The National Crittenton Foundation was an outfit well ahead of its time when when it was founded in the 19th century as the charitable legacy of Charles Crittenton, a pharmaceutical magnate and millionaire. In its more than 130 years of existence, NCF has kept roughly the same goal: Empowering women and girls on the margins of American society, including those who have been sexually exploited, physically abused, abandoned, or trafficked.
What's different today is that aiding girls and women has probably never been a hotter cause in philanthropic circles. And among the funders who care about this area is the giant Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which recently gave $357,109 to NCF for work on strengthening the inadequate American social safety net for marginalized girls.
More specifically, NCF will use the money to develop and pilot a centralized social support system for girls and young women who’ve been receiving formal services, but who are aging or otherwise phasing out of them and who are still in need of basic necessities such as housing. The RWJF-sponsored initiative that NCF is launching aims to help program participants as they transition out of foster care, the juvenile justice system, homelessness, or other vulnerable situations in which there are gaps in government services and no private sector options are available.
Last year, RWJF gave NCF a grant to convene a bunch of stakeholders to discuss broad strategies for helping marginalized girls across different sectors. Alas, this is yet another area where existing good work has been siloed without enough collaboration.
You can see why RWJF is sending grant money NCF's way. In its modern incarnation, this organization is able to undertake the kind of the evidence-based program work that RWJF prefers, but it also has its eye on the big picture of empowering girls and women.
NCF sponsors leadership and advocacy programming that helps participants break destructive cycles, build skills, and become agents of social change in their own rights. NCF also trains women and girls on the societal forces of racism, sexism, poverty, and violence—to help those it works with to understand and overcome the root causes of the challenges that young women in America so frequently face.