Women’s Foundation for the State of Arizona Nets $350,000 Grant for Single Moms Program
The Women’s Foundation for the State of Arizona has received a $350,000 grant from The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation. The gift will be used to support statewide expansion of Pathways for Single Moms, an innovative program that gives single mothers the resources and support they need to pursue higher education, forge a better career path and secure a livable wage for themselves and their families.
In Arizona, there are more than 70,000 full-time working, single mothers who lack a college degree. Even when working full-time, single mothers are likely to be in or near poverty and without a path to further education, these mothers cannot increase their earning potential. According to the Arizona 2022 Self-Sufficiency Standard, it is estimated that a single mother in Maricopa County with one school-aged child must make $51,519 to meet basic needs such as housing, childcare, and food. However, research shows that single mothers of young children have an annual median wage of $30,000. Without additional support, these families don’t have a way forward.
“We don’t want mothers to have to choose between putting food on the table and childcare,” said Bob Parsons, co-founder of The Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation. “Pathways for Single Moms is giving single moms tools to become financially independent and bring their families out of poverty.”
Pathways for Single Moms helps low-income single mothers change the trajectory of their lives. They can become economically self-sufficient through a variety of educational and economic opportunities, including a one-year certificate program in one of many growing STEM fields such as construction technology, healthcare, entrepreneurial studies or IT, that pay sustainable wages. Pathways for Single Moms also covers the cost of tuition, childcare, and more – removing the common barriers women face when going back to school.
Launched in 2020 by WFSA, Pathways for Single Moms recently received state funding to scale its work across Arizona in partnership with nonprofit organizations and educational institutions.
“We believe everyone deserves a chance to succeed,” said co-founder Renee Parsons. “Pathways for Single Moms is helping women address ongoing challenges and overcome systemic barriers at a critical time in their lives. The program helps women build confidence, secure a significantly higher paying job, and learn skills to move forward in their careers.”
“Bob & Renee Parsons and their foundation’s investment in moms and their families throughout Arizona speaks volumes about their understanding of and dedication to solving the complex challenges our communities face,” said WFSA CEO Amalia Luxardo. “Emerging from over two years of a pandemic, the mothers we serve in this program understand better than most that being an ‘essential worker’ does not pay a living wage. Add to it the highest inflation our generation has seen, particularly in Arizona, which is the highest in the nation, this funding could not have come at a more critical time. The generous gift from the Bob & Renee Parsons Foundation will help us meet the gaps while expanding this critical program statewide.”
This funding has been generously matched by Women Moving Millions, a nonprofit organization focused on the advancement of women and girls. Renee Parsons is a member of Women Moving Millions.