Women’s Issues are Community Issues

“Women are super heroes,” Dr. Colette Pierce Burnette, president of Huston-Tillotson University and newest member of the Austin Community Foundation Board of Governors, said to a crowded room at the New Central Library downtown.  A large group of Women’s Fund investors and community members were gathered for Leadership Austin’s first Engage Breakfast of the year. “The work is challenging and there’s a lot of it to be done, but when you feel overwhelmed – keep the will,” Dr. Burnette urged.

Dr. Burnette was joined by Austin City Council Member Delia Garza and Shannon Moody, executive director of the Jeremiah Program, in a panel discussion moderated by KLRU’s Judy Maggio on the recent report released by the Women’s Fund on the status of women and children in Central Texas.

“I don’t want another working family to leave Austin because they can’t afford to live here anymore,” Garza said regarding concerns in her district about housing costs and lack of accredited child care centers.

Organizations like the Jeremiah Program are a great example of how investing in affordable housing services, access to child care and higher education opportunities provides women a path out of poverty.

Dr. Burnette challenged the audience to take action by saying, “there is power in this data, but we need to ask ourselves how we can break barriers for women, especially women of color. Opportunity comes from education, health and economic security.”

Dr. Burnette’s words are synonymous with the Women’s Fund vision: that when women are economically secure, safe and healthy, our whole community benefits.

Late in 2017, the Women’s Fund announced a new strategic direction for supporting the economic security of women and their families in Central Texas. Leaders of the Women’s Fund have identified four focus areas as the building blocks to economic security: housing, education, child care and unintended pregnancy prevention.

“A red rose does not look at a yellow rose and say, ‘I’m prettier than you!’ – they both bloom where they are.” Dr. Burnette’s call to action to keep the will is a powerful reminder that when we invest in women and children, our whole community thrives.  

Photo of Women's Fund 4Front Investors attending the Women's Issues are Community Issues Engage Breakfast on January 10, 2018.