The Atlanta Women's Foundation Awards $1 Million to Eight Local Nonprofit Organizations

Staff Report From Metro Atlanta CEO

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2018

The Atlanta Women’s Foundation (AWF) announces the Breaking Barriers, Building Women: Economic Empowerment Program, which will award a total of $1 million over two years to eight local nonprofit organizations, focusing on higher education and asset building for low-income women in Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton, and Gwinnett counties. The eight nonprofit organizations receiving funding for year one are 9to5 Georgia, Atlanta Habitat for Humanity, Buckhead Christian Ministry, Clayton State University Foundation, Gwinnett Tech Foundation, H.O.P.E., Inc., Literacy Action, and Nicholas House. Funding for the program is provided through a grant from The Coca-Cola Company.

AWF will also host annual workshops and trainings for the cohort. Through round-table discussions and presentations, participants will explore the challenges facing women and discuss the best ways to engage groups and individuals to build momentum and best practices on improving the well-being of women in Georgia. The goal of the trainings is to provide organizational capacity building; to encourage dialogue, cross-functional partnerships, and strategic alliances; and to foster collaboration among service providers.

“Education and asset-building are a critical component to helping women achieve economic self-sufficiency,” said AWF’s Executive Vice President of Mission DiShonda Hughes, “With this program and level of funding, AWF will be able to continue to strengthen the network of local nonprofits providing effective, comprehensive services, and eliminating systemic barriers impacting economically vulnerable women.”

Currently there are 239,000 women that are impacted by poverty in AWF’s 5-county service area. While employment is an important step on the path to success, education and asset-building are key stepping stones to economic self-sufficiency. Women who have been living in poverty frequently struggle to find part-time jobs that do not provide enough to support their families. College graduates, on average, earned 56% more than high school graduates in 2015, according to data compiled by Economic Policy Institute. An educated woman’s household is more likely to prosper as a result of a higher overall income.

Assets are also essential to the economic security of all women. The Center for Community Economic Development found that the median net-worth for single African American and Hispanic women is $100 and $120, respectively. Assets include tangible and intangible resources such as cash savings, a college education, or a home. Without assets, families may be able to survive day-to-day, but will not be able to cope with a financial emergency, save for their children, or invest in a better future. The ability to earn and accumulate assets determines whether families can leave poverty behind and achieve economic security.

AWF CEO Kari B. Love added, “We are grateful to our longtime partner and supporter The Coca-Cola Company for making such a significant investment in AWF and the women in our community.”

The 2018 Breaking Barriers, Building Women: Economic Empowerment Grantees:

  • 9to5 Georgia has been awarded $65,000 to be able to realize their vision: Power of Participation as a 9to5-branded, free tool for partners and communities to use to engage residents, ignite activists, empower leaders and build collective strength for effective advocacy. 

  • Atlanta Habitat for Humanity has been awarded $65,000 for their efforts to qualify 50 women for Atlanta Habitat and expand homebuyer approval, without application contingencies. Education, coaching and mentoring will also provide opportunities to develop and pursue education and professional goals for sustained social mobility and legacy building.

  • Buckhead Christian Ministry has been awarded $70,000 for their Budget For Life Program, which helps financially vulnerable families learn to budget, pay down debilitating debt and establish habits that lead to financial security. It is an intense, six-month program that helps participants lower their debt, increase their credit score, manage their expenses and begin to increase their income.

  • Clayton State University Foundation has been awarded $45,000 to support their BOOST Program, which provides child care subsidies for low income (Pell eligible) student parents attending Clayton State University who are parenting a child four years of age and younger. 

  • Gwinnett Tech Foundation has been awarded $70,000 to support women with children through the Office of Special Populations; Gwinnett Tech will eliminate or decrease the barriers that impede women from obtaining a post-secondary degree. 

  • H.O.P.E., Inc. has been awarded $45,000 in support of the HOPE for Low Income Single Parents (H-LISP) program, which offers financial assistance, financial training, and counseling support services to improve the likelihood that they will complete their coursework and graduate successfully.

  • Literacy Action has been awarded $70,000 to allow them to launch their first all-female Work Readiness Program in fall 2018. The Work Readiness (Transitions) program is a fifteen-week program designed for unemployed, underemployed, or low-income women who are seeking job advancement.

  • Nicholas House has been awarded $70,000 to add the staff position of Income/Employment Navigator to resolve an identified stumbling block for mothers – the inability to find meaningful employment with growth potential.