WINNING for Women & Girls: Changing Systems

Mothers for Justice tirelessly advocated for a change to public policy. The result is helping move women out of poverty, with support from the Community Fund for Women & Girls.

Moving Women Out of Poverty

Proving that perseverance pays off, Mothers for Justice (MFJ), an advocacy group supported by Christian Community Action, Inc., helped ensure the passing of SB 106, "An Act Concerning Improving Employment Opportunities Through Education and Ensuring Safe School Climates." After more than two years of tireless advocacy work by the Mothers and their partners, the new law, allows women in the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) program to seek training and education in order to improve their employment potential. Prior to the change, working toward a GED or college degree was not counted as eligible work credits for those receiving temporary assistance, making it nearly impossible to move out of poverty. Women were forced to abandon furthering their education — an important means to maximizing earning potential and workplace success.

The Community Fund for Women & Girls, a component fund of The Community Foundation for Greater New Haven, began funding Christian Community Action's work to teach advocacy skills back in 2008. In 2010, a $10,000 grant from the Fund allowed MFJ to create their powerful teaching tool, Living in a Broken System, a documentary short

The film clearly demonstrated how common-sense changes in state statutes and regulations would improve results for vulnerable families by eliminating barriers. Once created, members of MFJ diligently sought out audiences for their documentary, and targeted legislators, public policy leaders and partner organizations. Honing their advocacy skills, MFJ met with legislators, prepared and delivered testimony at various hearings and made themselves available as resources. As MFJ co-leader, Kim Hart explains, the group is driven by the belief that, "The voice of the people most impacted by the issue should be heard, and their recommendations should be used in the making of public policy."

Supporters of the Community Fund for Women & Girls can take great pride in the growth and success of MFJ and in helping to move women out of poverty. To learn more about the Fund, please: