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Stephanie Sears said she visited the Kentucky Career Center to find out if there was any way she could support her family and herself. She was doubtful.
Stephanie Sears said she visited the Kentucky Career Center to find out if there was any way she could support her family and herself.
She was doubtful.
“My exact words were, ‘I know you can’t help me. I know I’m a lost cause, I’ll leave now,’” Stephanie said.
Stephanie is far from alone. According to research by The Women’s Fund of The Greater Cincinnati Foundation, 90 percent of all female-held jobs in the region pay insufficient wages for a single parent with three children. Two out of three children in poverty live in female-headed households.
As a mother of three children, one with a chronic medical condition requiring nursing care, Stephanie said the career counselor gave her “a little air of hope.” She handed her a Raise the Floor brochure.
Raise the Floor is a program that provides training and certification in manufacturing skills for women. Currently, there are more than 600 unfilled manufacturing jobs in Boone County. Raise the Floor meets the needs of employers while raising women and children out of poverty. The program is based out of Gateway Community and Technical College and is a collaboration of the school, Partners for a Competitive Workforce, 4C for Children, The Women’s Fund, and local manufacturers.
“Women and children living in poverty in our area have reached critical levels,” said Meghan Cummings, executive director of The Women’s Fund. “We can help these families by getting the moms on stable footing. These manufacturing careers achieve just that.”
Raise the Floor has a holistic approach and develops support systems such as transportation, child care, job placement, and career services. The 16-week certified production technician certification course has flexible hours. Scholarships for tuition are available.
During Stephanie’s time as a student, she faced more than the usual obstacles. Her children were out of school for 26 inclement weather days; she had a minor surgery; her kitchen caught on fire.
“If it wasn’t for the support I got here, I don’t know what I would have done,” she said. “When I finished and they said I had a 4.0, I told them to check again.”
Now that Stephanie has earned her certification, she can go directly into the workforce or continue to earn an associate’s degree. The career pathways offered through the certification and degree include computer-aided drafting and design, computerized manufacturing and machining, electrical technology, industrial maintenance, manufacturing engineering technology, supply chain management, and welding technology.
Stephanie has chosen to continue on with her associate’s degree, working her way toward self-sufficiency. In its two-year history, the program has served 75 women: 32 are employed in manufacturing jobs, 18 are employed in non-manufacturing jobs, and eight are seeking additional education.
Stephanie, who describes her former life as “a circle of defeat,” urges others to advance through Raise the Floor.
“Dive into it,” she said. “Dedicate those weeks in your life and after that, not only will you be able to get a higher paying job, you can go on and get your degree.”
The Women’s Fund is a partner of Raise the Floor. Thanks to the generosity of donors, The Women's Fund has granted money for participant child care expenses and supported a workshop for area employers.
Partners for a Competitive Workforce, a Raise the Floor partner, was founded by The Greater Cincinnati Foundation in 2008 and housed by GCF through 2011. It is now managed by United Way of Greater Cincinnati. It has received $902,000 in support from GCF.
In 2014, The Women’s Fund released PULSE: 2020 Jobs and Gender Outlook (prepared by the UC Economics Center). The report shines a light on the fact that, based on current trends, job growth in our region is not likely to result in uniform prosperity for both genders.
Published in the 2015 Annual Report to the Community.
I want to take a moment to thank you for being such an important part of The Women’s Fund family. I’m tremendously honored to lead this organization comprising so many passionate donors and volunteers.
I have been with The Women’s Fund of The Greater Cincinnati Foundation for more than four years and, quite simply, I live and breathe this work. Investing in women and their families is the strongest, most effective way to make our community more prosperous.
My vision is to make women’s self-sufficiency a community imperative—an issue that is discussed in back yards and board rooms and carried out through a dynamic plan of action.
Thanks to your support, the trajectory of The Women’s Fund has been exceptional. We are changing the conversation about women and girls in Greater Cincinnati.
I am grateful that you understand and appreciate the importance of the systemic work that we do. It makes all the difference.
Although I know many of you already, I look forward to reconnecting over the next few months and discussing your hopes for The Women’s Fund in the years to come.
We have so much more to accomplish together and I’m eager to hear your ideas. You can reach me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org or 513-768-6144.
Thank you for your generosity and your confidence in our work.
The Women's Fund of The Greater Cincinnati Foundation leads our community in ensuring the economic self-sufficiency of women in our region. cincinnatiwomensfund.org
CINCINNATI (January 13, 2017) - The Women’s Fund of the Greater Cincinnati Foundation has received $150,000 from the Charlotte R. Schmidlapp Fund, Fifth Third Bank, Trustee. These funds will support numerous projects furthering the fund’s mission to ensure the economic self-sufficiency of women.
Funding will support research into domestic violence triggered by employment advancement. The Women’s Fund and its community partners have been collecting data on this phenomenon for the past six months. This grant has attracted the W.K. Kellogg Foundation to do a local qualitative study to better understand the situation and provide solutions.
Funding will also support a series of workshops for local foundations on gender lens grantmaking that will help drive more effective investments with non-profit partners.
“The Charlotte R. Schmidlapp Fund was created to honor Jacob Schmidlapp’s daughter, Charlotte and support women’s educational and economic advancement,” said Meghan Cummings, executive director. “We are honored to celebrate her legacy by putting these funds to work on projects that support women and encourage their advancement. This grant is a transformational investment in our work.”
Together, The Women’s Fund and the Charlotte R. Schmidlapp Fund are making a powerful difference by driving top-level change and leadership on these important issues.
CINCINNATI (May 2, 2017) — The Women's Fund of The Greater Cincinnati Foundation releases its latest PULSE Report: Applying a Gender Lens to the Wage Gap.
Women in the Greater Cincinnati Region make an average of $0.79 on the dollar compared to men. With UC Economics Center as its research partner, The Women's Fund took an in-depth look at the gender wage gap in our region, including the causes and long-term impacts of the wage gap on women and our local economy.
What the Economics Center found is that the wage gap is not simple; it comprises a complex interrelationship of explained and unexplained differences and the ever-subjective concept of “choice.”
Learn more about our latest PULSE Report on the Gender Wage Gap #cincywagegap
Posted by The Women's Fund of The Greater Cincinnati Foundation on Monday, April 24, 2017
Learn more about our latest PULSE Report on the Gender Wage Gap #cincywagegap
As you will see, the results show significant disparities in men’s and women’s wages, even when controlling for variables like education, hours worked, age, marital status, and the presence of children. The remaining disparity amounts to a significant unexplained difference in wages between men and women. Over time, this disparity in wages leads to hundreds of thousands of dollars lost, forcing women to either work longer or retire with less. For women of color, the disparities are even more profound.
Share the research online using the hashtag #CincyWageGap. Visit cincinnatiwomensfund.org/payequity to access the research presented and find more resources on fair pay practices.
View our latest PULSE Report on the Gender Wage Gap [PDF]
The Women's Fund of The Greater Cincinnati Foundation leads our community in ensuring the economic self-sufficiency of women in our region. Through leadership, research, and grantmaking, The Women’s Fund works to identify and address the barriers affecting working women and their families. Learn more and get involved at cincinnatiwomensfund.org
CINCINNATI (October 17, 2017) — NASA Astronaut, American Engineer, physician and STEM advocate Dr. Mae Jemison will be the next speaker for The Women’s Fund of The Greater Cincinnati Foundation’s A Conversation With event on Thursday, April 5, 2018, at the Cintas Center.
General admission tickets are $50 each and will go on sale in late January 2018. Host and hostess tickets are $250 each, include a private reception with Dr. Jemison, and are on sale now at www.cincinnatiwomensfund.org. Corporate sponsorship opportunities are also available.
Following her time in NASA, Dr. Jemison founded both The Jemison Group and BioSentient Corporation. A technology consulting firm, The Jemison Group explores and develops stand-alone science and technology programs, integrating the critical impact of socio-cultural issues with revolutionary technologies. Among The Jemison Group's groundbreaking work is a project to use satellite technology for health care delivery in West Africa and another to use solar dish Stirling engines for electricity generation in developing countries.
In addition to all her work, Dr. Jemison is a highly sought-after speaker on issues of health care, social responsibility, technology and motivation. She has appeared on BBC, The McNeil Lehrer Report, ABC Nightline, NPR and CNN.
The Women's Fund of The Greater Cincinnati Foundation leads our community in ensuring the economic self-sufficiency of women in our region. Through leadership, research, and policy advocacy, The Women’s Fund works to identify and address the barriers affecting working women and their families. Learn more and get involved at www.cincinnatiwomensfund.org.
The Women’s Fund of The Greater Cincinnati Foundation (GCF) received a gift of $100,000 from the Cincinnati Business and Professional Women’s Retirement Living, Inc. (CBPWL). Other than grant funding, this is the largest gift The Women’s Fund has received.
CBPWL previously provided retirement housing for low-income women. When the need became obsolete, it disbanded and gifted its funds to nonprofits with a similar mission.
“We are grateful CBPWL entrusted us with a piece of their legacy,” said Meghan Cummings, assistant executive director of The Women’s Fund. “We are happy they have the confidence in us to address the most pressing needs of women in our community just like they did for many years.”
CINCINNATI (August 12, 2015) – Meghan Cummings, CFRE, has been promoted to Executive Director of The Women’s Fund of The Greater Cincinnati Foundation (GCF).
“Meghan was the clear choice” said Wijdan Jreisat, chair of the Women’s Fund Leadership Council. “Her work and leadership over the past four years demonstrated that The Women’s Fund had cultivated a true champion for our work whose vision could lead us forward. She brings a passion for our work and a dedication to taking on complex community problems that require disparate groups to find common ground. She also has a track record of leadership in diversity and inclusion which honors our goal to speak for those whose voices are not often heard.”
The Women's Fund of GCF drives systemic change to ensure the economic self-sufficiency of women in our region. Established in 1995 as a designated fund of The Greater Cincinnati Foundation, The Women’s Fund has led the community in assessing and identifying barriers to women’s economic self-sufficiency and catalyzing the community to achieve it through innovative projects and relevant policy. It has granted more than $1 million to support programs serving women and girls in our eight-country service area.
“Meghan has worked extensively to promote diversity and inclusion among the ranks of those working in fundraising,” said Sydney Schnurr, President of the Greater Cincinnati Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. “She was instrumental in efforts to create an AFP diversity pipeline program called New Faces of Fundraising which is supported by the Greater Cincinnati Foundation.”
Cummings most recently served as Assistant Executive Director of The Women’s Fund of GCF under the leadership of Vanessa Freytag, who recently became CEO of 4C for Children. She previously held positions with OneSight, Center for Chemical Addictions Treatments, and Alzheimer’s Association of Greater Cincinnati.
“GCF is proud of the work The Women’s Fund has been doing for 20 years to improve the state of women and girls in Greater Cincinnati,” said Ellen M. Katz, President/CEO of The Greater Cincinnati Foundation. “I am excited for the future of The Women’s Fund with Meghan at the helm. This energetic, bright, and knowledgeable new leader will maintain and build on the impressive momentum of The Women’s Fund.”
She is a Cincinnati Business Courier 2014 Class of Forty Under 40 honoree and the immediate past president of the Greater Cincinnati Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals. Her other volunteer activities include serving on the board of the Fire Museum of Greater Cincinnati, and committees of Philanthropy Ohio and the International Association of Fundraising Professionals.
Cummings holds a Bachelor of Arts from Miami University and Master of Business Administration from Xavier University. She has earned the designation Certified Fund Raising Executive (CFRE), the global standard for the fundraising profession.
One of the nation’s leading community foundations, The Greater Cincinnati Foundation helps people make the most of their giving to build a better community. We believe in the power of philanthropy to change the lives of people and communities. As a community foundation, GCF creates a prosperous Greater Cincinnati by investing in thriving people and vibrant places. An effective steward of the community’s charitable resources since 1963, the Foundation inspires philanthropy in eight counties in Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana.
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