Chester County Fund for Women and Girls

WHAT IS THE FUND?
The Chester County Fund for Women and Girls is a grantmaking and education foundation dedicated to improving the lives of women, girls, and their families. In 16 years, we’ve awarded over $1.9 million in grants to 58 agencies throughout Chester County. By strategically making grants — and through community collaboration — the Fund strengthens the physical well-being, safety, and economic freedom of women and families in diverse communities across our county.

Our Girls Advisory Board program (known as GAB) gives high school girls from across Chester County the opportunity to participate in the grant making process, learn about issues affecting women and girls, and engage with non-profit partners about deep needs in their own communities.

We seek to better understand and raise awareness about the challenges faced by all women and girls of all ages, backgrounds, and economic levels. The Fund’s signature research project is the Blueprint Report, a comprehensive compilation and original analysis of local, state, and federal data resources focusing for the first time on the needs of women and girls in Chester County. The report has provided over 10 years of critical data and it guides our grantmaking and education initiatives.

WHY WOMEN AND GIRLS?
Even today many barriers hinder the prospects of women and girls. Chester County Fund for Women and Girls works to mobilize resources within our communities to address deep and persisting needs. When women gain security, economic sustainability, and physical well-being, the benefits multiply — for themselves and for others. Women’s income, savings, and reinvestment in their own communities grow; families become healthier, more secure, and attain better access to work and education. The effect goes beyond communities and extends to counties, states, and even countries. By increasing the investment in women, girls, and their families, we strengthen the entire community.

HOW WE MAKE AN IMPACT
In 2013, the Fund awarded $250,000 to 24 non-profit organizations serving our county. Our grantmaking decisions are guided by research documented in the Blueprint Report and from detailed observations reported on agency site visits. The Fund takes its grantmaking responsibilities very seriously. We even have a separate Grants Allocation Committee, independent of our staff and board, making the decisions about where each grant should be directed.

The Fund doesn’t just give money away. We support and strengthen the programming of our grantee partners. We advance the decision-making skills and knowledge about critical issues of the young women who participate in GAB, our Girls Advisory Board. Our committed board of directors and engaged volunteers build their own leadership skills, serving as powerful spokespeople for our countywide efforts.

We like to think we “invest with impact.” And so can you! If you’re like most people, you look for a good return on your investment. When you give to the Fund, the return on your investment is the transformation of the lives of women and girls. This transformation has a lasting, dynamic impact on entire communities.

GIRLS ADVISORY BOARD (GAB)
Now with its ninth class, our award-winning Girls Advisory Board program provides high-school girls living in Chester County with the opportunity to learn about the deep and varied needs in their communities while engaging in strategic grantmaking. Through GAB, the Fund aims to educate a new generation of young women about the importance of philanthropy, community service, and the positive difference each girl can make on the lives of others. To learn more about the program, when to apply, and to keep up on all Fund news, sign up for our e-mail list.The Girls Advisory Board…

  • Responsible for 57 grants, totaling $170,000, awarded to area nonprofits serving girls in Chester County!
  • Co-host of the first national Girls Grantmaking Conference in which more than thirty high-school girls from across the country, including our own GAB girls, taught us and each other how they identify and implement change through grantmaking in their communities. Click here to read the full news release.
  • Brings together girls from 27 different public, private and parochial schools. Nearly every high school in Chester County has been represented on GAB since the program’s inception.
  • Awarded the 2007 “Outstanding Youth in Philanthropy” Award by the Association of Fundraising Professionals, Greater Philadelphia Chapter.
  • Part of the Girls Grantmaking Network, an international network of women’s funds with girls’ grantmaking programs. Within this network, GAB members serve as advisors to similar programs around the world.

BLUEPRINT REPORT
The Blueprint Report is the first and only comprehensive needs assessment of women and girls in Chester County. Based on data collected before and within the last two years, it underscores the long-term effects of the recent economic recession on the health, safety, and financial security of women and girls. The Blueprint Report brings the issues and trends to the foreground and informs our conversations and planning. Together, we can take on big challenges and direct our resources to tackle critical needs affecting women, girls, and their families. The Blueprint Report is a tool for everyone who lives in, works in, and loves Chester County!

In order to accurately capture the life experiences and needs of women and girls in Chester County, the research team reviewed more than 80 regional and national data sources, filtering the information for the first time through a gender lens. The results contain data and analysis that is new or never-before-accessible to the general public. Chester, Bucks, Delaware and Montgomery County comparisons are provided where available, enabling us to identify Chester County’s unique strengths and challenges. The full report also includes extensive commentary from nonprofit agencies collected during our eight “Listening Tour” stops. Their voices provide on-the-ground insights into current and emerging trends. Findings from the report maintain strong relevance as agencies report continuation of the trends highlighted.

Read key findings in the 12-page summary. | Read the entire Blueprint Report.

Learn more about Chester County Fund for Women and Girls by visiting them online at www.ccwomenandgirls.org.

Click here to subscribe to Philly Involved’s monthly newsletter.