The Gender Justice Fund (formerly New Century Trust) was established as the New Century Guild in 1882 by Eliza Turner, a Quaker, who brought together a collective of radical and creative women dedicated to “the social, industrial, educational cultivation and improvement of working girls and women without any sectarian distinction.” Together, hundreds of Guild women pressed for equal wages, improved working conditions, and political representation, while receiving vocational and life skills training and support from the Guild. Their direct services and strategic communications made them some of the most notable and effective advocates in the country, ultimately advancing transformational policy change through collective voice and playing a critical role in the suffrage movement.
The hub of the organization’s activity was a house at 1307 Locust Street, which is listed in the National Register of Historic Places for its significance in women’s history.
As the 20th century progressed, the organization became less active in policy and advocacy. The Guild established a separate trust, the New Century Trust, and continued under this name, operating largely as a social club for women. The organization was reincorporated in 2006 as a private foundation in 2016, the Board made the strategic decision to give up the organization’s longtime home on Locust Street to prioritize its philanthropic work, with a new focus on gender justice. Twenty twenty marked the culmination of this shift as the New Century Trust rebranded as the Gender Justice Fund 2020, adopting a new mission and focus.
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