READING, PA (April 1, 2019) – A group of local women started the Power of the Purse in Berks County Fund in 2012. Group members’ donations come together to create a bigger impact than each member would make alone.

The members have agreed to have this fund focus on funding programs that help break the cycle of poverty by eliminating or reducing barriers for Berks County girls and women who want to enter or re-enter the workforce or seek education to do so.

Each year, members review grant applications, visit nonprofits and vote to determine which programs will receive grants. Members pay $1,000 per year if they are over 35, and $500 if they are 35 and under. The fund also accepts donations of any size from non-members.

Thanks to the generosity of local women, organizations that improve the lives of women and children in Berks County have received $180,903 in grants to do their work.

Phelicia Schuller celebrates with her 8-month-old daughter after completing Y-Haven, a program that helps women who would otherwise be homeless. The women are able to quickly research and accept jobs and educational opportunities while Y-Haven covers childcare and transportation costs. Photo courtesy of Reading Eagle.

Here are just some examples:

  • Berks Teens Matter was able to continue successfully working to reduce teen pregnancy, leading to improved educational outcomes and long-term well-being of families in Berks County.
  • VOiCEup Berks provided weekly opportunities for middle school girls in the Reading School District to be involved in service learning and leadership development.
  • Safe Berks ran the “Education, Empowerment, Employment!” program, which supports survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault with financial assistance and guidance for education, transportation, childcare, job searches and more.
  • Reading Recreation Commission expanded its Girls Leadership Program, which teaches young women in urban environments to be leaders.
  • Girl Scouts of Eastern Pennsylvania was able to implement an innovative, out-of-school-time leadership development effort that engages 1,400 girls between the ages of 5 and 17 in underserved areas of Berks.
  • YMCA of Reading & Berks County operated Y-Haven, a program that helps women, who would otherwise be homeless, quickly research and accept jobs and educational opportunities by covering childcare and transportation costs.
  • Community Prevention Partnership of Berks County provided home visitation to first time, low-income mothers beginning in pregnancy and continuing until the child’s second birthday.
  • Clare of Assisi House supplied transitional residential services and life-skills training for non-violent women who are coming out of prison and need a safe living environment while becoming self-sufficient.
  • Girls on the Run of Berks County awarded scholarships to elementary and middle school girls from low-income households to participate in this youth development program.
  • The Children’s Home of Reading helped females in the Berks County jail system prepare for successful lives outside of prison and make better life choices.

We thank the women who have made all of this possible and done so much good for our community.

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