Dr. Monique Couvson

request availability


Monique Couvson, Ed.D. (formerly Monique W. Morris) is an award-winning author and social justice scholar with three decades of experience in the areas of education, civil rights, juvenile and criminal justice. Dr. Couvson is the President and CEO of Grantmakers for Girls of Color, the nation’s premier philanthropic intermediary exclusively focused on resourcing movements and organizations led by, and
in support of, cis and trans girls and young femmes of color. Under her leadership, G4GC has developed four signature funds, including: the Black Girl Freedom Fund, which as part of the #1Billion4BlackGirls campaign seeking to mobilize $1 billion in investments centering Black girls over the next 10 years; the New Songs Rising Initiative for Indigenous Girls in partnership with the Seventh Generation Fund for Indigenous Peoples; the Holding A Sister Initiative for Trans Girls of Color with the Black Trans Fund; and G4GC’s general grantmaking fund, Love is Healing. Since April 2020, G4GC has granted more than $25 million to more than 400 organizations located across all 50 states, Washington, DC, Guam, and Puerto Rico.

Recognized by The Root 100 as one of the nation’s most influential African Americans in 2022, Dr. Couvson is the author of six books, including Cultivating Joyful Learning Spaces for Black Girls: Insights into Interrupting School Pushout (ASCD, 2022) and her latest book Charisma’s Turn (The New Press, 2023), which was named by the American Library Association as one of the best graphic novels for
teens. She is Executive Producer and writer for the documentary short film, “In Conversation: The Power of Imagination,” which features a discussion between Dr. Couvson and the world-renowned poet Dr. Nikki Giovanni. Dr. Couvson is also an Executive Producer and co- writer of the NAACP Image Award-nominated documentary film, “PUSHOUT: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools” (currently
streaming on Amazon Prime and other platforms). This film is based upon two of Dr. Couvson’s books, Sing A Rhythm, Dance A Blues: Liberatory Education for Black and Brown Girls (The New Press, 2019) and Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools (The New Press, 2016). She is also a producer of the Countering PUSHOUT learning series for educators.

Dr. Couvson is the author of Black Stats: African Americans by the Numbers in the Twenty-First Century (The New Press, 2014), Too Beautiful for Words (MWM Books, 2012), and she worked with Kemba Smith on her book, Poster Child: The Kemba Smith Story (IBJ Book Publishing, 2011). She has written dozens of articles, book chapters, and other publications on social justice issues and lectured widely on research, policies, and practices associated with improving juvenile/criminal justice, educational, and socioeconomic conditions for girls and women of color. Her 2018 TED talk on how to stop the criminalization of Black girls in schools has received over 2 million views and been translated into 20 languages. Dr. Couvson is a member of the Tides Advocacy Board of Directors and the Advisory Board for the California Black Freedom Fund. She is also the Founder and Board Chair for the National Black Women’s

Justice Institute (NBWJI), an organization that works to interrupt school-to- confinement pathways for girls, reduce the barriers to employment for formerly incarcerated women, and increase the capacity of organizations working to reduce sexual assault and domestic violence in African American communities. She served as an adjunct associate professor for Saint Mary’s College of California between 2013-2018 and has taught at the University of San Francisco and California State University, Sacramento. Dr. Couvson is a 2012 Soros Justice Fellow, the former Vice President for Economic Programs, Advocacy and Research at the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) and the former Director of Research for the Thelton E. Henderson Center for Social Justice at the UC Berkeley Law School. She has also worked in partnership with and served as a consultant for federal, state and county agencies, national academic and research institutions, and communities throughout the nation to develop research, comprehensive approaches and training curricula to eliminate racial/ethnic and gender disparities in justice and educational systems. Her work in this area has informed the development and implementation of improved culturally competent and gender-responsive continua of services for youth.

Dr. Couvson’s work has been profiled by Forbes, the Chronicle of Philanthropy, MSNBC, CSPAN2, The Washington Post, The New York Times, NPR, USA Today, and PBS, among other national and local print, radio, and television media. Her research intersects race, gender, education and justice to explore the ways in which Black communities, and other communities of color, are uniquely affected by social policies. She also frequently lectures on the life and legacy of the artist Prince.