Women United Leading the Way
How our local female leaders are taking the charge for foster youth
March is Women’s History month, and at United Way, we are proud to salute the steadfast members of Women United. Now in our 17th year, Women United, formerly Women in Philanthropy, has raised over $2 million to support foster youth aging out of care in the greater Sacramento region. Those funds have provided matched savings accounts for foster youth who reach adulthood without the benefit of family support or a financial safety net. They also receive mentoring and life skills training to ease their transition into independence.
Foster youth are the most vulnerable among at-risk youth. The high school graduation rate for foster youth in California is 50% compared to the overall graduation rate of 83%. One in four foster youth become incarcerated within two years of aging out of care, and up to 43 percent of California prison inmates have spent time in foster care. When I think about the lost potential of those young people, it takes my breath away.
That’s why I am a proud platinum member of Women United.
Women United members include executives, community leaders, educators and stay-at-home moms. All of us bring a deep commitment to ensuring that every child has the opportunity to succeed. That is our Square One Project credo. Our work with foster youth keeps kids in school, keeps them on track, sets high expectations for their success and provides strong support.
This month, Women United will celebrate its 17th annual luncheon where we will cheer on foster youth who will soon enter adulthood. We will also celebrate a former foster youth who was in our program but is now an executive at a Fortune 500 company. In April, Our United Way will be hosting a foster youth summit with other stakeholders from nonprofit organizations, school districts, community colleges and universities, state and county officials, donors and foster youth to improve outcomes for foster youth in our region. Our goals are to increase the number of foster youth who graduate from high school and go on to complete higher education or a career training program.
I thank my fellow Women United members and look forward to helping more foster youth to realize their potential.