MEMPHIS, Tenn., Aug. 15, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — Nonprofit arts and cultural intermediary Big We Foundation (BWF) launched a grant program in early 2023 with an inaugural cohort of four grantees to assist Black and Indigenous womxn creating projects rooted in lasting and meaningful change through storytelling, and they’re doing it again. SheStories is an innovative program that has received funding from Pivotal Ventures, a Melinda French Gates company. The SheStories grant is open to talented Black, Indigenous, Latina/e, Asian American and Pacific Islanders, multiracial and femme-identifying womxn storytellers with passion, vision and a desire to elevate their voices and change the world. BWF is currently accepting applications for the second group of four storytellers to each receive a $30,000 grant.
BWF helps center the vision and leadership of girls and womxn through a cultural strategy framework that includes narrative and storytelling in hopes that it will shift culture toward a more loving, joyful, safe and abundant world for all people. Founder Anasa Troutman said, “I realized that unless and until WE were the ones directing investment and unless and until those investments involved integrated capital at scale, we would not be able to manifest the transformation that we knew is possible.”
A panel of community members will select the grant awardees based on the following criteria: personal exploration, unheard stories and a clear call to action. SheStories storytellers are encouraged to cultivate deep personal exploration and express love for themselves, their work and their lives while being candid about the challenges, pitfalls and hardships they face in their communities and the world. BWF will announce grant recipients one month after submissions close. The completion of SheStories projects will be expected within one year before public release on the BWF website. For more information and to apply for the 2023 SheStories grants, visit thebigwe.com/grantmaking. Submissions for this round will be accepted until Sept. 14, 2023. The third and final round of grants will open next summer.
We are proud to introduce our inaugural cohort of Black and Indigenous womxn storytellers.
- Jana Schmieding: Jana is a longtime spokesperson for raising awareness around Native issues and bringing Native stories to mainstream audiences. Jana’s storytelling project is a feature-length comedy entitled Auntie Chuck, which follows a Native womxn who discovers her sacred auntie role when she reluctantly agrees to take in her estranged sister’s kids for a month.
- Veda Robbins: Veda is a native of Mobile, Alabama, a registered nurse, and a descendant of West Africans transported on the slave ship, the Clotilda. She was thrust into community activism as a subject in the Netflix documentary Descendant, which chronicled the story of Africatown from past to present. Her storytelling project is a podcast entitled The Africatown Revival and will discuss the erasure of the culture of the West Africans who founded Africatown and the ways that they are reconnecting to it. The podcast will feature conversations with civic leaders about the future of Africatown and the descendants of those who lived there.
- Zaire Love: Zaire is an award-winning filmmaker, music maker, writer and educator whose mission is to honor, amplify and immortalize the stories and voices of the Black South. Most of her work focuses on Memphis, Tennessee, and Mississippi. Her storytelling project, The Revolution will be STRANGE, is a narrative era-bending short film that follows a young Black couple and their Southern rural community. The characters must find reckoning with its strangeness and how Black folks often create their own strangeness to survive.
- Kareema Bee: Kareema is an Emmy-nominated producer from New York City. Her professional background as a writer, actress and content creator spans from major TV and film productions (scripted and unscripted), to creative development, representation, social impact events, digital video and more. Her storytelling project, The Self Love Act, is a docu-series featuring Black women and girls of different ages as they explore their journey to self-love. It will feature the voices of thought leaders, wellness experts, fellow creative spirits and young dreamers who are committed to cultivating this basic human necessity that Black women and girls are often robbed of due to cultural and societal norms.
** Womxn is an inclusionary term used to refer to cis-gender females and those who identify as femme.
About BIG We Foundation
BWF unleashes the social imagination of those who often go unheard and supports the building of a world reimagined from their point of view. BWF was founded by cultural strategist, writer and producer Anasa Troutman. Anasa has taught thousands of artists, organizers and leaders the power and practice of culture and narrative-based social impact strategies. Our work provides infrastructure and opportunities for high-potential, under-resourced communities. We cultivate the future from imagination to impact through content, community and capital to move resources to those who most need it and uplift voices through storytelling. Through our three priority areas (Girls & Womxn, Restorative Economics, and Environmental Wellness), BWF works to generate a well culture and well communities where we can all experience sustained safety, love, joy and abundance for all people. BWF is a project of Movement Strategy Center.
SOURCE BIG We Foundation