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Study: Only 1.5% of grant funds in Puerto Rico go to gender, reproductive rights

Puerto Rico Women’s Foundation reported that the initial results from the Reproductive Justice Fund show progress and call for increased support. 

The Puerto Rico Women’s Foundation (FMnPR), the only local fund dedicated exclusively to promoting gender and racial equity, confirmed that only 1.5% of all philanthropic funds go to the crucial issues of gender and reproductive rights on the island.

As part of the nonprofit’s mission to work with that population, it announced the initial results of the Reproductive Justice Fund, created in 2020 to support local organizations working to protect and expand reproductive health services in Puerto Rico.

In its first year, the Reproductive Justice Fund awarded $10,000 grants to six organizations, including Alianza de Mujeres Viequenses, Mujeres de Islas, Nuestra Escuela, Caderamen, Aborto Libre, and Wet Justice.

“The initial results of the FJR are wonderful, but they also reveal that there is still much more to be done. There is very little awareness of the resources needed to ensure the right to access information; it is crucial that people know the guarantees that the state provides in matters of sexual and reproductive health, their reproductive and gender rights,” said Zulnette García, spokesperson for the foundation.

“Our organization urgently calls on foundations, individual donors and other organizations to support the work of organizations that promote reproductive justice in Puerto Rico and direct their funds to defend the rights of all people,” added García. “We want to achieve more safe and inclusive spaces where participants can clarify their doubts about the topic in a judgment-free environment.”

The nonprofit cited the most recent Ms. Foundation for Women’s Pocket Change Report, which states that grantmaking to women and girls of color in 2017 totaled about $356 million.

“According to the 2017 United States Census, there are about 65 million women and girls of color in the United States, meaning that total philanthropic giving to women and girls of color is about $5.48 per year for each woman or girl of color in the United States,” the report stated.

“This accounts for about one half of 1% of the total $66.9 billion given by foundations, according to Giving USA, 2018. Organizations by and for women and girls of color are at work in every part of the United States, including Puerto Rico, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, and American Samoa,” it added.

Organizations by and for women and girls of color are active in every part of the United States, the report stated, adding that a small number (3.1%) are in the U.S. territories (American Samoa, Guam, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Northern Mariana Islands).

“It is hard to believe that, despite what we have learned about this issue as a society, only 1.5% of all philanthropic funds go to the crucial issues of gender and reproductive rights,” García said.

“We see and read about the devastating effects in the press every day, and yet we don’t make the connection between this reality and the need to prioritize this issue that affects the entire population,” she added. “Reproductive justice is a matter of rights, not morality, and it must be viewed through that lens because its absence affects people of all races, genders and social classes.”

The organizations that applied for the fund were tasked with developing educational strategies outside of social networks that would reach the heart of the communities.

“We also value the efforts of projects aimed at youth and their caregivers as Wet Justice did,” García noted.

In this first phase of the program, educational activities were held in Adjuntas (Centro Paz para Ti), Luquillo (Alacena Feminista) and Río Piedras (Catholic women). People from rural communities, diverse genders, Afro-descendants, Catholics, and young and adult women participated.

The modules aimed at adolescents/young people included: human rights, sexuality and sexual diversity; puberty and adolescence; self-esteem and body image; sexual consent; grooming and inappropriate relationships; pornography (topic included at the request of mothers); sexual and reproductive rights of minors in Puerto Rico, among other topics.

Meanwhile, Wet Justice held 12 workshops in rural areas, the metropolitan area and the municipality of Vieques. The module/workshop was aimed at caregivers.

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This story was written by our staff based on a press release.

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