Grant Applicant Profiles
Upon checkout of your purchase, you will be asked to vote for who you would like to see receive a Giving Joy grant. Below you will find the current grant applicants. It is important to review their profiles prior to purchase. Once you reach the shopping cart checkout, you cannot view their profiles unless you open a new browser tab and visit this page. On the checkout form, an additional field labeled “Voting” will allow you to select your choice for the grant.
La Belle Creole Cuisine
Narosmi Auguste is the owner of La Belle Creole Cuisine, founded in 2016. La Belle Creole Cuisine provides authentic Caribbean cuisine (with a focus on Haitian food) to the city of Mattapan, MA and beyond. Its wholesome fresh food made for the whole body. La Belle Creole's goals are to get into distribution to provide smoothie drinks, marinades, and relishes to community on a wholesale level. The Giving Joy grant would help with application fees and small costs to get there. La Belle Creole Cuisine will also provide jobs to the Boston economy especially the inner city in which it was founded.
Narosmi has been through trials and tribulations to keep this store open. It is her baby! She wants to share her love of food to the masses! Community is important to her and she loves seeing the joy in people's faces when they take just one bite. She would love to spread that joy and community to everyone else.
Nina Selvagio is a nonprofit professional with twenty years of leadership experience in the social sector. Her core passion, expertise and abilities are grounded in her goal to integrate improved ways of operating so talent can focus their time and energy on bringing a mission to life. After twenty years of working around nonprofit’s challenges, Nina decided to stop noticing the problems in one organization and instead, offer the following solutions and strategies to as many organizations as she can. She started her own consulting practice to cultivate ideal management styles and leaders that inspire staff to be their best selves and challenge them to grow. She wants organizations to model transparency and analyze — then optimize — sustainable systems and operations to make them hum. Lastly, she is passionate about employee programs that emphasize staff humanity to build diverse, bright, supportive, inclusive, and collaborative cultures where everyone can thrive and want to help organizations embrace their staff with the same level of commitment that they do for their fundraising programs.
She is a social justice junky and has served on dozens of boards for nonprofits throughout her life. She has volunteered to be a mentoring mom for new moms, worked on political campaigns in her free time, and tries to always speak truth to power for marginalized communities. She attended the People’s Institute anti-racism training and constantly tries to be a solid ally to those whose identities she doesn’t share, speak up for the voiceless (she is first generation to this country and first person in my family to go to college) and recognize my privileges. Additionally, as a married lesbian with two children, she wants to create a world in which we are accepted, respected, embraced and celebrated.
The Giving Joy grant will help Nina pay for a certificate/master’s program that she was recently accepted to at University of Pennsylvania’s Center for Social Impact Strategy. The program will allow Nina: (1) to learn new skills, techniques, and gain tools that she can use with her clients to improve their leadership skills and optimize their impact; (2) make connections to brainstorm, share information and best practices to improve her practice and her classmates and their work in their communities; (3) widen her network of potential organizations she can work with and help them move towards their missions.
Check out Naomi’s video!
RIA House, Inc. (Ready.Inspire.Act)
RIA House, Inc. (Ready.Inspire.Act) is committed to providing empowering, supportive, and clinical services to adult women with experience in the commercial sex trade and its associated exploitation, sex trafficking, and prostitution in Massachusetts. Sisters Leading Sisters, their recovery and healing program, uses a survivor-engaged, clinical team approach, with small caseloads and the capacity to provide mobile support across all levels of care. Specific services include case management, support groups, clinical therapy, peer mentorship, and referral assistance.
Established in 2014, they have grown from a team of volunteers and one part-time staff person working out of our cars, cafes, libraries, and other borrowed spaces, serving five women, to a growing organization with six staff members that work out of two offices serving over 200 women each year. They are in the early stages of establishing a social justice enterprise that will both provide sustainable income for RIA’s program costs and provide job skills and a caring community for women recovering from experiences in the commercial sex trade. Their goal is for women survivors to be employed in their justice enterprise on a part-time basis while also participating in the Sisters Leading Sisters recovery program.
In October 2018 they launched their first product, an all-natural deodorant. Their hope is for this pilot product to raise awareness about our work, increase the size of our individual donor base, and begin earning money to sustain our work. They make the deodorant in three scents: lavender, tea tree, and unscented. Our product is currently available for sale on our website: http://riahouse.org/shop.html. Since October they have sold 155 deodorant jars, generating $1,550 in revenue about half in profits. A grant from Giving Joy would cover their upfront material costs, boosting our initial profits so they can get closer to their goal of employing women survivors.
The Women’s Policy Institute (WPI)
The Women’s Policy Institute (WPI) is a 9 month long fellowship program designed to increase the number of community-based women leaders who are actively involved in shaping and implementing policies affecting the status of women and girls in Rhode Island. During the program, Institute fellows work in self-selected teams to develop and implement policy advocacy projects of their choosing.
Launched in 2009 to help build a local progressive movement, WPI focuses on a broad range of women’s issues, fostering opportunities for cross-issue learning during retreats and encouraging participants to work in coalition. Moreover, WPI focuses on supporting a culture of policy advocacy within participants’ home organizations and communities, thereby expanding the program’s reach beyond those who directly participate. The second program of its kind nationally, the intention is to increase the number of community-based women leaders in Rhode Island (RI) who are actively involved in shaping and implementing policies that affect the well-being of women and girls.
WPI has trained over 50 women across the state to draft legislation and advocate for policies that help make RI a more equitable place to live. The members of these cohorts come from all walks of life with many different levels of experience in policy work. Participants advocated for paid family leave and pregnancy accommodations in the workplace, policies which have been signed into law. Several participants have gone on to successfully run for political office; others have continued to advocate for community change through a variety of organizations and coalitions.
WPI would like to use the Giving Joy grant to pay for travel stipends for our 2019/2020 Women's Policy Institute cohort to make the program totally free slated to begin in September of 2019.
Youth & Young Adults International Agency
The Youth & Young Adults International Agency aims to provide adequate resources to youth and young adults to help them develop their inner strength and become their very best. Based in Haiti. the agency’s vision is to become a global network to strengthen communities at risks. Currently they implement art programs where they advertise, market and sell artists’ work, and operate a summer program where they employ teens and young adults through community projects each year. Starting 2020 the agency will start pop up shows in the US where it will sell products from its artists. Art work will also be available for purchase on their new website (currently in development). The Giving Joy grant will sponsor three girls to take part in the agency’s 2020 summer camp.