Mission: The mission of the women's foundation of southern arizona is to foster equity and opportunity for women and girls. The foundation fulfills this mission by using a community-based process to grant funds to an array of programs in southern arizona that benefit women and girls, and by providing innovative programs to increase young women's philanthropy.
Programs: The foundation fulfills its mission by granting funds to an array of programs in southern arizona (pima, cochise & santa cruz counties) that promote economic self-sufficiency for women and girls; by providing innovative programs to increase young women's philanthropy and leadership; by advocating publicly for issues affecting women and girls; and by conducting research on issues affecting women and girls in southern arizona. In the spring of 2014, we awarded 205,000 through our general, annual grant round to 13 organizations that promote women's economic selfsufficiency using a variety of strategies: education, skills development, high school completion, job training, family planning, asset development and child support enforcement. Additionally, we awarded two multi-year equity & opportunity grants. Assuming adequate yearly progress toward goals, each organization receives a 25,000 grant, renewal for two more years. Again, these grants focus on economic self-sufficiency. One trains women to achieve certified caregiver status; the other provides business training and loans to women entrepreneurs. Selected by the association of fundraising professionals as their 2012 youth philanthropists of the year, our unidas program trained thirty-one young tucson women on social justice issues, philanthropy, leadership and grant-making. Through unidas, high school girls designed and implemented a grants process, allocating 10,000 to three organizations that educate young women about healthy relationships and body image. In the fall of 2013, we awarded 40,000 to the grand canyon institute to conduct research examining how women and girls were affected by legislative actions in the state of arizona from 2007 through 2012.
The Board members are the most active participants I have come across on a Board. They are not just there in name. I experience passion, expertise and sheer joy in helping make the lives better of women and girls in Southern Arizona. The organization can impact so many programs at once, without spreading their dollars too thin and the results we have received regarding the programs we've funded have been outstanding. Many organizations we have funded have gone on to leverage that money elsewhere and have succeeded in finding other funding sources for their work. I am very proud to be on the Board of the WFSA.
The work for equality for women and girls still continues. Recently, it has becomes increasingly important once again as it was in past history. The advocacy role of the foundation provides the community with awareness and opens the doors to dialogue.
I think that WFSA is the single best way to make a local impact on the lives of women and girls in our community. They have a SUPERB grantsmaking process that identifies real needs of women and girls, and identifies organizations that are making an important impact. They also have a wonderful program, "Unidas," that is teaching young women (mostly high-school age) to do community fundraising, and to use the money they have raised to make targeted grants that address specific needs. An amazing organization!