Black Dolls Matter®, an online manufacturer and retailer that specializes in creating Black and multi-ethnic dolls, apparel, and accessories, has partnered with local community organizations to donate over 260 dolls as holiday gifts to children served by Gaudenzia’s pregnant and parenting women’s (PPW) programs.
Children were ecstatic to receive their dolls on Thursday — just in time for the holiday weekend — at Gaudenzia’s Hutchinson Place, located in Philadelphia.
The donation, part of an inaugural Black Dolls Matter® Gift-A-Doll initiative, was made possible through a collaborative effort between Black Dolls Matter®, Perfect Place Real Estate, the Lancaster Avenue 21st Century Business Association, CDC (LA21), Truist Bank, and Baobab Sentre.
Black Dolls Matter®: Representation, Stigma, and Action
Representation matters. This message is central to the mission at Black Dolls Matter®, which is owned and operated by Daytime Emmy award-winning designer Mark Ruffin. With a career that includes working as a costume designer and puppet builder for Sesame Street, Mark’s passion for working with children inspired him to start Black Dolls Matter®. The idea came to him after the unrest following George Floyd’s 2020 murder sparked national conversations around representation, inclusion, and stigma — topics that extend to the toy industry.
Keeping Families Together at Gaudenzia
Studies show that SUD disproportionately impacts women of color, while stigmatization, a lack of support with childcare, and fear of losing custody of their children present significant barriers for women seeking SUD treatment. Gaudenzia is one of the first substance use disorder (SUD) treatment providers in the nation to provide specialized programs where women can bring their children into treatment with them. In Philadelphia, 59% of clients served by Gaudenzia’s programs are Black.
Our organization is incredibly grateful to Mark Ruffin and the folks at Black Dolls Matter®, Perfect Place Real Estate, Truist Bank, LA21, Baobab Sentre, and all others involved in this wonderful initiative for bringing so much joy to the children at Gaudenzia, as well as their families, this holiday season.
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