Examining the Role of Social Justice Grantmaking on Childcare Advocacy and Community Organizing Among Women of Color


  • Nicole Robinson University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
  • Aleyamma Mathew Ms. Foundation for Women, New York


women of color, childcare, social justice, philanthropy, community organizing


The Ms. Foundation for Women funds U.S. grassroots-led organizations to improve systemic conditions and ensure the safety, health, and economic opportunity for all. From 2012 to 2016, the foundation provided funding to predominantly women- and women of color-led organizing groups to build a stronger childcare system responsive to the needs of women of color and low-wage workers. Using key informant interviews and archival data, this paper describes the foundation’s grantmaking approach to reframe childcare as central to women’s economic security, elevate women of color leaders, and support cross-sector childcare advocacy. This case provides an example of how philanthropy can operate alongside and support a grassroots social movement agenda. Foundations are encouraged to adopt social justice grantmaking practices by offering multi-year general operating grants to grassroots-led organizations advocating for quality universal childcare.




Special Issue: "Early Childhood Education and Care"