Invest in Women in the Washington DC Metro Area

Dec 5, 2011

What Inspires You to Step up and Take Action?

What inspires you to step up and take action?  When Mya Zeronis looks at her five-year-old daughter, Mandy, she sees a reason to fight.  After Mya left her job as a chef at a local restaurant, her employer refused to pay her last month’s wages.  So Mya sprang into action with the help of Restaurant Opportunities Center (ROC-DC), a Washington Area Women’s Foundation Grantee Partner.  After taking leadership training courses at ROC-DC, Mya created an online petition drive and an in-person flier campaign that resulted in her getting the money she was owed.  After all, could you survive without pay for a month?

“There are a lot of wrongs happening in the restaurant industry and no one seems to care,” says Mya. “[When I joined ROC-DC] I wanted to be active in reforming the industry.  It felt good to send a message.

And not just to restaurant owners.  She also wants to teach her daughter that “she’s in charge of her own future.”

There is an increasing number of women and girls like Mya and Mandy who fight to survive day-by-day. 

Mya Zeronis and her daughter, Mandy.

“A lot of work went into just getting a paycheck I already earned,” says Mya.

Shamefully, 21 percent of women and girls live in poverty in our nation’s capital.   And frighteningly, the numbers keep rising.  More than 200,000 females live in poverty in our region, according to recent Census data,  nearly 14 percent more than just a year ago. That’s twice the increase seen nationwide. 

We cannot stand by while more and more people in our community struggle.  We have to act.

With your support, in the last six years, Washington Area Women’s Foundation has:

  • Invested nearly $5 million in grants to more than 45 community-based organizations.
  • Helped more than 4,000 women increase their assets by just over $18 million through decreased debt, increased savings and growing equity related to home ownership.
  • Conducted research on the status of women and girls in our region and educated our community about the needs of women and girls.  
  • Thank you.  Your support measurably improved the lives of thousands of women and girls like Mya and Mandy.

    And your gift today will have even greater impact.  Please give as generously as you can. 

    We will ensure that your donations support the most effective strategies and programs that help women and girls access high-quality and affordable childcare, obtain jobs with family-sustaining wages & benefits, and save for their futures.

    Together we will shape a community where all women and girls have the resources they need to thrive.

    With gratitude.



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    Project Leader

    Jennifer Lockwood-Shabat

    Vice Presdient
    Washington, DC United States

    Where is this project located?

    Map of Invest in Women in the Washington DC Metro Area