The Women’s Foundation of Southern Arizona is a vibrant, active organization that is alive with events and programs that support our mission of fostering equity and opportunity for women and girls. We sponsor inclusive activities to bring about social change now and in the future. These include special leadership and empowerment programs for youth, fundraising events, recognition of outstanding female leaders, advocating political change and conducting important research.
Our main method in fulfilling our mission to foster equity and opportunity for women and girls is to seek out and invest in organizations striving to create long-term, positive change.
Using research about women in Southern Arizona and nationwide, we set funding priorities for each year’s grant selection process. Grant proposals submitted to the Women’s Foundation are reviewed by a community-based group of volunteers based on those priorities. They then make funding recommendations to the Foundation’s Board of Trustees. Our grants allocation committee is made up of individuals with a wide range of experiences and knowledge as well as diversity in ethnicity, race, income, sexual orientation, and age.
In 2013, we made grants totaling $220,000 to fifteen organizations covering a wide range of needs including: literacy, refugee resettlement, legal assistance, housing, financial education, reproductive health care, sexual violence treatment and prevention, and student engagement in school.
This year the focus of our annual grantmaking continues to be to provide operational, rather than programmatic support. One of the most commonly cited concerns during discussions with not-for-profit organizations in Southern Arizona is how difficult it is to raise unrestricted dollars for general operations.
Equity and Opportunity Fund
In response to the Status of Women in Southern Arizona research results, WFSA established the Equity and Opportunity Fund in 2008 to address women’s economic self-sufficiency. At least 17 percent of females in Southern Arizona live in poverty; the rate more than doubles for female-headed households with children, placing families at risk for poor health, unstable housing, and poor academic outcomes. The most recent report commissioned by WFSA, The Self-Sufficiency Standard for Arizona 2012, “shows that earnings well above the official Federal Poverty Level are nevertheless far below what is needed to meet families’ basic needs.”
The Fund’s second two grants were awarded in 2013 to Accion New Mexico·Arizona·Colorado and the Caregiver Training Institute for programs to provide economic opportunity and employment for women entrepreneurs and career advising and resources for women pursuing nursing careers. The grants, totaling $75,000 over three years, reflect the Foundation’s belief that economic security is crucial to the health and well-being of women and girls.
Learn More about WFSA’s IMPACT
Foundation executive director Laura Penny talks about how the foundation and our donors change lives. Network in Focus: Women’s Foundation of Southern Arizona.