There’s a new president at Washington Area Women’s Foundation and Nicky Goren says she’s optimistic about the future.
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For 12 years, The Women’s Foundation has worked to expand and leverage women’s philanthropy. That philanthropy has been used to empower D.C., area women and girls through funding and resources to over 140 local non-profits that give low-income women and girls the tools they need to lift themselves out of poverty.
The future of Washington Area Women’s Foundation grant making and advocacy will be determined by the needs of the women and girls of the National Capital Region. Our ability to help them improve their lives will also be shaped by the individuals, foundations and corporations who understand that when a woman succeeds, her entire family and the community benefit.
Our upcoming report, A Portrait of Women and Girls in the Washington Metropolitan Area, will be the basis of our work in the coming months and years. The Portrait Project, as we call it, includes research that we’ve conducted along with the Institute for Women’s Policy Research and the Urban Institute. When we release it in October, The Portrait Project will illustrate what we’ve been saying for years: ours is a region that is divided between the successful and the struggling.
Many women in our area are experiencing phenomenal achievement. Initial findings from our research show that women in the region are almost twice as likely to be college-educated when compared with women in the U.S. overall. We’ve also learned that women here, on average, earn more money than women nationwide.
That’s the good news, but The Portrait Project will also feature some alarming stories and facts. 31 percent of poor people in our region live in women-headed families. In Washington, D.C., the cost of full-time child care is more than half of a woman-headed family’s median income. And 62 percent of households in the region headed by a single woman spend a third or more of their income on housing, a level the federal government considers unaffordable.
As The Women’s Foundation moves forward, our grant making will be informed by what we learn from The Portrait Project, we’ll focus on those areas of greatest need.
We’ll also be finding new ways to broaden our reach and impact, increase our visibility and expand the culture of philanthropy in our region. We’ll work on raising awareness of the facts that anyone can be a philanthropist, that the power to create change isn’t always in the size of the donation, but in the combining of donations, and that investing in organizations that give women the tools they need to improve their lives means that our neighborhoods and communities will be stronger and more cohesive.
That region-wide impact is why I’m here today, telling you about the future of Washington Area Women’s Foundation and the women and girls in our community. It’s a future that you, and all of the other women and men in our region, can affect. For more information about our work, please go to The Women’s Foundation.org.
I’m Nicky Goren.