June 18, 2019 – Fort Wayne, IN – The Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne has launched The Women and Girls’ Study of Greater Fort Wayne. The Women and Girls’ Study of Greater Fort Wayne is a redefining moment to recognize the power of women and the future of girls in our community. The last study conducted for the Allen County community specific to women’s and girls’ issues was 45 years ago by a commission assembled by Fort Wayne Mayor Ivan Lebamoff in 1974.
Since 1974, Indiana has continued to rank toward the bottom in the country on women’s and girls’ specific issues. This study is a first step in creating a baseline of metrics in which to define focus areas for a Women’s Fund at the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne.
“We at the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne believe that we need a clear understanding of where Fort Wayne and Allen County are on key issues affecting the women and girls in our community. With women making up 51% of Indiana’s population, we know that women’s issues are community issues – that when women succeed, a whole community succeeds.” – Alison Gerardot, Vice President of Philanthropic Services
Over the last 18 months the Community Foundation has been on a listening tour meeting with over 125 organizations, community groups, and individuals to explore and test the level of interest for a women’s study and fund. There has been unanimous agreement that a new study is necessary in order to set priorities for the future of our community.
“This work, using both quantitative and qualitative information, will enable the Community Foundation, local leaders and the public at large to make data-informed decisions for policies and programs that serve Allen County’s women and girls. With the last local assessment of women done more than 40 years ago, we are long overdue to conduct this research, which I expect to be both affirming and surprising at the same time.” – Rachel Blakeman, Director of the Purdue University Fort Wayne Community Research Institute
The Community Foundation has enlisted the Purdue University Fort Wayne Community Research Institute to lead this trailblazing study. At CRI’s recommendation, the Community Foundation has funded and spent the last several months in the Discovery Phase of this multi-phase approach and has identified five priority areas:
Through the commission of this study the Community Foundation aims to work in alignment with others to support regional goals, to empower a currently underserved demographic in the community and to be a leader in the state of Indiana in narrowing the opportunity gap for women.
For nearly 100 years, the Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne has been a public charitable foundation serving Allen County since 1922. The Community Foundation had assets of approximately $141.7 million at December 31, 2018 and awarded more than $6 million in charitable grants and scholarships in that year. The Community Foundation of Greater Fort Wayne does three things: help people make their charitable giving more impactful, connect funding to nonprofits through effective grantmaking, and provide leadership to address community needs to improve quality of life. Every day we connect people and resources to build a more vibrant community.