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Become a Community Grantee Partner

We believe that the best solutions to community challenges come from within those communities, and we support social movements that build the power of people to create lasting change. To learn more about the work happening across the country, NoVo is accepting letters of inquiry.

The deadline to complete the letter of inquiry is Friday, August 11. After this date, NoVo staff members will be in touch with those invited to submit a full application for review, including next steps and a timeline for the review process. For additional information or questions, please email loi@novofoundation.org.

Please note that the LOI is designed to ensure that we are responsive to community-based organizations that often do not have access to foundations and that are not currently receiving support from NoVo. Therefore, the LOI is only open to organizations who are not current grantees of the NoVo Foundation. We also do not want to burden current grantees with multiple processes and paperwork. If you are a current grantee partner, please feel free to contact your program officer directly to ask questions or discuss ideas.  

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    1. NoVo Foundation: Background and Overview

    Community Based Organizations supporting Girls of Color

    The NoVo Foundation is dedicated to building a more just and balanced world. Since 2006, we have worked to catalyze a transformation from a world of domination and exploitation to one of collaboration and partnership. Together with our partners, we work at the intersections of patriarchy, racism, and other forms of oppression that stand in the way of girls living in their full power and achieving their potential.

    NoVo has become one of the largest private foundations in the world to support initiatives focused explicitly on girls and women—with a focus on advancing adolescent girls’ rights and ending violence against girls and women. It also works to advance social and emotional learning, support Indigenous communities in North America, and promote local living economies. Across all of its work, the NoVo Foundation supports the development of capacities in people – individually and collectively – to help create a world based on mutual respect, collaboration, and love.

    The NoVo Foundation has always included a strong focus on adolescent girls, going back to our inception in 2006. As a social justice foundation with a deep commitment to addressing the structural barriers that perpetuate inequality, it was absolutely clear from the beginning that we needed to focus on girls.

    NoVo is committed to working towards a world where all girls are safe and free.

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    2. Who the Work Will Support

    In 2016, we launched a learning process to deepen our grantmaking in support of the movement for girls of color in the U.S. After speaking to more than 300 girls of color as well as activists of all ages, we have designed a grantmaking strategy aimed to strengthen the movements for girls of color in the U.S. Below, we outline the grantmaking priorities that emerged from our year-long learning process.Who the work will support: Adolescent girls of color

    In the U.S., NoVo Foundation focuses on adolescent girls of color because of the structural barriers they face as a result of deep-seated racism and sexism in this country. We also recognize that girls of color hold particular vulnerabilities because of their age; and yet they also hold immense power to drive transformation because they sit at these intersections. At the same time, girls of color are often invisible across funding priorities, efforts to address policy change, and in systems and programming. We believe that investing in building the power of girls and responding to their vulnerabilities is critical to creating meaningful change with and for them, their communities, and this country.

    When we use the term “of color,” we recognize that there is not a consistent definition across all communities. Our practice is to trust partners leading the work to identify language that is honoring and inclusive. Through this initiative we will support organizations, activists, and collectives who self-identify as “of color” and face racism, sexism, and other intersectional structural barriers.

    NoVo focuses on cis and trans adolescent girls of color as well as those who do not identify as female but experience gender-based structural harm. We recognize that the needs of trans girls are both similar and unique, and we will work to identify opportunities and support movements that center their specific power and vulnerability.

    We will prioritize support for partners that reach and center girls who are the hardest to reach, who are too often made to be invisible, marginalized, and targeted.

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    3. What the Work Looks Like

    What the work looks like: Strengthen movements that build power with and for girls of colorNoVo works alongside partners to strengthen movements that build power with and for girls of color. We define this power as a true democratic power, providing the basis for all girls and their communities to participate in the decisions that shape their lives.

    In building a vision for this work with partners across the country, we seek to create a world where all girls can live in peace and freedom from all forms of violence, dream and imagine all the possibilities for their future, access all that’s necessary to live in dignity and fulfill their dreams, and feel celebrated through love and connection.

    Based on what we learned from partners about the critical work necessary to achieve this vision, we will support movement-building efforts with and for girls that include:

    1) Direct work with girls of color at the local and grassroots level that creates space for connection and healing and/or spaces for consciousness raising and where their leadership is supported;

    and/or

    2) Work that responds to the structural harms and systemic barriers girls of color face through organizing, advocacy, base-building, and narrative-shaping efforts that are national and local in scope.

    Though we are not focused on specific sectors or issues areas, during our listening sessions we identified a number of key areas to support because of their critical importance in the lives of girls of color and the lack of investment by philanthropy:

    • Ending Sexual Violence: Support survivors and advocates in their efforts to build and strengthen movements working to shift culture, raise visibility and advocate for survivors, and end violence against girls.
    • Ending Anti-Black Racism: Partner with activists and organizations working to dismantle anti-black racism and the racialized gendered impact it has in the lives of girls as a part of a larger fight to dismantle white patriarchal supremacy.
    • Building Solidarity Across Communities: Identify opportunities to support efforts that intentionally build solidarity across communities through healing, relationship building, and visioning.
    • Supporting Intergenerational Leadership: Support opportunities for community building, visioning, and healing across generations of girls and women of color.
    • Resourcing and Supporting Girl-Driven Ideas and Projects: Provide opportunities to support the brilliant ideas girls of color have now.
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    4. A Strategy to Strengthen Community-Led Organizations

    As a core value, NoVo deeply respects lived experience. We center the leadership of people who live every day with injustice because they are the single most powerful agents of transformative change. We believe that the best solutions to community challenges come from the people within those communities, and we support social movements that build the power of people to create lasting change.Our strategic priority to strengthen community-led organizations working directly with and/or advocating for girls of color is an exciting opportunity to invest in local leadership and to significantly invest additional philanthropic resources in organizations often neglected.

    We prioritize work that not only includes girls but listens to them– centering their wellbeing, concerns, strengths and the challenges that they experience. This work is intersectional meaning that it names and resists the overlapping and interdependent barriers that girls face.

    We are also excited to prioritize organizations led by women of color, as they often receive less philanthropic support even though they are doing some of the most transformative work with and for girls in their communities.

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    5. LOI Requirements

    We invite potential partners to submit a letter of inquiry through this open process.In addition to meeting our strategic priorities to strengthen movements for girls of color, successful partners will:

    • Be local in scope;
    • Be led by the constituency it serves;
    • Have an operating budget between $150K- $2M
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