Narrative Change with Girls For A Change: the “Daughters” Documentary

March 20, 2024

By strategically partnering with grantees, philanthropy can catalyze narrative change, amplify voices often unheard, and foster dialogue to shape a more inclusive and equitable community.  Girls For A Change‘s award-winning documentary Daughters and the program it explores is the perfect example of this kind of transformation.

For many years, RMHF has helped fund the important work and operations of Girls For A Change, a local, nonprofit organization with a simple yet profound mission: “to prepare Black girls for the world and the world for Black girls.”

Daughters focuses on the Date With Dad Weekend, a successful program that began as an idea inspired  by a 12-year-old participant in the 2008 Girl Action Team. The program officially launched in Richmond the following year in March of 2009. 

The Date With Dad Weekend provides a unique opportunity for daughters to connect with their incarcerated fathers through a fun, in-person event. Fathers and daughters dress up and enjoy different activities together, including dinner, dancing, games, and much more. Since first launching in Richmond, The Date with Dad Weekend has grown into a popular, annual event that takes place every March in different locations. 

Girls For A Change CEO Angela Patton delivered a popular TEDWomen talk in 2012 about the Date with Dad Weekend, and filming began on the documentary that would become Daughters in 2019. Daughters screened at the Sundance Film Festival this year, winning several awards, earning praise, and was recently acquired by Netflix. 

“We are thrilled to see the Date With Dad Weekend and the efforts of Girls For A Change get the attention and support they so richly deserve,” said RMHF President & CEO Reggie Gordon. “We are proud to be long-time partners of Girls for A Change, and look forward to seeing how the documentary and their programming help to change popular narratives and influence how we discuss, approach, and address these important issues.”

We know that a girl has a much better chance of becoming a self-confident woman if she is able to develop a close bond with her father,” Angela said. “The Date with Dad weekend helps to provide the foundation on which to build and nurture that relationship, and we are proud that Daughters captures such a powerful journey. Girls For A Change exists to uplift young Black girls, and I believe the documentary and our program together will help spur overdue conversations about incarceration, poverty, family, and how we can better serve the strong, resilient Black girls in our communities.”

You can watch a conversation with Directors Angela Patton and Natalie Rae, Executive Producer Kerry Washington and documentary subjects Aubrey Smith, Mark Grimes and Responsible Fatherhood Coach Chad Morris here.

While we’re thrilled by the success of the documentary, both Girls for A Change and RMHF are even more excited about how this attention has provided a platform to raise important issues and inspire internal reflections. By elevating these narratives, we can work together to accomplish long-term, systemic changes.