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November 15, 2018
Contact: Kyung Jin Lee


The National Black Women’s Justice Institute, Impact Justice, and ETR will partner with The California Wellness Foundation to implement an original, participatory evaluation framework 

Berkeley, CA: The National Black Women’s Justice Institute, Impact Justice, and ETR announce a groundbreaking grant from The California Wellness Foundation to evaluate the foundation’s Women’s Initiatives, an innovative, statewide effort to improve the lives and well-being of formerly incarcerated women of color and women at risk of HIV, AIDS, and sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

The evaluation will assess the projects’ effectiveness and scalability; uplift best practices; and identify areas of intersection (race, gender, sexuality, ability, health status, conviction status, etc.) for future collaboration. The partnering organizations will use a unique, responsive framework to evaluate the projects called, “The Redefining Participatory Science by and for Women of Color.” As part of this approach, the evaluators will co-create questions asked in the evaluation with project participants.

The grant is part of a $13 million investment Cal Wellness is making towards addressing health issues that disproportionately affect women of color, specifically to prevent HIV/AIDS and STIs, as well as to support re-entry for formerly incarcerated women. Black and Latina women together represent less than a quarter of all US women but make up the large majority of women currently living with HIV. In addition, women of color in the US have high rates of STIs. Women of color are also overrepresented among those incarcerated at the federal, state, and local levels, and California is home to the largest number of incarcerated adult women in the nation. Once released, formerly incarcerated women face significant barriers to building stable and healthy lives, including unemployment and lack of access to education, permanent housing, health care, and support in being reunited with their families.

As part of this new collaboration, the National Black Women’s Justice Institute, a leading research, training, and technical assistance provider to public agencies, institutions, and foundations on countering the criminalization of Black women and girls, will serve as the lead evaluation partner for the collaboration.

“We are excited to receive this grant by Cal Wellness,” states Dr. Monique W. Morris, co-founder and President, National Black Women Justice Institute. “We look forward to using an intersectional analysis to uplift and engage the Women’s Initiatives great work and discover how we might continue to advance these programs throughout California.”

Impact Justice, a national innovation and research center advancing new ideas and solutions for justice reform, will support the evaluation activities for the re-entry program arm of the Initiative.

“It’s critical that directly impacted women are involved in the evaluation of programs about and for them,” said Antoinette Davis, Director of the Research and Action Center at Impact Justice. “These women are the experts of the issues we’re working to improve. We’re thrilled to work with them, our collaborative partners, and Cal Wellness, to keep supporting their needs.”

ETR, a national non-profit that advances health-equity by developing and distributing science-based programs and services, will support the evaluation activities for the HIV/AIDS program arm of the Initiative.

“Having the opportunity to advance a transformative model of participatory evaluation that honors the work and experiences of the Women’s Initiatives projects is a privilege” said Dr. Vignetta Charles, CEO of ETR. “We are thrilled about the partnership and thank The California Wellness Foundation for the investment in women of color in California, and for centering the belief that measuring impact is an essential part of giving.”

The evaluation award is $200,000 for year one, with the expectation that it will continue for three years. It  begins immediately.


The National Black Women’s Justice Institute (NBWJI) is a leading research, training, and technical assistance provider to public agencies, institutions, and foundations on countering the criminalization of Black women and girls. NBWJI works to reduce racial and gender disparities across the justice continuum affecting Black women, girls, and their families, by conducting research, providing technical assistance, engaging in public education, promoting civic engagement and advocating for informed and effective policies. We conduct research, evaluation, and technical assistance from an intersectional lens that centers race/ethnicity and gender as well as gender identity, gender expression and sexual orientation/identity for participants, staff, and partners organizations/individuals.

Impact Justice is a national innovation and research center that is committed to reducing the number of people involved in the juvenile and adult criminal justice system, improving conditions for those who remain incarcerated, providing meaningful opportunities for success for those rejoining the communities and improving justice outcomes for crime victims. Impact Justice is working with bipartisan support to reduce the nation’s over-reliance on incarceration, with research, evaluations, technical assistance, policy work and the use of innovation and experimentation.

ETR is a national non-profit that advances health-equity by developing science-based programs and services. ETR is driven by its mission to improve health and increase opportunities for youth, families and communities. ETR embraces the purposeful inclusion of all people as a means to honor and respect difference, and to elevate the strengths brought by diversity of experience, perspective and expertise.  ETR’s multidisciplinary staff of social scientists, health educators, program developers, trainers, curriculum specialists, writers, editors, graphic artists, librarians, distribution experts, project managers, and technologists work to transform outcomes in four areas:

  • HIV, sexual, and reproductive health
  • Alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs
  • School-based health and wellness
  • Equity and Inclusion in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM)

The California Wellness Foundation’s mission is to protect and improve the health and wellness of the people of California by increasing access to health care, quality education, good jobs, healthy environments and safe neighborhoods. Since its founding in 1992, Cal Wellness has awarded more than $1 billion in charitable contributions and 9,229 grants.

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