Newsroom Update

United Way Announces 2023 WomenRise Scholarship Recipients

A total of $150,000 will be distributed to 19 local single moms

RICHMOND, Va. (Aug 28, 2023) – United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg has announced the recipients of its third annual WomenRise scholarship program, which empowers single moms to work toward a college degree without the burden of childcare expenses.

This year, 19 single moms from Richmond, Henrico, Chesterfield and Colonial Heights will receive a total of $150,000 in childcare scholarships from the program.

$14,577 is the average annual cost of day care per child in Virginia, which is almost half of the state median income for single parents. WomenRise scholarships will cover the cost of childcare while these mothers work toward a range of degrees and certifications including education, business, accounting, criminal justice, nursing, clinical lab science and social work. The length of the scholarships varies depending on the recipients’ individual education plans. 

“Nearly one-third of single moms in our region are living below the poverty threshold, and many of these mothers are forced to choose between paying for childcare and furthering their education,” said Heather Farber, Director of Major Gifts at United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg. “WomenRise can help ease the financial burden of childcare so these hardworking moms don’t have to make that difficult choice.”

In addition to childcare scholarships, the WomenRise program provides supports to participants, including educational opportunities, mentoring, connections to resources, emergency financial assistance and a supportive community of women working toward similar goals.

According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, only 8% of single mothers complete their bachelor’s or associate degree within six years of enrolling.

“This innovative program is working to improve educational outcomes for our local parents and families,” said Barbara Couto Sipe, President & CEO of United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg. “I’m proud that we can offer WomenRise to support these moms as they achieve their dreams. All of us at United Way are thankful for our donors who make this initiative and others possible.”

Since its launch in 2021, WomenRise has awarded $400,000 in scholarship funds to 31 participants, eight of whom have graduated from the program so far.

To learn more about the mothers participating in the program, visit United Way’s WomenRise website.

United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg is currently seeking financial support from local donors and organizations who want to help sustain this program and support more single mothers in 2024. The upcoming fundraising phase will be critical in determining the number of WomenRise scholarship recipients and the amount of each scholarship. United Way invites anyone interested in supporting the program to visit or email Heather Farber ( today.