The theme of the annual Women’s Funding Network Conference, which took place April 10 – 13 in Detroit, Michigan, was Investing in Women: New Models for Impact, Giving and Collaboration. Indeed, everywhere I turned, it seemed representatives from women’s funds were exchanging ideas on new ways of working. This was especially true in the workshop on two-generation approaches that I co-led alongside Carol Penick of the Women’s Fund of Mississippi and Ruby Bright of the Women’s Fund for a Greater Memphis. What could a two-generation approach look like in your community in five years? That was the question we asked the 50 or so participants from a number of states, including New Mexico, Alabama, Massachusetts, and Michigan during our session, Two Generations, One Future: A Framework for Moving Women and their Children Beyond Poverty. “I’m envisioning a way to connect our donors – who traditionally give to women’s-focused programs – to [programs that provide] early childhood education,” shared one participant. Another added, “I’d like to figure out a way to add a child component to our scholarships for single mothers.”
While participants bounced two-generation ideas off one another in break-out groups, Carol, Ruby, and I offered advice and ideas. Carol discussed how her organization is partnering with five community colleges in Mississippi to enhance services for enrolled students’ children; Ruby discussed opportunities to engage mothers in job training through public housing partnerships in Memphis. I suggested that perhaps there is an opportunity for women’s funds to collaborate with each other on these approaches – particularly for women’s funds in regions where the need is so great, such as the Southeast. To learn more about the ways a two-generation approach can be applied, click here.
Do you work for a women’s fund or are you interested in partnering with one on these issues? We want to hear from you!