GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The YWCA Kalamazoo, with the help of private and municipal donors, is working to launch a comprehensive fund focusing on reproductive health care and eliminating cost barriers.
Earlier this week, the Kalamazoo County Board of Commissioners voted to allocate $43,900 to the fund.
That allocation — as well as grants from the Collaborative for Gender and Reproductive Equity and National Institute of Reproductive Health — helped the YWCA reach its $150,000 goal to launch the fund.
“We’re very excited about the comprehensive reproductive health fund,” YWCA Kalamazoo Director of Mission Impact Demetrias Wolverton told News 8. “Finances are such a barrier for women, people of color, people who identify as LGBTQIA, folks who are undocumented, folks who are working make ends meet — and there are too many resources in our community for people to go without the essential health care that they need.”
The fund will have three focus areas: abortion care, doula postpartum support for up to 12 months and gender affirming services. Dollars will also help people with practical costs to access that care, like transportation.
“An Uber to the clinic and back is easily, can easily be, $30 and that’s a tank of gas for the week for most people,” Wolverton said. “Money should never be an indicator of whether or not someone gets to live their full and authentic self.”
The fund is expected to launch this summer and offers resources in a way many government-funded services can’t reach.
“When you’re really in the trenches of this work, right, when you’re working with community members experiencing all levels and all different forms of violence, their situations are very complex and their needs vary based on the situation and based on the circumstance,” Wolverton explained. “And to be able to access dollars that are considered private from foundations and private donors, it really, really makes a substantial impact that I don’t think people really understand. Because now what you’ve done is given this person some relief and you’ve given the agencies some relief and the ability to show up for this person in a way we haven’t been able to show up for them.”
You can learn more about resources offered by the YWCA Kalamazoo online.