Blog & News 

Florence Crittenton, WFCO grantee

WFCO Sees Promising Early Results in Catalytic WAGES Work

// February 28, 2019

Grants Renewed for 23 Partners Across Colorado

Increases in wages have lagged behind cost of living increases in Colorado for a while, further burdening low-wage workers who are already working hard to meet their families’ basic needs. This burden impacts women disproportionately, who experience income inadequacy and poverty at greater rates than men. The Women’s Foundation of Colorado understands that this is not just a loss for women and their families, but a missed opportunity for our entire state.

WFCO + partners = Women achieving greater economic security

The Women’s Foundation of Colorado’s unique body of work, WAGES (Women Achieving Greater Economic Security), advances and accelerates economic opportunities for women by placing them on promising career pathways that provide livable wages, and ultimately, economic security. One of the most effective ways we do this is by partnering with nonprofit organizations across Colorado that provide women with needed resources to enter, remain, and succeed in these careers.

Promising 2018 results forecast further progress in year two

With promising results reported in 2018 from our WAGES grantee cohort, WFCO has renewed funding for all 23 nonprofit partners to continue their essential public policy and direct-service work through 2019. The cohort convenes twice per year to inform each other’s work, discuss best practices, exchange ideas, and identify opportunities to collaborate.

“Transformational work takes time and sustained funding; moving a woman and her family toward economic security requires a multi-pronged, multi-year approach. WFCO is thrilled to continue supporting a statewide cohort of grantees that employ diverse direct-service strategies that work best for their communities, while driving critical public policy changes that improve opportunities for all women in Colorado,” said Lauren Y. Casteel, president and CEO of WFCO.

During the first six months of WAGES, through July 2018, grantee partners reported that:

  • 40 WAGES participants working with direct-service grantees made employment gains in fields such as early childhood education and child care, information technology, and financial services
  • 66 WAGES participants working with direct-service grantees reached their educational goals
  • 256 WAGES participants working with direct-service grantees received some combination of case management supports, employment supports, financial coaching, transportation services, child care assistance, mentoring, and housing assistance
  • Public policy grantees conducted critical research and drove policies that improved access to high-quality child care, job training, family planning resources, and civil rights protection

“Our grantee partners represent many well-established nonprofits in Colorado as well as new organizations with innovative programs in the earliest stages,” said Louise Myrland, vice president of programs at WFCO. “We’ve already seen momentum from of our work together after just one year and we can’t wait to see it accelerate and amplify during our second year working together.”

The funding renewals were decided upon by a direct-service grantmaking committee reflective of community members from across the state.

Stories from around the state

Throughout the first year of WAGES, several participants shared their stories of growth and hope, including Frazier, Francesca, and Angie.

One anonymous WAGES program participant also reaffirmed her excitement for her future, writing, “I was struggling with the after-effects of a troubling divorce. I lost direction and was left with little hope that I would ever recover. I thought (the staff) would just help me with a getting a career. I started to lean into the support of staff and other participants. I am thankful for my time (with the program) because my hope was revived… I am a mother of three, and I was reminded that I can start again and build a flourishing life for us.”





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