A Vital Part of Philadelphia: Women's Way
Many women – or those who care about women – are familiar with the address 123 South Broad Street, Suite 1399, in Center City Philadelphia. Located here is an organization called Women’s Way , which focuses on many issues that women face. A non-profit, it was founded in 1977 by a group of women. They decided to open Women’s Way , a more holistic organization than their old agency, to focus on reproductive rights, after receiving a seed grant from the William Penn Foundation. As of 2016, Mary Scout is the controller, and Jessica Muslin is the director of operations. The people running Women’s Way try hard to stick by their mission statement: “A powerful voice for women and girls: creating an equitable, just and safe future for all communities in the Greater Philadelphia region.” They work to fulfill this mission by having a variety of funded projects, including sexual assault survivor counseling, women’s maternal health care, educating young girls, work readiness, financial independence, and supportive housing and shelters for survivors of abuse.
What is unique about this organization is the range of programs offered because the founders and employees know that there isn’t one problem more important than another. Often the issues are inter-connected. Women’s Way wants to help as many people as possible and, by fighting for multiple issues, they can approach social problems on a more holistic level. This approach can help the public see the full picture of the injustice that women and families face on a day-to-day basis and correct the problem more efficiently.
The organization is a grant making program, raising funds to regrant the money to other organizations. Women’s Way has provided over 25 million dollars in grants to fight for equal pay, help women affected by rape or domestic violence, and provide women with the right to choose. Its three main grant making programs are:
• Women’s Way Action Fund - This grant is for up to $240,000 per year per organization, and given to organizations needing funding for all types of women’s issues.
• Community Women’s Fund - Started in 2006 to fund programs for women regionally. It has given out over 225 grants totaling over 2 million dollars.
• The Turning Point Prize - Money given annually to a female social innovator.
Everyone who is given a grant puts the money right back into helping the community be a better place for all.
The Powerful Voice Awards is an annual event that honors and recognizes the work women do. At the 39th Annual Awards in May of 2016, Marty Moss-Coane was honored with the Lucretia Mott Award, one of the most prestigious ones offered. Mott fought to end slavery and was a women’s rights activist in the 1800s; she serves as an inspiration to women today. Marty Moss-Coane also inspires many women in her work as a broadcast journalist for WHYY. She was honored because of her life-long work in showcasing women’s voices and shining light on issues such as safety in the community and women’s equality.
Non-profit organizations, such as Women’s Way , are important in the Philadelphia area and in the world. Its employees and volunteers work hard to make issues women’s face easier to handle on a personal level. They also plan to continue to advocate for these issues for years to come to affect societal change.
123 South Broad Street