It’s Time to Raise the Cost of Human Trafficking

Daphne Phung

By Daphne Phung, Executive Director & Founder of California Against Slavery

This June, I went on a police undercover sting that targeted sex trafficking of girls in Oakland. What I saw was surreal. Young girls waiting at every street corner along the “track” to hop into cars with adult men, some old enough to be their grandfathers. The undercover officers would pick up one girl, then circle the block and find three more walking up.

The sun was still out as families and professionals cruised by, ignoring this pervasive sex trade. I was shocked by their disregard. Did they think the girls were criminals who made a choice to prostitute themselves? As the Executive Director and Founder of California Against Slavery, a non-partisan, grassroots organization that fights against human trafficking in California, I have heard over and over again that these girls are not choosing this life—they are forced into it. Read More »

California Not Ready to Relocate Inmates from State Prisons to Counties

Kim Carter

By Emma Mayerson, Development Assistant

Kim Carter, Founder and Executive Director of our grant partner the Time for Change Foundation, is passionate about reducing recidivism and crime in California through supportive services and rehabilitation. She has been working with California state government for ten years: educating, informing and advocating about issues related to incarceration. Most recently, Ms. Carter has taken a stand against the new law AB109.

This year, the Supreme Court ordered California state prisons to reduce their population by more than 30,000 inmates, due to overcrowding. While at face value this may seem like a victory, the question remains–where do the inmates go? AB109, also known as “realignment,” is relocating inmates from state prisons to county jails. Ms. Carter argues that county jails are ill-equipped to handle this influx and that AB109 will only make matters worse for incarcerated Californians. To learn more about this issue check out Ms. Carter’s article, recently published by the Huffington Post.

The Women’s Foundation of California’s Race, Gender and Human Rights Donor Circle is proud to support the Time for Change Foundation with grants totaling $149,700 since 2005

WPI Fellows Strive to End Shackling of Pregnant Women

By Emma Mayerson, Development Assistant

Tamaya Garcia has been fighting for Assembly Bill 568 for two years with our grant partner the Center for Young Women’s Development. AB 568 would ensure that the least restrictive restraints possible are used on pregnant women who are in jail. In other words, it would end the use of belly chains, leg irons, ankle restraints and other  shackling devices that jeopardize the health of pregnant women and their unborn children – devices that are still used in jails and prisons across our state.

Tamaya was a 2010 fellow in our Women’s Policy Institute (WPI), a program that trains women to use public policy to create long-term change in California. Tamaya worked on AB 568 with a team of passionate advocates and devoted mentors. Although Tamaya has graduated from the program, her advocacy on the bill continues. Check out her thought-provoking article explaining AB 568 and the urgent need to support this bill as it makes its way to Governor Brown’s desk.

Aging Justice Team Scores Victory for Elders

The Aging Justice Team

By Emma Mayerson, Development Assistant

We are thrilled that Governor Brown just signed SB 897 into law. The Women’s Policy Institute’s Aging Justice Team advocated tirelessly for this critical bill, sponsored by Mark Leno. The bill will require nursing homes and residential care facilities for the elderly to give notice of any possible foreclosures to residents and their families. Believe it or not, in some foreclosure cases, residents had no idea they were being evicted until sheriffs arrived and forcibly removed them. Passage of this bill will mean that residents and their families will now have more time to find safe, affordable housing.

“We could not have done it without the guidance of our mentors,” said WPI fellow Ann Warren. WPI mentors are experts in policy advocacy who partner with the fellows during the one-year training. In the case of SB 897, WPI fellows worked under the guidance and mentorship of Frances Chacon, California Assembly Human Services Committee Consultant for State Assemblymember Jim Beall; London Biggs, Senior Legislative Assistant to Senator Mark Leno and Karla Rodriquez, Program Officer for the Women’s Foundation of California.  Both the mentors and the fellows felt that this partnership was critical to their victory.

“I was really impressed by the quality of the fellows.  I could rely on them to help me staff this bill,” said WPI mentor London Briggs.

This is the third Aging Justice Team for the WPI fellowship and the first victory!  The passing of SB897 is a beautiful example of what fierce perseverance and true teamwork can accomplish. Congratulations!

Despite Setbacks, the Passion for Policy Burns Bright

by Alba Mercado, WPI Coordinator

As the 2011/12 Women’s Policy Institute (WPI) class teams wrapped up their policy projects we had a reminder that the work doesn’t end there. In fact, it’s not just about whether or not a bill becomes a law.

The Economic Justice team’s bill was AB 828. Their goal was to end California’s ban on issuing CalFresh benefits and temporary financial assistance to people who have been convicted of a drug felony. These people have already served their time, and CalFresh benefits are key to helping them re-enter society and gain economic stability. Read more about the bill.

The team of five incredibly hard working women fought tirelessly for this bill and gained tremendous support, yet on August, 25 2011 the bill was held under submission, which meant that it would not come to full committee vote. Despite their disappointment and frustration, the team refuses to see it as a permanent loss. “Policy work is tough but I don’t regret a second of it,” said Gwendy Donaker Brown, one of the fellows who worked on the bill. “This was a truly collaborative process – probably the strongest I have ever seen, so despite the outcome, I believe in my heart that we picked the right bill. It is never the wrong decision to stand up for those who are most marginalized and dehumanized in our society, and that is where the overall lesson and win was.”

We agree Gwendy!

Gwendy, who is pregnant with a baby girl, wants to make sure her daughter is as passionate about policy as she is! Check out the bib.

Women Need More Than the Vote

By Judy Patrick, CEO & President, Women’s Foundation of California

A couple weeks ago, I celebrated the 91st anniversary of US women getting the right to vote. I had the opportunity to celebrate this historic day in Wisconsin and joined the Wisconsin Women’s Network  launching the Wisconsin Women’s Policy Institute, which is modeled after our own Women’s Policy Institute (WPI). Our Institute has trained more than 200 women leaders in how to shape public policy and resulted in thirteen legislative wins.

My trip to Wisconsin gave me a chance to reflect on my experience of working in Sacramento and helping to train and support more women getting involved in public policy.

The good news is that more women in the US than ever are voting – in fact, more women than men vote. Yet, at the same time, women are missing in other aspects of the public policy process.

Women need to be civically engaged in three key ways:

1) As voters,

2) As office holders and

3) As advocates Read More »

It’s Time to Redefine Generosity

by Michelle Dench, guest blogger

I’ve just returned from a retreat focused on Generosity. The theme of the retreat was “returning to our values in a time of crisis.” This weekend only deepened my understanding of true giving. I came to realize there is no giving and receiving; only giving. Donors at the retreat began asking to be called grateful partners, because they felt in their hearts they received so much more than the word “donor” could describe. We realized that it was the grantees who gave us the motivation, passion and purpose to do our work in the world.

To truly understand generosity we must challenge the belief that we are giving to erase lack. This belief presumes the receiver and the giver must both experience lack in order for there to be a gift. For both receiver and giver, this belief leaves the heart of generosity at the door. While we cannot deny that there is need in the world, I’ve realized that our greatest need is the desire to feel as though there is enough. Read More »

Join Warren Buffett’s Call to Stop Fueling the Wealth Gap

by Judy Patrick, CEO & President, Women’s Foundation of California

Judy Patrick

I recently wrote a piece for the Huffington Post in which I called upon us to challenge the notion, rooted so deep in this fiercely individual culture, that we are not each others’ keepers.  I asked you to believe, and act as if, we have a responsibility for one another and to work together to leave a healthy state for our children and our neighbors’ children.  It was a plea for shared generosity and shared sacrifice.

So it was heartening to see Warren Buffett’s recent op-ed in the New York Times: Stop Coddling the Super-Rich.  You see, Warren Buffet and I are both from Nebraska and I always believe that somehow when one is from a state with only 1.5 million people, one should somehow have a link to everyone.  And I feel connected to Mr. Buffett. Far more important than any perceived connection to him, is his radical message to ask the most wealthy Americans to share the burden of our current economic crisis.  He makes a very strong case for how the incomes of the super-rich have increased dramatically while their tax burden has declined. Read More »

Join the Women’s Foundation of California as Executive Assistant

Would you like to join a team that is dedicated to improving the lives of California’s women and families? We have an opportunity for someone who has strong  administrative and organizational skills. This role provides  key support to Judy Patrick, our passionate, focused and busy CEO.  We’re looking for an independent, detail-oriented and collegial person who has mastery of MSOffice with at least three years of administrative or executive secretarial experience. Experience working in the nonprofit sector or philanthropy is a plus but not required.

To learn more about the position, click here.

To learn more about Judy, read some of her op-eds and blog posts:

To Be of Use

Judy Patrick on California’s Budget

Women’s Foundation of California: Get to Know Us

People often ask us who we are and what we do.

Well, we do a lot.

We strive to improve the lives of women and families in our state. We provide grants to community organizations and work towards policies that benefit women and families. We bring light to issues that are often overlooked and that specifically affect women. We empower women leaders who make a difference.

Please watch this video for a taste of what we do.

Grantmaking + Advocacy + Women’s Leadership + YOU = Change!

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