The Women’s Foundation of Southern Arizona empowers women and girls to make positive changes in their lives and the community through leadership, donor services, community building, research, and grants.
Leadership, Research & Advocacy
Leadership development is built into all aspects of the organization, from the nationally recognized Unidas philanthropy program for high school girls to shaping public policy through research and advocacy. With The Self-Sufficiency Standard for 2012, WFSA educates policy makers about the economic realities facing women and girls. Our latest research report, Supporting Arizona Women’s Economic Self-Sufficiency, analyzes state-funded and administered programs that impact low-income families; providing valuable information to community stakeholders advocating for women and their families.
The Women’s Foundation has funded more than 170 organizations, serving thousands of women and girls in Southern Arizona. Informed by research, WFSA sets funding priorities. Grant proposals are reviewed by a community-based volunteer committee which then makes recommendations to the Foundation’s Board of Trustees.
In 2014, WFSA made grants totaling $215,000 to seventeen organizations covering a wide range of needs including: job training, refugee resettlement, housing, financial education, reproductive health care, citizenship, and student engagement in school.
This year the focus of our annual grantmaking is to provide operational support to organizations helping women and girls achieve economic self-sufficiency.
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 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
WFSA Executive Director (2003-2014) Laura Penny talks about how the foundation and our donors change lives. Network in Focus: Women’s Foundation of Southern Arizona.