Fund Members

Funder Profile: Fondation Chanel

Investing in young women leaders: in conversation with funding partner Fondation Chanel

What does it mean to you to be a partner with The New York Women’s Foundation in the NYC Fund for Girls and Young Women of Color?

The Fund has given the Fondation CHANEL an incredible opportunity to learn and share expertise alongside other New York-focused funders. Together, funders of different sizes and with a variety of missions explore the key issues affecting women and girls in New York City and the network of grassroots, women of color-led organizations that are making this city a more equitable place for everyone. We commit to collectively funding the most critical work and incubating the next generation of young women leaders.

Your work advances the rights of women and girls. What is the importance of investing in opportunities for all girls and young women of color to succeed economically and socially?

Advancing the social and economic situation of women and girls is at the heart of our work at Fondation CHANEL here in New York and in over 30 countries around the world. Women are the backbones of our families, communities and economies; the deep gender disparities present in New York are unacceptable and counter to the soul and vision of this ambitious city. The COVID-19 crisis has further exposed how the economic security of women and girls of color is the foundation for the vibrancy and productivity of New York, and yet how fragile it is. Recovery and “building back better” can only happen by creating opportunities for all women to succeed economically and socially.

How can funders unite to invest in efforts that promote the well-being and leadership of young women of color as change agents?

One of the most important aspects of The Fund is how we commit to pooling our resources together to uplift and center the power already present in girls and young women. Investing in multi-year support that includes both financial and non-financial resources ensures that girls and women of color-led organizations have the space to innovate,  create participation, nurture new leadership and build opportunities for people in their communities.

What steps can funders take to advance equity and elevate the voices of girls and young women of color?

The most important principle is to trust that these young women know best how to support their communities and overcome local challenges. Funders need to listen to them and then give them the flexible resources they need to pursue their visions with as few distractions and obstacles as possible. This is the fundamental idea behind the Fund for Girls and Young Women of Color. Resourcing partnerships and collaboration among organizations is also vital to cultivating caring environments for young women of color to exercise their strength and power. Investing in young women leaders and their organizational ecosystems will help their work to gain the traction and momentum necessary to secure lasting change.

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