Customer Stories

Empowering women #withAsana: The Astraea Foundation

To celebrate Women’s History Month, we wanted to highlight Asana customers who are empowering women #withAsana. Earlier this month, we introduced you to the Akilah Institute, Rwanda’s only school for women. Today we’d like to share the story of the Astraea Foundation and how they’re empowering women and the LGBTQI community.

Meet the Astraea Foundation

The Astraea Foundation’s mission is to fuel local and global movements that shift power to LGBTQI people and organizations pursuing social justice and human rights. They provide support in the form of grantmaking, philanthropic advocacy, communications, and capacity building.

Rooted in LGBTQI communities and movements, Astraea forms strategic partnerships with foundations, individuals, and governments to ensure that resources reach the activists who need them most and who are best positioned to have an impact. To that end, they raise and distribute funds to programs and initiatives led by and for diverse constituencies, prioritizing groups led by lesbians and queer women, trans and gender nonconforming people, intersex people, and people of color.

In 2016, Astraea made over $3.5 million in grants to 190 activist groups in 62 countries. Between 2011 and 2016, they more than doubled their grantmaking capacity.

“Astraea is a public foundation, which means that we raise every dollar we spend.”

Based in an area with its own storied history of social justice activism—Union Square Park in New York City—the Astraea team is made up of 30 full- and part-time members.

Why women matter to Astraea

When we spoke to Sarah Fonseca from Astraea, she told us that women are why Astraea exists. In 1977, a small group of women got together and decided, “if there’s going to be a women’s movement which prioritizes the needs of lesbians and women of color, we’re going to have to fund it ourselves.” And so they did, and the foundation is still run by a group of women, trans, and gender non-conforming people who prioritize groups who need resources the most.

In fact, in 2016, 63% of Astraea’s funding went to lesbian, bisexual, and queer activists. By prioritizing a gender justice framework and understanding that our feminist struggles are intertwined, Astraea fights for the freedoms of all women, not just those who have been assigned the gender at birth. That same year, 50% of their funding went to groups led by transgender and gender-nonconforming activists.

“We continue to celebrate the efforts of women around the world who are rising up in incredible numbers to combat the growing tides of misogyny, xenophobia, transphobia, Islamophobia, and white supremacy,” says Sarah.

For Astraea, Women’s History Month is a moment to recognize and remember the efforts of the community members, organizers, and cultural workers who have fought—and continue to fight—for women’s rights to not simply exist, but to thrive in all their beauty, dignity, and autonomy.

Doing it all #withAsana

Several teams at Astraea use Asana to move their work forward with clarity, especially on projects that require feedback from every team. For example, they’ll use Asana to get feedback from the development, program, fiscal, and communications departments on the annual report before it is released. The development team uses Asana to plan fundraising events, relying on a template for a step-by-step guide.

“Asana has changed our perspective on project management: Rather than taking one step at a time, with Asana we have a bird’s-eye view of the project and can tangibly visualize the end goal.” – Sarah Fonseca

“Instead of being distracted by cluttered email inboxes,” says Sarah, “Astraea is able to put everything in order and focus on the real issues, like resisting transphobic executive orders in the US or training activists in South Africa to use communications tools.” She adds, “We don’t mind the satisfaction of seeing a unicorn soar across our screens, either.”

Turning frustration into hope

The Astraea Foundation
Freedom, Inc (Madison, Wisconsin)

There is undeniably a long way to go for women and the LGBTQI community to achieve full equality, and Astraea is ever aware of the distance left to travel. In 2017, they hope to “turn the current moment’s frustration into an active resistance and evoke an uprising against injustice to all women, including trans and queer women, women of color, and migrant women,” says Sarah.

Overall, Astraea hopes to see resources shift from the people who have them—specially the feminist women who are inspired by the work—to the women, trans, and gender-non-conforming people who don’t in 2017. “Collectively, we are so much stronger than any singular discriminatory policy or executive order—we must leverage that to see change.”

As Women’s History Month comes to a close, we’ll continue to celebrate the organizations whose work empowers and uplifts women throughout the year ahead. Learn more about other great Asana customers.

Special thanks to The Astraea Foundation

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