger regional leadership role in this area.”

The Women’s Fund previously convened a coalition of regional women to work on a shared advocacy agenda, Action for Women of Southeastern MA (AWSM) and there are informal local coalitions of women-focused groups that collaborate on Women’s Advocacy Day and on planning Women’s History Month events. In addition, there are some regional advocacy leaders who play a vital role in moving forward policies important to women and girls and economic justice. The YWCA will connect these groups and reach out to others for a re-energized coalition of women who will learn more about advocacy and also take action.  The YWCA will serve as a central point of information, connection and action on a range of priorities critical to women and girls in this area. 

The next advocacy task for the YWCA will be to organize the regional delegation that goes to the Massachusetts State House on May 21 for Women’s Advocacy Day, an annual event held by the Massachusetts Commission on the Status of Women to promote legislation that advances the rights and opportunities of women and girls. Each May, the YWCA, the Women’s Fund, the Bristol County Commission on the Status of Women and other groups have worked together to train and bring students and adults to the State House for this intergenerational day.

To participate in Women’s Advocacy Day Tuesday May 21st, please email Jordan Latham at JLatham@ywcasema.org for more information. She will be hosting trainings on the legislative priorities and how to lobby effectively.



The Women’s Fund is a Fund of the Community Foundation of Southeastern MA and its mission is to advance the educational attainment and economic security of women and girls in the region.


The YWCA Southeastern MA is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.