How did you first learn about the Women’s Fund?
My introduction to the Women’s Fund was eight years ago at a presentation given by a group of Founders, Board Members, and staff in Johnson City. The enthusiasm and professional approach of the presenters was very impressive. The mission, “Every Woman Self-sustaining,” resonated with me, as I am very aware of the need to help low-income women and girls in the northeastern corner of Tennessee where I live.
What made you want to get involved with the work of the Women’s Fund?
I wanted to support the Women’s Fund financially, but I also wanted to become involved in the research and grant making area. The current focus on post-secondary education is a crucial step in helping women achieve their goals. These low-income women and girls face overwhelming barriers to self-sufficiency. I was impressed by the thoughtful approach of the Women’s Fund in holding focus groups and carefully studying successful grant making. It is my hope that many girls in our large network will feel supported, motivated, and capable as they move forward with their education.
Why was grant making an important piece of the puzzle in your mind?
The Women’s Fund, using a professional facilitator and their own resources, formed an alliance with other local non-profits (The Strong Women Strong Futures network) and very intentionally studied what exactly prevented the young women of our area from pursuing education or trade schools that could help launch a career and independent abilities to support themselves. Then, specific funding (grant making) was carefully distributed to network partners who are the feet on the ground, or already doing the work so the collective group is not being duplicative.
Is there one key area of the Women’s Fund efforts that you are most passionate about?
For me, it’s education. Every young girl deserves the same opportunities I have had to better themselves and prepare for a hopeful and secure future!
What do you most hope for in the future of the Women’s Fund?
It is crucial for those who have been fortunate in life to give back and to help lift up our sisters who have not had the advantages that most donors have had. My hope is that the Women’s Fund will have an endowment that will continue supporting programs for women and girls long into the future.