Women’s advocacy group has bigger plans in mind

Collaboration has played a key role in the growth of the Women of Color Foundation, founded in 2002 by Alexandria Johnson Boone as a forum for women to talk and learn about issues that affect their lives.

Her ability to build a network to host events and support the nonprofit’s programs has been key to the organization’s success. Boone is hopeful, however, that the foundation will one day have a place to call its own.

“My vision is to have a Women of Color Foundation building,” says Boone, who serves as founder and chairwoman.

“We don’t need to have a big building with a fancy auditorium. But if we had a big enough space, we could have our own big events at our own building — the Women of Color Institute. It would have classrooms and not just events where we do training, but monthly programs for resume preparation or a workshop to get to the C-Suite.”

A note from Boone to the city of Cleveland: If you have any open buildings that aren’t currently being used, she’ll be happy to take your call.

“Then, maybe a construction company will say, ‘If the city of Cleveland will donate a building, we will build it out for you,’” says Boone, adding that 85 to 90 cents out of every dollar the nonprofit raises goes to support programming. She says things like acquiring a permanent home and building a full-time staff are goals that will enable the foundation to endure.

“Those are things that will permanently sustain us,” she says.

Fifteen years in, Boone seems to have done pretty well with what she’s got. In addition to launching the foundation and providing advocacy for women, 2018 marks the fourth year of her digital publication CL Magazine.

“Our magazine doesn’t criticize people,” Boone says. “We don’t take political positions. But we do things like encourage people to register to vote and write stories about how important it is to vote. It just means so much. When you have a dream and you work hard and then it comes to be, there is nothing better than that.

“We have a book list, we do recipes, fashion and decorating. We support nonprofits. We deal with gender issues, sexual harassment and women in prison. We’ve also had several men write for the magazine. It’s been a joy for me.”

Mark Scott is Senior Associate Editor at Smart Business Cleveland