During the month of March, Grace Farms Foundation will consider questions of the inclusion and empowerment of girls and women through our Making Space for Women series.
By Karen Kariuki, Community Initiative Director
“Consider the individual thread. Alone is it a thing of beauty … But when placed within the context of 99 other strands of thread, it offers power.”
235 yards of fabric
4000 ethically sourced masks
100 threads of yarn
2M+ pieces of PPE procured, donated, and distributed
292K pounds of food and 134K meals provided to individuals and families in need
Infinite connections of our humanity.
What does it mean to be woven together? What does it mean to acknowledge our connection? To understand how we are linked? To recognize the threads between us?
In many ways, these answers are forever changed given the backdrop of the global pandemic. The last two years have simultaneously put a spotlight on our interconnectedness while highlighting the importance of maintaining intentional physical distance to protect ourselves and our larger community.
We are deeply interconnected
While so many of our actions during this time have been rooted in individual responsibility, action, and care – much of these choices have been rooted in an acknowledgment of something wider than ourselves – something bigger. We all now recognize, deeply, our interconnectedness.
At Grace Farms Foundation – this acknowledgement and recognition of our interconnectedness drives what we do (the content of our work) – and how we do our work.
As former PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi – and upcoming speaker on our March 18th, Innovators of Change panel at Grace Farms reflected, “Inclusion is an action. Inclusiveness would be a state of mind.”
It is in this spirit of both mind and action that Grace Farms is pushing forward to create more interconnected and inclusive communities.
In fall 2021, Grace Farms introduced Common Good Through Crisis – an installation that immersed its audience. You can physically weave fabric. You can discover the origin story of 4000 masks made from 235 yards of sustainably sourced fabric, and more deeply understand our commitment to advancing food equity. You can more deeply engage with the Foundation’s work, and find ways to continue to act for the common good, not just in times of crisis.
You can stand in the middle of 100 brightly colored threads of yarn connected from floor to ceiling.
In other words, you can experience physical objects – fabric, yarn, paper, thread – in order to better understand the more intangible ways in which we are mutually bound.
Together we can advance good in the world
Consider the individual thread. Alone is it a thing of beauty. It offers a glimpse of color. It ignites curiosity. But when placed within the context of 99 other strands of thread, it offers power. It offers strength. It both stands in support of and is supported by. This is the approach of Grace Farms. That change is ignited by individuals, but sustained by community. That together – we can advance good in the world.
Because we acknowledge that we cannot have a flourishing community without the inclusive of all, the Community Initiative at Grace Farms Foundation seeks to bring diverse audiences together to advance good in the world. We provide opportunities where people with differing viewpoints, perspectives, and approaches can come together and – through civil discourse and hopeful action – create positive change and more inclusive communities.
Fostering more inclusive communities
In order to foster more inclusive communities, we focus on both issues related to racial equity – through community events like A Conversation with Ruby Bridges, panels like Fostering Inclusives Communities, and parent trainings in partnership with ReThinc. We also focus on advancing issues related to gender parity.
During the month of March, Grace Farms Foundation will consider questions of the inclusive and empowerment of girls and women through our Making Space for Women series, a curated set of programs and events ranging from small dialogues to larger public programs, from movement-filled activities to opportunities for reflection and contemplation, with the goal of coming together to pursue pathways of action toward advancing and sustaining change.
Our goal with this series is to explore how we advance the role of women in community not as a stand-alone concern, but instead as an interconnected part that is our collective responsibility. It offers pathways to say that our voices and our actions not only catalyze change for ourselves, but those around us. As one of our speakers for the March 18th Innovators of Change Brooke Baldwin shares in her book Huddle, “I want to help lift women’s voices. And I realize, in doing that, I need to use my own.” This too, offers us a more expansive way to consider our responsibility to one another.
We are all living through a moment in time where we are acutely aware of the fact that community can be fostered in any number of inspiring and imaginative ways. So too has the pandemic taught us different and create ways to both experience and foster community can take many forms and our nuanced definitions of community resonate now more than ever. It has shown that there are so many ways and so many forms to link arms. It is through this lens that we will examine how we can all link arms with one another to advance the empowerment of its and women and set the stage for us all to advance – by the investment in women. Women with women. Men with Women. Girls with women. All of us together – moving together toward a more inclusive tomorrow.
It will take ALL of us to create gender equity
Our goal for the Making Space for Women series is part of understanding a constantly evolving reality of what makes a fulsome community. It is an examination of this moment in time through the lens of women and girls that acknowledges our diverse backgrounds and our unique histories, with an eye toward where we can go together in the future. It is also an acknowledgment that gender equity is not a compartmentalized set of actions or results. Rather, it will take ALL of us to create gender equity and ALL of us will flourish as a result. Investing in women, investing in their advancement and investing in making space for all women is an investment in our larger community. Gender equity benefits entire communities, not just women and girls.
Indra Nooyi, speaker on our March 18th Innovators of Change panel agrees. In a recent interview she commented, “I don’t believe there’s any economy in the world that can be successful without tapping into the incredible potential of women going forward. I just don’t believe that’s possible … I look at the next couple decades and say ‘it’s our time.’”
Through our Making Space for Women series, we will offer a curated set of six programs and events ranging from small dialogues to larger public programs. The series honors the important role that women play in our communities, the contributions they have made, and the innovative work they are doing to advance good.
Movement and Meditation for Girls
Saturday, March 5 | 10 – 11:30 am
An in-person meditation and movement course for girls ages 8 to 13, led by wellness expert Pilin Anice.
Making Space at the Lunch Table
Tuesday, March 8 | 12 – 2 pm
An inspiring lunch program, presented in partnership with LiveGirl, open to business leaders looking to grow an inclusive workspace.
Navigating New Pathways
Thursday, March 10 | 10 – 11:30 am
Tea and conversation with Jamie Renwick and Sophie Koven of Tide Risers in Fairfield County to guide women considering their professional and personal journeys.
Innovators of Change with Indra Nooyi, Brooke Baldwin, and Elizabeth Davis
Friday, March 18 | 7:30 – 8:30 pm
A conversation featuring female leaders at the forefront of innovation that are creating an ecosystem of opportunities for others to advance, lead, and create change.
Amplifying Each Other with Vanessa Barboni Hallik
Wednesday, March 30 | 10 – 11:30 am
A breakfast conversation about Vanessa Barboni Hallik’s path to creating Another Tomorrow – the first luxury fashion company organized as a B-Corp – a tech-enabled, sustainable design company that is reinventing fashion in service of women and our shared tomorrow.
The action we all take today will have ripple effects for the future and will offer tangible ways for us all to harness our individual and collective power to drive toward greater equity. By fostering communities that are civil, communities that flourish, and communities that are inclusive of all, we can achieve progress and sustained change.
Indeed, we are interwoven. Together, we can achieve this bold vision. Together, we can create something stronger, more beautiful, and more powerful – thread by thread.
Learn more about our Making Space for Women series and our work through our Community Initiative at Grace Farms.