PCSE Seed Grants in Action: Report #2 from the Wesleyan Doula Project

The Wesleyan Doula Project logoThe Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship awards annual seed grants to fund the launch or early stage growth of a Wesleyan-connected social enterprise, project, program, or venture. Each grantee reports back with blog posts and photos. Here’s the first report from the Wesleyan Doula Project, one of the three 2015 winners. You can read WDP’s first update here and other grantee reports here.


This summer has been a busy and exciting one for the Wesleyan Doula Project. Even though school is not in session, we have continued our work at full steam. Our doulas have continued to work each Friday and Saturday in the West Hartford and New Haven Planned Parenthood clinics. We have also officially transitioned to new leadership. Our three coordinators for the 2015-2016 school year are Hannah Sokoloff-Rubin ‘16, Jesalyn Ortiz ‘16, and Zandy Stovicek ‘15, who will begin her coordinator role in the spring semester.

Our newest project this summer, however, was the first-ever Wesleyan Doula Project internship. Zandy had an opportunity to learn about finding funding opportunities, talk to professionals in the field of women’s reproductive health, and design a plan for grant applications for the upcoming fiscal year. This work will set the stage for drafting prioritized grant applications starting in September.

Zandy also worked with current Wesleyan Doula Project members Michele Ko ‘16 and Louisa Winchell ‘18 to formulate some more specific summer projects. Michele will be developing a website as the second summer intern, and Louisa will be conceiving of ways to make the project better known by all Wesleyan students. She will also create community building events for the doula community, such as potlucks, film screenings, and speakers.

As an intern, Zandy had the opportunity to attend “An Introduction to Wesleyan’s Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship,” hosted by one of the founding members of the Patricelli Center Advisory Board and a current Wesleyan Trustee, Muzzy Rosenblatt ‘87. At the event she was able to meet inspiring Wesleyan alumni who have devoted their careers to the spark of an idea they had in college. Those present heard about a few different endeavors, including the Wesleyan Doula Project, that the Patricelli Center has funded in the past three years.

Some highlights from her six week intern experience….

  • She utilized databases such as SPIN and the Foundation Center to cast a wide net of potential grant makers
  • Created a grant research database of over 184 potential grant makers that fund women’s health ventures and focus on access to quality healthcare
  • In July, she connected with Wesleyan alum who have an interest in the doula project, such as Lara Galinsky, Senior VP of Echoing Green and founding advisory board member of the Patricelli Center
  • Researched website design, with the purpose of creating a platform  to explain our mission and vision to potential grant makers
  • She met with development professionals from organizations such as the Abortion Conversation Project, Planned Parenthood, and the Women’s Refugee Commission
  • Brainstormed with the Wesleyan Office of Corporate, Foundation, and Government Grants about how to pitch funding for program development rather than general operating support.

Now that the infrastructure is in place to start writing grant applications, the Wesleyan Doula Project is excited to hit the ground running this fall. We will continue to work closely with the Patricelli Center as we collaborate on how best to pitch our innovative model of care. We hope to bring more students on board to work on website development, create campus-wide events with other reproductive justice groups, and, of course, apply to our first grant applications with deadlines in the fall. More than anything, however, we are excited to be back on campus to see the bright and smiling faces of our current doulas. While Zandy will be abroad in the fall, Hannah and new coordinator Jesalyn will begin planning the most important event of the semester: new doula training in November. We are thrilled to grow the project inch by inch and introduce the Class of 2019 to an organization that inspires us to support reproductive rights and combat health care inequity, giving us purpose on campus and beyond.

We look forward to working with our staunchest advocate, Makaela Kingsley, our new advisory board, and all Wesleyan students, faculty, and staff who help make our work possible on campus.

Onwards and upwards!

-Zandy Stovicek, Hannah Sokoloff-Rubin, and Jesalyn Ortiz