PYM’s Natalie Clifford Barney Fund provides grants to organizations providing family planning, specifically planned parenthood and birth control. Over the course of winter 2021, members of the Quaker Buildings & Programs granting group met several times to discern an impactful use of the funds today.
Through their meetings, granting group members developed several priorities for use of the funds, including living up to PYM’s addressing racism commitments by supporting Black and people of color led work, supporting youth, and supporting communities across PYM’s geographic region. The accessibility of family planning has changed a lot since the 1960s, but critical issues remain when it comes to use and accessibility. Members were updated on the present family planning landscape by a Gender Justice Fund representative. The process culminated in soliciting applications from four organizations that met their priorities and the criteria.
2021 Family Planning Grantees
In June 2021 the Quaker Buildings & Programs granting group, who has care of the Natalie Clifford Barney Fund, approved 3-year grants totaling $21,000 each to providers and advocates of family planning within the PYM region. A list of the organizations with their self-described missions follows.
- Bebashi is a go-to provider for sexual health, family planning, and HIV and STI prevention education initiatives for Philadelphia’s low-income Black and Brown residents. The Bebashi Wellness Clinic provides these services free of charge with no insurance required for treatment.
- We.REIGN (Rooting, Empowering, Inspiring a Girl’s Nation) provides free programming to people who identify as Black and girl, and live or attend schools in Philadelphia county. Their program “Girls with Options” provides sexual education, family planning education, and helps develop skills for activism and advocacy that center contraceptive equity and comprehensive sexual education with a Black girl lens.
- Planned Parenthood Keystone provides and promotes access to the essential health care services and comprehensive sexuality education people need. They serve 37 counties in Eastern and Central Pennsylvania. In their words, “ensuring access to reproductive health care is essential to bringing equality to all, supporting our communities, and ensuring social justice.” Their Health Care Access and Education Program works to increase access to patents, no matter this circumstance.
- Women’s Medical Fund uses direct services and community organizing to ensure that individuals living in poverty who are prohibited from using their insurance for an abortion or have no health insurance can receive abortion care, and to ensure and expand abortion access now and always.
As We.REIGN noted in their application, reproductive justice is aligned with the Quaker testimonies of Peace and Social Justice, which includes the idea that “realization of equality involves such matters as independence and control of one’s own life.” Quaker Buildings & Programs is excited to continue to provide support to the critical work of family planning.
PYM’s History of Supporting Family Planning
Natalie Clifford Barney left money to PYM for the Committee on Family Relations’ work on family planning. Natalie Clifford Barney, a prominent French literary figure (and notably not a Quaker), wrote her will in the 1960s. This was a decade of significant growth in the family planning movement. There were Quakers at the forefront, perhaps none more well-known than Mary Calderone, who may have helped Natalie Clifford Barney find PYM. PYM itself took a strong stance on family planning in their 1962 minute endorsing Planning Parenthood:
Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends gladly accepts family life as a primary and sacred relationship. This responsibility and privilege is based on spiritual, physical and economic foundations. We believe that the quality of family life is enriched if each child can be wholeheartedly welcomed. Moreover, problems of poverty and emotional strain might be lessened if children were not born in too close succession nor too great numbers in relation to circumstances. We therefore endorse planned parenthood and hope that qualified professional advice may be given to those seeking it, concerning both contraception and the promotion of fertility when that is the need. Such planning contributes to the welfare not only of particular families, but of the nation and the world.
For decades, money from the Natalie Clifford Barney Fund, under the care of the Family Planning Granting Group, was granted to the organization CHOICE. In 2015, CHOICE merged with AccessMatters and, in 2017, care of grants from fund was transferred to the Quaker Buildings & Programs granting group.
Photo courtesy of Unsplash.com