Advancing the Economic Security of Women Through Equitable Community Engagement Practices
Keywords:Women, Economic Empowerment, Economic Security, Anti-Poverty, Community Engagement
In the fall of 2017, WOMEN’S WAY partnered with Strategy Arts, a collective impact and community engagement firm, to launch the Women’s Economic Security Initiative (WESI), a long-term, systems-level collective initiative centered around the shared vision that all women in the Philadelphia region will attain financial well-being for themselves and their families. During the planning of the launch, both organizations designed an equitable process for engaging women as lived experience experts. The purpose was to intentionally include those most impacted by the issue and who have the greatest understanding of structural inequities, in the development of the solutions that will effectively advance the vision of the initiative. This article describes the process for setting up the infrastructure for an initiative that prioritizes its work with an intersectional lens and challenges how white supremacy is inherently found in philanthropic and nonprofit culture. The work with WESI became an opportunity to innovate how a collective impact initiative can apply racial equity as one of its guiding principles and create lasting systems change shaped by the women who the initiative is meant to impact.
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