On International Day of the Woman, March 8, 2023, Grant Thornton, LLP, one of America’s largest audit, tax and advisory firms, named Women in Training, Inc. as its newest Purple Paladin honoree. Grant Thornton helps emerging nonprofit organizations move from “start-up to unstoppable.”
As part of the program, Grant Thornton provides funding, business advice and volunteer support, while also helping nonprofits raise awareness of their work and mission. Women In Training, Inc. is an international youth empowerment nonprofit organization that distributes WITKITS of menstrual, hygiene and dental products to underserved girls, women and gender expansive youth.
Breanna and Brooke Bennett, the twin teenage sisters who formed Women in Training, Inc. in 2019, were ecstatic about Grant Thornton’s recognition of their period poverty advocacy.
“We are very happy that Grant Thornton is acknowledging our work, because we are confident that this is a problem that can be solved by private citizens, corporations and governmental bodies working together to focus on systemic solutions.” said 15-year-old Brooke.
Brooke continued: “We speak up boldly about our vision to help end period poverty, as well as the shame and stigma associated with it, because period poverty stifles girls in schools, athletics and at work. It also causes serious consequences on girls’ health and mental well-being."
Always, the world’s leader in menstrual protection by Procter & Gamble, reports that one in five girls in the U.S. have missed school due to lack of access to period products.
“Because of shame and stigma, girls do not usually speak publicly about the challenges of period poverty,” Breanna said. “Instead, society teaches us to shroud the most natural of acts with euphemisms, such as 'Bloody Mary,' 'red rag,' 'that time of the month,' 'Aunt Flo,' and 'the particulars of a woman.'
Grant Thornton’s leaders agree.
“Young women should never have to miss out on opportunities because they lack resources for basic wellness,” said Rashada Whitehead, Grant Thornton’s national managing director of Culture, Immersion & Inclusion. “We’re so impressed by what Brooke and Breanna have accomplished addressing an important and often ignored issue, especially at such a young age. They are exactly the types of proactive and creative advocates we set out to support when we created our Purple Paladin program: everyday heroes who dare to dream — and to take action to make a difference.”
The Bennett sisters were instrumental in championing House Bill 50 in Alabama, introduced in 2020 by State Representative Rolanda Hollis and signed into law by Governor Kay Ivey in 2022. The law mandates free period products be provided in Title I public schools. They hope to help pass similar laws at the national level through Congresswoman Grace Meng's Menstrual Equity for All Act.
Grant Thornton’s Purple Paladins program derives its name from the word paladin, a champion of a cause. Grant Thornton and its professionals have donated more than $1 million to Purple Paladin nonprofits, and more than 650 Grant Thornton professionals have volunteered their time and skills to support to the firm’s Purple Paladins.
Women in Training joins 14 other nonprofits that Grant Thornton previously selected as Purple Paladins: Digs with Dignity, Fair Opportunity Project, Free Mom Hugs, WeaveTales, Warrior Reunion Foundation, Go Team Therapy Dogs, Find Your Anchor, Foster Nation, Hope in a Box, Weird Enough Productions, Invisible Hands Deliver, Pal Experiences, Sneakers for Soldiers and Coming Up Rosies.