United Way Launches WomenRise to Benefit Single Mothers

RICHMOND, Va. (May 3, 2021) – United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg today announces the launch of WomenRise, a scholarship program that empowers single mothers to work toward a post-secondary degree or credential without the burden of childcare expenses.

The cost of childcare in the Richmond region is often more than $1,000 a month per child. This massive expense can make it nearly impossible for single parents to maintain financial stability while furthering their education in pursuit of a reliable living-wage job. Single mothers are particularly disadvantaged, as they experience poverty at a higher rate than any other family structure. In the United Way service area, the poverty rate for single mother families is 29.7 percent compared to 12.2 percent for single father families and 3.7 percent for married couple families.

United Way’s new program provides full monetary assistance to cover the cost of childcare while a mother is going to school or a training program. The scholarships will be paid directly to the childcare provider. WomenRise scholarships will be available on an annual basis to local single mothers with the application process taking place every summer.

“Single mothers often sacrifice financial stability while advancing their education or career training goals. This challenge has only worsened in the face of a pandemic that has disproportionately impacted women of color,” said James Taylor, President & CEO of United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg. “We know a reliable, good-paying job is the most effective way for a single mother to achieve financial stability for herself and her family. WomenRise will empower local single mothers to attain the education needed to provide more career opportunities for single mothers, and in turn, more opportunities for their families.”

WomenRise is run by local volunteer members of United Way’s Women United giving community, with members fundraising for scholarships, making scholarship decisions, planning events and providing encouragement and support to WomenRise scholarship recipients.

United Way and its volunteers are currently seeking financial support from local donors and organizations who want to help single mothers. This 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 www.yourunitedway.org/donate to donate today.

The first round of WomenRise scholarships will be awarded in August 2021. Applications will open in June 2021. Those interested in applying for a scholarship may email Samantha McCabe (mccabes@yourunitedway.org) for more information.