LOS ANGELES — A new nonprofit started by women is helping provide resources to other nonprofits founded by females. The nonprofit, which provides funds and help, is called She Angels Foundation.
The membership funded foundation kicked off in September and selected the People’s Pottery Project as one of the first nonprofits that will receive a grant between $3,000 and $10,000.
Molly Larkey said she started the People’s Pottery Project, which she describes as a collaborative nonprofit, to help formerly incarcerated women. Larkey is an artist. She said the organization is a space where these women can share their stories and participate in art. The women can “create things and have a place to be together and make objects," she said. "And to also empower themselves and empower others.”
During a recent visit to Larkey’s organization near the Glassell Park and Eagle Rock area, three women were glazing pots with Larkey at a table in the center of a warehouse-like space. Two of the women are convicted killers and one served time for a strong-armed robbery.
Domonique Perkins, who was glazing handmade bowls, was locked up when she was 19 years old and served 13 years in prison.
“I was hanging out with the wrong crowd trying to fit in, instead of listening to my parents,” said Perkins, who was released in 2019. “My biggest concern was readjustment, getting employment, of course, having a place to stay, [and] just fitting into society.”
Perkins said her wife, Ilka, who sat next to her while glazing, introduced her to the People’s Pottery Project. Perkins first took an art class hosted by the organization. And now, about a year later, she’s an employee of the organization.
The bowls the women help make are sold on the organization’s website. The sales help keep this program going and help the formerly incarcerate women earn a paycheck.
“I feel like I’ve been accepted. I feel like I have not been judged because of my past experiences,” Perkins said.
Funding is a big part of what keeps the organization going. Larkey said she has funded much of it herself. But now she’s getting help from the She Angels Foundation.
Cat Curry and Catherine Gray said they started this nonprofit because of the funding gap for female entrepreneurs. According to the venture capital database, PitchBook, startups founded by a woman or group of women only received 2.7 percent of total investment dollars in 2019.
The She Angels Foundation founders said the stats aren’t much better in the nonprofit world.
“They [women] receive less than 15 percent of the funding,” Gray said.
“Which means men get 85 percent,” Curry added. “Which is crazy."
“Yeah, we got to level that playing field,” said Gray.
Money raised by the membership supported foundation goes directly to nonprofits founded by women.
“There are women all around us that want to do good, and we found an opportunity through She Angels, to let us do it together. And share that good feeling,” Curry said.
Curry said the foundation has simplified the grant-writing process for nonprofits which she is all too familiar with having raised tens of millions of dollars for the nonprofit Curry and her husband, Scott Williams, started called Shane’s Inspiration. Shane’s Inspiration has a mission to create social inclusion for children with disabilities through the creation of inclusive playgrounds and educational programs.
Gray said having the opportunity to help women trying to do good in the world brings her “total joy.”
The grant from She Angels Foundation will help people like Perkins keep her job and her hopeful for the future.
“I have a vision now," Perkins said. "And I have security and stability.”
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story misspelled Larkey’s last name in one reference. The error has been corrected. (Sept. 21, 2020)