Elevating the Voices of Women of Color

Ohio is home to numerous organizations working tirelessly to create a more equitable community for every Ohioan. To further these efforts, AEP Ohio recently announced the American Electric Power Foundation awarded over $500,000 total in funding to four organizations throughout Ohio to further their impact in the communities they serve. This funding was granted as part of the Foundation’s Delivering on the Dream: Social and Racial Justice program, a five-year, $5 million commitment to provide resources for organizations with a mission and programs dedicated to eliminating social and racial disparities and advancing equity throughout the communities American Electric Power serves. 

In the coming weeks, we’ll highlight the important work of each organization so you can learn more about what’s happening throughout our community. 

First up: Columbus-based Zora’s House, a co-working space dedicated to providing women of color with the clarity, confidence and connections they need to amplify their authentic voices, grow and contribute their talents and powerfully transform their lives, careers and communities. The space also serves as an inclusive learning center for the larger community on issues of race, politics, economics, arts and culture with a focus on how each relates to the unique identities and experiences of women of color. 

Zora’s House opened in 2018 and is the only co-working and community space in Columbus dedicated to women of color. The two-year, $200,000 Delivering on the Dream grant will help Zora’s House fund full-time staff and further its mission to help women of color connect, grow their talents and advance their leadership in the community. 

“Zora’s House is a unique space that empowers women of color in Columbus by providing resources and opportunities to advance not only their careers, but also their dreams,” said Marc Reitter, president and chief operating officer of AEP Ohio, which provides funding to the AEP Foundation. “These women benefit from the opportunity to be a part of a supportive community while having their voices heard, and we are honored to help propel this initiative forward.” 

In addition to Zora’s House, Delivering on the Dream grants have also been awarded to Community Legal Aid Services in northeast Ohio, the Catholic Social Services Our Lady of Guadalupe Center in Columbus and the YWCA of Columbus, all of which promote and advance social and racial justice.

“Diversity, equity and inclusion continue to be critical components of our company culture,” said Janelle Coleman, vice president of Community Engagement, Diversity and Inclusion, and president of the AEP Foundation. “The Delivering on the Dream grant program puts our words into action. AEP and its Foundation are proud to partner with organizations dedicated to empowering equity for our customers, neighbors and employees of color.” 

Know of an organization doing great work to advance positive social and racial justice outcomes? Tell us more in the comments below.

9 responses to “Elevating the Voices of Women of Color

  1. Social injustices are not always racial in their basic form. Happy to see sept stepping up to help the community, but when will you start helping thousands of overlooked seniors. In this country the older you get after 50, the more you are ignored by every facet of society. Point this out, make an issue of this and it might have a trickle down effect!

  2. The NAACP youth unit at New Albany Plain Local High School was founded in 2020 and is doing tremendous work related to equity, including and belonging in our community and beyond! A small group of dedicated and passionate students are leading the charge!

  3. Love reading about Zora’s house was very unaware that it existed! Thank you AEP for empowering women of color.

  4. AEP Ohio does not interview qualified candidates of color that more than meet the education and job description. There is no racial or social justice here. AEP officials need to take a good look at their human resource department.

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