Atlanta Women's Foundation
The Atlanta Women's Foundation is Georgia's only public foundation focused exclusively on the issues of women and girls. We serve five counties in the metropolitan Atlanta area and our donors, and grantee partners come from all walks of life and from all communities. We represent divergent views and experiences, but we all share one important belief: together, we can increase self-sufficiency among women and girls and accomplish positive social change.
Our vision is for all women and girls to live lives of dignity, hope and possibility. We accomplish this through strategic grantmaking, leadership programs, advocacy and public education.
The mission of The Atlanta Women's Foundation is to be a catalyst for change in the lives of women and girls. As a catalyst, AWF considers itself a non-traditional funder, making grants that strategically alter the social norms that inhibit the independence, growth, empowerment, and self-determination of women and girls. The Foundation's strategic grantmaking mission is to improve the economic status of women with children heading economically vulnerable households in Clayton, Cobb, DeKalb, Fulton and Gwinnett counties, and to prepare girls for economic empowerment in tomorrow’s world. The Foundation defines economically vulnerable as living at or below 200% of the poverty level. The absence of economic security is at the heart of critical issues faced by women and girls in our community, issues including homelessness, the increased challenge of leaving a domestic violence situation, teen pregnancy, and a lack of access to mental and physical health services. In fact, women experience higher rates and deeper depths of poverty than men. To advance the grantmaking mission, the Foundation will award grants to organizations that implement strategies that foster social change leading to economic empowerment for women and girls.
2008 Key Strategies:
- Increasing Women’s Income & Assets: Expanded access to economic opportunity
- Increasing Quality Child Care: Increasing the availability of affordable, quality child care
- Preparing Girls for Economic Empowerment: Pregnancy prevention, high school completion, career development, increasing the availability of before and after school programs for girls.
In addition, Atlanta Women's Foundation offers the following programs:
- Women on Board™ advances the inclusion of women as leaders by training them in nonprofit board governance and then connecting them with nonprofit boards.
- The Destiny Fund, our training ground for young philanthropists, gives women ages 25-40 a hands-on look at the issues facing women and girls in Atlanta, and includes the grant-making experience to help address them.
- Faith, Feminism and Philanthropy brings women of all walks of life, political views and faith backgrounds together to study issues that bind us and divide us, and how we can change our communities together.
International Community School Saturday School
The Family Learning Program, familiarly known as "Saturday School," began three years ago. Its founders noticed that while younger refugee children tended to learn English quickly and integrate into their American schools, their older siblings had difficulty succeeding in the schools where they were placed.
Saturday School met for the first time in September 2004, with five students, all teenage sisters who had spent their childhood as carpet workers in Afghanistan and had recently arrived in the United States with refugee visas. The Taliban had killed their father and imprisoned their brother. The girls arrived with an intense work ethic, yet they knew no English and couldn't keep up with their peers in school. Saturday School designed itself around their needs: one-on-one attention emphasizing reading, writing, English and basic social and life skills.
The girls learned quickly and the word spread. Other refugee girls began to show up at the door on Saturday afternoons, eager to learn. Before long, the teenagers began to bring their mothers and then their grandmothers, many of whom had never learned to read or write in their own languages and wanted to become self-sufficient in their new country.
The Atlanta Women's Foundation awarded Saturday School its first grant. The program now offers classes for each generation, with an enrollment of 50 students and 15 volunteer tutors. The students come from countries such as Pakistan, Burma, Sudan, Somalia, Iran, Liberia, Afghanistan and Guinea.
Today the five teenage girls who were Saturday School's first students are fluent in English. They all maintain A and B averages, and one recently received a four-year academic scholarship to an Atlanta private school.