I am excited to share news with our members about a new approach to grantmaking that we believe will help the Women's Fund have a greater impact on the lives of the people we serve. We normally make grant presentations at this time toexemplary agencies in the 25-county service area of the Women’s Fund that work to transform the lives of low-income women and girls. These grants have been made to organizations that provide programs to address education, work related and life skills needs.
The question facing the Board of Directors for the last year has been how can we make a greater impact on the lives of the women we serve and be an even better steward of your generous donations. So, we have conducted an evaluation of our grant making and advocacy strategies that has led us to believe we need to be more strategic with our philanthropic investments. We believe the answer to the question, “how can we make a greater impact?” is to sharpen our focus by finding a niche within a specific field that is underserved and building a network of agencies working to address that problem.
Our goal is to focus our resources in a way that leverages our past success, remains true to our mission, and creates an unduplicated source of support and value for the region.
After conducting a broad range of research, the board has decided educational access will be our general focus. We believe the attainment of a secondary, post-secondary or technical degree is a key to sustainability for low-income women and girls. The highest and best use of our resources will be to ensure the opportunity will exist for low-income women and girls to have access to educational opportunities that guarantee a living wage and a sustainable economic future.
Over the next three years, the Women’s Fund will narrow the focus to address specific barriers to education and build a strong field of organizations that can work to reduce these barriers. Although we are not making grants today, we will be developing criteria for future grantmaking based on this new and what we believe to be an exciting strategy.
According to former First Lady Michelle Obama, “Women know education is their only path to self-sufficiency. It is their only chance to shape their own fate rather than having the limits of their lives dictated to them by others.”
Working together we can achieve the Women’s Fund"s vision of “every woman self-sustaining.”
-- Dawn Ford, Chair of Board of Directors