Housing is the anchor to economic security for women and children, who are the most vulnerable to housing instability and cost burdens. The Women’s Fund focuses our housing investments on increasing supportive services for women and children living in affordable housing.
Saint Louise House
Wraparound Services for Women and Children
In 2018, the Women’s Fund helped make it possible for three low-income women-led families experiencing homelessness to move into Saint Louise House and begin to build a better life for themselves. Their on-site wraparound services – case management; life skills workshops; employment services; assistance for childcare, transportation, and utilities; children’s activities supporting social and emotional development; and flexible funds supporting goals in health, education, employment and other areas – are helping mothers and children reach their full potential.
Most families spend three to four years at Saint Louise House, healing from the wounds of homelessness, developing economic security and gaining the tools and resources they need to thrive on their own for the long term. In 2019, the Women’s Fund will continue to be part of the journey of families through our housing grant, which will provide pathways out of poverty to at least 150 women and children.
Child care is an essential work support for women seeking to provide for their families and secure their futures, yet there is a lack of quality, affordable child care in Central Texas. The Women’s Fund focuses our child care investments on funding the expansion of proven programs and providers to increase access to quality child care for low-income families.
Access, support, and expansion to serve low-income, single mothers in Austin
Mainspring Schools helps families in Austin break generational cycles of poverty through early childhood education, nutrition and family services.
Unfortunately, much of the funding for this work comes through government tuition subsidies, which are difficult to obtain for families. Often, single moms -- which make up the majority of Mainspring caregivers -- hope to enroll but don't have funding in place. With the Women's Fund's support, this project will allow Mainspring to enroll children whose families are in the process of securing subsidy funding, allowing moms to pursue employment or education, which can be life changing for an entire family!
Education is a pathway out of poverty. With every step up the educational ladder, women see increases in salary and, therefore, better able to provide for the basic needs of their families. The Women’s Fund focuses our educational investments on supporting a path to post-secondary success and participation in the workforce.
Breakthrough Central Texas
Breakthrough's College Completion Program
Breakthrough Central Texas builds a path to and through college, beginning in middle school, for students from low-income communities who will become the first in their families to earn a college degree.
The education grant from the Women's Fund will enable Breakthrough Central Texas to expand its comprehensive case management support and year-round programming to support 200 female first-generation college students. This program will cater to the unique needs of female first-generation college students by providing workshops to support their college transition, an internship program that provides professional experiences in under-represented fields as well as professional female advisors, which help female students overcome any academic, social, cultural or financial barrier that may prevent them from achieving their goal of earning a college degree.
Preventing unintended pregnancy is vital in maintaining pathways to economic security. Unintended pregnancy leaves women less likely to reach their career and school goals and more likely to raise their children in poverty. The Women’s Fund focuses our unintended pregnancy prevention investments on increasing access to, and education on, long-acting reversible contraception (LARCs).
Planned Parenthood of Greater Texas
Unintended Pregnancy Prevention
Planned Parenthood creates healthier communities by providing comprehensive reproductive and related healthcare services, delivering science-based education programs, and serving as a strong advocate for reproductive justice in Texas. As a longtime, trusted healthcare provider, PPGT serves nearly 85,000 women, men and young adults annually, and is committed to ensuring that all Texans have access to high-quality, affordable healthcare regardless of their insurance status or ability to pay.
Planned Parenthood’s Unintended Pregnancy Prevention program seeks to reduce the incidence of unintended pregnancy among young women in need and support their economic security through increased access to their preferred contraception method, including long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs), at three Austin health centers and at pop-up clinics operated by PPGT in the Austin area. Planned Parenthood provides the convenience and flexibility young women need through same-day appointments, online appointment scheduling, and same-day provision of contraception, including intrauterine devices (IUDs) and implants.
In 2018, we quickly recognized that the issues the Women's Fund sought to address – housing, child care, education and healthcare – don’t operate in isolation. With that in mind, this year the Women's Fund launched our first-ever Innovation Grant, which awards $50,000 to a nonprofit organization that is taking a creative and collaborative approach to addressing one or more of our impact areas.
Expanding Innovative Peer Coaching to Ensure More Working Mothers Earn a Degree
Today’s college student has changed: 70% are now older than 24, working full time or caring for a child. But college hasn’t changed with them, so 250,000 Austin adults have tried college and had to drop out.
PelotonU has redesigned college with its two key needs in mind - flexibility and support. As a result, students' graduation rates have increased from 16% locally to 80% through PelotonU.
The Innovation grant will expand PelotonU’s innovative approach to postsecondary education for working adults by doubling its first-in-the-industry Peer Coach initiative. The grant will expand evening availability so 64 evening-only students - mostly mothers - can fit college around their work and family commitments. With evening availability tripled, PelotonU will then be able to pilot a 2Gen co-location with Open Door preschool so more mothers with young children can pursue a degree while ensuring their children learn, too.