Three organizations made pitches for funding at Women United's annual meeting Wednesday evening, but which two will receive funding remains to be seen.
Women United is an affiliate of United Way. The Lancaster County chapter's annual grants focus on three areas to enhance women's lives: Education, health and economic mobility.
The 2022-23 grants target the third of these objectives. Woman United plans to make two $30,000 awards, with winners notified by next Friday, June 3.
On Wednesday, Todd Capitao, director of the financial empowerment programs at the housing and financial stability nonprofit Tenfold, made the first 10-minute presentation. He said the grant, if awarded to Tenfold, would go mainly toward its match savings program.
Participants are given the goal of saving $1,000, with the help of a Tenfold financial counselor. If successful, Tenfold matches that savings with an additional $1,000. This money can be used toward life-changing investments, like starting a business, purchasing a vehicle, or making a down payment on a home.
Dr. Cherise Hamblin, founder of Patients R Waiting, which works to promote diversity in medicine and reduce disparate outcomes, went second. She presented her organization's Diversifying Doulas initiative, which seeks to train more local people of color as doulas.
Doulas provide emotional and physical support throughout pregnancy and childbirth. Black women are three times more likely to die from pregnancy-related causes than White women. Advocates believe doulas' expertise and advocacy can drive down that mortality rate.
Diversifying Doulas has helped increase the number of local non-White doulas by more than ninefold since launching in May 2020. Grant money will go to the continuance of doula training, as well as the provision of free doula birthing services to women of color in the community, Hamblin said.
The last to present was Deb St. Onge, director of Lancaster YWCA’s New Choices career development program, which helps clients achieve financial independence.
St. Onge spoke proudly of the accomplishments of program alumni and stressed the importance of New Choices' wraparound services. The program would use the Women United grant to cover expenses incurred by participants as they enter the work force.
St. Onge described buying barbering supplies for a young woman who graduated barber school; the expense had seemed minimal at first, but loomed large as she came to understand what would be needed to launch her career.
Women United members also heard from the two recipients of its 2021-22 grants, which focused on education.
The GateHouse, an addiction treatment program, used its funding to launch an onsite computer lab, where women can take online courses. At least 100 women have benefited to date, Clinical Director Tara Drury said.
Milagro House, the other recipient, introduced a collaborative alliance with Clare House that strengthened workforce development programming and established post-program support for exiting residents, executive director Christina Duncan said. Milagro House and Clare House both provide housing and support services to women facing homelessness.