Wilma Montañez, Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation

TITLE: Program Director for Reproductive Rights and Sustainable New York City

FOCUS AREAS: Reproductive health and justice, New York City’s environment and the health of its residents, social/economic/ecological justice in New York City 

CONTACT: Visit PeopleFinder for email and phone number (paid subscribers only)

PROFILE: Wilma Montañez was a program officer at the Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation before becoming the Program Director for Reproductive Rights and Sustainable New York City. Her Social Transformation Project bio shares:

Since 1974, Wilma has been a reproductive health and rights advocate, community organizer, educator, doula and administrator in Rhode Island, New York City and California.

She joined the Jesse Smith Noyes Foundation in 1996 after serving as Executive Director of the Latina Roundtable on Health and Reproductive Rights, a former Noyes grantee. Wilma has served on the boards of the Women’s Funding Network, Funders Network on Population, Reproductive Health and Rights, and Women and Philanthropy.

In the past, Montañez has spoken publicly about how low-income women, immigrant women and women of color don’t receive basic health services and how reproductive health provisions restrict access to breast exams, cancer screenings, birth control, and abortion. She has been quoted in related books, including Undivided Rights: Women of Color Organize for Reproductive Justice and Effective Philanthropy: Organizational Success Through Deep Diversity and Gender Equality.

According to Philanthropy New York in 2012:

Wilma Montañez joined the Noyes Foundation in 1996 as their Reproductive Rights Program Officer. She has worked in the field of Reproductive Health and Rights since 1974. Her work has focused on women’s health issues in culturally diverse communities across the nation with a focus on community and legislative education, policy development and reform, advocacy, and community-based leadership development concerning health and reproductive rights issues, particularly for women of color and youth. Montañez has also administered women’s health clinics in New York City and in California, she was a trainer on a national CDC-funded HIV/AIDS risk reduction project, and has been involved with the development and implementation of various domestic and international community health education and cultural competency projects.

Over the past decade as a philanthropist, Montañez has served on the board of the Women’s Funding Network, Funders Network on Population, Reproductive Health and Rights, and Women and Philanthropy. Montañez’s honors include the California Public Health Association’s Community Leadership Award, the Puerto Rican Legal Defense and Education Fund’s Latina Empowerment Award, and the New York Women’s Foundation Helen Hunt Neighborhood Leadership Award, and she is a Rockwood Yearlong Leadership Fellow. Her professional and personal experience as a Latina involved in the women’s and the reproductive rights and justice movements—locally and nationally—for over thirty years provides a unique and broad perspective necessary to strengthen funder and grantee efforts and effectiveness in strengthening social justice activism.