The Women's Foundation Core Grant Making Program

by Women's Foundation for a Greater Memphis

Thank you for helping 115 Jobs for Life graduates through Advance Memphis go to work. WFGM's first grant award to Advance Memphis was in 2010 for "Jobs for Life, Financial Freedom and Warehouse Warriors," a six-week job readiness and financial literacy program. Since that time, 70 individuals, on average, are employed everyday through Advance Memphis Staffing. Over 100 additional students will graduate from Jobs for Life by the end of the year, and 10 graduates have already received their GEDs. From the beginning, Advance's programs have been founded on relationships. Through personal relationships with their friends in the neigborhood, the organization helps to bring economic self sufficiency to the residents of the current HOPE VI Cleaborn Homes revitalization project. 

Advance seeks to bring the hope, knowledge, resources and skills that can help individuals overcome roadblocks and move towards financial independence. The Advance Memphis staff agrees that the success their grads have attained is due to the incredible work ethic and determination of many of the students, paired with the hours invested by volunteer mentors and tutors.



Geraldine L. defines HOPE for all. Geraldine lost her job suddenly; however, her determination paid off after taking full advantage of the Urban Strategies Memphis HOPE program. She participated in all training programs and job fairs, applied for hundreds of jobs, and completed all tasks assigned by Memphis HOPE employment specialists.

Today, Geraldine, a mother of two, has been working at Methodist Le Bonheur Hospital for almost a year and her courage and persistence inspires us to never lose HOPE in the face of adversity.


Booker T. Washington Lady Warriors
Booker T. Washington Lady Warriors

Students at Booker T. Washington High School have been referred to as "high risk" because of their ethnic, social, and economic status. A majority of the students are parented by single females whose income is at or below the poverty level and where government assistance is the main income source. In 2007, the school's graduation rate dropped below the Memphis City Schools and state graduation levels. Despite these odds, promise and achievement abound within the Lady Warriors den. For the past 10 years, Derek W. Hunter, Head Girls Basketball Coach and Program Director of "Education/Cultural Experience" has been defying the odds. This program was created to expose inner-city, African American teenage girls to unfamiliar surroundings and cultures with the hope that they will be motivated and prepared to seek and education or career past high school.

The Booker T. Washington H.S. Girls Lady Warrior Basketball Team Educational/Cultural Experience expanded the student-athlete program to the girls' track and field team. Recently, the team went to the Allstate Sugar Bowl Track and Field Meet in New Orleans. Former Lady Warriors who made this same trip years ago monitored the trip and mentored the girls. The group has been on 2 educational experiences in this school year and money is being raised to attend another track meet.

The return on our investment over the past eight years is much greater than the $18,500 in grant awards to the Educational/Cultural Experience at Booker T. Washington High School. Starting with a shift in mindset from "high-risk" to "student-athlete," the Experience helps the girls achieve a sense of dignity, self-worth, and the belief that their negative surroundings don't have to prevent them from pursuing their dreams. This philosophy is quite evident by the level of academic and athletic success of the basketball and track team members. The graduation rate for the Experience program participants in 100 percent.


Leslie Shaw
Leslie Shaw

Leslie Shaw has raised her two grandchildren with food to eat, clean clothes to wear and a roof over their heads, so she never considered herself poor. But she knew that she wanted more out of life for her family.

As a resident of Legends Park, formerly Dixie Homes public housing project, Leslie enrolled in the first "Getting Ahead" class offered through Memphis HOPE so she could make a better life for her family.

Leslie said, "The class has actually taught me that my situation and my living condition is something that can be changed." With a new home and a new support system, she was ready to begin a new journey.

Her first step was to make changes at home. She's always read to her grandchildren, but now she reads more. Her 10-year-old grandson must now read two books a month, and do a report on one of them , in addition to his school work.

After helping her family, she started to dream for herself. The "Getting Ahead" class fueled her determination to return to school and her vision to be a social worker. Deciding to make that dream a reality, Leslie applied for and was recently awarded scholarships from The Tennessee Economic Council on Women and the Southwest Tennessee Community College, where she is now attending. She can't wait to start having contests with her grandson for the best grades in school.

Thank you for your support of the Women’s Foundation for a Greater Memphis. Together, we have helped change the life of Leslie and other low-income families in our community.

 As we reflect on 15 years of success, our role in moving women out of poverty and into long-term economic stability is one of our greatest achievements. Joined by our donors, the Women’s Foundation has invested over $12.6 million to enable women and their families to realize their goals and become economically self-sufficient.

 We have created a new model of supportive case management for over 700 former public housing residents through Memphis HOPE and, just this year, granted $612,000 to 33 programs. Together, we are breaking multi-generational poverty.

 Building on demonstrated success, we are expanding our Memphis HOPE model to transform the Cleaborn Homes public housing development. We are the first Women’s Foundation in the nation to lead philanthropic investment for this new model of service.

Please help us continue our journey of success by renewing your investment with a gift or pledge today.


DeNeuville Learning Center Graduation
DeNeuville Learning Center Graduation

Your gifts help us say “Yes” to programs making a positive impact in our community.

Because of you, the Women’s Foundation reached our goal for the year and will continue to fund successful programs like “Education for Job Readiness” at the DeNeuville Learning Center. This program provides GED preparation and testing, English as a Second Language (ESL), computer studies, job search and readiness, grant writing and program evaluation and reporting, and childcare for students' children. Women participants learn the skills they need to reach their full potential and provide for their families.

Please join us to see your investment at work by attending the Annual Grants Showcase Thursday, October 14 from 5:30 pm- 7:30 pm at the Hilton Memphis!



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Organization Information

Women's Foundation for a Greater Memphis

Location: Memphis, TN - USA
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Ruby Bright
Executive Director
Memphis, TN United States

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