By Alexandra Sirowy Cloyes, she/her
What’s an oasis to you? Where is your pleasant place? Your restful place?
During the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, to an overburdened mother of two with nutrient-dense food in her fridge, and a remote work-from-home job, an oasis might be showering long enough to both shampoo and condition her hair, or the hour after bedtime when she catches up on her work emails. To someone else, it might literally be a beach in the middle of the ocean. But to some—too many—that restful place where peace exists is within the walls of a homeless shelter.
Within that definition of oasis, there exists a sliding scale of circumstances relative to the sliding scale of circumstances of our lives. An oasis isn’t equalizing, instead, it reveals existing inequities by what the subject deems “pleasant” and “restful”. An unjust reality but one that we can not afford to ignore. To some an oasis pampers, and to others an oasis meets basic needs.
As a brand, we have a history of supporting women and girls through our philanthropy, with an emphasis on those in women’s shelters, like the Downtown Women’s Center in Downtown Los Angeles, just one mile from our headquarters, and those being served by development organizations like Global Fund for Women.
Only 1.9% of all charitable giving goes specifically to nonprofit organizations focused on women and girls, and so in our own philanthropic giving, through our Good To the People Funds, we practice equity, aiming for equality by prioritizing philanthropy to those organizations supporting women, girls, women of color, and Black women. Some of the most vital of these organizations are the safe spaces that women and their children rely on for survival. These shelters and related nonprofits provide basic human necessities that the state, and often communities, fail to provide. Some of these organizations, like those listed below, seek to dismantle the barriers within a system of disparity and to empower, support, and provide opportunities to the women who need it most.
Our Good To The People Fund has selected these transparent, impactful, and humane women-focused shelters and organizations to receive grants this December from our human rights focused To The People Fund. We’re grateful to our community whose support has enabled us to give to these organizations and shelters. These nonprofit organizations are literal oases for many women.
Downtown Women’s Center, Los Angeles, California
A shelter for women located one mile from YTTP HQ, the DWC has helped provide homeless women with healthcare, food, and shelter for 40 years. Their website identifies the DWC as, “ the only organization in Los Angeles focused exclusively on serving and empowering women experiencing homelessness and formerly homeless women.” Founded by two women, DWC provides its community with professional development opportunities and assists women transitioning out of homelessness.
New Orleans Women & Children’s Shelter New Orleans, Louisiana
With programming designed to break the cycle of homelessness, NOWCS helps women and their children build futures with security and stability. NOWCS reports supporting diverse families, many experiencing homelessness for the first time. Their programming emphasizes helping mothers and their children and they’ve recently expanded to offering support to single-parent families with fathers.
Freedom & Fashion West Coast + Southwest
Although not a literal shelter, Freedom & Fashion provides professional development in the areas of beauty and fashion to women who are survivors of human trafficking and domestic violence, many of who have or are currently experiencing homelessness. Our To The People Fund made a grant specifically to Freedom & Fashion’s basic hygiene kits that are being disseminated to reach thousands of women in numerous shelters throughout the nation.