Guiding principles of the Fund
Empowerment — We recognize the importance of choice, access to information and resources, and education that empowers people to make their own decisions and act on their own behalf in pursuit of their reproductive health and wellbeing. We recognize that women, in particular, have been disempowered in this regard — but that not all women are disempowered in the same way — and that transgender and gender nonconforming people also face disempowerment. We believe that an empowering birth experience offers a strong space from which to organize and advance systemic change.
Community-based — We honor birth as a sacred community process that places the voices and leadership of parents at its center and addresses issues of equity, access, and birth justice within the context of the whole community.
Interconnected — We see value in connecting individuals, communities, and generations of women in order to break down isolation, deepen understanding across difference, and join together for greater systemic impacts. We see value in connecting people who parent and give birth across sex, gender, race and class differences.
Holistic — We believe that the most transformative approaches to childbirth integrate the whole being — mind, body, and spirit — of the person giving birth. This allows for the healing of past traumas and strengthens family and community relationships, including our relationship to the Earth.
Birth Justice Fund goals
The Birth Justice Fund aims to:
- Improve pregnancy and birth outcomes for women of color, low-income women, young women, transgender and gender nonconforming people; and
- Support parents, families and communities to reclaim their power, restore their relationship to their bodies and each other, and transform how the next generation is welcomed into the world.
The Birth Justice Fund supports organizations, projects and midwives who are working to:
- Increase access for marginalized communities to culturally competent midwifery services, doula support and other holistic birth options, while promoting a sense of fundamental dignity for parents, families and communities.
- Support the entry and sustainability of women of color, low-income women, young women and transgender people into a variety of birth work professions (i.e. lactation consultants, doulas, postpartum service workers and midwives). Increase the number of professionally trained midwives of color.
- Build an infrastructure of support for birth workers of color to increase their knowledge and skills, and advocate for policies and practices that will better meet the needs of their communities.
- Connect women of color, low-income women, young women and transgender people more deeply to themselves, their power and their ability to transform their communities by employing the values inherent to midwifery and other traditional birth practices.
To support a thriving field, the Fund engages in the following key strategies:
- Direct grantmaking to organizations and projects.
- Partnering with new and existing funding sources to increase support for this under-resourced, but critically important work.
- Movement building support to strengthen the intersection of birth justice and other reproductive justice organizing and advocacy efforts.
Who BJF funds
- Model clinics/Birth centers
The Fund seeks to increase access to midwifery care for low-income women, communities of color, young people, transgender and gender nonconforming people by supporting community-based birth centers and individual clinics that serve marginalized communities and improve birth outcomes. The Fund is particularly interested in clinics that may share with other communities as model projects for attaining these goals.
- Support for birth workers of color
The Fund supports projects and organizations that seek to connect, support, train and organize women of color, low-income women, young women and transgender people who are engaged in birth work, including doulas, lactation consultants, post-partum service workers and midwives.
- Organizing and advocacy to improve birth outcomes
The Fund supports organizing and advocacy efforts that address disparities in access and outcomes on a systemic and policy level. In order to achieve these goals, the Fund prioritizes community education, organizing and advocacy around the following topics:
- Medicaid reimbursement for midwifery and doula services, and other approaches to increasing access for low-income people at the state and national levels.
- Regulatory policies that are friendly to birth centers and other out-of-hospital births.
- Decriminalization of pregnancy and birthing choices, including advocacy on behalf of the rights of birth workers, incarcerated women, substance-using women, transgender people, and all people to choose how, when, and where they will birth.
The Fund provides the following types of support: General operating grants, capacity building grants and project grants, with grant sizes ranging from $5,000-$40,000.
To apply: Proposals are by invitation only. However, interested organizations are encouraged to contact Groundswell at firstname.lastname@example.org with a brief summary of their work and where possible/appropriate, staff will schedule a call to discuss.