Women helping women

How Women’s Fund is providing resources for all women in any situation


Evelyn Sanchez, Online Editor

Women’s Fund is a nonprofit organization and a special interest fund of Central Indiana Community Foundation that was established in 1996. The mission for the organization is to ‘create opportunities and options for women and girls in Central Indiana through the effective distribution of grants to women and girl serving organizations and through the philanthropic engagement and education of current and potential donors’.

The organization mainly focuses their funding on programs for caregiving, domestic violence, economic empowerment, and any other issues facing women and girls. Since May 1999, they have awarded 379 grants totaling $5,802,464 to 110 different programs helping women and girls. They not only donate to women based projects, they also have their own programs.

The organization provides a variety of programs for women of any background. Some of their programs are the NEXT Initiative, GO: Give Back, OPTIONS, and Change Direction.

The NEXT Initiative is a ten-year commitment from Women’s Fund to address the needs of emerging adult women age 18 to 24, a population who has aged out of programs serving girls and help them move from poverty to economic stability. By 2025, the project’s goal for the NEXT women is to be self-sufficient and independent women who are not dependent on the goodwill of others for their success.

GO combines philanthropy education with charitable giving, teaching youth to make thoughtful and meaningful contributions to the community. There is also a GO curriculum that focuses on five core content areas: self, community, money management, meaningful service and philanthropic inspiration. Participants learn about the needs of women and girls in our community and how they can make a difference.

Each year, Women’s Fund selects a diverse group of women to be part of a strong and vibrant OPTIONS class. OPTIONS members are seen by Women’s Fund Advisory Board members as future board members, philanthropists, and decision makers for Women’s Fund.

At the conclusion of the year-long program, women may join the OPTIONS Alumnae to continue their engagement with Women’s Fund. Many OPTIONS Alumnae members are actively engaged as leaders and participants on the Advisory Board and committees.

The Campaign to Change Direction helps adults learn the five signs of emotional suffering and what to do if they recognize any of these indicators of emotional pain in themselves or someone else. Women’s Fund has convened nine cities, and 46 college campuses, plus hospitals, health departments, chambers, foundations and businesses to take the lead on normalizing conversation around mental illness. This partnership represents a significant investment in the mental health and well-being of 1.9 million residents of Central Indiana.

Women’s Fund has also held many events, including their most recent ‘Moderated Conversation with Michelle Obama’. Held in Bankers Fieldhouse, more than 12,000 people attended the event. The event included Former VP of Eli Lilly Alecia Decoudreaux asking  Former lady Michelle Obama multiple questions on women empowerment and how her journey was from being raised in Chicago to how life currently is for Obama after her husband’s presidency.  

Their next event will be on October 3, 2018, at the Indiana Roof Ballroom. The Power of Women’s Fund Philanthropy event will have a keynote speaker, Liz Murray, who is a New York Time best selling author.

If you would like to donate and interested in more information, visit https://www.womensfund.org.