Womens Funding Network commits to scale the Partnership for Womens Prosperity (PWP) learning community by launching a new program: Advancing Women in the Workforce. This program will provide a platform to replicate effective PWP strategies by targeting geographic areas (which will be identified as part of the the feasibility study in Year 1) where women are most economically valuable and engaging local womens foundations in those communities to provide pipelines to prosperity.
Womens Funding Networks intention -is to establish a multi-year, multimillion dollar program, working with up to 10 womens foundations to get no- and low-income women into secure jobs. This one-year commitment will secure $30,000 in funding to launch a womens economic security digital storytelling platform that will promote Advancing Women in the Workforce, drive engagement with womens foundations, and provide a valuable fundraising tool. In addition, WFN will secure $70,000 for a planning grant to 1) launch a feasibility study that will identify target communities and 2) convene working groups with womens foundations to establish the need and desire for this long-term economic security learning community. For this program to be effective, womens foundation partners will need to secure matching grants. As such, WFN is committed to building a strong foundation with potential partners, providing the flexibility to respond to partners in establishing how to best support women in the communities they serve.
Womens Funding Network will use the outcomes of this first year of planning to build the Advancing Women in the Workforce program and drive fundraising and next steps over the years to come. This approach is intended to mitigate potential challenges around member engagement and ensure the correct communities and foundations are targeted.
This commitment will be implemented over the course of one year.
Q3 & Q4 2016: Secure $30,000 to develop and launch an economic security microsite. Launch economic security digital storytelling platform to present the evidence-based economic security framework and key case studies and impact stories gathered from our members economic security programs, showcasing the ways womens funds are advancing the economic security of women and girls. Womens Funding Network would launch this at CGI in September and continue to promote this and to gather stories from members throughout 2016
Q1 & Q2 2017: Write planning grant for feasibility study and approach funders to secure $70,000 to conduct study. Conduct research study to identify the next cohort states where women are most economically vulnerable, conduct survey of membership to establish womens foundations working in or interested in working in this space, establishing working groups with interested stakeholders to discuss potential program, metrics, and objectives.
With the recent adoption of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), we have marked the beginning of a new era of international development. Gender is a central feature of the SDGs Outcome Document; it is highlighted as a standalone outcome and goal (SDG 5), and is integrated throughout the agreement. Never before has addressing gender inequality been so integral to a global development commitment.
In order to advance gender equality targets, a coalition of multi-sectoral partners convened by No Ceilings, Vital Voices, and WEConnect International, will focus on three core issue areas of work: 1) Promoting Womens Economic Participation; 2) Addressing Violence Against Girls and Women; and, 3) Advancing Womens Leadership in both Private and Public sectors.
Through this commitment, Womens Funding Network will contribute to the first pillar, promoting womens economic participation by helping women connect to good jobs as a powerful catalyst for family and community change.
Womens foundations have been advancing the economic security of women and their families for over 30 years. In the United States, they play a vital role as community investors, raising money and funneling it back to the community in tested solutions that work. In the last 10 years, the number of organizations working in this space has grown significantly. For example, in 2015, 38 womens funding organizations within the Womens Funding Network identified economic security as a priority funding area with a combined investment of $72.5 million.
This increased interest and significant financial commitment presents an opportunity for womens foundations to share best practices and scale impact to reach more women in low-income communities around the county. As a network of 100 womens funding organizations, Womens Funding Network is perfectly positioned to facilitate this learning community, to scale this impact, and to share these stories.
What makes Womens Funding Network and its members particularly effective at promoting womens economic participation is their gender-lens approach to grantmaking. The success of this approach is evidenced by the Womens Funding Network-led Partnership for Womens Prosperity (PWP), advancing economic security using a gender lens by featuring integrated approaches, known as wrap-around services. The PWP approach necessitates that a womans basic needs must be met first in order for her to be successful in economic participation programs, as her first jobthe care of children and familiesoften takes precedence. Since its creation in 2011, the Partnership for Womens Prosperitya cohort of six womens foundationshas positively affected 43,200 no- and low-income women in 100 communities throughout the United States. Through the provision of job or trade training and placement, financial literacy training, leadership training, support services, and assistance in obtaining credentials, these women are positioned to enter, or advance in, the workforce.
As the convening partner of this cohort, Womens Funding Network amplifies the impact being made by closely tracking and reporting on what it takes to create a pipeline to secure jobs for economically vulnerable women. Building on this success, Womens Funding Network commits to scaling it across our network of womens foundations to advance the economic security of women across the United States. According to the Institute for Womens Policy Researchs 2015 Status of Women in the States, Women are now 30% more likely than men to live in poverty. The potential to make an impact on women and girls economic security through connecting the established models, programs, and learnings from the PWP to the broader network of womens foundations is therefore substantial.
Womens Funding Network seeks funding partners to establish Advancing Women in the Workforce planning grant and program design. In addition, Womens Funding Network will engage research partners and womens foundations to help establish the program, metrics, and objectives.
Womens Funding Network can provide best practices on investing in economic security programs for women and girls, particularly with a gender lens, through research and reports released from Partnership for Womens Prosperity and other related economic security projects. Womens Funding Network can provide network-wide economic security grant-making data and womens foundation grant-making priority information for 2015, along with information on grantee recipient data and trends from 2010 to present. Through its digital storytelling platform, Womens Funding Network will be able to share with partners case studies and impact stories from womens foundations working to advancing women and girls economic security, alongside a framework for understanding the common strategies and approaches these organizations use.