Be a Voice for Women and Families this Legislative Session
The Women’s Fund of Greater Birmingham has been funding innovative solutions that accelerate economic opportunities for women and their whole families since 1996. We have experienced tremendous success investing in local agencies to connect women to economic supports like post-secondary education and job training while simultaneously providing child care and other wraparound supports for their children. Our approach, also known as two-generation, is informed by research and is positioned to break generational cycles of poverty and move entire communities forward.
Awarded in January, our 2019 Community Impact Grants continue to support programs and initiatives that strengthen families by integrating services for women and their children. In an effort to deepen our impact, we also made our first ever grant for public policy advocacy, a bold shift in our investment strategy.
“The Women’s Fund of Greater Birmingham envisions a society where power and possibility are not limited by gender. We use philanthropy as a tool, but philanthropy alone cannot solve the systemic and complex barriers that plague women in our region and beyond. This is why we are formally expanding in public policy and systems change,” says Melanie R. Bridgeforth, President & CEO. “Through assessing our investments and their impact, we are fully confident that the most sustainable way to create systemic change is to balance our investments in programmatic and direct service work with investments in local and statewide policy advocacy.”
This year’s public policy advocacy grant was awarded to Alabama Arise to further their organizing and educational efforts around Medicaid. Since 1988, Alabama Arise has worked to promote state policies to improve the lives of low-income Alabamians.
“Medicaid is the backbone of our state’s healthcare infrastructure and provides critical healthcare coverage to women and children,” says Robyn Hyden, Executive Director of Alabama Arise. “Expanding Medicaid would provide health insurance for an additional 152,000 women, many who are our state’s poorest parents. The Women’s Fund of Greater Birmingham’s financial investment in our work will go a long way in making that a reality.”
Our 2019 Community Impact Grants also include investments that address some of the biggest barriers to women entering and staying in the workforce, such as child care.
“Women shouldn’t have to choose between being a good parent and a good employee. Access to affordable, early childhood education not only gives a mom an opportunity for stable employment, it also provides a solid foundation proven to have lifelong benefits for her child and our community,” says Joan Wright, Executive Director of Childcare Resources and long-time grantee of the fund.
Childcare Resources received a 2019 Community Impact Grant for their Supplemental Child Care Program that provides much needed assistance with child care costs to low-to-moderate income working families.
“Through grantmaking and philanthropy, we are uniquely positioned to disrupt societal barriers and ultimately reduce the vast need for so many social services for residents in our region. We aim to get at the root causes of these barriers to economic opportunity for women and our 2019 Community Impact Grants continue to broaden our legacy of change,” says Bridgeforth. “Because when women move forward, the entire community moves with them.”
The full list of 2019 Community Impact Grant recipients includes the following regional and statewide nonprofits and projects:
Medicaid Expansion Campaign
Provides public policy advocacy to support the expansion of Medicaid through coalition partners and stakeholders, story collection from those who will benefit, and a co-branded report.
Birmingham Education Foundation
Women of Innovate Birmingham
Provides support for wraparound services, including child care, transportation, and health care to women receiving IT certifications.
Supplemental Child Care Program
Provides assistance with child care costs to low-to-moderate income working families, allowing parents to remain employed and provide a safe learning environment for their children.
Children’s Aid Society of Alabama
Provides pregnant and/or parenting homeless young women with independent living skills, safe housing, educational opportunities, transportation assistance, quality child care assistance, and counseling.
Young Women’s Advisory Council
Provides advocacy training for young women of color in order to elevate their voices and leadership.
Jefferson State Community College
Women in IT
Provides women with a CompTIA A+ course and wraparound services, including job readiness training, child care, and coaching.
Lawson State Community College
Pharmacy Tech Training Program
Provides women with pharmacy technician training and credentialing, partnering with DHR, JCCEO and the Walgreens Corporation, to provide transportation, child care, and case management.
The Literacy Council
Workforce Leadership for Women through Literacy Education
Provides for a pilot program that offers workforce leadership and literacy education for women employees at ACIPCO.
Oasis Counseling for Women and Children
Mentally Healthy Moms
Provides low-income women with counseling and case management services, including support for employment assistance and pursuit of continued education.
St. Vincent’s Foundation of Alabama, Inc.
Jeremiah’s Hope Academy
Provides student scholarships and child care vouchers for women receiving training and certification in six healthcare careers.
Volunteer Lawyers Birmingham
Justice for Women
Provides free legal services to mothers in three critical areas that prohibit vulnerable families from achieving economic security: finances, housing, and family law.
Walker County Coalition for the Homeless
Operation Home Port
Provides homelessness prevention, shelter, and rapid-rehousing services for women and their children.
Wallace State Community College
Blount County Mothers STEAMing Towards the Future
Provides women the opportunity to complete a certificate in welding, machine tool technology, engineering technology, or electronics technology, including support for child care, transportation, and some living expenses.
YWCA Central Alabama
Provides wraparound services to low-income women while they complete job training or educational programs that lead to living wage jobs.
In addition to the $337,500 invested via the 2019 Community Impact Grants, we invested an additional $300,000 in two-generation, collaborative projects across the region in Jefferson, Walker, and Shelby counties.