Many Hands is a women’s grantmaking organization committed to making a lasting impact on the lives of Washington, DC area women, children, and families in socioeconomic need and to helping its members become well-informed donors. Since 2004, Many Hands has granted more than $2.25 million to 40 nonprofit organizations.
We entered this grant cycle amid considerable uncertainty about the fundraising environment. However, thanks to increases in both the number of donors and the size of the average gift, we saw our grant fund grow by nearly 20% this year to a record total of $317,500. We are humbled by this evidence of our community’s continuing generosity and belief in collective giving and grateful to be able to channel their support to four outstanding nonprofits. As an organization built on the principle of women supporting women, we are particularly pleased that all four of this year’s grantees not only serve women and their families, but are also led by women. In addition, nearly 70% of this year’s funding supports organizations led by people of color, compared to an estimated 10% of giving nationwide, and 100% of our grants offer unrestricted support.
We are deeply grateful to Many Hands’ members and friends for making our grantmaking possible, both as donors and as volunteers. More than 80 members joined a Focus Area Committee (Economic Empowerment, Education, Health, or Housing), and collectively, they reviewed applications from 100 nonprofits, carried out virtual site visits with 21 organizations, and selected this year’s four grantees. In addition, members serving on the Financial Review Committee, Membership Committee, and Racial Equity Working Group examined the financials of semifinalist organizations and developed programming and resources that informed Focus Area Committee discussions. Finally, all members were invited to vote to determine which of the four finalists would receive the 2021 Many Hands $100,000 Impact Grant.
We are also grateful to all the applicants for the essential work they do across the region and for giving us the opportunity to learn more about them. As a community, we are fortunate to have so many thoughtful, creative, and impactful nonprofits dedicated to serving and empowering women, children, and families facing economic adversity. We cannot provide feedback on individual applications, but we encourage organizations who did not receive grants in this cycle to reapply.
For more information about Many Hands, please explore our website or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn how you can become a member. We are now accepting gifts from new and renewing members for the 2022 grant cycle. We will begin accepting applications for the next grant cycle in the fall.
2021 MANY HANDS IMPACT GRANT ($100,000)
The mission of The Homeless Children’s Playtime Project is to cultivate resilience in DC children experiencing family homelessness by providing and expanding access to transformative play experiences. Playtime’s work centers on creating play opportunities that nurture healthy child development; connecting families with critical support services and supplies to meet their concrete needs; and challenging systemic injustice by advocating for policies and practices that reduce the risks of chronic homelessness. Playtime believes that play is a human right.
Despite the pandemic, through persistence and creativity, Playtime served 200 children in 2020; carried out more than 400 wellness assessment phone calls; provided families with essential supplies, referrals to community resources, and case management through Playtime’s social worker; piloted a small-group outdoor play program; and expanded to two new shelter sites (bringing the total to four shelter sites in DC). In April 2021, Playtime was thrilled to relaunch in-person play programming. This summer, they will offer programming at a non-shelter, community-based center for the first time, and they have plans to expand beyond DC.
The Many Hands grant will provide general operating support to help Playtime continue to bring the power of play to children experiencing homelessness wherever they are.
2021 MANY HANDS PARTNER GRANTS ($72,500)
The mission of CAFY (Community Advocates for Family & Youth) is to embrace, educate, and empower those impacted, affected, or harmed by crime or trauma on their journey to justice and healing. They provide case management, housing, counseling, and other wraparound support services to more than 3,000 victims of crime in Prince George’s County each year. CAFY’s housing services, which are primarily provided to survivors of domestic violence, include emergency housing, support in finding permanent housing, and financial assistance for essential expenses, such as lock changes, security deposits, utility bills, and safety phones. The Many Hands grant will provide unrestricted funding.
The mission of Community Youth Advance (CYA) is to fill existing gaps and harness the power of community to help underprivileged youth excel in school and in life. They deliver year-round academic enrichment, mentoring, and college and career readiness activities that promote academic excellence, build character, and prepare youth to meet life’s challenges. CYA serves more than 500 students in Prince George’s County Public Schools with 1:1 tutoring, 1:1 and small group mentoring, and enrichment activities such as drama and book clubs, coding and science workshops, college tours, and student leadership projects. The Many Hands grant will provide unrestricted funding.
The mission of La Cocina VA is to use the power of food as an agent for social and economic change. They offer bilingual, vocational, and technical education and job placement services to underserved people of color; support low-income entrepreneurs in launching food-related businesses; and provide nutritious meals to homeless shelters and low-income housing facilities in Northern Virginia. La Cocina VA’s community cafe and catering services also provide employment opportunities for low-income youth while helping to support the organization’s work. Roughly 60% of program participants are immigrants, and 85% to 90% are women. The Many Hands grant will provide unrestricted funding.