What We Do
The Women's Fund of Southeastern MA raises funds and takes collaborative action to build pathways to economic independence for all women in the region. Our mission is to advance the educational attainment and economic security of women and girls in Southeastern Massachusetts. Our goal is to increase the percentage of women in the region who earn a living wage. How do we do this? The Women’s Fund convenes key partners to explore and develop solutions, then incubates and invests in these strategies to promote economic independence for all women, especially economic mobility for low-income women.
2019 Women's Fund Impact
Immigrant Women’s Worker’s Rights Program
With a grant to the New Bedford Community Economic Development Center in partnership with the UMass Dartmouth Labor Education Center, we funded an initiative to identify best practices for engaging low-wage immigrant women from the Maya K’iche community. Many fled Guatemala due to civil war, economic-political marginalization, and violence. Arriving in the US, they often face severe exploitation in the workplace. This initiative advances workplace safety and leadership-building for these vulnerable women workers.
Run as You Are / #NominateAWoman
More women civic and political leaders will assure better decisions and policies affecting women's health, pay, and other vital issues. This year, in partnership with the Women’s Fund of Rhode Island, Bristol Community College, and the national organization VoteRunLead, we sponsored training for more than 40 women to learn how to run a successful election campaign. The full-day workshop taught participants how to create effective stump speeches, encouraged them to ask female politicians about their experiences, and provided 30 action items for launching a run for office.
YWCA Advocacy Coordinator
When lawmakers listen to the voices and stories of girls and women, they better understand the need for policies like universal childcare. When girls and women use their voices to improve their communities, they gain skills, confidence, and a powerful sense of agency and leadership. This year, we funded a regional staff person to work on this type of advocacy at the YWCA, expanding their capacity to engage more girls and women and organize local advocacy efforts.
LifeWork Pilot Completion
Originally a three-year pilot, we expanded LifeWork to five years based on its success helping women achieve a better life for themselves and their children. LifeWork ended this summer as the last participants completed their tenure. The project yielded robust insights about systemic obstacles faced by women, especially immigrants and women of color. Further, it demonstrated what women can accomplish with the right support.The work continues by providing ongoing support to LifeWork participants and by incorporating LifeWork best practices into other regional programs.
Funding a Regional Agenda for Women:
The Economic Blueprint for Women
In 2015, the Women’s Fund convened the Task Force on Pathways for Women to a Living Wage, a group of over 40 individuals/organizations that met over 9 months to develop recommendations on the best programs and policies to strengthen women’s abilities to support themselves and their families.
These recommendations were released at the 2015 Women’s Fund Leadership Breakfast, and have been adopted by the Women’s Fund as our blueprint for action and investment over the next fifteen years. In 2016-17, the Task Force met again to create an Action Plan of Priorities.
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Currently, the Women's Fund and its Social Change Investment Committee is predominantly making grants by invitation to organizations moving forward Blueprint Action Plan Priorities. If you would like to learn more, please email or call (508) 717-0283.