Mission: BRAWS is determined to bring dignity and empowerment to women and girls living in shelters by providing new, personally fitted undergarments and menstrual supplies.
Here’s why: Holly Seibold wanted to do something to help women in local homeless shelters. She held a small collection drive at her house, inviting friends and neighbors to donate. They collected over 300 new bras, as well as underwear, pads, and tampons. Holly brought the items to three shelters in the area and soon other shelters were reaching out to her, requesting she hold more donation drives. Holly quickly discovered that the things she collected are some of the most rarely donated because they are expensive for shelters to replenish and not covered by food stamps.
Since then, BRAWS has donated thousands of bras, pairs of underwear, and packages of menstrual supplies to over 40 area shelters and approximately 4,000 women and girls in the DC metro area. At any given time, the majority of individuals in a homeless shelter are women and their children. They are typically victims of domestic violence fleeing from abusive homes or are single mothers who have lost their jobs due to unforeseen circumstances and need help getting back on their feet.
Regardless of the situation that led these women to homelessness, they need physical and mental support to transition to better lives for themselves and their children. Our mission is to provide them not only with tangible items they need, but to empower them to gain independence and stability.
About Holly Seibold: Since January 2015, the Founder and Executive Director of BRAWS (www.BRAWS.org) and her team have distributed over two million period products and undergarments to women and girls in crisis.
Prior to launching BRAWS, Holly was a classroom educator and the owner of a small business specializing in STEM education. Holly is a fierce defender of women and girls, advocating for the passage of smart public policy. She has participated in several panels, including Netroots Nation 2018, “Menstrual Equity: Practical Action to Public Policy” and Congresswoman Grace Meng’s, “The Case for Menstrual Equity: How Policies Surrounding Menstruation Affect Outcomes for Women.”
Holly’s work has been featured in multiple news outlets, including the Washington Post’s “The Once-Whispered Topic of Women’s Menstruation Now Has Political Cachet.” Holly leads the Virginia Menstrual Equity Coalition and serves on the Board of Directors of the Vienna Business Association, where she is the chair of the nonprofit, social outreach, and youth committees. Holly was named the 2017 Emerging Influential Leader of the Year by the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce and the Rising Star Heroine of the 2017 Heroines of Washington Awards.
Holly is a graduate of George Washington University with a M.Ed in Elementary Education, as well a B.A. in the interdisciplinary study of Communications, Law, Economics and Government from American University in Washington, DC. She is a graduate of the 2018 Emerge Virginia program. Holly lives in Vienna, Virginia with her husband, Erik, and two children, Morgan and Matthew.