Our community is host to numerous organizations with missions dedicated to empowering women and girls. We will highlight a different organization every day for Women’s History Month on our social media, and let you know how to get involved! Most of the photos featured are from previous years of events and service projects. Check out all 31 organizations on this list below!
The mission of the Alachua County Perinatal Mental Health Coalition (ACPMHC) is to improve awareness of perinatal mood and anxiety disorders (PMAD) in our community and expand resources, education and support systems for those at risk for PMAD. They are a group of community stakeholders who are passionate about being champions for the mental health of families during what is known as the perinatal (surrounding pregnancy and after delivery) period. You can get involved with their community initiatives such as their Mom Prom and A.B.C. Diaper Bank by e-mailing ACPMHC@gmail.com.
The Alachua County Victim Services & Rape Crisis Center provides services to survivors of interpersonal violence, sexual violence and personal injury crimes. Established in the Gainesville/Alachua County community for more than 36 years, the program is available to support and assist anyone who is a victim or survivor of violence. They are only a phone call away at (352) 264-6760; 24 hours a day. Their program has two volunteer tracks to pursue – serve as a Helpline Counselor, answering their 24/7 rape crisis helpline, or as a Community Ambassador, promoting awareness at community events. For Helpline Counselors, contact Jessie Lazarchik at (352) 264-6767 or firstname.lastname@example.org. For Community Ambassadors, contact Cassie Moore at (352) 264-6712 or email@example.com.
Alachua Women Build is an all-women volunteer program of Habitat for Humanity that raises the funds for and builds houses in partnership with hard-working families often headed by women in need of safe, affordable homes. Alachua Women Build was founded in the mid-1990’s by a group of women who recognized both the need for good, affordable housing in our community and the potential for women to take an active role in meeting this need. The first house was built in 1996, and since then eleven more have been completed. Women empower women: volunteers and the homeowner gain new skills, self-reliance, and a boost in self-confidence. To volunteer with Alachua Women Build, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
Arbor House provides affordable transitional housing in a communal setting to working mothers with children. Each family works with a case manager to design a plan to move to self-sufficiency. Low-income families who cannot afford market rent benefit from this set-up since they work as a community to achieve similar goals. The extended time families can stay at Arbor House, combined with their case manager partnership, has allowed mothers to pursue education and skills, and thus, increase their incomes. Arbor House was acquired by St. Francis House in 2013. To find out about volunteer opportunities, visit their website.
Blossoming Butterfly is a non-profit/charitable organization that has a mission to provide spiritual, mental, physical, educational, and financial help to breast cancer patients through yoga, meditation, nutrition, self-care, and monetary assistance. Their vision is to be the hub of uplifting and offering support to breast cancer patients through affirming beauty, vibrancy, encouragement, education, preparation for the battle ahead, healthy living, and financial resources. Fighting breast cancer is tough enough, Blossoming Butterfly, Inc. aims to reduce the added stress that finances can bring, allowing Gainesville breast cancer fighters to focus on their recovery. To learn more, visit their website.
Days for Girls increases access to menstrual care and education by developing global partnerships, cultivating social enterprises, mobilizing volunteers, and innovating sustainable solutions that shatter stigmas and limitations for women and girls. Alachua County’s chapter of Days for Girls was started by Girl Scout Troop 733 in Alachua, Florida in 2013. The local chapter has been instrumental in starting Days for Girls Enterprises in Kenya, Malawi, India, Peru, and Cuba. Kits we’ve made have been to at least 30 different countries so far. We are excited to now be helping local women save money, reduce trash, and be more comfortable managing both menstruation and incontinence with our hand-made shields and liners. There are several ways to volunteer with Days for Girls at their sewing center and from home! To sign up or learn more, contact Radha Selvester at email@example.com.
The Displaced Homemaker program at Santa Fe College assists the community by offering empowerment and educational assistance to homemakers who are seeking employment. The program offers free classes and workshops throughout the year. To be eligible for the program, candidates must be 30+ years of age, have mostly been homemakers during their adult life, be unemployed or not adequately employed, and have been dependent upon a family member for support which is no longer available or have been dependent upon public assistance. Since 1984, DHP has assisted over 4500 women in Alachua and Bradford counties, resulting in tremendous impact to our local communities through increased wages and buying power, and the reduced need for social services. Check out their upcoming classes and workshops.
Dream on Purpose (DOP) is an empowerment movement specifically designed for young girls. DOP organizes forums for mentorship, incorporates discussions about safe and healthy choices, serves as a conduit for higher education and scholarship opportunities, strengthens parent-daughter relationship by facilitating open dialogue and forms alliances with like-minded organizations. Dream on Purpose empowers every young girl to actualize their dreams by connecting them with local resources through interactive workshops and promoting positive socialization through structured forums. To volunteer, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The National Organization for Women (NOW) is dedicated to its multi-issue and multi-strategy approach to women’s rights, and is the largest organization of feminist grassroots activists in the United States. Since their founding in 1966, NOW’s purpose is to take action through intersectional grassroots activism to promote feminist ideals, lead societal change, eliminate discrimination, and achieve and protect the equal rights of all women and girls in all aspects of social, political, and economic life. To learn more about Gainesville Area NOW, visit their Facebook page.
Gainesville Girls Rock Camp is a non-profit that uses music and performance to uplift marginalized voices and encourage self-esteem, community, and self-expression in girls and gender-expansive youth. GGRC usually functions as a week-long summer day camp that accepts regional youth aged 10-17 years old. Campers are taught to play an instrument and are placed into bands. With the encouragement of their camp counselors, each band writes a song which they ultimately perform at a live music venue downtown at a public showcase following camp for their friends and families. To get involved, visit their website.
The Gainesville Woman’s Club is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization affiliated with the General Federation of Women’s Clubs. Members are brought together through a common interest to address all aspects for improving our community through service and charitable commitments. While the club’s mission is one of community service, it also provides members the opportunity for socializing and leadership development. For more information, visit their website.
Girl Scouts of Gateway Council is our local chapter of the preeminent leadership development organization for girls. With programs from coast to coast and across the globe, Girl Scouts offers every girl a chance to practice a lifetime of leadership, adventure, and success. As a volunteer, you can introduce girls to awesome new experiences that change their perspectives and broaden their worlds. Be a mentor, a guiding star, and a friend. Show them all that they’re capable of, and unleash your inner leader in the process. To learn more, visit their website.
Girls on the Run (GOTR) of Alachua County inspires girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running. GOTR envisions a world where every girl knows and activates her limitless potential and is free to boldly pursue her dreams. Teams of volunteer coaches facilitate the GOTR curriculum with small groups of girls over the course of 8 weeks. Amidst the conversation, laughter, hugs and energy awards, you will witness transformational change in the girls and don’t be surprised if you realize that you are positively changing as well! To get involved, visit their website.
Over 30 years of serving girls in Alachua County, Girls Place has evolved into a passageway from childhood to womanhood for many girls in the Gainesville community. Girls Place empowers girls to grow courageous, strong and self-sufficient. They inspire girls to celebrate themselves—their minds, their hearts, and their physical well-being. Girls Place girls become independent women who embrace diversity, express their ideas, rise above obstacles, enhance their communities, and lead those around them. Girls Place has a wide array of volunteer positions including homework helpers and athletic coaches. To get started, visit their website.
The goal of Healthy Start is to reduce infant mortality, reduce the number of low birth weight babies and improve health and developmental outcomes. Created in 1991 by Florida legislation, Healthy Start calls for the screening of all Florida’s pregnant women and infants to identify those at risk for poor birth, health and developmental outcomes. All pregnant women regardless of their marital, economic or immigration status are eligible to participate in the Healthy Start program if they are at risk for a poor pregnancy outcome. This includes post-partum women and their infants up to age 3. Healthy Start of North Central Florida Coalition, one of 32 Healthy Start coalitions throughout the state, administers the Healthy Start program for 12 counties. You can get involved by becoming a volunteer advocate. To get started, visit their website.
The Junior League of Gainesville, Florida, Inc. is an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women, and improving communities through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers. or over 80 years, our 450+ volunteers have continued to positively impact the Gainesville community. From serving underprivileged children and families during holidays at Miracle on Main Street, to encouraging healthy eating habits in children through Kids in the Kitchen, the Junior League of Gainesville is invested in developing long term initiatives and programs that meet the ever-changing needs of our community. Each year, the Junior League of Gainesville trains groups of new members to be effective volunteers and leaders in our community. To learn more, visit their website.
Founded in 2005, the Latina Women’s League is an all women non-profit organization dedicated to contributing to the Latino/Hispanic culture and art in Gainesville. The Latina Women’s League was created as a forum for the discussion of the experiences of Latina women living in the United States. Their mission is accomplished through networking, social activities, mentoring, advocacy, community service projects including free English language and citizenship preparation classes, and the annual Gainesville Latino Film Festival. To get involved, visit their website.
The League of Women Voters of Alachua County is a nonpartisan political organization that encourages the informed and active participation of citizens in government, works to increase understanding of major public policy issues, and influences public policy through education and advocacy. While maintaining strict nonpartisanship regarding candidates and parties, the League may and does support or oppose issues after a process of study and consensus. Local committees identify issues of interest to the community, conduct an investigation and evaluate the results, both pro and con. Following vetting, and with approval, the League promotes its position to voters through education and advocacy. To get involved, visit their website.
MAMA’s Club stands for Music, Arts, Movement, Action! MAMA’s Club is the brainchild of Gainesville social justice activist and community organizer Faye Williams. For many years, she ran a feminist bookstore and meeting space in Washington, DC. MAMA’s Club is a community space for performing arts and activism, and they are currently hosting virtual events on their Facebook page.
The Marjorie is a woman-owned reporting nonprofit that promotes a greater understanding of issues related to women and the environment in Florida through storytelling and community building. The Marjorie is an online publication that fills the niche for in-depth, thoughtful and sustained reporting on the state’s environment, from the inside out. Part-blog, part-news magazine, part-commentary, part-community, The Marjorie is the brainchild of three journalists and Florida natives, Hannah Brown, Becca Burton and Anna Hamilton. The Marjorie’s two contributor series, Dispatches from a Sinking State and Lessons from the Marjories, provide a space for women in Florida to share personal stories with statewide importance. If you’re interested in contributing or pitching a story, read about their contributor series or consider becoming a member!
Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America is a grassroots movement of Americans fighting for public safety measures that can protect people from gun violence. Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America was founded on December 15, 2012, one day after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting. Moms Demand Action advocates for stronger gun laws and encourages a culture of responsible gun ownership. To learn more, visit their website.
The vision of the North Central Florida Human Trafficking Task Force is to engage the community in a campaign to end modern day slavery. Their mission is to build a network of partnerships in Alachua County that unites governmental agencies, non-governmental and faith-based organizations, victim service providers, educational institutions, civic groups, and concerned citizens to prevent the exploitation of adults and children in all forms of human trafficking, rescue victims, and provide rehabilitative services for survivors. To get involved, visit their website.
Pace Alachua is dedicated to serving at-promise girls by helping them find their voice and providing tools to help them reach their full potential. PACE provides girls with the support and resources they need to position them for a better future through education, counseling, training, and advocacy. The holistic, gender-specific, strength-based, and trauma informed PACE program model addresses the needs of girls and has garnered recognition nationally as one of the most effective programs in the country for keeping girls from entering the juvenile justice system. To learn more about volunteer opportunities at the Pace Center in Alachua County, visit their website.
Peaceful Paths is the certified domestic violence center that serves survivors of domestic violence in Alachua, Bradford, and Union counties. Peaceful Paths provides a wide range of services including emergency shelter, 24-hour helpline, victim advocacy, children’s programming, education and training, crisis counseling and support groups, community awareness and intervention, and violence prevention programs. Peaceful Paths cannot exist without community support, and volunteers can be critical for promoting awareness, collecting donations, and extending advocacy services. To learn more about volunteering, visit their website.
Planned Parenthood is one of the nation’s leading providers of healthcare and sex education. Planned Parenthood is also one of the largest advocates for the legal protection of reproductive rights. Planned Parenthood supports and welcomes all people regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or biological sex, and all services are provided in a respectful and professional manner. To learn more, visit their website.
Project Princess is a theatrical community service organization in which princess performers provide magical experiences and opportunities to children who suffer from life threatening illnesses and disabilities. In addition to volunteer princesses, they are also in need of volunteer photographers, videographers, makeup artists, and outreach directors. To find out more, visit their Facebook page.
Founded in 1991, the Rural Women’s Health Project (RWHP) is a health justice non-profit in Gainesville. RWHP designs and implements projects that strengthen communities and their understanding of critical health and social justice issues. Salir Adelante Latina Internship Program is a health and leadership initiative designed to strengthen Latina women’s capacity to identify and address health barriers. To learn more, visit their website.
The SF Police Department and Alachua County Sheriff’s Office host a Rape Aggression Defense program, known as R.A.D. This program is a self-defense course specifically for women consisting of four 3-hour sessions. The class is free, but enrollment is limited to ensure the highest level of quality instruction. RAD classes are currently suspended due to Covid-19, but check their website for updates.
Sunshine State Babywearing, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) public charity whose mission is to provide babywearing education and support to caregivers in the State of Florida. In addition to education, they also provide access to carrier lending from their library of carriers. Their goal is to help every family learn about babywearing and help them find a carrier that works for them so that they can safely wear while out and about, during sleepless nights, and to help them boldly go where no stroller has gone before! To learn more, visit their Facebook page.
Women United is an extension of United Way of North Central Florida comprised of women who are united to create opportunities towards a better life for all. As an influential force in the community, they are determined to make positive changed in North Central Florida through investing in quality programs, advocating for better policies, engaging people in the community, and generating resources. To get involved in Women United, contact Rahkiah Brown at RBrown@unitedwayncfl.org or (352) 333-0858 for more information.
The Women’s Giving Circle is a group of women who combine their resources to address the philanthropic needs of women and girls in the Gainesville community. The Circle is a special initiative of the Community Foundation of North Central Florida that enables women to direct their giving in purposeful and strategic ways. Members are women of all ages and professions from our community. In 15 years, they have awarded more than $1,000,000 in grants to local programs including the Girl Scouts of Gateway Council, Girls Place, SF’s Displaced Homemaker Program, Take Stock in Children, Peaceful Paths, Catholic Charities: Partners in Success, and PACE Center for Girls. The mission of the Women’s Giving Circle is to build a community of women philanthropists, and grant funds all of which will support organizations, programs, and initiatives that address the needs of women and girls in our community. To learn more, visit their website.