Happy Women’s Equality Day! It’s a day to celebrate women’s empowerment, and if you are looking for inspiring women doing inspiring work, look no further than Women United.
As chair, I’m humbled to represent over 3700 Women United trailblazers who are raising the ceiling for local women, and men, to achieve their full potential.
It is no secret that access to quality childcare and education, the gender wage gap and maternal health are important issues for any community but in San Antonio we have made them all priorities. United Way and Women United members work together to address narrowing the gap for greater equality, removing socioeconomic barriers and eliminating disparities. It is unacceptable that the gap is even broader for women of color.
We are making an impact and helping close that gap by breaking generational poverty through our signature Childcare Scholarship Program. Our program addresses the needs of both parent and child.
We ensure that parents who are pursuing economic stability through higher education and/or full-time job training receive financial assistance for childcare. Their children are cared for in a safe early childhood learning environment enabling them to be well on their way to greater equality.
Since our Childcare Scholarship Program began in 2015, Women United members have raised over $2 million, which to date, has paid for 350 children in daycare while supporting 249 parents’ goals of educational and career advancement.
Samantha Soto, one of our current Childcare Scholarship recipients, recently shared her story and how Women United has impacted her life. Hear Samantha’s story and meet her below.
I’m also extremely inspired with our membership’s compassion and ability to react quickly and effectively during our current healthcare pandemic. Women United, in partnership with the San Antonio Area Foundation and other local partners, were called up to fund the COVID-19 Emergency Childcare Assistance Program. We were able to provide three weeks of childcare for over 250 children of essential workers unable to work remotely while schools were shut down.
“It’s just me and my three and a half-year-old son here in San Antonio, and I work really hard to provide the necessities for us, said Childcare Scholarship recipient Amy Slomka, a caregiver with a San Antonio health services company. “These three weeks of paid childcare are a HUGE deal to me. Thank you so much!”
The importance of women helping others is at the heart of Women United’s framework for providing professional development, volunteering, mentoring, networking and fundraising opportunities. One such opportunity is our annual Power of the Purse event on Oct.14, 2020. This year’s theme is Ladies Night “In” where you can donate and buy a purse from our online auction, network with the “in” crowd and be part of a fun and unique virtual event helping raise funds for United Way’s Childcare Scholarship Program. Go to unitedwaysatx.org. Last year’s successful event raised an unprecedented $138,000, providing life-changing scholarships for parents and the little ones behind them.
When a group of highly motivated and caring women come together, each with their own diverse backgrounds and life experiences, one can expect that they most certainly will have a tremendous impact on whatever cause they get behind. Fortunately for us, we have Women United members who take their time and talents to help others achieve a better future.
I’m grateful to all past and present women leaders as we celebrate Women’s Equality Day. Without their tenacity and bravery the last 100 yeas would have looked a lot different for us all. We still though have so much to do. It’s imperative that we rally together and continue to advocate for equal access to quality childcare, quality education and quality of life.
So, here’s to fearless women everywhere. May we know them. May we be them. May we raise them.
2019 – 2021 Women United Chair
Senior Vice President—Corporate Relations, SWBC
United Way of San Antonio and Bexar County