For more than 100 years, eliminating racism, empowering women and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all has been the mission of the YWCA. It’s an organization that’s been at the forefront of initiating systemic social change. That mission has stood strong through the decades, and it’s being furthered in Columbus with help from the American Electric Power Foundation.
AEP Ohio recently announced that the American Electric Power Foundation awarded a $1 million, multi-year grant to the YWCA Columbus. The gift is part of the foundation’s Delivering on the Dream: Social and Racial Justice grant program, which is a five-year, $5 million commitment to fund organizations with programs dedicated to advancing social and racial justice in communities American Electric Power serves. The company also is encouraging its workforce to make personal commitments as allies and to act as catalysts for change.
“Diversity, equity and inclusion continue to be critical components of our company culture, but the past year has proven we still have work to do, both at AEP and in our communities,” said Janelle Coleman, vice president, Community Engagement and Diversity, 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 these organizations dedicated to empowering equity for our customers, neighbors and employees of color.”
The YWCA will use the grant to advocate for policies that promote housing justice and economic mobility for women and people of color. The YWCA’s multi-pronged approach includes Diversity, Equity & Inclusion training services to increase racial literacy, increasing staff capacity for advocacy activities, developing new programming around local elections and civic engagement and other efforts to support equitable policies to improve life outcomes for communities of color and women.
“YWCA Columbus is humbled by the investment of the AEP Foundation to confront uncomfortable truths and work to dismantle systemic oppression and to empower the next generation of leaders. We are grateful for the support as we continue to approach social change through education, engagement, and empowerment to produce a larger cultural shift. This transformational investment will assist us as we continue our mission to eliminate racism, empower women, stand up for social justice, help families, and strengthen communities,” said Christie Angel, president and chief executive officer of YWCA Columbus.
The American Electric Power Foundation is funded by American Electric Power and its operating subsidiaries. The Foundation provides a permanent, ongoing resource for charitable initiatives involving higher dollar values and multi-year commitments in the communities served by AEP and initiatives outside of AEP’s 11-state service area.
The Foundation focuses on improving lives through education from early childhood through higher education in the areas of science, technology, engineering and math; by meeting basic needs for emergency shelter, affordable housing and the elimination of hunger; and championing social and racial justice. Other foundation support may be offered to protect the environment, support healthcare and safety, and enrich life through art, music and cultural heritage.
In addition to the YWCA Columbus, Delivering on the Dream grants have been awarded to Catholic Social Services, Zora’s House and Community Legal Aid Services in northeast Ohio, all of which promote and propel efforts in social and racial justice.
Know of an organization doing great work to advance positive social and racial justice outcomes? Tell us more in the comments below.