Grant awarded to Virginia Foundation for Community College Education (VFCCE)

The Foundation is pleased to again partner with VFCCE, the supporting arm of Virginia’s Community Colleges. The VFCCE works to broaden educational access, support student success, and provide innovative solutions to workforce needs. Their mission is “providing access to education to all Virginians,” with a focus on expanding access and programs for underserved populations.  The Grant will provide support 2 programs,  the Great Expectations Ed. Program for Foster Youth  & The Rural Virginia Horseshoe Initiative over the next 4 years.

The Great Expectations program was developed to address Virginia’s record of having the highest number nationwide of foster youth aging out of the foster care system without a permanent home or any means of support. Their coaches help current and former foster youth gain access to a community college education, achieve success in college, and transition successfully to adulthood. Funds will support Great Expectations coaches, student support services, and scholarships to achieve the following goals:

– Expand to the remaining two colleges

– Move closer to serving 50% of the eligible foster youth

– Increase fall to spring retention rates

– Increase fall to fall retention rates

– Increase the number of credentials earned.

Rural Virginia Horseshoe Initiative was created to address the educational attainment levels in the rural localities served by 14 of Virginia’s 23 community colleges. The strategies employed to achieve these goals are placing full-time career coaches in rural high schools to assist lower- and middle-income families in navigating higher education and to award scholarship incentives, thus removing barriers to academic success. Funds will support full-time RVHI high school career coaches in Rural Virginia to achieve the following goals:

– Increase the number of students working with a coach to develop academic, career, and college plans thereby reducing the number of high school drop-outs

– Increase the number of students enrolling in community college thereby increasing the number of students pursuing a college degree, certification, or workforce credential

Grant awarded to International Medical and Educational Trust (IMET) for Puerto Rico

IMET was established in 1995 to provide mental health services to the war-traumatized children in Bosnia. Since its founding, IMET has been involved in a variety of humanitarian endeavors mainly focused on helping children who are victims of war and natural disasters. The main goal of their programs is to train teachers, counselors and mental health professionals in trauma psychology to help children and their families that are affected by war atrocities and natural disasters. IMET trains teachers in countries that include Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo, Pakistan, Russia, Chechnya, Sudan, Iraq, Jordan, Palestine, India, Rwanda, Kenya, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, The UK, The US and Canada.  With the understanding that there is an acute shortage of psychiatrists and psychologist worldwide, IMET trains indigenous professionals such teachers to identify traumatic reactions in children and teach skills to help them better care for themselves and also train them on how to behave in individual and group settings.

A grant from the Foundation will be used to train teachers and mental health professional in Puerto Rico. The professionals will work with children and their families who are struggling in the aftermath of death and destruction caused by Hurricane Maria. Trainers from IMET have already traveled to Puerto Rico and provided abbreviated trainings for the professional staff and some faculty at the Ponce Medical Sciences University. Although the trainings were well received, IMET has identified the need for much more work that needs to be done.

Dove Center and Southern Utah Girls on the Run awarded grants

Jennifer Hatcher, a resident of Hurricane, Utah, has decided to help raise funds and awareness for local non-profit organizations she believes in. The hope is that when folks in the community see Jennifer running, they will recognize her as someone trying to raise awareness for these organizations and maybe even donate funding. Jennifer has mapped out the area and estimates she will run approximately 500 miles. The funding request will be for $10 every mile/ per organization. She will also keep a GPS with her and will map out each run she completes, noting the distance and date completed. Additionally, Jennifer will maintain a blog and facebook page which she will post her progress and tell about the trials and interactions while our running and raising awareness.

Girls on the Run Southern Utah (GOTRSU) inspires girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum, which creatively integrates running. Girls on the Run is a physical activity based positive youth development (PA-PYD) program that is designed to enhance girls’ social, psychological and physical skills and behaviors to successfully navigate life experiences. Through strategic running activities, girls explore new perspectives, critical problem solving and learn about diversity while moving and socially engaging.  The 10-week after school program builds upon ideas, and specifically targets the improvement in Competence, Confidence, Caring, Character, Connection, and Contribution. Girls learn how to manage their emotions, help others, make intentional decisions, and resolve conflict. The program inspires girls to build lives of purpose and to make a meaningful contribution to community and society. This comes to life through a key element of the curricula when each team experiences the impact of true teamwork when they create and execute a community service project together. The season concludes with a celebratory 5K event. Completing a 5K gives the girls a tangible sense of achievement as well as a framework for setting and achieving life goals far beyond K-12.

The Dove Center empowers victims of domestic violence and sexual assault to find safety and healing from abuse. They are the only provider in their community of secure shelter, providing a 24-hour hotline and a 24- hour hospital advocacy for victims of rape and assault. They also provide court advocacy for protective orders and case management. Additionally, they provide free individual therapy sessions, adult support groups, children advocacy and support groups, personal safety training, on-campus advocacy for DSU students, and prevention awareness trainings. Last year the Dove Center added a transitional housing program and currently have 3 apartments where they can house a women and her children if they needed additional support after leaving the shelter. All services are free of charge, trauma-informed, and available in Spanish. They offer services to anyone experiencing abuse with the vast majority of their clients are women and their children.  Currently the Dove Center is in need of increasing the number of hours their clinical therapists can work because they have a 2-3 month waiting list. Currently they have 2 part-time adult therapists and 1 part-time child and teen therapists. Increased funding will help them move one of two of their therapists to full-time hours and eliminate the wait list they currently have.


Grant awarded to the Women’s Global Empowerment Fund (WGEF)

In 2018,the Foundation will continue to partner with the WGEF for two  programs: The expansion of the HPI and the Literacy Program. To address the issue of menstrual health, and the challenges women face with regard to access, hygiene and socio-cultural stigma, WGEF created the Healthy Period Initiative (HPI). WGEF plans to expand the program to the Lwengo District in southwestern Uganda. The goal is to create local economies that will provide resources and economic opportunities to women and communities thru manufacturing and microenterprise. The strategy is to create a local supply chain that can deliver sanitary products to the most vulnerable populations at little or no cost: school girls, refugees, displaced persons, and those who lack access to affordable products. Each individual center in the expansion will assess and determine a philanthropic strategy to serve the specific community. A percentage of product produced will be given to identified programs and households every month to ensure women and girls have what they need to manage their menstrual health with dignity. The Lwengo District has a population of 281,400 people of which 36% are school age girls. In the district, young girls are married off before they complete their primary school classes; this is due, in part, to lack of access to sanitary supplies and sanitation. A total of 20,656 young girls are at risk of dropping out school every year, yet for every year a girl stays in school, her future income increases with 10%-20% translating into a better future for herself, her family and community. The grant will also support of the Literacy Program. WGEF, in consult with the Ministry of Education, has developed a literacy program that is effective and responsive to the needs of its clients. The program is not solely about basic skills of reading and writing, it is about providing women with the ability to understand their lives and social environment as well as equipping them with problem-solving skills, family planning, nutrition and parenting information and resources. In 2017 WGEF provided 1,643 women the opportunity to attend literacy training for 8 months, twice weekly; including meals and childcare. The Foundation will fund  500 women  for the year. 

The Foundation has been pleased to assist WGEF with its programs since 2014.  Funding from the McQuade Foundation over the past two years has helped to build the Gulu Women’s Resource Centre and computer lab which has helped provide essential training, support, information and education to women and girls in Northern Uganda. Funding in 2017 also supported the Health Periods Initiative (HPI) which is a microfinance and educational endeavor to address the critical issues around
menstrual health for women and girls and is now moving from the start-up phase into expansion and capacity building.

FBO Community Relief and Development Action (COREDA) has been awarded a grant

COREDA is a development driven, non-profit making and non-governmental organization started in 2009 as an informal voluntary group. It was later constituted and registered in 2010 as a non-profit making association. The organization is regulated in Cameroon and the organization was also incorporated in Alberta, Canada in 2017. The organization is democratically governed with three main organs: The General Assembly (Supreme Organ), The Board and the Management Organ. The mission of the organization is empowering and sustainably improving the living conditions of children, women, vulnerable youths and disadvantaged rural and indigenous forest communities in the South West Region of Cameroon.

The organization began its mission in 2016 and has since acquired a piece of land for the permanent site of the educational and social centre for orphans and vulnerable children. The organization is continuing its efforts of raising funding for the construction of a permanent structure, the current home based centre has over 60 children and increasing demand. Many challenges have persisted including the lack of financial motivation of volunteer teachers, the need to feed and clothe the children, lack of furniture such as tables, chairs, teaching boards, Laptop/projector to better transmit both audio and video prerecorded teachings etc.

At least 60 orphans and vulnerable children presently in the centre will benefit from the $5,000 grant directly. There is urgent need for this project at a moment when formal educational activities have been paralyzed because of the ongoing sociopolitical upheavals in the North West and South West English Speaking Regions of Cameroon. Insufficient accommodation and lack of basic learning and teaching facilities has remained a problem at the centre, especially for the 10 most vulnerable children living at the home who do not have another place to live. These children have been sleeping on the bare floor and have been learning under very difficult conditions with children sitting and writing on the floor. The center needs furniture, descent chalk board and nutritional support to permit them to learn comfortably. The funds will be used to provide basic needs for effective teaching-learning process at the home based educational center. This will include furniture (study tables, chairs, lockable cupboard to keep books and other valuable items), essential textbooks and feeding support. The funds will be spent within one year.


Women for Women International awarded Grant

Women for Women International (WfWI),  is an international nonprofit organization, has supported over 462,000 women, distributed over $120 million in funds, and engaged 402,000 sponsors since its founding in 1993. The organization was founded by Iraqi-American humanitarian and entrepreneur Zainab Salbi in response to the horrific atrocities committed against women in Bosnia and Herzegovina during the war.

A $25,000 grant will be used to scale up its work and presence in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq (KRI), directly reaching 300 marginalized women with its 12-month social and economic empowerment program. The funds will establish and sustain its program in KRI through covering staff, training, communication, transportation, office and other program operation expenses. WfWI is requesting a general support grant for its work in KRI. These grant funds will be spent to support the establishment of WfWI’s KRI program office during the first half of 2018. This grant will support WfWI’s work in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. WfWI is currently serving women in communities in the governorates of Erbil, Sulaymaniyah, and Dohuk. The project will make a sustainable difference in women’s lives through accomplishing the following: 1. Establish a local office and training center in Erbil to provide services to marginalized women. 2. Deliver WfWI’s 12-month training to 300 marginalized women. The economic empowerment component of the 12-month program will train women in the following areas: (i) numeracy skills for counting, adding/subtracting, and using money; (ii) benefits of savings, basic household budgets, and opportunities for income generation; (iii) business basics, credit, entrepreneurship, planning, selling, and bookkeeping; (iv) working in a group or cooperative, members’ rights and roles, collective decision-making; and (v) formal and informal savings and access to financial services. WfWI will also provide women with six months of vocational skills training. Guided by WfWI staff, women will choose the skill they want to develop into an income-generation activity in a process that will analyse their capacities and assets and be based on local market assessments. Local specialist trainers will be identified to provide practical hands-on training and guidance in these activities. Under the social empowerment component, women will be trained on: health and wellness; family and community decision making; social networks and safety nets; rights; and personal safety. This training will also include gender-based violence awareness and prevention. Similar to a small cash transfer, each woman will also receive a training stipend of $10 a month that she may use to meet family needs or begin saving towards her future.

WfWI’s program activities directly align with the Foundation’s goal, ‘to make sustainable improvements in women’s and children’s rights, education, and welfare’. This grant would support poverty reduction and improved gender equality for some of the marginalized women in the KRI. This grant supports women having full agency to determine the course of their lives, and have improved welfare that allows them to reach their full potential. WfWI program graduates have improved confidence, sustained income, increased assets, better physical health and psychological well-being, greater leadership, stronger support networks, and their children benefit from better health and educational investments. Sustainable change in women’s voice and agency. WfWI’s works with women to nurture their leadership skills and their ability to articulate their own needs, rather than being represented by others, and advocate for their rights in their families and communities. These are skills that can be used again in the future after graduation from WfWI’s program; women are supported to form savings groups and/or cooperatives which often continue after women complete the 12-month empowerment program.



The Sunflower has been awarded a 4 year grant

Through a multi-year grant $20,000/year  from the  Foundation, the Sunflower will be able to support a full cycle of Sunflower Fellows.

The Sunflower Fellows is a unique, four-year leadership development program for primary school and secondary girls studying in the informal schools within the Kibera Slums of Nairobi, Kenya. The organization identifies low-performing young women with low literacy levels, at risk of ending their education early due to academic challenges, and provide them with holistic support daily after school, on the weekends and during the holidays, involving teachers, parents and caregivers to ensure our fellows are developing their academic skills, leadership abilities, and most importantly, self-confidence. After successful completion of the four year fellowship, Sunflower fellows are matched with sponsors and placed in secondary schools, or internships throughout Nairobi, putting them on the path to tertiary education.

The primary and secondary fellows program is a four-year commitment to excellence. During their time at Sunflower, Fellows challenge their minds, bodies and hearts to become the Leaders that their families and communities need. Our LEAD Principles, Love, Education, Action and Discipline, help fellows to personal growth, while our foundation in education and academic success equips our fellows with the literacy and math skills they need to be successful in and out of the classroom. The emphasis on character development, personal accountability, community service and leadership give our Fellows the training they need to be socially conscious leaders today and tomorrow. Daily, Sunflower Fellows come to the Sunflower literacy lab after school, where they participate in academic support sessions, technology labs, literacy support, art, and LEADership sessions. On Saturdays, fellows participate in community service, meetings with their mentors, and extended literacy programs, parent workshops and field trips. Every fellow undergoes counselling sessions at least once a month, writes in a journal, and participates in personal reflection, empathy and meditation sessions; the Sunflower is dedicated to the personal health and well-being of our fellows as a complement to their academic development.

While there a myriad of non-governmental organizations working in Kibera, Kenya, there are no programs that focus on low performing students, specifically young, vulnerable girls, instead, the majority of funding is directed towards programs for students with high grades and test scores. This has created an imbalance, there are opportunities for students that are high-performers, while students with lower academic achievement are left out, and essentially left in, extreme poverty. Girls and young women in Kibera, especially those with low academic performance, face a myriad of additional challenges. 43% of girls and young women in the informal settlement reported that they have traded sex, or sexual acts, for food , while only 1/3 of Kibera’s females ever complete secondary education . Within Kibera, girls are more likely to not attend school, as families are more willing to pay for a boy instead of a girl; for young women and girls that are enrolled in school, they are more likely to have frequent issues with attendance and interrupted learning, as they are called to take care of the home and younger siblings.

Sunflower will not just support individual girls, but  families, and the entire Kibera community. Through the education of girls and young women, entire communities flourish. As the Fellows are the most vulnerable, at-risk young women in Kibera, the holistic support they receive is transformative.


Grant awarded to Humanity Crew

Humanity Crew is a grassroots non-governmental non-religious-non-profit organization founded in November 2015 by Adv. Maria Jammal and Dr. Essam Daod, a psychiatrist and psychotherapist, who joined a rescue mission to respond to the influx of Syrian refugees arriving in Lesvos, Greece. During the mission they identified the deep threat to the refugees’ wellbeing. In particular they became concerned with mental health of the refugees brought on by despair, loss, pain and fear from the unknown future and flight to safety. During the mission, they development Humanity Crew to deal with these issues. The Grant of $25,000 will support 2 refugee camps.

Humanity Crew has identified 3 specific problem areas that women living in refugee camps in Greece are currently facing. -(1)Violence and Protection – new living conditions that women face when moving to these camps exposes them to unsafe environments. Many of these women were used to strong support systems from family and friends. After joining the camp they quickly realized they did not have anyone to rely on. Additionally, they are at a greater chance of domestic violence from their husbands who once was the proud family patriarch, to someone who is helpless and without purpose. Using this situation to carry out domestic violence on their wives and children. (2)Mental Health – Many women in these camps have come from war zones in the Middle East, experiencing trauma, personal loss, abuse and sometimes severe torture. Arriving at the camps women further face security issues and often face symptoms of anxiety, depression, PTSD, insomnia and many other symptoms.(3)Cultural Gaps and Integration – Throughout their journey, many times the humanitarian aid these women receive is usually received without any cultural or lingual sensitivity by locals and other volunteers who speak different languages and lack cultural understandings. If approved, funding will be used to fund programs that will focus on 4 different areas:

– Creating empowerment groups of local women inside the camp

-Short term group therapy for women

-Sensitivity training for the refugees and for the care-service providers in the camp by their professionals

– Cultural and community activities for all refugee groups The direct beneficiaries of this project will Syrian, Iraqi and other Arabic speaking women and young girls living in refugee camps in Greece. Funds will be used throughout 2018.

Humanity Crew believes they are making a sustainable difference by empowering women and helping integrate themselves into their new communities. Their programs work to provide women with life skills that help them in taking steps towards their own education and career as an active part of the refugee society. Additionally, Humanity Crew looks to involve the whole community, in hopes of educating and then preventing violence against women. Their goal is to create a holistic community based change towards a healthy family life and healthy overall society

2 year grant Awarded to the Institute for Economic Empowerment of Women

The Foundation is pleased to again support The Institute for Economic Empowerment of Women (IEEW), a non-profit whose focus is to empower women to grow their businesses, pursue greater entrepreneurial ventures, and become more active public policy advocates.

The global Peace Through Business program educates women entrepreneurs in Afghanistan and Rwanda on an annual basis. After eleven years of educating women entrepreneurs in Afghanistan and Rwanda, the Peace Through Business program is gearing up to add more diversity and to reach more women in a shorter amount of time. To move beyond the pilot phase with mini-courses requires a renewed funding effort.  . A matching donation for a 2 years,  $25,000/year grant is awarded to guarantee IEEW can expand the PTB/NU Pathways MiniCourses beyond borders. Experts agree for Afghanistan to become more successful, the rural women as well as the urban women must be reached.

The Foundation  wants to continue its partnership with IEEW in this critical phase of growth and success. IEEW recognizes that peace, economic growth, and good leadership must extend well beyond the borders of Afghanistan and Rwanda. Every donation helps IEEW to sustain and expand the program by ensuring financial viability that allows it to grow and evolve each year. Funds specifically will go toward a) educating women in the traditional PTB course AND in the new PTB/NU Pathways courses inside Afghanistan and Rwanda, b) bring the top students to the USA for Leadership Development in July, and c) create an Oklahoma City event to celebrate Women’s History Month and explore the potential for an Oklahoma Native American partnership educating women entrepreneurs.

Chicago Jesuit Academy awarded grant for their College Persistence Programs

Chicago Jesuit Academy serves young men whose families reside on the West Side of Chicago where opportunities are few.

A $20,000 grant from the  Foundation will help to expand the College-Persistence Programs as the number of alumni served grows from 185 in 2017-2018 to nearly 300 by 2020. Specifically, they would allow CJA to hire an additional College-Persistence Counselor in the 2018-2019 school year. This helps ensure that CJA will be able to deliver personalized high school placement, high school persistence, college placement, college persistence and career guidance to all alumni, even as the school doubles in size. Funds will be used during the 2018-2019 school year, specifically June 1, 2018 through May 31, 2019. The specific program goal is for 97% of CJA alumni to graduate from high school. Thereafter, the goal is for 50% of CJA alumni to graduate from a four-year college or university, 25% of CJA alumni to graduate from a two-year college or technical training program, and 80% of non-degree earning alumni, representing 25% of total alumni, to be meaningfully employed within three years of earning a high school diploma. The rationale for these goals is simple. CJA believes that all young people should have the opportunity to realize their potential, use their gifts in a meaningful way in service to others and have economic freedom. This focus on long-term outcomes is exactly why CJA established and continues to build the CollegePersistence Programs.