Copyright 2005
Girl's Best Friend Foundation

Girl's Best Friend Foundation (GBF) closed November 2007. 
GBF’s records are archived with Special Collections of the University
of Illinois, Chicago.  In fall 2008, they will be made public:

Inclusiveness and Diversity at GBF

When Girl’s Best Friend Foundation asks every applicant and grantee organization to describe the diversity of its board, staff, and youth served, we’re hoping to begin a conversation.

What about? Why?

  1. We believe that inclusiveness is a critical part of strong, social justice organizations. In whatever dimension/s an organization is diverse -- for instance, composed of and for people of multiple races, ethnicities, and cultures -- and focused -- for instance, gender-specific -- it can and needs to assure that all involved are respected and accepted in all their multiple identities and experiences. 
  2. We prioritize youth's having opportunities to work with other youth and adults who are both alike and different from them. This supports individual empowerment and collective exploration of experiences that might otherwise be unfamiliar.
  3. We are proactive and explicit about our inclusion of any person (youth or adult) who self-identifies as a woman, and of those who might identify their gender as something other than the "traditional" woman/man categories. We're similarly inclusive of other dimensions of a person’s identity, be it ability, class, race, ethnicity, etc. To truly create feminist social change, we believe that we all must bring our whole selves to that work. 

For good or ill, each of us comes to work with, by, or for young people with unique experiences and beliefs.  We’re interested to know the practices within each organization that assure discrimination and bias are actively challenged and inclusiveness is fostered, so all youth feel safe and welcomed. 

In this spirit, GBF reports annually on our gender-specific board and staff, using the terms chosen by each woman to identify herself. We work hard to continue to deepen our collective and individual work against oppression and privilege that divide us, and to be respectful and inclusive of all.

As every aspect of GBF’s work winds down in preparation for closing in 2008, this is reflected in our Board and staff numbers and composition. The Board is no longer adding new members, and its number is gradually declining. Staff was reduced by two at the end of June 2006, and no new hires are planned. This has resulted in the staff being the least diverse it has been in many years.


  • 8 women
  • 2 African American women, 1 Latina, 1 Asian American/Chinese American woman, 1 white Jewish woman, and 3 white women
  • 7 women in her 30’s, 1 in her 40’s
  • 1 is an immigrants and one is the child of immigrants
  • 2 are bilingual (Spanish/English); the others are monolingual
  • 1 is lesbian/Queer, and 7 are straight/heterosexual
  • 2 women have a disability



  • 4 women
  • 1 Asian American/multicultural woman of color, 1 Jewish American woman, 2 white women
  • 2 are in their 30’s, and 2 in their 50’s
  • 1 is a child of an immigrant
  • 4 are straight
  • 1 woman has a disability

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