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2014 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Coastal Women for Change

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Arts & Culture, Performing Arts

Mission: To help communities become sustainable as they revitalize themselves in a post-Katrina world, to advocate on behalf of the voiceless, to find the resources needed in the rebuilding process, and to bring timely information to the community so it can effectively influence the decisions made about its future.

Results: The group has started programs to help the community and local economy recover, including child care for working women, computer training programs for seniors, a thriving community garden and an annual backpack giveaway for local children. And they are working to help residents respond to future disasters by providing emergency preparedness training. More than anything, however, the group's mission is to empower residents to take part in their local government. CWC members have won seats on the mayor's planning commission, and the group has organized public forums on federal emergency management, education, affordable housing, and how to elevate the voices of poor and minority communities in the wake of an event like Katrina.

Target demographics: empower the

Geographic areas served: Biloxi, Mississippi

Programs: backpack/school supply giveaways, computer training for seniors, community gardening and mentoring for young people.

Community Stories

4 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters


Rating: 5

The Twenty-First Century Foundation was one of the first donors to invest in the emerging work of Coastal Women for Change. As the lead program officer for the Foundation, I was impressed by the intelligence, strength and resolve of the indigenous leadership. This was particularly important after hurricane's Katrina and Rita hit the region because the government and corporate decision-makers were starting to determine the future rebuilding and redevelopment of the area with little local community input and feedback. Coastal Women for Change inserted themselves at key decision-making tables while also meeting the basic needs of residents putting their lives back together. I was also impressed by their willingness to collaborate and support the work of other organizations. I am proud to be associated with the organization's beginnings.


Rating: 5

Coastal Women for Change (CWC) is one of the organizations that I and my company participate as a volunteer. As a person whose on several board, I must "pick and choose" the boards and events that I assist with. CWC has Great programs that serve the senior citizen population and children. The Backpack Giveaway services at least 4 counties in MS and no one include people from out of town is turned away. The Senior Citizens' Thanksgiving dinner serve seniors who may not get a Thanksgiving dinner. Along with other programs throughout the year. There are also educational activities like teaching the children to grow fresh vegetables and computer classes for the seniors. All these services are offered in a community of the underserved. The leader Sharon Hanshaw is consistently involved getting CWC involved with other non-profit organizations and activities. I have enjoyed volunteering and donating to this organization.


Rating: 5

This organization touches real people in need in a neglected part of south Mississippi. Its leader has stretched her presence from local into national and international disaster, environmental, and human rights settings. Help them stay on the game.



Rating: 5

In response to Hurricane Katrina, women in the diverse community of East Biloxi began to organize, sharing information and resources to help their neighbors survive the homelessness, hunger and job loss that followed the storm. Across cultural lines, this group of African American, Vietnamese and Caucasian women have become a formidable force for social justice, as they advocate for recovery, and provide a strong network for the youth and elderly of the community to thrive.

Review from Guidestar