Texas Women’s Foundation, a philanthropic leader advocating for women’s progress and stability in the southern state, has dispersed nearly $2 million in grants from their Resilience Fund since the onset of COVID-19. The disastrous aftermath of the winter storms in February left the most vulnerable of the Texan population, low-income women and their families, in dire need of assistance. The Resilience Fund didn’t hesitate.
The Resilience Fund is one of many established by the Texas Women’s Foundation, which uses evidence-based approaches to tackle the inequities that women, and specifically women of color, face in their state. The fund’s grants are a consistent and needs-based answer to the devastation these winter storms brought with them, including dozens of unnecessary deaths and nearly $20 billion in damages.
Granting safety for low-income women and families
The grants were and are directed at nonprofits and organizations that fight for women’s well-being and their financial security. The mission of the Resilience Fund’s newest cohort is to keep these vital programs up and running so the inequities these women face are not exacerbated any further. Burst pipes, caved ceilings, evacuations, closures, utility servicing, health care, and countless other needs are all on the grants’ lists of things to tackle.
The first week, $160,000 was donated to organizations in the Dallas Fort-Worth area. This was followed by another $105,000 the week after, directed specifically at childcare providers. This week, another $100,00 is being sent out to address a severe lack of basic needs still unavailable to many.
Among the first grantees were Our Friends Place, Irving Cares, Nexus Recovery Center, and SafeHaven of Tarrant County. Each one of these organizations is leading the way in women’s safety, security, and stability. This includes everything from providing shelter from domestic violence to supplying low-income families with nutritional meals.
Amongst the dozens of donors are Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas, Texas Muslim Women’s Foundation, Volunteers of America, Inc., and YMCA Metropolitan Dallas.
Resilience during a pandemic
Started as a response to COVID in April 2020, the Resilience Fund is focused on addressing education, housing, childcare, and health insurance discrepancies. These four building blocks were established in the statewide research study, “Economic Issues for Women in Texas, 2020.” This compilation of data was the first of its kind in the state, analyzing women’s financial security across the entirety of Texas.
Specifically addressing low-income women’s needs arising during the pandemic, framed within the previous research, was necessary. 63% of those making minimum wage in Texas are women, who were, and still are, facing employment uncertainty.
Low-income jobs were shut across the board at the onset of COVID, leaving those working in restaurants, spas, salons, childcare facilities, and in-home care and housekeeping jobs stranded. In April alone, $320,768 was granted from the Resilience Fund, with 86% going directly to women and girls of color, the most vulnerable and marginalized population in Texas to date.
This fund employs the same long-term perspective as all of the Texas Women’s Foundation’s collaborations and community grants do. By focusing on basic needs like education, food, shelter, and self-sufficiency, they hope to reduce and eliminate these perpetuating discrepancies.
The wider issues in Texas
The Texas Women’s Foundation is a pioneer in terms of gendered investment and application of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals specifically for their local context. In November of 2019, TXWF became the first foundation of its kind to invest 100% with a gendered lens. Revolutionizing grant-making procedures and advocacy was vital because Texas isn’t like any other state.
Women living in Texas are two times more likely to be uninsured than the female national average. Almost 50% of employed women do not have health insurance. 40% of black women-headed households pay more than 1/3rd of their earnings towards maintaining adequate housing.
Even during COVID, the foundation’s progress didn’t stop. They shifted everything to a virtual platform and kept fighting. Their Virtual Viewpoints panels pushed for black feminist philanthropy and COVID-19 specific childcare all through their remotely-based computer screens. Their Housing Stability Fund, Child Care Access Fund, and Health Care Access Fund all continued to provide comprehensive support.
They gathered grantees, managed to set up rolling proposals for the funds, and are dispersing them consistently to their local communities. The Texas Women’s Foundation has more than proven itself as an innovator in women’s philanthropy and remains a valuable resource that rises to the need, regardless of context.