Announcing the 2014 Alexia Foundation Women’s Initiative Grant Recipient

Connie Sue Foss was raped while in the US Army and hasn't been able to hold down a job to care for herself and her daughter. She bears scars from punching a window during a PTSD episode and holds a molar she lost from grinding her teeth at night. Mary F. Calvert

Connie Sue Foss was raped while in the US Army and hasn’t been able to hold down a job to care for herself and her daughter. She bears scars from punching a window during a PTSD episode and holds a molar she lost from grinding her teeth at night. Mary F. Calvert

The Alexia Foundation is pleased to announce that the recipient of the 2014 Women’s Initiative Grant is Mary F. Calvert, an independent photojournalist based in the United States. Calvert will utilize the $25,000 grant for her project “Missing in Action: Homeless Female Veterans.”

“Female veterans are the fastest growing segment of the homeless population in the United States and are four times more likely to become homeless than civilian women,” Calvert tells us in her proposal. Yet, the Department of Veteran’s Affairs is ill equipped to address the issues faced by female veterans, many of whom are mothers and single parents.

The stark emotion evoked in her images promises to deliver the raw naked truth about a neglected segment in the military

Women who served their country courageously in Iraq and Afghanistan, arrive home with health care issues like post traumatic stress disorder from serving and custody battles from the strain of deployment on their families.

For many women, the military was a way to escape a difficult situation, yet lack of advancement and high levels of harassment and sexual assault have driven them out. When they leave, they have trouble coping with the stress of unemployment in a weak economy. Further exacerbating the situation, a good deal of homeless shelters cannot accommodate children, and those that can often won’t allow a male child over the age of 12.

“Mary Calvert’s project on homeless female veterans in Los Angeles qualifies as the poster story for our mission statement,” says Alexia Foundation co-founder Aphrodite Tsairis. “The stark emotion evoked in her images promises to deliver the raw naked truth about a neglected segment in the military – the debilitating aftermath for abused women in the armed forces.”

Calvert’s work will focus on the Los Angeles region, where the largest concentration of homeless veterans live. She will examine the painfully slow response to this crisis by the beleaguered U.S. Department of Veteran’s Affairs as well as the organizations that attempt to help these women. Calvert will put a human face on this neglected crisis by making compelling photographs of the women affected and allowing them to tell their stories in their own voices.

“It is so gratifying to be recognized by such a prestigious organization that really cares about this type of work,” said Calvert about receiving the grant. “I’m so honored to be part of the Alexia family.”

Likewise, we are honored to be able to help support Calvert’s important project and look forward to seeing its development.

Share this story!

11 thoughts on “Announcing the 2014 Alexia Foundation Women’s Initiative Grant Recipient

  1. Pingback: Congratulations to the 2014 Alexia Foundation Women’s Initiative Grant Recipient

  2. I am in awe, I find this so inspiring and so important, I hope as a fledgling photographer that I can use my talents in the future to promote awareness and help towards positive change.

    • Thank you so much for writing, Heather. It is wonderful to hear that you find Mary’s work so inspiring. There is no doubt, in the future, you will use your gifts to promote awareness and help foster positive change.

  3. Pingback: Alexia Foundation's 2014 Women's Initiative Grant - Ed Kashi

  4. Congratulations to Calvert for the win, i wish her the best of success in compellingly telling her story. it looks to me the proposed story is very interesting and will go along in highlighting the plight of this critical group of women that is rather forgotten in the U.S. i long to see the story also in text. i was a contestant from Africa with the proposal the ‘beast of burden’ i hope for another chance in the future.

  5. Kudos to Mary for giving voice to our women veterans. So glad to see that she is telling their story and bringing awareness of the difficulties so many face. It is outrageous that in this country we send young men and women to fight in our wars and defend our country, but we are lousy at taking of them and making sure their needs are met when they get home.

    • Thank you very much, Mary, for sending these kudos. Your summation of the importance of her work is exactly right. We’ll pass your response on to Mary. Thank you for your support in our selection.

  6. Pingback: 2016 World Press Photo | Washington DC Photojournalist Mary F. Calvert | Editorial and Corporate Photography

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>