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PowHERful Foundation

The PowHERful Foundation gets young women to, and through, college. We provide financial assistance, mentorship, and wraparound services to help our scholars achieve their highest potentials.

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Women's Health
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Mental Health
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Science & Technology

The PowHERful Foundation believes education is the ultimate equalizer, especially for the young women we serve. We work to give our girls the tools, advice, and support to not just get through school, but to get ahead in school, have a happy personal life, and get on the path to a great career. The PowHERful Foundation exists to provide hardworking young women with the resources necessary to succeed.
College education is a critical pathway to career success and increasing access among young women and girls strengthens their earnings potential, health and well-being, and community impact. Women with a 4-year undergraduate degree earn $1.1 million more in their lifetime and are more likely to volunteer than women with a high school diploma.

However, young women and girls of color and from underserved communities face multiple barriers to enrolling in and graduating from college. An undergraduate degree can be cost-prohibitive for those who do not receive adequate financial aid and lack the support to navigate the complex educational system. Moreover, young women and girls from underserved communities who do enroll in college are more likely to drop out than their peers from higher socioeconomic status communities due to the compounding challenges to their academic success.

Our Programs empower young women and girls from underserved communities with the resources, support, and tools necessary to successfully achieve their college and career aspirations. Learn more about our College and Career programs here: https://www.powherful.org/our-mission

Expanding the participation of young women and girls in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) can close the pay gap, advance gender equity, and transform communities in the United States. Women in STEM more than their peers in non-STEM roles and recent estimates suggest the earning differential is nearly 90%.

Yet women represent a mere 34% of the STEM workforce and women of color fare far worse in the sector. Black, Indigenous, and Latina women make up less than 10% of the workforce and receive less than 15% of STEM bachelor’s degrees. Gender norms, a lack of representation, and limited mentorship hinder the growth of young women and girls in STEM.

Our Programs engage young women and girls in STEM from middle school throughout college and their career transition with career exposure, mentorship, and skills development to accelerate their achievements in the sector. Learn more about our STEM work here: https://www.powherful.org/our-mission

Investing in young women and girls of color and from lower socioeconomic backgrounds is intrinsic to our work because they have the potential to transform communities and lives. However, inequitable access to educational, financial, and social resources more often than not impedes their ability to create the healthy, safe, and successful futures they are envisioning.

Disparities in the United States from the gender wage gap to reproductive health outcomes and socioeconomic mobility disproportionately affect Black, Indigenous, and women of color. And COVID-19 has exacerbated these inequities – Black and LatinX women in particular experienced higher rates of unemployment, faced greater exposure to the virus due to their overrepresentation in essential roles, and have yet to reap the same benefits of the economic recovery as their peers.

Tackling these disparities begins with placing young women and girls at the center of our work, responding to their pressing needs, and giving them the tools to shape a more equitable future for all. Learn more about our work to advance equity here: https://www.powherful.org/our-mission

Most of the girls we work with are the first in their families to pursue higher education. We aim to be the people in their lives who can get them to and through college, there for every challenge and accomplishment, facilitating useful connections and experiences to help them along a trajectory of achievement.

Building on their philanthropic goals, Soledad O’Brien and Brad Raymond established the Starfish Foundation in 2011 to expand access to higher education among young women and girls from underserved communities. Beginning with just 6 college bound students in our scholarship program, we have since expanded to support over 4,000 young women and girls in their academic, personal, and professional journeys through our flagship programs.

The PowHERful Foundation helps young women and girls realize their full potential. Beginning with scholarships in 2011, our programs have grown to support thousands of young women and girls throughout the United States.

Here is how we have worked to ensure they can succeed: https://www.powherful.org/our-impact

Thanks to your support, our impact goes beyond the numbers to the continued success of program participants and scholars during and after college. Learn more about the experiences, educational accomplishments, and professional goals you have made possible with the PowHERful Foundation. https://www.powherful.org/our-impact

The Founders:
And with that growth came our own change – in 2017, Starfish became the PowHERful Foundation to carry forward our commitments to young women and girls across the United States.

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New York, NY
Small organization
A 501(c)(3) nonprofit, EIN 45-2440475Suggest a profile edit