Bringing Two-Generation Solutions to Birmingham


In 2000, the poverty rate for women in Alabama was 17.9%. In 2011, the poverty rate for women in Alabama was 18.7%.

Many organizations in Birmingham work tirelessly to move Alabama women and their children beyond poverty—so why aren’t the rates going down?

The Women’s Fund of Greater Birmingham recognizes that while many organizations provide hope and change for women and their children, they work in silos. In order to achieve a lasting decrease in the poverty rates, The Women’s Fund knows that collaboration is key.

To facilitate the kind of two-generation collaboration that Birmingham needs, The Women’s Fund has launched the Collaboration Institute. On June 13, Ascend Deputy Director Nisha Patel and Program Manager Sarah Haight joined The Women’s Fund in Birmingham to launch Collaboration Institute.  Both introduced the two-generation approach to 44 local organizations that provide higher education, child care, housing, and financial counseling to women.

Collaboration Institute works like this:

1.) Teams working with women and children apply to the 9 month institute.

2.) Selected teams receive in-depth information on successful two-generation models over 9 months.

3.) Teams receive 24 hours of free consulting expertise to address the challenges of collaboration.

4.) At the end of Collaboration Institute in February 2013, the top two most promising collaborative teams receive $25,000 each in start-up funds and an AmeriCorps member.

Collaboration is difficult. The Women’s Fund of Greater Birmingham hopes Collaboration Institute will provide area organizations with the time, space, and resources to work together to move women into higher wage jobs and break the generational cycle of poverty.  To learn more about Collaboration Institute and our work, visit our website.