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With help from a recent 74-percent surge in membership, United Way of Salt Lake Women’s Leadership Council has collectively raised more than half a million dollars during the past two years to support an initiative to empower girls and teens to complete post secondary education and training.
The Women for Educational Achievement initiative is a hallmark of United Way’s Women’s Leadership Council (formerly Women’s Philanthropic Network). Council members invest $1,500 or more annually toward post-secondary education efforts for Utah girls and teens.
“The gap between Utah women and men completing post-secondary education is among the highest in the nation, making the work of our Women’s Leadership Council vital,” said Jennifer Smith, Women’s Leadership Council chair. “This exciting, sudden growth in membership will allow us to take action in ways that go far beyond donations – with ideas, volunteers, and hands-on support.”
The Women’s Leadership Council is a diverse group of women who are taking a leading role by investing in and influencing solutions to complex community issues. The WLC works to ensure that girls and teens have the opportunity and support to attain a post-secondary degree or certificate.
WLC members have developed a pilot program focused on volunteerism. Some of the activities include one-on-one mentoring and tutoring, career and college tours, classroom presentations and three-day workshops based on the best-selling book, “StrengthsFinder 2.0,” designed to help young women understand their potential. In addition, the council funds and supports various “destination graduation” programs in junior high and high schools in the neighborhoods and communities where United Way of Salt Lake focuses its work.
The WLC recently changed its name from Women’s Philanthropic Network to align with the national Women’s Leadership Council movement affiliated with United Way Worldwide. Internationally, the Women’s Leadership Council boasts more than 130 local councils and more than 55,000 members. Collectively, they have raised more than $1 billion to fund and support education efforts around the world. United Way of Salt Lake will retain the name Women’s Philanthropic Network for the association of founding members who established the group locally in 2005.