Copyright 2005
Girl's Best Friend Foundation


As of July, 2006, Sisters Empowering Sisters will be making its new home with the Chicago Girls’ Coalition (CGC). We are absolutely thrilled to call CGC our new home, because they have the same commitment to young women and social change that we do! There will be more details about the transition posted here in the next few months, but rest assured that next year SES will look and be the same supportive space for young women activists that it has been for the past nine years.

Sisters Empowering Sisters

Sisters Empowering Sisters (SES) is a grantmaking and social change program for young women in the Chicago area between the ages of 14 and 18. SES puts decision-making power and the power to create change directly in the hands of young women.

SES challenges the way that traditional philanthropy functions. It's about shifting power and resources and making the funding (and decision-making) process much more accessible/less mysterious and youth-led.

Through SES, young women's voices and experiences are incorporated directly into the work of GBF. Since the foundation aims to amplify young women's voices and support their rights and power, it only makes sense that we have a young women’s program founded on the same principles.

SES is a safe space that brings young women of different experiences and identities together to create change that is reflective of and responsive to their own lives and communities. This is what feminist, social change grantmaking looks like.

Foundations that prioritize gender-conscious programming and grant making and/or youth development principles should consider informing their own work through the creation of a youth grantmaking and social change program. There are many models throughout the U.S. that do this work very well -- it not only builds consciousness and intergenerational relationships, but prompts us as adults to recognize our own power, choices and decisions and the implications for the young people with whom we work and advocate -- which can only make us stronger allies and grant makers.

Annual meeting calendar

Wanna become a SISTER?

Each spring, SES outreaches to all of the other fierce young women in the Chicagoland area who might want to become Sisters for the following year. Read about who we look for and to apply.

See the list of most recent SES Grantees

How to apply for an SES grant

Each fall, the young women in SES hold a grantmaking cycle in which groups of young people can apply for one-time grants of up to $3,000 for projects creating progressive, positive change in the various communities around Chicagoland. These projects must be girl-led and driven (with the support of adult allies). Read our full guidelines.

Wanna learn more about inquiring girls?