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Turning trauma into beauty: 365 Foundation gives space for women to grow

Posted in Metro Philadelphia

By Ryan M. Moser Posted on

Natalie Venezia-CEO 365 Foundation
Natalie Venezia CEO 365 Foundation

The 365 Foundation, a nonprofit advocating for gender equality, recently launched in Lansdale. The grand opening premiered artwork by female Ukrainian refugee artists and united with this diverse suburb of Philadelphia over the importance of empowering women in our communities.

The grassroots organization, founded by CEO Natalie Venezia, mainly serves as a safe space for women in the creative arts, but also supports female veterans, incarcerated women, and the LGBTQ+ community, among others.

The renovated art gallery in the entrance will exhibit a different artist’s work each month, curated by Kristina Bivona, a Columbia Fellow in Art. During the month of March, the yet-to-be-named gallery will only feature incarcerated women artists.

The narrow building also has a niche for the In the Pink Podcast with a large female relief sculpture, a Baby Grand Piano for the foyer, and colorful murals on the walls, painted by Venezia’s daughter.

“I watched art and music save my daughter’s life, so she was my inspiration,” said Venezia, a serial entrepreneur with 30 years of experience in media and entertainment. “I was supporting her while she was trying to gain respect in the world of dance, and her creative force was being downplayed.”

Venezia—with the help of her dedicated staff and volunteers, local business alliances, supportive politicians, and family members—has created a fem-juggernaut with the aim to elevate, celebrate, and educate women who are overlooked every day: artists, musicians, singers, actors, poets, activists, teachers, and mothers, to name a few.

Considering one in three women say they have experienced physical or sexual assaults, having a nonprofit focus on building women’s rights and protections should be a thing to celebrate.

“We are bringing like-minded individuals together in a place to express themselves and share their stories,” said Destiny Burrows, Vice President of 365 and a Black queer woman. “I feel lucky to be a part of this movement and be mentored by Natalie. 365 gives me the space to trust myself and my ideas, and no one else would ever give the status of vice president to a 21-year-old.

The initiatives that the foundation has started are lofty and bold: a women’s monthly concert and art gallery series; a master art class for disabled women; crossing fences into women prisons; engaged and empowered veterans; the time is now – women’s summit; and the Miriam Theatre Project.

These programs lift women by providing them with a helping hand and a giving heart and making everyone feel like a part of the team. Lansdale’s Mayor, Garry Herbert, has been impressed with how the 365 Foundation has come into the community to do just that.

“The most important thing about inclusivity is that we have to bring people and businesses in and value them and the diversity, and then support them fully,” Herbert said. “The arts are a fantastic way to bring individuals in together to start a hard conversation.”

Lansdale is a multicultural community sitting on the train line from Philly, and Venezia chose the town as the home for 365 because of that diversity and the support she received from the local officials.

Podcast Area 365 Foundation
Podcast Area 365 Foundation

State Rep. Steve Malagari (D) was one of those officials. Along with Herbert and State Sen. Maria Collett, 12th District, the foundation felt like they were being given the keys to the city.

“We like to say that Lansdale chose us,” Venezia said.

For the first time in its 152-year history, the majority of the Lansdale Borough Council are women; one of those women represents the first person of color, and the Council is being led by its first woman president.

“The timing couldn’t be more perfect for the 365 Foundation to open its doors in the Borough,” said Mary Fuller, Lansdale Borough Council President. “I’m confident we’re sending a positive message to young women everywhere – in Lansdale, in surrounding communities, and even in other counties.”

Yet only 24% of the members of Congress are women, and this inequality is rarely talked about in the halls of the Capitol.

“It’s not just elected representation we have to look at for gender equality,” said Malagari. “The workplace needs a lot of improvement like pay equality, raising awareness to challenges in a professional space, and increasing child care options and maternity leave.”

Today in 2024, women still make almost 20% less money than men do, despite advances in gender equality.

The 365 Foundation is dedicated to raising awareness about social justice and diversity through the arts, community service, and partnerships with community organizations.

“Our diverse small businesses and nonprofit organizations are a key part of what makes the 12th District such a wonderful place to live,” said Collet. “I’m always excited to welcome new organizations like 365 to the community, especially those that make it their mission to support our marginalized neighbors and fight for a more equitable future.”

Women play such an important role in our communities, families, and businesses, but still must fight every day to get the respect, acknowledgment, and salaries that come unequivocal to others—and to feel protected from physical and sexual abuse.

“It’s cathartic to turn trauma into something beautiful though,” said Venezia. “We want to open our doors for women and invite them into a safe space to work and transform the way we look at communities for good.”


Turning trauma into beauty: 365 Foundation gives space for women to grow
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Turning trauma into beauty: 365 Foundation gives space for women to grow
The grand opening premiered artwork by female Ukrainian refugee artists and united with this diverse suburb of Philadelphia over the importance of empowering women in our communities.  
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365 Foundation Inc.
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