The Women United Grant Committee is pleased to announce that in our 11th year, Women United will be awarding $40,000 in grants to local human services organizations. We received 11 compelling proposals, which we have carefully reviewed and narrowed down to a selective group of 5 finalists:
African American Teaching Fellows
The mission of African American Teaching Fellows is to recruit, support, develop, and retain African American teachers to serve Charlottesville City and Albemarle County public schools. Fellowship applicants who are undergraduates must be enrolled in an accredited education program. Fellowship applicants who are college graduates and have completed an undergraduate degree in a program other than education, and are presently enrolled in an approved education program working toward licensure, are also eligible. AATF’s programming, ranging from professional support to leadership development, helps Fellows foster a connection to, and an affinity for, the Charlottesville-Albemarle community, thus contributing to the retention of Fellows in our community.
The purpose of the AATF 2016 grant request of $20,000 to Women United is to provide the AATF direct tuition support of the AATF Scholarship program’s mission goals. The AATF program contributes a total of $25,000 to the degree attainment and teacher licensure process of five Student Fellows yearly. All of the $20,000 requested from Women United will be restricted to AATF’s Direct Assistance Fund. In exchange for the scholarship funding, each Fellow commits to teaching in the Charlottesville-Albemarle public school systems for the amount of time equivalent to the years of funding received. Out of 16 Fellows teaching in the state of Virginia, 14 Fellows are teaching in the Charlottesville-Albemarle community.
AATF’s relationship to community need: Our community serves over 15,000 students and employs more than 1,500 teachers. However, there are fewer than 150 African American teachers working in our public schools. The AATF program works to increase the number of African American teachers in the Charlottesville City and Albemarle County public schools, thereby providing all students with the experience of building social trust and a wider sense of community with African American teachers from the Charlottesville-Albemarle community.
More information: AATF website
Children Safe at Home: Albemarle Housing Improvement Program (AHIP)
Children Safe at Home is a household repair program that responds when there is an urgent call from homeowners for critical repairs to ensure that their children have safe and secure homes. The goal of the $20,000 grant would be to make 30 critical home repairs for low-income families in 2017. Funds would be used for project planning and estimating, labor, building materials and supplies.
The target population to benefit from this grant is low income, home-owning families with children under 18 years of age in the Charlottesville and Albemarle area. In the past year, the population served by this program was 60% African American or Hispanic, with 23% of the families being headed by a single parent; the average annual income in these households was $30,049.
AHIP has offered repairs to households that could not afford them since 1976. Last year alone, AHIP helped 297 people make 246 critical home repairs and energy upgrades. Thirty- two percent of those households included children. AHIP believes that a Women United grant for this ongoing program would serve as a seal of approval that would assist them in garnering more donations to this program.
More information: AHIP website
KidsCollege Closing Summer Achievement Gap: Piedmont Virginia Community College
The goal of the KidsCollege Summer Academies program, and request for Women United’s grant of $20,000, is to provide 200 low-income youth (grades 3–9) with tuition costs and access to STEM & Arts summer enrichment programming at Piedmont Virginia Community College. The purpose is to address the achievement gap between low-income and high-income students. The funding will provide the tuition support for low-income youth from the Southwood community and Fluvanna County, as well as provide reliable transportation, and support personnel. In the Southwood community, more than 80% of the residents are of Mexican, Salvadoran, or Honduran descent, and parents have limited skills in speaking English. Families in Fluvanna County face significant transportation barriers.
The Summer Academies focus on STEM-H (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math and Health Sciences) and the Arts, and will occur through project-based educational Academies that include topics such as, Kitchen Chemistry, Make an APP, Robotics, and AV Audio. Pre- and post- evaluations with students and their parents/guardians will be conducted to determine program impact, content and skills learned.
KidsCollege provides effective summer learning programs with a safe environment, small class sizes, a blend of academic and enrichment activities, engagement of parents, and community partnerships. This summer enrichment programming addresses the widening achievement gap between low-income and high-income students. It allows economically disadvantaged youth to take beginning steps to break the cycle of poverty and achievement gaps in the experience of low-income children.
More information: KidsCollege Summer Academies website
Nutrition and Community at Friendship Court: Piedmont Housing Alliance (PHA)
Friendship Court, an affordable housing community of 150 very low income households, is managed by Piedmont Housing Alliance (PHA), which offers an after school program, complete with snacks, for children who are residents. The previous source of the snacks is no longer able to provide the food; therefore, PHA seeks bridge funding of $20,000 for a year while they complete the process of qualifying for a USDA program that would supply snacks. PHA would like to provide 30-40 children with healthy, locally sourced snacks five days a week for the ten months that school is in session. The grant money would pay for both the food and three hours of staff time per week to obtain and serve the food.
The group of approximately 100 children who could benefit from the grant the days they attend the program are aged 3 to18 years old, 93% of whom live in female-headed households, and have a median family income of $11,000 per year. The residents are predominately African American.
PHA is a Charlottesville not-for-profit whose mission is to create housing opportunities and build community in Charlottesville and central Virginia. Piedmont Housing Alliance is a minority partner in the partnership that owns Friendship Court. Piedmont Housing is committed first, and most importantly, to providing homes for 150 families that live at Friendship Court and to keeping the Section 8 rental assistance that makes the housing affordable.
More information: PHA website
Yes We Tech! Charlottesville Women in Technology (CWIT)
Yes We Tech! aspires to increase the number of girls interested in entering STEM professions, increase the number of women entering the technology field, and improve technology support for local women in various fields. Several annual events to be inaugurated in 2017 would be supported by the $20,000 grant: (1) six Yes We Tech!-Girls Workshops are planned to inspire middle school girls across the region and will help develop girls’ tech identity; and (2) a Yes We Tech! Summit: Women in Tech Career Forum and Girls Tech Competition will give interested women and girls information about tech-related careers and offer technology skill building. A competition among several groups formed during the middle school workshops will culminate the forum.
The workshops for middle school girls aged 11-14 are planned for 60 girls, while the summit, which will attract women aged 18-70+ can host 200 attendees. A larger goal is to add 125 new members, a 50% increase, and to find more corporate sponsors willing to underwrite future events. The target area is Charlottesville, Albemarle, Augusta, Buckingham, Fluvanna, Greene, Louisa, Madison, Nelson and Orange Counties.
The Charlottesville Women in Tech organization is two years old and has 250 members. It offers regular monthly programming including Girls’ Geek Days. All funding of programs comes from donations.
More information: CWIT website