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Girls Policy Institute

BKF Fellow Shannon Malone has co-founded a mentorship program for girls in foster care in Mississippi: Girls Policy Institute.

Shannon is a Mississippi-native who is an expert in disaster preparedness for low-income communities and most recently has been working in her home state building programs that celebrate the resilience and potential of girls in the foster care system.

For her 2011 BKF fellowship, Shannon was mentored by Dr. Sandra Hernández, then CEO of the San Francisco Foundation, as they worked together to develop a set of internal disaster preparedness protocols for the Foundation as well as external programs for grantees leading work in the Bay Area with a goal of strengthening emergency systems and networks in low-income communities. Since then, Shannon has been pursuing a PhD in Sociology at the University of Texas, Austin and was awarded a prestigious Kellogg Fellowship as well as The Graduate Research Fellowship from the National Science Foundation, with funding from the latter to support the development of Girls Policy Institute.

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Girls Policy Institute retreat

About Girls Policy Institute:

Girls Policy Institute works collaboratively with agencies across Mississippi to reach girls impacted by the foster care and juvenile justice systems. Our mission is to develop a community of policy leaders throughout the state of Mississippi by equipping young women with the leadership skills, advocacy training and opportunities to create transformative policy change.

GPI’s specific goals are to:Girlspolicyinstitute 1

  1. understand the unique needs of girls impacted by these systems,
  2. provide leadership and advocacy training for girls impacted by these systems,
  3. partner with girls impacted by these systems to create and influence policy change.

Girls Policy Institute insists on a Mississippi where every girl has the opportunity to influence the policies that impact their lives and create the life she envisions for herself, her family and her community. Over the next year, we will be partnering with Mississippi Department of Human Services to host a series of town hall meetings throughout the state to conduct a needs assessment that will focus on understanding the availability and gaps in resources in these systems from the youth perspective.

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Girls Policy Institute retreat

To learn more about Shannon, her BKF Mentor, Sandra Hernández, and the work accomplished together, please visit: