by Hillary Gavan
Aug. 28, 2014 read original
To respond to the needs of women in poverty, the Stateline Women’s Fund will be dispersing $8,300 in 2014 to groups helping Stateline Area women and girls.
Since its first appeal in 2012, the Stateline Women’s Fund has raised nearly $50,000 as part of its $100,000 goal, according to Women’s Fund of the Stateline Community Foundation Co-Chair Sandra Kincaid.
The fund approved giving $4,000 to Family Services, which will be used for a mental health therapist to work with women who have experienced trauma. It also will give $3,000 to the Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) for a pilot program to help young women attend beneficial programs and training. RSVP has a group of volunteer drivers who will help transport women and girls for training and programs.
The fund also will give $700 to Girls Scouts of Wisconsin Badgerland Council for a six-week after-school program for at-risk fifth graders called “Girls Who Rock” to be implemented at four Beloit elementary schools.
And the fund will provide $600 to Project 16:49 to help the organization make a sequel to the first film shown at the Beloit International Film Festival. The film raised awareness of teen homelessness which affects 34 female students in the Beloit School District.
In 2011 the Women’s Fund was formed as part of the Stateline Community Foundation to help Beloit area women and girls move out of poverty to self-sufficiency.
“We believe that when women thrive, communities prosper,” Kincaid said.
According to statistics provided by the American Community Survey and the Wisconsin Women’s Council, more than 70 percent of Beloit households below the Federal Poverty Level are headed by a woman with a high school diploma or less. And only 57 percent of this group are employed.
Kincaid said 78 percent of children in the School District of Beloit receive free or reduced price lunches at school.
One of the biggest challenges to women in the Stateline Area, Kincaid said, is a lack of transportation to the programs designed to help them. Although there are federally funded programs available in the community, women simply can’t get to them as they aren’t on a bus route or have no vehicle.
And when there are programs or job training women can get to, there at aren’t any child care options available.
To help address issues the Women’s Fund will announce its first status report on women and girls in the Beloit area.
Information on the report will be provided at the Women’s Fund fundraising luncheon to be held on from noon – 2 p.m. Nov. 13 at the Country Club of Beloit. The speaker will be Dr. Juanita Irizzary, who will describe some of her work in poverty and basic human needs at the Chicago Community Trust.
“Our vision is to work closely with the service providing agencies to keep in touch with gaps in service and emerging needs. The Women’s Fund intends to be a catalyst for change, a convener of conversations resulting in actions to resolve problems,” Kincaid said. “We can do this through our public awareness forums, periodic status reports on women and girls and project grants to local service providers.”