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WGA Members Advocate for Women and Girls
Advocacy is the act or process of supporting a cause or proposal. An advocate is a person or organization which actively supports a specific position.

WGA uses research, grantmaking, education and advocacy to create change. We lift our voices each time we select a focus area, support nonprofit organizations or champion better conditions, policies or procedures. As an organization, WGA explores ways to influence public policy through non-partisan activities. We encourage our Members to advocate for causes that impact the well-being of women and girls in Baker, Clay, Duval, Nassau and St. Johns Counties.

Lifting Our Voices – Our Issues

Old Florida Capital Building

Over the years, our primary method of advocating for women & girls has been grantmaking. From time to time, legislative issues arise which are relevant toour work in a current or past focus area—and WGA is able to step forward with an advocacy position that supports the issues in the focus area. Once WGA establishes a viewpoint, our advocacy leadership educates interested WGA members, and then encourages others to support our position. For the last several years, we have traveled to Tallahassee during the legislative session in order to underscore our stated position and make a personal case for the issue at hand.

In 2016 and 2017, we tackled the serious issue of sex trafficking and its impact on Northeast Florida. Our grantees made us aware that many girls who are in the criminal justice system, or at risk of such involvement, are in fact victims of sex trafficking. This can impact girls as young as 12. We rallied to support a program called “Open Doors” that places advocates and services for sexually exploited children in regional locations throughout Florida. Working with others, we were successful in securing $3 million in new funding in Florida (see sidebar).

In 2018, our attention has turned to the issue of ending child marriage. There are currently no laws in Florida prohibiting child marriage, but a bipartisan effort is underway to enact legislation.

  • Child marriage is often forced marriage. And, marriage before age 18 has such devastating consequences on girls’ health, education and economic opportunities that the U.S. State Department considers early marriage a human rights abuse.
  • From 2001 to 2015, more than 16,000 children under the age of 18 married in Florida, the second highest rate in the United States for that period. Child marriage is linked to higher rates of dropping out of school, poverty, domestic violence and mental and physical health disorders.

Learn more about this issue and the February 7–8, 2018 trip to Tallahassee here.

Our Approach

WGA Members Visit Tallahassee

With this in mind, WGA takes a multi-pronged approach. Working in concert with our Education Committee and WGA Leadership, our Advocacy Committee:

  • Hosts educational events (e.g. Advocacy: Sex Trafficking – Making A Difference to help Members advocate for causes)
  • Organizes member visits to Tallahassee to visit state lawmakers, raise awareness of WGA and advocate for issues on which WGA has taken a public position.
  • Considers whether WGA should take a public position on issues (e.g. our Letter To Governor Scott in support of funding for a network of post-trauma services for sex trafficking victims)
  • Keeps people apprised of issues and grantees' legislative agendas via email, Facebook and Twitter

Advocacy Tools

Stolen: The True Story of a Sex Trafficking Survivor Book
“One in three middle school students and one in nine high school students are currently being recruited into sex trafficking.” – WGA Guest Speaker Dr. Katariina Rosenblatt, Survivor-Mentor, Advocate and Author of Stolen: The True Story of a Sex Trafficking Survivor

WGA Advocacy Success Story Infographic

Here To Help

Joanne Cohen, J.D.

Joanne Cohen, J.D.
Vice President,
Philanthropic Services
The Community Foundation for Northeast Florida


Contact Information

245 Riverside Avenue, Suite 310
Jacksonville, FL 32202

Women's Giving Alliance

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