Since 2005, the Women’s Philanthropy Network, a fund of the Community Foundation, has granted over $1.1 million to effective educational programs in our area. Recognizing the needs of our community’s youngest members, this group of dedicated women has turned their attention to early childhood education in Caddo Parish.

Throughout the year, members attend special events to be more informed about the issues our local students face. This year’s speakers include Carolyn Gonzales, who discussed how the VOA’s Communities in Schools program uses case management to identify individual students’ needs and connect their families with helpful resources. Sister Sharon Rambin of David Raines Community Health Centers also addressed how school-based health centers are helping families and children by bringing care directly to students at school. Louisiana Department of Education’s chief of early childhood strategy, Nasha Patel, updated members on current initiatives in childcare and early childhood education in the state. This week, Laura Alderman (Step Forward) and Kristi Gustavson (Community Foundation) will present findings and outcomes from the 2019 North Louisiana Early Childhood Policy Summit.

WPN women are not only informed, but also directly engage with area organizations to make an impact. Each year WPN members pool their dues to make an impactful grant award to an education initiative and build a lasting endowment through the WPN Fund at the Community Foundation. WPN accepts grant applications in January and February and chooses the grant recipient at the WPN annual meeting in May. Recent grant recipients include Volunteers for Youth Justice’s Truancy Assessment Center, Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities for their PRIME TIME preschool program, and Step Forward for their neighborhood networks initiative.

By bringing their resources together, the Women’s Philanthropy Network is making a big impact in our community. If you are interested in making connections, learning more about the needs of area children, and effecting change, join the WPN today!