The YWCA Evanston/North Shore recently received two grants totaling $55,000 to support and expand the Women’s Economic Empowerment Program, $20,000 from The Allstate Foundation and $35,000 from the Chicago Foundation for Women (CFW). The YWCA’s program offers the only free economic security training in the north suburban Chicago area targeting the specific needs of low- to moderate-income women and survivors of domestic violence.

“We are so thankful to both The Allstate Foundation and the Chicago Foundation for Women for their support and their recognition that every woman should have access to quality money management education so she is empowered to make appropriate financial decisions regarding her life circumstances and financial future,” said Karen Singer, President and CEO of the YWCA Evanston/North Shore.

The YWCA’s Economic Empowerment Programs strengthen the financial literacy of low- to moderate-income women by increasing awareness about fundamental financial matters and enabling participants to gain an understanding of the primary components of financial security. These classes have been offered to the residents at Mary Lou’s Place, the YWCA’s shelter for women who are victims of domestic violence, since 2004. In 2007, the program was expanded to low- to moderate-income women throughout the life cycle living in the community.

The YWCA’s success in delivering this potentially life-changing information to shelter clients inspired the development of the community-based Basic Money Management Curriculum, which covers a full range of financial topics, from budgeting and saving to credit and banking. The course content foundation is the Allstate curriculum, “Moving Ahead Through Financial Management.” The Allstate Foundation has focused on helping domestic violence survivors overcome financial abuse as a signature program focus since 2005.

Announcing a total of $1 million in grants to 30 local non-profits, CFW President and CEO K. Sujata said, “We are living in a volatile and uncertain economy. CFW is committed to responding to the escalating needs of women and girls by increasing its support of nonprofits that are working to improve lives through direct service and advocacy.”