The Foundation for Women is committed to helping women accomplish their dreams and reach their true potential.
Since the Foundation for Women was established in 1997, our organization has supplied eligible women with microfinance loans to help them start a business, develop job placement skills, or pursue education for themselves and their children.
What is the local problem/need?
- Local poverty rate is at a 50-year high (San Diego County 2010 statistics)
- 33% of 3.1m population is struggling with economic hardship living below 200% of FPL (Federal Poverty Level)
- 14.8% (449,060) live below FPL
- Of the 157,028 families living below FPL, 49% (76,944) are female-only head of household
- 19% of children live below FPL
- Poverty rates for African-Americans and Latinos are double that for Caucasians
- California has designated San Diego County as a “Refugee-Impacted County”
What is microfinance?
- Proven successful microfinance programs make small loans for income-generating activities to those who cannot qualify for loans from traditional financial institutions
- Microloan amounts typically range from $250 - $1,000 in the U.S. and $100 globally
- Microloans provide access to capital to establish a small business or educational opportunities
Why focus on women?
- Microfinance programs empower women
- Empowering women is a cost-effective way to help families and communities work their way out of poverty with dignity, achieving greater rates of economic growth and social equity
- A woman’s successful participation in a microfinance program has positive impact on the health and welfare of children—as many as 5 family members share impact of loan program
What is FFW’s role?
- FFW is the only organization in the U.S. reaching the poorest of the poor, using the Nobel Prize-winning Grameen microfinance model as part of its approach
- Since 1997, FFW has helped more than 1 million women and families with microloans in India, Zambia, Niger, Liberia, and the U.S.
- In 2004, FFW expanded its microfinance efforts to directly serve very poor immigrant and refugee women in San Diego County
- Since 2004, FFW has issued and managed loans to nearly 500 San Diego women
- After the loan is repaid, it goes back into the pool to be distributed, thus perpetuating the lending capital
- FFW microfinance participants receive mentoring and education about financial and business management