The 2022 Pathways to Economic Success for Women Grants: Updates from Nonprofit Partners
Our nonprofit partners share progress highlights, four months after the Community Fund for Women & Girls grants awarded
In June 2022, the Community Fund for Women & Girls made the largest collective award in its history, nearly $200,000, to 11 Greater New Haven nonprofits. The Pathways to Economic Success for Women grants addressed workforce training, employment and entrepreneurship, and supported wraparound services such as childcare, transportation and stipends.
The awards, designed to address economic security for women, were a direct and rapid response to a 2021 study, commissioned and funded in part by the Fund, which revealed the many inequities women of color in Connecticut faced in COVID health outcomes, access to healthcare, employment, childcare, housing and food security. Four months after the grants were awarded, we checked in with recipients, who shared the following progress updates from their organizations:
All Our Kin, Inc.
All Our Kin, Inc. received funding to support partnerships with family childcare educators, the vast majority of whom are women of color, to build their business-related knowledge, skills and practice through their proprietary, 10-session Business Series.
From Marina Rodriguez, New Haven Senior Director and Mentor-Coach at All Our Kin:
"All Our Kin is excited to be back to our fall programming, with ongoing network meetings for educators throughout the year, offering a place to be in community, learn from and support each other. We had a huge turnout of educators from Greater New Haven and beyond at our recent kickoff event.
"After a long two years of virtual connections, coaches are finally back in Family Child Care programs alongside educators. While educational coaching is one of our ongoing programs and might not elicit a lot of celebration, it merits a celebration, because it is in deep coaching relationships that we work intentionally toward transformative outcomes for children. Pictured is a dad and child during an art family night at the child's family child care program, 'Our First Steps.'"
Collab received funding to support education and coaching for women entrepreneurs in the Accelerator program, and the launch of Collab’s Women’s Initiative focusing on providing trusted mentorship, key connections to women investors, and a community of support for women entrepreneurs in Greater New Haven.
From Caroline Smith, co-founder and co-director of Collab:
"The Collab's Women Initiative hosted a launch event and fundraiser called the "Collab Women in Entrepreneurship Reception" at the NXTHVN Penthouse. During this event, we invited an intimate group of women to hear from two Collab graduates about their ventures, challenges and successes.
"The two ventures were Nestl (a health-centered furniture startup that provides lactation spaces and hand-washing stations), operated by Della Leapman and Stephanie Boms, and ECPotty (a smart-potty designed to help busy parents teach their babies how to use the potty with confidence at an earlier age using sensors, cues and signals), founded by Ming Hui. Facilitated by Sade Jean-Jacques (Collab board member and Accelerator program graduate), the discussion included dedicated time where each venture received guidance, connections and advice from attendees.
"We were most struck by the nourishing and encouraging spirit of the room — with women supporting other women in their entrepreneurial journeys. This event served as a pilot and model for the Collab team to consider hosting one regularly throughout the year, perhaps quarterly or bi-annually."
Life Health and Wellness Center
Life Health and Wellness Center (LHW) received funding to support LHW's Abundance of Joy Learning Center summer camp, providing needed childcare for working families.
From Janis Daddona, LHW grant writer:
"Life Health and Wellness completed its summer camp project, which was a great success. The children made gift bags as their community service project for seniors who receive Meals on Wheels. Pictured are some photos of the children from the camp, and a thank you letter that was sent from one of the seniors. Clearly it was deeply appreciated."
Spanish Community of Wallingford (SCOW)
Spanish Community of Wallingford (SCOW) received funding to support technology education sessions for women and their families, to improve their technological skills and increase self-sufficiency and preparedness for the workforce.
From Adriana Rodríguez, executive director at SCOW:
"Through the technology sessions at SCOW, "students were able to develop their entrepreneurship skills by navigating different softwares to grow their personal business and passion projects. They can successfully navigate through applications on Google on their own without assistance, are able to complete tasks from home, and improved their typing skills throughout the course. Having gone through the classes, Perla, one of the students, is now able to better connect with her children’s teacher through emails without assistance.
"Marylanda, another student, is happy we are able to offer computer courses with childcare because she does not have to worry about her children being unattended, or receive interruptions while in class. 'I’m happy to finally be able to do something for myself, learn these computer skills to do better for me,' Marylanda said. 'Thank you for offering this to the community.'”
For more information about the 2022 Pathways to Economic Success for Women awards, contact Kara Straun, Director of Program and Evaluation at The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven.