Member News

Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne announces the Women’s Fund of Greater Fort Wayne

Wednesday, August 26, 2020

The Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne announces the Women’s Fund of Greater Fort Wayne, a fund dedicated to understanding and overcoming the challenges facing women and girls in Allen County. 

A study conducted over the past 18 months assessed the factors that independently affect women and girls in Allen County. The results reveal that while women and girls in Allen County have success in some of these indicators, they still face many challenges in others.

The four key issues that drive women’s economic security include:

  1. Employment, education and training;
  2. Access to resources for physical and emotional health and well-being;
  3. Caregiving responsibilities; and
  4. Personal safety.

Major highlights about women from this study include that women’s median earnings are $15,590 less than men’s, 26% of women did not access health care because of cost, and 70% of women have experienced crime in her lifetime.

The four major indicators that influence girls’ lives include:

  1. Academic performance;
  2. Emotional well-being;
  3. Teenage pregnancy; and
  4. Involvement with the juvenile justice system.

From the data, we know that girls perform well academically, and younger women are more than twice as likely to have a bachelor’s degree than their mothers or grandmothers. Girls’ pregnancy rates in Allen County are also lower than their state peers, but we also know that they report feeling sad.

“This pivotal data sets the basis for how we move forward and impact what truly matters in creating an equitable future for our girls and women in Allen County,” said Alison Gerardot, Vice President of Philanthropic Service at The Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne. “It will inform the rest of the community on where we fall short, and what we can do to elevate our girls and women.”

The Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne will use this study as a basis for moving The Women’s Fund forward. The next steps for The Community Foundation include creating strategies for women and girls around economic equity and personal safety.

“We’re honored to present this study to the community and also be the first to use it to make tangible progress toward a brighter future for girls and women in our county,” said Brad Little, President and CEO of The Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne.

The Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne commissioned Purdue University Fort Wayne Community Research Institute (CRI) to conduct the Allen County Women and Girls Study, which assesses the current state of women and girls’ well-being in Allen County. The study was done using qualitative data from the U.S. Census Bureau, Indiana Youth Survey, Indiana Department of Education, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Indiana State Department of Health, Indiana Early Learning Advisory Committee and Allen County Juvenile Center. SurveyUSA was also contracted to conduct a county-wide survey, in addition to CRI-led interviews. The last time a study like this was done in Allen County was in 1974.

The Allen County Women and Girls Study Overview is available for download here.

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