EASTHAMPTON, Mass.—The Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts’s partnership with local volunteer group, The Massachusetts Chapter of the Women’s March on Washington (WoMaWaMa), helped raise over $20,000 to provide financial assistance for women, allies, and their families to travel to the Women’s march on Washington on January 21, 2017.
The money has helped over 100 residents secure a seat on one of the dozens of buses headed to the event from across the Commonwealth. The goal of the WoMaWaMa group was to mobilize over 10,000 marchers. Their efforts have resulted in the Bay State becoming the second largest state group represented at the rally.
The march is expected to draw 250,000 participants and is part of a growing international grassroots movement designed to send a clear message about a demand for gender equity. To learn more and to register, visit tiny.cc/womawama.
In the early stages of organizing the state effort, volunteer organizers connected with the Women’s Fund to provide a formal structure for the group to be able to fundraise. Within days after approval from the Women’s Fund Board of Directors, the staff of the public foundation set up an online donation portal, handled gift acknowledgements, wrote checks to nonprofits handling the bus logistics, and handled other administrative activities.
“This is an ideal partnership for us,” Elizabeth Barajas-Román, CEO of the Women’s’ Fund said. “We are excited to support the leadership of local women, while providing a vehicle for the community to connect their generosity with action, and in our way, helping ensure that there will be diverse voices representing our state at this historic event.”
“In Massachusetts, we’ve found that being inclusive is crucial,” Tami Gouveia, WoMaWaMa leader, said. “Our entire approach emphasizes diversity and inclusion. We were the first to announce a truly diverse team. We feel like that was critical for our success in attracting so many supporters.”
In addition to raising funds, the WoMaWaMa volunteers also created:
- A centralized website with bus, organizing, and other march-related information. tiny.cc/womawama
- Twenty lead organizers responsible for organizing each county and large metropolitan area.
- Daily communications via email, Facebook and social media. The WoMaWaMa email opt-in list has more than 5,000 contacts.
- An information page with bus times by city of departure using crowd sourcing technologies through Skedaddle and Rally Bus. Over 30 buses are being tracked and publicized. The schedule is posted at: tiny.cc/womawama/getting-to-the-march.
- The state is the first to offer themed clothing as a fundraiser to support women getting to the march and to build an organization after the event.
The Women’s Fund of Western Massachusetts fuels progress toward gender equity by funding the most promising solutions, collaborating with results-oriented partners, and by elevating the collective power of local women to take charge, and to lead with purpose. Their signature, non-partisan program, the Leadership Institute for Political and Public Impact (LIPPI) is designed to provide women with the tools, mentors, and confidence they need to become powerful and effective civic leaders and elected officials.
[From a News Release]