Hope for the New Year: 2022 U.S. Grassroots Accelerator Program Reflects on a Time of Growth

As 2022 wound to a close, so too did the first stage of the Women’s Earth Alliance 2022 U.S. Grassroots Accelerator program. After completing four months of intensive “Planning for Action" curriculum and holistic leadership development, the 27 leaders gathered on December 7th to celebrate their growth in the program and reflect on the Accelerator’s impact on their work.

Aïma Paule, co-founder of Oakland, CA beloved Soulovely
Aïma Paule, co-founder of Oakland, CA beloved Soulovely

For Aima Paule–a multidisciplinary artist envisioning environmental action through art and music— the Accelerator created a space for self-discovery and empowerment, saying,

“I learned so much, and was asked to grow in ways that will impact my work for the rest of my life… I am leaving feeling empowered and equipped to bring my work and purpose to my community in hopes of creating a better world.”

The power of the 2022 U.S. Grassroots Accelerator is evident both in leaders’ individual projects and in the cumulative impact of the program, where we celebrate the following achievements:

  • Welcoming 28 women leaders from across the United States and U.S. territories into our Alumni Alliance
  • Building intersectional, long-lasting and just solutions for over 1.2 million people
  • Investing 75 hours of individual mentorship and direct technical assistance to help leaders dive deeper into their visions and strategies.
  • Creating the opportunity for leaders to scale their initiatives with Seed Grants from the Accelerator totalling $195,000.
Georgia Tunioli, Community Engagement Manager for The Bay Foundation
Georgia Tunioli, Community Engagement Manager for The Bay Foundation

As these WEA Leaders reflected on their time together, the most common sentiment was gratitude for the community found in their cohort.

Georgia Tunioli–the Community Engagement Manager for The Bay Foundation, a nonprofit working to restore Santa Monica Bay and its watershed–shared,

“I feel connected to women leaders across the country and that is incredibly motivating and potent… The overarching energy of support, inspiration, love, tenderness - this was a huge balm to bathe in, [it] really broke a ceiling for me in terms of caring, kind, and effective work spaces, and leaning into authentic leadership.”

To celebrate this community and close the 2022 reflection call, WEA’s North America/Pacific Program Director Daniela Perez led the cohort in a water ceremony. Using water from her local Tijuana River Watershed, she honored the waters that bind us together in alliance and community. 2022 leaders and WEA team members infused the water with a list of intentions that the cohort created at the beginning of the program. Together, we raised our voices to welcome 2023 with goals of “collective liberation,” creating “beloved community,” and inspiring “fortitude.”

As we begin a new cycle of growth, WEA looks forward to continuing to create fertile ground for these intentions to flourish.

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