I spent a few hours yesterday in Prince George’s County, Maryland, helping to facilitate a Voice and Vision session for Washington Area Women’s Foundation.
Although I’ve been on the board for seven years, I have been focused on pretty much everything except our programmatic work in an intense way. Don’t get me wrong, I can recite the stats and progress and impact and all that good stuff.
Like that the DC metro area is a "tale of two cities," with the highest paid and most highly educated women in America. We’re the fastest growing city for women entrepreneurs, and we’ve got a woman presidential candidate living in our midst.
BUT, we’ve also got the highest rate in the country of new incidences of HIV in women, and 1 in 3 kids lives in poverty –more than 75 percent in households headed by single women.
See, I didn’t even have to check my notes (or our research) to lay that out.
But yesterday, instead of talking about it conceptually, I was with some women in Prince George’s County who, themselves, have come through the fire and are now doing amazing work to help lift struggling women out of poverty, away from destructive behaviors and relationships, and to independence.
These women are doing God’s work for sure — against a fair number of odds and in an area that is somewhat forgotten in a metropolitan area where many people don’t really know the geography and demographics of their hometown.
Prince George’s County is the ultimate tale of two counties. While folks there don’t like to hear it said this way, these women – and others who were there – most definitely framed up the "inside the beltway" vs. "outside the beltway" dynamics of this county, which is the most affluent minority-majority (aka majority black) "municipality" in the world.
I feel lucky and proud to work with The Women’s Foundation and with women like Deborah and Kim. They inspire me to keep investing in the future of independence – financial and otherwise – for women in our community.
Donna Callejon serves on The Women’s Foundation’s Board of Directors, and is Chief Operating Officer of Global Giving. This blog was originally posted here before we subsequently stole it. (With permission, of course.)