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Women & Girls of Color Fund Grantees Embody Liberatory Leadership

// March 7, 2023

Women & Non-binary Executive Directors of Color Across the Front Range Receive Unrestricted Funding to Support Liberatory Leadership

On International Women’s Day, The Women’s Foundation of Colorado announces that our Women & Girls of Color Fund advisory council has made $440,000 in grants to Front Range organizations. Our Women & Girls of Color Fund grantees’ missions are as diverse as our communities. They focus on maternal health, community healing and grief recovery, mutual aid, immigrant and refugee support, food sovereignty, wellness for Latinx and Indigenous LGBTQ+ folks, and more. While their missions might seem distinct, our 2022 Front Range grantees all have a common thread: liberatory leadership.

We define liberatory leadership, one of the Women & Girls of Color Fund’s core principles, as not only the rejection of systems of racism, classism, homophobia, and patriarchy, but demonstrated, radical practices such as self care and collective leadership. Healing and power building are critical to that work.

“Our work to heal relationships, build solidarity, and practice interdependence are some of the most powerful tactics to win our collective liberation.”

– Felicia Griffin & Neha Mahajan, Co-Founders and Executive Directors, Transformative Leadership for Change

Unrestricted funding is also critical. Women & Girls of Color Fund grants are made with no strings attached, which gives executive directors the flexibility to respond to needs as they arise and the ability to invest in collective care for themselves and their communities. A culture of care for women and nonbinary executive directors of color is an antidote to burnout. The better you can care for yourself, the better you can care for your community.

“As a woman of color who is a founder and executive director of a new non-profit, it has been challenging to receive adequate funding to support our mission. Being a recipient of this grant makes me feel hopeful and acknowledged for the work we do to support bereaved moms. It is also a game-changer in the way that it also provides me with a meaningful opportunity to manifest the radical self-care that is necessary for effective leadership, balance, and sustainability.”

– Shay Jacobs, Founder and Executive Director, Adam’s Purpose

We invite you to get to know our 2022 Front Range Women & Girls of Color Fund grantees and explore the ways that each executive director is building collective power below.

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Meet the 2022 Front Range Women & Girls of Color Fund Grantees

Adam’s Purpose

Shay Jacobs, Founder and Executive Director

The mission of Adam’s Purpose is to provide help, hope, and healing to the Black women and their families who are impacted by the death of a loved one through normalizing grief recovery, awareness, education, and access to culturally responsive support services.

Casa de Paz

Andrea Loya, Executive Director

Casa de Paz is on a mission to reunite families separated by immigrant detention, one simple act of love at a time. This work includes providing hospitality – food, clothing, shelter, emotional support, and transportation – to people released from the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Detention Center in Aurora.

Collaborative Healing Initiative within Communities (CHIC)

Sadé Cooper, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer

CHIC mission is to build women’s economic, social, and cultural capital because powerful women build healthy families and thriving communities.

Colorado Circles for Change

Angell Pérez, Executive Director

To create a pathway for our youth to discover sacred relationships with self, family, and community, to reduce violence and incarceration so that youth can reach their full potential.

Curls On The Block

Analise Harris, Founder and President

Curls on the Block is an enrichment program for girls of all curls and colors to embrace, explore and empower their natural selves while working to increase engagement, investment, and commitment to careers in science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM).

Denver Indian Family Resource Center

DIFRC’s mission is to strengthen vulnerable AI/AN children and families through collaborative and culturally-responsive services.

Food to Power

Patience Kabwasa, Executive Director

Food to Power’s mission is to cultivate a healthy and equitable food system in Colorado Springs. Its purpose is to provide integrated programming that encompasses the entire food cycle to empower local communities using fresh food as the vehicle. Food to Power’s vision is a world in which communities heal and thrive in relationship with food, land, and each other.

Fortaleza Familiar

Mimi Madrid, Executive Director

Fortaleza Familiar is dedicated to the wellness of Indigenous Chicanx Latinx Lesbian Gay Bi Queer Trans Two-Spirit young people and their families in Colorado.

Greater Purpose Media

Summer Nettles, Chief Inspiration Officer

The Mission of Greater Purpose Media (GPM) is to activate the filmmaking process from pre production to post production to educate and engage: students of color, viewers, policy makers and various stakeholders to effect change.

Kaizen Food Rescue

Thai Nguyen, Founder

Our mission is to prevent food waste and improve food justice and health equity in communities facing food apartheid.

Latina Safehouse

Angela Ceseña, Executive Director

To provide bilingual and culturally sensitive services to Latinx survivors of domestic violence and their families.

Mama Bird Doula Services

Birdie Johnson, Founder

Our mission is to promote awareness, access and availability of professional Doula support and promote evidence-based, respectful maternity care to all childbearing persons. We aim to promote the availability and use of skilled maternity care. We provide continuing education and networking opportunities for health, social service, and mental health professionals. The ultimate goal is to improve perinatal health outcomes such as neonatal-maternal disability and death.

MJCF Coalition

MJ (Maleeka Jihad), Founder

To dismantle culturally incompetent practices and mitigate the community impact of these practices by challenging sources of oppression and inequality in the child welfare system. We do this through education, advocacy, partnership and direct services.

Okionu Birth Foundation

Jacquelyn Clemmons, Founder

Okionu Birth Foundation is built on a passion for improving the lives of individuals and families. We connect the entire family to the help and services they need, right when they need it. We provide so much more than just food and group support. In partnership with you, we are building strong people, communities, and families.


Tanaka Shipp, Founder & CEO

Our mission is to empower all young women including queer, trans, and non-binary students. We achieve this through a holistic approach that includes leadership development, mentorship and community engagement to develop emotionally intelligent and civically minded leaders who contribute to their families and greater communities.

Radical Monarchs

Marilyn Hollinquest, Co-Founder/CEO of Finances & Operations & Anayvette Martinez, Co-founder / CEO of Programs & Communications

The Radical Monarchs organization empowers young girls and non-binary youth of color so that they stay rooted in their collective power, brilliance and leadership in order to make the world a more radical place. We define the word “radical” as being a bold, innovative advocate for local, disenfranchised communities.


Mariana Del Hierro, Executive Director

Our Mission is to work with people in economically marginalized neighborhoods to develop resident leaders, cultivate community food systems, and create an economy owned by the community.

RISE 5280

Michelyn Johnson, Executive Director and Co-Founder

RISE 5280’s mission is to provide equitable opportunities to close educational attainment gaps and promote fiscal and social mobility for Black and Brown youth. The program empowers underrepresented high-school-aged youth through a cultural lens to develop healthy social-emotional skills and career planning.

Sheridan Rising Together for Equity

Nelly Limon, Coordinator

To improve health equity in the city of Sheridan by creating power in the community, facilitating the process of self-determination regarding education, programs, activities, and housing with community members to inspire efficacy

Show and Tell

Yvette Plummer, Executive Director

Show and Tell advocates for families of children with disabilities from birth to twenty-six years old and youth with disabilities and special healthcare needs to achieve and perform to their full potential while striving to be contributing members of their school and communities.

Soul 2 Soul

Rev. Tawana Davis, PhD, Co-Founder and Interim Executive Director

To transform Colorado and beyond through Black Womxn-led, faith-based racial justice programs that focus on anti-Black racism, reproductive justice, reparations, and voter engagement toward actualizing Black healing and Black liberation.

STAR Girlz Empowerment

Shalonda Haggerty, Founder/Executive Director

STAR Girlz mission is to Mentor, Empower, and ultimately Transform the lives of female youth and young adult women through providing mental health services, psychoeducational empowerment classes, transitional housing, entrepreneurship training and educational exposure to create jobs and promote healthier lifestyle choices.

The Compound of Compassion

Shana Shaw, CEO

The mission of the Compound of Compassion to provide a self-sustainable environment created to encourage a safe place of healing for youth, young adults, veterans and seniors. To meet those in need where they are and provide disaster relief, humanitarian aid, and other tangible assistance.

The Family Center/La Familia (TFC/LF)*

Gloria Kat, Executive Director

Working alongside diverse families we provide high quality childcare and supportive services, with an emphasis on cultural attunement with the Latinx community. This work is done with an explicit vision of creating a community in which all families are safe, supported, and thriving.

Transformative Leadership for Change

Felicia Griffin & Neha Mahajan, Co-Founders & Executive Directors

TLC’s (Transformative Leadership for Change) mission is to transform ourselves (BIPOC movement leaders), our organizations, and the larger movement ecosystem so we can thrive in our leadership, build real power for our communities, and see our visions of liberation come to life.

Ujyalo Foundation, Weaving Identities

Amuda Mishra, Founder and Executive Director

Ujyalo Foundation is a feminist organization based in Aurora, Colorado led by South Asian women focused on enhancing the leadership capacity and number of women and girls in decision making roles. We believe in building societies and communities where women and girls of color especially from South Asia (which includes Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Pakistan, Nepal, and Sri Lanka) are heard, accepted, and meaningfully represented without any exception.

United for a New Economy

Carmen Medrano, Executive Director

UNE builds people power for racial and economic justice by: Organizing in our communities across race; Winning bold policy solutions for all; Building a multiracial voting majority to transform economic, political and social systems.

Urban Sanctuary Nonprofit

Ali Duncan, Founder

Our Mission is to create and establish a safe space for people of color and the LGBTQAI+ community by giving them access to tools, resources, and a positive culture through yoga, meditation, and movement courses.

Voces Unidas for Justice

Kristiana Huitrón, Executive Director

Voces Unidas for Justice as una organización culturalmente Latin@ y basada en la comunidad. Usamos español e inglés al propósito. Celebramos las identidades Latin@s que se extienden por todas Las Américas. Existimos para apoyar a sobrevivientes de violencia e injusticia, como violencia doméstica y acoso sexual. Apoyamos con servicios de asesoría confidencial y practicas culturales utilizado para sanación y justicia. Voces Unidas for Justice is a Latino cultural organization rooted in the community. We use both Spanish and English on purpose. We celebrate the Latin@ identities that span the whole of the Americas. We exist to support victims of violence and injustice, such as domestic violence and sexual assault, with confidential victim advocacy and cultural practices for healing and justice.

Vuela for Health

Diana Pineda, CEO/Program Director

VUELA’s mission is to mobilize and engage parents by offering education, resources, and support that strengthen their sense of self-worth, and promote a healthy change in their families and communities.


Janiece Mackey, PhD, Co-Founder and Executive Director

To encourage and support disengaged and underserved youth to participate in their communities socially and politically, in order to make changes within the community. To create political and social awareness regarding issues that directly and/or adversely affects our communities, it is necessary to be educated. Through activism and education, we can redefine the standards that have been placed upon us.

Youth Empowerment Agency

Debra Locke, Executive Director

Youth Empowerment Agency’s Mission is To Provide Underprivileged Youth with access to resources to guide healthy development. Healthy Development includes mental health support, financial literacy, Social and Emotional support, and physical opportunities.

Youth Seen

tara jae, PhD, MFA, Founder & Executive Director The mission of YS is to foster and empower the social and emotional well-being of LGBTQI youth and their families in all communities.

Italics – 2021 grantee
* – Executive director serves on advisory council (Advisory council members who serve as staff, board members, and consultants of applicant organizations recuse themselves from conversations about their organizations and abstain from voting on funding decisions.)

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