Building Philanthropy for a Better Florida

Women's Foundation of SWFL announces program to motivate women to save for college

May 26, 2016

The Women’s Foundation of Southwest Florida has announced a partnership with Florida Community Bank, and United Way of Collier County, to launch a program designed to empower women in Southwest Florida through education - Becoming Economically Successful Together (B.E.S.T.) enables working women, earning low to moderate incomes to improve their lives by establishing money saving goals and setting aside a portion of their income in FDIC-insured accounts. Once the savings goal is reached, every dollar saved will be matched dollar for dollar to directly pay for education or training at a qualified institution such as Hodges University, a Foundation partner.

The pilot program is funded by a $100,000 federal grant from U.S. Department of Health & Human Services' Assets for Independence. The federal funds will be matched by $100,000 in non-federal funds pledged by donors and corporate underwriters.

“Florida ranks in the bottom third nationally among women 25 years and older holding at least a bachelor's degree. Meanwhile, we know that education is the key to higher paying jobs and financial security for women and their families,” stated Nancy Merolla, Women’s Foundation of Southwest Florida Board Chair and Florida Community Bank Vice President. "This first-of-its-kind grant in the history of Southwest Florida will allow corporations, government agencies and nonprofits to partner together to make this pilot project successful in creating a network that allows women and girls in Southwest Florida to thrive through education – this is both empowering for them and exciting for us.”

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