At The Iowa Women’s Foundation, we believe that providing women with the hope of a bright future is essential. To provide this hope, IWF partners with various organizations to provide grants and/or assist with ensuring that women and young girls across the state of Iowa have the empowerment and support they need to succeed. According to the SHE MATTERS economic report, there is a lack of role models and mentors available to women to help guide and build a sense of empowerment. In particular, there is a lack of mentorship available in schools, the work place, and organizations. IWF is working to disband this statistic by providing these organizations with grants and/or support to build mentorship programs across the state.
The Boys & Girls Club of the Midlands is one of our grantee partners that is mentoring youg girls through the SMART Girls Program. This program is designed to meet the developmental needs of girls through a curriculum that addresses topics related to health, fitness and self-esteem enhancement. The program allows for mentoring opportunities with adult women to explore and learn as they move through their teen years.
Another grantee partner is Al Exito Latina Leadership and Success. With the help of IWF, Al Exito was able to provide programs to 6th-12th grade Latina girls to enhance their civic participation, college obtainment, and give them a self-sufficient future in 2018. These mentorship programs provide these young girls with curriculum that celebrate their cultural values and traditions, along with promoting leadership skills and academic achievement. IWF is partnering with Al Exito again in 2019. Al Exito has exapnded their mentorship program, and is providing support for girls to earn higher grades, earn better scores on state proficiency measures in reading and math, and attend more days of school. Al Exito is confident that with the proper mentorship programs, all 3 of these goals with be well attained.
IWF is actively supportive of mentors through a program established with the University of Iowa Tippie College of Business Women in Business chapter. IWF volunteers are matched with a student for the academic year providing advice and support as the student navigates through her year of school. Elle McCormick, past chair of WIB Mentoring notes, “The mentoring program is valuable because it allows WIB members to grow their professional skills, build relationships with women in the community, and gain the confidence needed to pursue their goals.” As current chair Brooke Drzewiecki adds, “The mentor program is a valuable tool for young women as they begin to figure out their career paths and professional lives. It is so important to be able to have a professional relationship with someone you can learn from and ask questions as they arise. Not only does this set our WIB members ahead, but it provides great practice in communicating on a professional level!”
IWF is proud to be able to partner with organizations that provide mentorship opportunities to women and girls across the state of Iowa. As mentorship is one of the 6 barriers females in Iowa face to economic self-sufficiency, we take pride in assisting organizations across the state with developing lasting mentorship programs.