All posts tagged: education

Press Release: Prosperity Together

JRF | Nov 16 2015 |  · · · 

Local Organization joins $100 Million Pledge to Create Pathways to Economic Security for Women and Their Families in America

Jeannette Rankin Women’s Scholarship Fund Joins the Partnership to Demonstrate the Collective Power of Women’s Foundations in Effective Grantmaking

Athens, Georgia—Jeannette Rankin Women’s Scholarship Fund, a member of Prosperity Together, a nonpartisan partnership of public U.S. women’s foundations, announced a collective five-year, $100 million funding commitment. The funding will create pathways to economic security for low-income women and their families.

Jeannette Rankin Fund, founded in Athens, Georgia in 1976, has helped 47 Georgian women and provided a total of 1,236 scholarships nationally. Currently, two women are receiving scholarships to attend Athens Technical College.

The Prosperity Together partnership will fund local programs with a proven track record in providing women with access to higher education, job training, and child care, among other supports. Prosperity Together made the announcement at the White House Summit on Advancing Equity for Women and Girls of Color on November 13, 2015, which focused on a wide range of issues including the barriers and solutions to economic security confronting millions of low-income women living in America.

While women account for 57 percent of the workforce, they too often occupy minimum wage or part-time  jobs, with little to no employer-sponsored benefits, and limited opportunity for growth and advancement. In Georgia, 19.7 percent of women live in poverty.

"Jeannette Rankin Women's Scholarship Fund has been helping women improve their lives through college completion for almost 40 years," Karen Sterk, Executive Director of Jeannette Rankin Fund, said. "We are encouraged by the potential of Prosperity Together to maximize our collective impact and significantly improve so many more lives."

Prosperity Together will harness the collective power, leadership and proven effectiveness of women’s foundations working together to ensure women’s economic security in America. The partnership will also issue a call to policymakers, business leaders, the philanthropic community and the public to understand that economic prosperity for all is guaranteed only when economic security and equal opportunity are guaranteed for low-income women. 


Jeannette Rankin Women’s Scholarship Fund was chartered in 1976 and is named after the first woman elected to U.S. Congress. The 501(c)(3) charity provides scholarships and support for low-income women 35 and older across the U.S. to build better lives through college completion. Jeannette Rankin scholars come from diverse backgrounds, yet they are united in their determination to break the cycle of poverty, better provide for their families and give back to their communities. To learn more about Jeannette Rankin Fund, visit

Prosperity Together is a nonpartisan partnership of public U.S. women’s foundations dedicated to improving the economic security of low-income women and their families in America. Prosperity Together demonstrates the critical role and power of women’s foundations to drive this work in communities, state by state, across the country. For more information, visit


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Advancing Equity for Women & Girls of Color Summit

JRF | Nov 11 2015 |  · · · 

The White House is hosting a summit Friday, November 13 on expanding opportunity for women and girls of color. The Advancing Equity for Women and Girls of Color Summit will focus on a range of issues including economic development, healthcare, criminal justice and vulnerability to violence.

"Some of the statistics about the state of women and girls of color are pretty bleak: according to a 2015 report by the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation, a black female high school graduate makes about $2,200 less than a white male dropout and black women are near the bottom of earning across all levels of education."

Executive Director Karen Sterk will be at the summit in D.C. as part of Prosperity Together, a partnership of nonpartisan, U.S. women’s foundations. Click here for the live feed. ‪Use #‎propseritytogether‬ to be part of the conversation.

Read more from the Time article.


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Higher education’s multi-generational impact

JRF | Oct 28 2015 |  · · · 

"The sons and daughters of college-educated parents are more than twice as likely to go to college as the children of high school graduates and seven times as likely as those of high school dropouts."

Read more from the NY Times article by clicking here.

It’s been shown time and again that when parents go to college, it greatly impacts the futures of their children. Jeannette Rankin Fund directly supports low-income women 35 and older. But the impact reaches far beyond the individual scholars.

Nearly half are the first in their families to pursue higher education; the typical Rankin scholar has two children and lives on an annual income of approximately $21,000. After receiving the scholarship, 95.2% of Jeannette Rankin scholars earn a degree or certificate. 83.3% say that earning a degree has helped them and their families to become more financially secure.

A college degree makes a difference in a family's day to day lives – securing a career with good pay and benefits so they don’t have to worry about how to pay for food or gas for the car or when an unexpected expense come up, like a child gets sick. It also dramatically changes their long-term prospects – they’re establishing a family tradition of education, and conquering poverty permanently.

Alexandra, a Jeannette Rankin alumna, says: “My degree gave me the flexibility to be really present for my oldest and younger son, and both recognize the value of having a good education. I think what they learned in watching me spend 10 years going from zero education to a doctoral degree was that reaching a dream takes work, not giving up no matter what, and giving it all that you have. I gained a tremendous amount of confidence, and when the job market took a dive and I was laid off, I simply started my own research and program evaluation consulting business. I am making a good income, working from home, and choosing the clients and projects that make me happiest.”

Jeannette Rankin Fund supporters make these changes possible for women across the country. Thank you!


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Jeannette Rankin scholar receives Courageous Educator Award!

Jeannette Rankin scholar receives Courageous Educator Award!

JRF | Feb 10 2015 |  · · · 

Angela was presented with the Courageous Educator Award by Educators for Social Justice! She works as an assistant professor in human services and serves as the department chair at St. Louis Community College. In 1997, she needed help paying for college.

"My Jeannette Rankin Fund scholarship allowed for me to complete my education and in doing so, spurred my professional development and community involvement," Angela said.

After earning her Bachelor's degree in Social Work in 1999, Angela went on to earn her Master's. She's kept busy since then, doing incredible work in her school and community.

Here's an excerpt on why she was selected:

“Angela’s fervor for social justice in the realm of education was clear from the very first moment we reviewed her nomination,” Accettola said. “She works ardently to organize her students to promote equality across the city through various student clubs. She also has her hand in addressing a wide variety of social justice issues, including homelessness and women’s rights. Simply put, Angela’s passion pervades all areas of her life.”

Congratulations, Angela! We are so happy your contributions and hard work are being recognized. To read more about Angela and her work in and out of the classroom, click here.


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Cheryl, Jeannette Rankin Alumna

JRF | Sep 22 2014 |  · · · 

At our Annual Dinner on September 16th, Jeannette Rankin Alumnae shared her story. Here's part of what she had to say:

I was so grateful for the opportunity to be able to share what the Jeannette Rankin Women’s Scholarship Fund has enabled me to accomplish at the annual dinner. You see, my mother was a drug addict. I grew up in a home filled with drugs, violence and abuse. Then, I married an abusive man. I was convinced that I had no way out, not only because I couldn’t make it on my own, but because I believed that marriage was a sacred covenant not to be broken.


It took him threatening to put a bullet in my brain for me to make the decision that I had to leave despite the consequences. It was the most heart wrenching and scariest decision that I ever made. I had no home, no car, and no job.


While I was at the Domestic Violence shelter and trying to figure out how to start a life on my own with five children to take care of, I realized that I had a choice. I could get a minimum wage job, child support and government assistance and make ends meet, but I would always be reliant on the government to survive. Or, I could get extra government assistance, child support and scholarships to go back to school. Then, I would eventually be able to support myself without government assistance.


Everyone told me about all of the scholarships available for older, single moms, but as I tried to find them I found out that it was a myth. They just are not out there to the degree that many think. However, I was blessed to discover Jeannette Rankin Fund.


With Jeannette Rankin Fund's help, not only was I able to complete my degree in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, but I was able to procure a job that supports my family and enables me to give back. I was even able to buy my very own home! I cannot tell you what it means to not have to fill out the free lunch form for my children or worry about how I am going to pay the electric bill and buy the supplies my children need for some school project. Our lives have been forever changed and it is a direct result of the Jeannette Rankin Fund.


There are three things that I want desperately to convey to each of you. One, if he hits you, slaps you, or shoves you, it is abuse. It doesn’t matter whether it is in the face, head, shoulder, back or anywhere else. It is still abuse. It doesn’t matter whether it happens once a week, once a month, once a year or even every couple of years. It is still abuse, and it is ok to leave. You can do it! You can survive! You do not have to believe the lies that you aren’t worth it, or that you are incapable of surviving without him.


That leads to my next point. If you don’t like your life, you can change it! If you are in an abusive relationship, addicted to drugs, living in poverty, or just plain unhappy, you can change it. Make a plan and do it. You will want to give up. It will be hard. The key is to keep going no matter what, even when you feel like you can’t go on. At those times don’t think about tomorrow or even the next hour. All you have to do it determine to make it through the next minute. If you keep doing that, one day you will look around and realize you made it. All you have to do is not give up.


The third is that your gift matters! It can be the difference between success and failure. I know it was for me.


I would not be where I am, today, without the Jeannette Rankin Fund support. It has changed my life. It has changed my children’s lives. It has and will change all the women’s lives that I share my story with. It has and will change the lives of my children’s friends as they share it. I am just one woman, and you have had this much of an impact. Imagine what else can be accomplished!


My story is not over. I feel like I am just now getting to the good part, and I am so excited for the future. After my children are grown I plan on continuing my education to include a graduate degree. I hope to do research in Genetics and Epigenetics. It is a fascinating area of study that I believe can help so many suffering from everything from schizophrenia to PTSD and anxiety disorders. Until then, I will continue to share my story in hopes of encouraging other women to move past their difficult circumstances and making a better life for themselves and their children. 


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