Power of the Purse (POP) is a women’s giving circle. The dedicated group of women meet several times a year to learn about barriers women and girls face in Berks County. They have visited local organizations that work to break down those barriers, listened to expert speakers, and made thoughtful decisions about how best to help using their own resources.
Four meetings per year:
Meeting 1 – Learn. Listen to a local expert who works directly with women and girls who are working to rise from poverty.
Meeting 2 – Review. Read reports from the previous year’s grants and begin the application review process for the current year.
Meeting 3 – Give. Hear feedback from each site visit leader, get questions answered, and vote to see which organizations will receive grants that year.
Meeting 4 – Celebrate. Gather with other members as well as representatives from the organizations that were awarded grants to honor the impact those grants will have.
7 Reasons to Join Power of the Purse
Women have a huge impact on our families, community and the next generation of both women and men.
The Power of the Purse has focused on funding programs that help break the cycle of poverty by eliminating or addressing barriers for Berks County girls and women who want to enter or re-enter the workforce or seek the education they need to do so.
Just scroll down to see the list of grants we’ve given to organizations that are doing important work.
With Power of the Purse, you can rest easy knowing your dollars are spent in a responsible, effective way. Our funding process starts with a discussion of local issues affecting women and girls and continues with an evaluation of and site visits to programs aimed at improving their lives.
Through the power of collective giving, your annual gift has the added impact of gifts from dozens of other women. Nowhere else can a relatively modest gift do so much to assist organizations and the women and girls they serve.
Whether you prefer just writing a check or also becoming deeply involved, you’re free to do as much or as little as you like, and you can evaluate your involvement every year.
Power of the Purse is an opportunity to learn about the needs of our community and how to effectively address them.
Whether you’re a newcomer or a Berks County native, Power of the Purse helps you connect with women in our community and beyond. Share your expertise, learn about pressing issues and build lasting relationships with new friends.
As an initiative of Berks County Community Foundation, Power of the Purse benefits from their years of experience and financial stewardship.
If you would like to donate via Credit Card, click below to donate now. You can also check out our Ways to Give page to review other methods for donating.Learn More
The Power of the Purse in Berks County accepts applications from late November until late January. Specific dates vary from year to year.To Apply
Deadline & Cycle
Grants support programs that improve the quality of life for women and girls in Berks County.
November 23 - January 24
Individuals in Need, Healthcare and Public Health
The Power of the Purse has focused on funding programs that help break the cycle of poverty by eliminating or addressing barriers for Berks County girls and/or women who want to enter or re-enter the workforce or seek the education they need to do so.
Safe Berks, $12,000: For the “Education, Employment, and Empowerment Program,” which helps eliminate barriers that survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault face in obtaining and/or maintaining employment. Direct costs to be covered for education and employment needs include program or application fees, books and supplies, childcare, transportation, and employment prerequisites such as photo identification, birth certificates, physicals/health-related costs, tools, uniforms, and technology to obtain education goals.
Berks Connections/Pretrial Services, $10,000: To remove obstacles to employment and education for women who were formerly incarcerated. Direct costs to be covered include bus passes, money for ride-hailing services, work boots, tools, and mobile phone minutes.
Opportunity House, $10,000: For the “Mom and Me Moving Forward through Education and Employment” program, which will have a social worker begin facilitating a Career Education & Exploration Program for girls who attend Opportunity House’s Learning Center. The program will include field trips and first-hand experiences. The social worker will also offer a financial counseling program to parents of children who attend the center (primarily single mothers).
Reading Science Center, $7,439: To expand its offering of female-focused STEM work with specialized programming to reach girls from underserved and underrepresented families.
Clare of Assisi House, $6,561: For its Workforce Development Program for non-violent women who are transitioning into the community from incarceration. In its application for a grant, Clare of Assisi House included research showing women who were formerly incarcerated have much higher rates of unemployment and are less likely to have a high school education than men in a similar situation.
Hannah’s Hope Ministries, $5,400: To run the Pathway to Progress program that helps mothers who are single and homeless overcome barriers to employment and financial stability by providing assistance with transportation, childcare, and education and training fees.
John Paul II Center for Special Learning, $2,000: For its Girl Talk 101 club for girls ages 10 to 21 with any disability category. The club will be a safe space where the girls will talk about anything related to their bodies, rights, safety, and self-advocacy with staff and community members who are subject matter experts.
Literacy Council of Reading-Berks, $2,000: To increase literacy skills among women, who will then be more employable and better able to advocate for their children with schools and other public institutions/systems.
VOiCEup Berks, $12,200: For its Youth Volunteer Corps of Reading In-School Leadership and Service Program. The program provides opportunities for middle school girls in Reading to be involved in community service projects that are combined with an educational aspect. The program demonstrates to students their capacity to change their lives and their community through their choices and actions. Projects the program has previously completed include a school-wide anti-drug meme contest, a school-wide PSA on teen suicide, and an initiative to provide feminine hygiene products to girls in need.
Safe Berks, $10,000: To run the Education, Empowerment, Employment program, which provides survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault with support and financial assistance for education, transportation, child care, job searches and more.
Clare of Assisi House, $6,880: To run an assistance program for non-violent women who are coming out of prison. The program purchases laptops, funds a 12-week financial education workshop, produces marketing brochures for local employers, and provides access to an employment specialist.
Grey Muzzle Manor Sanctuary, Inc., $6,000: For girls participating in the organization’s new Stable Moments program. Grey Muzzle Manor is a nonprofit sanctuary for senior animals and animals with special needs. The organization started the new Stable Moments program to provide mentorship and equine-assisted learning to children in foster care and those adopted from foster care.
Girls on the Run of Berks County, $5,000: To help girls in grades 3 through 8 in schools around Berks County to be joyful, healthy, and confident by using a fun, experience-based curriculum, which integrates running and other physical activity.
Hannah’s Hope Ministries, $4,600: For the Empowered for Life Financial Program, which provides financial literacy training and individualized financial plans for residents of the transitional housing program for homeless mothers.
VOiCEup Berks, $12,575: For its Youth Volunteer Corps of Reading In-School Leadership and Service Program. The program provides opportunities for middle school girls in Reading to be involved in service learning and leadership development. Service learning combines educational efforts with community service projects. The program demonstrates to students their capacity to change their lives and their community through their choices and actions. Projects the program has previously completed include a school-wide anti-drug meme contest, a school-wide PSA on teen suicide, “Bags of Hope” assembled for girls at a local shelter, and advocacy for menstrual equity (providing feminine hygiene products to girls in need).
Safe Berks, $10,000: To run the Education, Empowerment, Employment program, which provides survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault with financial assistance and support for education, transportation, child care, job searches and more.
Reading Recreation Commission, $10,000: To fund the Girls Leadership Program, which empowers young women in Reading. The program addresses peer pressure, bullying, self-worth and self-confidence. Girls participate in community service projects such as food and clothing drives. The program includes speakers, female mentors and field trips.
Community Prevention Partnership, $10,000: To support the Nurse Family Partnership program, which provides home visitation to first time, low-income mothers beginning in pregnancy and continuing until the child’s second birthday.
Berks Youth Chorus, $5,000: For scholarships to ensure all girls ages 8 to 18 who desire to sing with the chorus can do so, regardless of financial need. BYC’s programs help girls develop the soft skills they need to succeed in their education and in the workforce, such as confidence, leadership, time management, effective communication, and teamwork.
Girl Scouts of Eastern PA, $4,619.50: To support its Funded Initiatives Program, an innovative, out-of-school-time leadership development effort that engages hundreds of girls between the ages of 5 and 17 in underserved areas of Berks County.
Girls on the Run of Berks County (GOTR), $4,619.50: To provide Power Up kits to local girls. Power Up is a new at-home program by Girls on the Run that uses creativity and physical activity to teach valuable skills to girls, such as how to stand up for themselves and others, recognize the leader within, better understand and deal with emotions when times are difficult, and learn to enjoy and be present in daily life — all of which were incredibly relevant during a global pandemic. This funding will also support the GOTR fall season in Berks.
Clare of Assisi House, $3,186: For its “Bridge the Gap” program, which offers workforce development, drug and alcohol counseling, and life skills training to non-violent women who are coming out of prison.
For previous years information, please email email@example.com.