Heidi Gonzalez: “Every Day is an Opportunity to Do Better”

Editor’s Note: This interview in our Feminist Giving IRL series features Heidi Gonzalez, Executive Director of Adoptions From The Heart (AFTH). In addition to her duties as the new Executive Director, Heidi is the Regional Supervisor of Wynnewood, PA, Allentown, PA, and Wilmington, DE for AFTH.

Heidi Gonzalez is the Executive Director of Adoptions From The Heart, the first open adoption agency on the East Coast. (Image Credit: AFTH)

1. What do you wish you had known when you started out in your profession?

I never really thought about it. In fact, I take each day as it comes. I try not to look back and get caught up in a “woulda shoulda coulda” mentality. Instead, I focus on the future and what I can do to improve my agency and myself. Every profession has its challenges: it’s all in how you handle them, and if I don’t think I did a bang up job the first time, I try to look at where I made mistakes and try to correct them the next time. Every day is an opportunity to do better–so that’s what I aspire to do.

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Upcoming Webinar: Funding to End Violence Against Women of Color

Join us at 2:00 PM ET on June 25th for the next edition in the Philanthropy Women webinar series: “Funding to End Violence Against Women of Color.”

This important discussion comes at a critical time: as the COVID-19 crisis continues to play a dangerous role in the rise of domestic violence cases; as demonstrations continue in response to the deaths of people of color at the hands of police officers; and as people join together around the world to call for action on behalf of Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, and the countless other women and people of color who deserve to have their stories heard.

The webinar will focus on ways philanthropy can help to end violence against women of color. With the tragic death of Breonna Taylor, we see how women’s lives are snuffed out with no repercussions. Black women in the US are more likely to experience domestic violence, be arrested for it, and be murdered by an intimate partner. This webinar will focus on key strategies funders can take to support women of color as they fight for their right to live and prosper.

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Pascale Sykes Foundation on COVID and Sunsetting

The number of small businesses facing hardship due to COVID-19 continue to rise every day. In partnership with New Jersey Community Capital (NJCC), the Pascale Sykes Foundation is building a safety net for local New Jersey businesses impacted by the pandemic. The announcement comes alongside the Foundation’s intention to sunset operations in the next few years–and their intention to make as big of an impact as possible before closing their doors.

Frances P. Sykes (right) speaks with staff members at the Pascale Sykes Foundation. (Photo Credit: Pascale Sykes Foundation)

On April 23, the Foundation announced its commitment to the expansion of the THRIVE South Jersey Initiative, a program designed to combat economic hardship in four South Jersey counties. In light of COVID-19, NJCC and the Foundation introduced zero-based interest rate loans for small businesses in Gloucester, Cumberland, Salem, and Western Atlantic Counties.

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Global Resilience Fund Offers Flex Funding for Women and Girls

COVID-19 puts pressure on all of us, but many women and girls are at higher risk of danger and oppression during these unprecedented times. A crisis like COVID-19 makes the widespread effects of issues like abuse, domestic violence, and rising barriers to educational, financial, and social survival much more intense–and often, much more deadly. The new Global Resilience Fund for Girls and Young Women seeks to answer this understated emergency with rapid, flexible funding to activist groups led by girls and young women.

The Global Resilience Fund is a worldwide collective of funders committed to supporting young women and girl activists with emergency funding as they respond to the COVID-19 crisis. (Image Credit: Global Resilience Fund)

The Global Resilience Fund supports informal collectives, registered organizations, and unregistered community groups led by girls, young women, and trans and intersex young people around the world. To reach populations that may otherwise have a difficult time obtaining funding, the Global Resilience Fund only offers grants to organizations with a budget of less than $50,000 per year. Successful applicants can receive “fully flexible rapid response grants” worth up to $5,000.

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UAF Launches COVID Crisis Fund For Feminist Activists

In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, feminist activists, institutions, and individuals around the world need immediate access to funding and other forms of support. Many aid packages have already been deployed to the people who need them most, but some other lesser-known populations are in danger of falling by the wayside.

Kate Kroeger, Executive Director of the Urgent Action Fund for Women’s Human Rights (UAF). (Image Credit: UAF)

One of these groups of vulnerable people includes feminist activists: people who have lost their jobs or livelihoods yet are still fighting for protection and social change. In the midst of a pandemic, these rights battles can’t simply be put aside.

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IWMF Announces 2020 Courage in Journalism Awards

For the past 30 years, the International Women’s Media Foundation (IWMF) has honored exceptional women in journalism, highlighting the courage of female journalists around the world as well as the groundbreaking journalists who have dedicated their careers to paving the way for female journalists of the future.

Courageous women givers journalism award
The International Women’s Media Foundation supports female, trans, and nonbinary individuals who are on the front lines of journalism. (Image Credit: IWMF)

This week, IWMF announced the 2020 recipients of the 30th annual Courage in Journalism Awards, granted to female journalists who go above and beyond the call of duty when it comes to reporting the truth. These women face down harassment, violence, government oppression, and more in their pursuit of journalistic integrity.

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Connecting Art to Justice: the Feminist Art Coalition

“Rather than seeking stark divisions between approaches or themes within feminism, perhaps we should instead look for the many possibilities for productive coalitions.” – Sally J. Scholz

It’s no secret that art comments on, fights against, and breaks the molds of society. Sometimes, it even forms the basis from which activists and earth-shakers build platforms to enact real social change.

connecting art to justice
Apsara DiQuinzio, Senior Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art and Phyllis C. Wattis Matrix Curator at the UC Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA), first envisioned the Feminist Art Coalition in 2017. (Photo by Page Bertelsen Photography)

The Feminist Art Coalition (FAC) seeks to create a platform where art projects can build creative collaborations between artists and their societies, in exhibitions that give established institutions a way to give voice to their commitments to social justice and structural change. Supported by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, FAC connects art museums and nonprofit institutions to present a series of events beginning in Fall 2020, and continuing over the course of one year–a critical year, as we’ve mentioned, leading up to the next American presidential election.

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Addressing COVID DV Surge: NNEDV Teams with Donors, Shelters

Cindy Southworth knows how it feels to be at the center of the fire. As the Executive Vice President for the National Network to End Domestic Violence (NNEDV), Southworth has found herself, like many nonprofit and crisis aid workers, pivoting almost daily to meet the needs of victims of domestic violence around the country.

covid DV surge
Cindy Southworth, Executive Vice President, National Network to End Domestic Violence (Photo Credit: Cindy Southworth, Twitter)

Speaking to Women Moving Millions during a webinar session in early April, Southworth laid out the organization’s mission, as well as the deep plea for help from domestic violence organizations around the country.

“We want to get the message out that domestic violence shelters are still open,” she says. “What we’re all working to do is create a world where the idea of domestic violence no longer exists, where it doesn’t even seem fathomable that somebody would use violence and control to harm their partner. And in the meantime, we want to make sure that, until we create that new world with different gender norms and different social and cultural expectations, that we are serving every single survivor who needs and wants to reach out for help.”

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African Girls Respond to COVID

Coverage of COVID-19 first focused on Asia, then Europe, and now increasingly North America. The virus, however, is global, and while there have been relatively few cases reported in Africa, the numbers are increasing, as is awareness about how to combat COVID-19.

Mr. Ablaye Sow; WGEP staffers Khady and Casimir; and Our Sisters Lead participants Absatou, Mouhamed, and Alima. (Photo credit: WGEP)

As is the case everywhere, education and preparedness are essential in blunting the effects of the novel Coronavirus. The Women’s Global Education Project (WGEP), an Oak Park, Illinois-headquartered non-profit, has been helping educate girls in Africa since 2004. It has worked with grassroots leaders in Kenya and Senegal to co-design programs that have impacted thousands of girls and women in poor communities with low levels of school enrollment and literacy. With the new challenge of COVID-19 afoot, Harriet Spears, WGEP Strategic Partnerships and Communications Manager, has shared stories with PW about how WGEP teams in Kenya and Senegal are working with local communities on reducing virus transmission.

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W20 Calls for Gender Equality In COVID Crisis

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia, Mar. 23 /CSRwire/ – Women 20 (W20), the Women’s Engagement Group, welcomes the extraordinary G20 Summit and strongly agrees that a coordinated response to the COVID-19 pandemic – and its human and economic implications – is urgently needed. We appreciate the effort of G20 Leaders to reduce the COVID-19 pandemic, to propose policies to protect people and safeguard the global economy, and their recognition that collaboration among G20 countries is needed. We, W20, are willing to contribute.

W20 Saudi Arabia has released a statement urging G20 leaders to act on gender equality efforts in addressing COVID-19 crisis. (Image Credit: W20 Saudi Arabia)

We urge that policies and public health efforts address the gendered impacts of disease outbreaks. Experts find that pandemics make existing gender inequalities for women and girls worse, and can impact their treatment and care. Women and girls face a variety of risk factors that must urgently be addressed. Given their predominant roles as caregivers within families and as front-line health-care workers, women are more likely to be exposed to the virus. Women also make up a disproportionate percentage of workers in sectors and roles that are impacted harder in economic downturns and offer less social protection. 

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