By: Eulonda Nevels, YWCA Metro St. Louis
We are especially excited about the opportunity to nominate a local grantmaker for a Gateway Center for Giving Excellence in Grantmaking Award this year. We nominated the Trio Foundation in the Giving is On Going category. They have partnered with us on the multi-year pilot phase of the Women’s Economic Stability Initiative and thanks to their vision and leadership, the program has shown to be a success and plans for expansion are currently underway.
The Trio Foundation concentrated their efforts and decided to implement a multi-year project that would help single women heads of households break the cycle of poverty for them and their children by breaking down the barriers that prevented them from earning a living wage. By creating a partnership with the YWCA Metro St. Louis, the Trio Foundation established the Women’s Economic Stability Initiative spanning over 5 years providing each participant an opportunity for a nontraditional vocational education which generally pays a higher wage than traditional women’s jobs.
During the pilot phase, ten women received help not only with the cost of education, but with their other needs which are often barriers to completing their education such as transportation, child care and medical costs. The initial phase has proven to be effective and plans are being made for a second class of women to begin in 2012.
2009 Program Highlights Include:
- One participant graduated Cum Laude, earning a degree of Associate Technology in Automotive Collision Repair and another participant earned an Associate of Technology degree in Electrical Systems Design
- One participant has secured full-time employment with benefits in her specialty, earning a wage sufficient to support a family
- One participant has reduced more than $10,000 in credit card debt in one year
- Two participants were able to purchase an automobile through Individual Development Accounts matched savings plans
- One participant was able to secure a Section 8 housing voucher and secured housing in a less crowded and safer environment for her family
Thank you again to the Trio Foundation for their ongoing support of the YWCA of Metro St. Louis!
Click here to read the key findings evaluation report on this joint initiative.