Ladies of Virtue (LOV) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering Black girls in underserved communities in Chicago. The organization’s mission is to instill purpose, passion, and perseverance in girls between the ages of 9 and 18, preparing them for college, careers, and community leadership. LOV’s programs are designed to boost Black girls’ confidence and skills, equipping them for success. LOV offers one-on-one and group mentoring, leadership and professional development, and mental health support. The organization’s programs have shown remarkable success: in 2021, 100 percent of girls who participated in LOV’s programming were accepted into four-year colleges and universities, and 97 percent of girls were placed in summer internships. Since its founding in 2011, LOV has impacted more than 2,000 girls and their families in Chicago.
Ladies of Virtue recognizes that all girls have talent, drive, and interest, but many systemic barriers can prevent them from achieving their full potential. Of its program participants, 96 percent are Black girls living in high-poverty communities. In South Shore, one in two children are living in poverty. The median household income is $26,906—less than half the average median household income in the United States. Many of these young women face significant mental health challenges, which have been exacerbated by the pandemic and a rise in community violence. The organization seeks to support girls through these challenges and to dispel common stereotypes which depict Black girls as needing less protection and nurturing. LOV’s unique community-based model integrates Black culture into all programming to offer support which meets the particular needs of Black girls based on their unique lived experiences.
The Girls Opportunity Alliance Fund will support LOV’s work at South Shore High School, which includes a school-based LOV Club, the organization’s Black Girl Rest event and LOV’s new civic engagement program. The new LOV Club will serve up to 20 girls attending South Shore High. The LOV club will provide one-on-one and group mentoring, leadership and professional development training (with an emphasis on STEM and other careers where Black women are underrepresented), college tours, and mental health support. The Black Girls Rest event will attract more than 100 girls from South Shore for a self-care experience with workshops on mental health, healthy eating, healthy hair, movement, craft, and more. Additionally, LOV will launch a new Civic Engagement program, “Fannie’s Fight,” for up to 20 high school juniors and seniors. Participants will learn the importance of voting, how to vote, and how to research candidates to make informed choices. The program includes a trip to Washington, D.C., where girls will engage in non-partisan discussions with legislators about the importance of participating in the electoral process. Through these initiatives, LOV hopes to increase girls’ confidence, teach communication skills, and show the importance of civic engagement.
Ladies of Virtue believes in the importance and power of nurturing and empowering young Black girls. With support from the Girls Opportunity Alliance Fund, LOV will continue bringing programs to uplift girls in the Chicagoland area. In turn, girls will have the opportunity to pursue their passions and achieve at their highest potential. To learn more about LOV, please visit the organization’s website and social media pages: