Fund for Women & Girls Initiative Nearly Doubles Graduation Rates

Nov 03, 2016

Student Success in Local Colleges Improves Significantly With Coaching

November 3, 2016, NORWALK, CT – Norwalk Community College students who participated in Family Economic Security Program academic and financial coaching services, were almost twice as likely to graduate than other students and six times more likely to subsequently enroll in a four-year institution, according to research published by Fairfield County’s Community Foundation’s Fund for Women & Girls.

The research underscores that academic education combined with financial coaching and skills training is key for low-income communities’ graduation rates. Without such support, graduation and financial success rates dramatically dip.

FESP Women & Girls Initiative
Family Economic Security Program (FESP) student Regina Scates and her family at Housatonic Community College in Bridgeport, CT. Fairfield County’s Community Foundation’s Fund for Women & Girls’ FESP initiative is positively impacting the Fairfield County community and beyond.

Participants in the Family Economic Security Program, an initiative of coaching services created Fairfield County’s Community Foundation’s Fund for Women and Girls and supported by Citi Community Development – including academic and financial coaching and career development – resulted in graduate rates of 50 percent compared to 32 percent for all Norwalk Community College students. Moreover, 55 percent of students who received services enrolled in a four-year college after graduation compared to nine percent of the general student population.

As a result of this research, the Fund for Women & Girls also announced the commissioning of a new study, The Evolution, Expansion and Evaluation of The Family Economic Security Program, on the impact of similar coaching services provided by the organization for students of Housatonic Community College (HCC) since last year.

Fund for Women & Girls of Fairfield County’s Community Foundation released their white paper detailing The Evolution, Expansion and Evaluation of The Family Economic Security Program. The goal of this initiative is to assist low-to-moderate income working students – particularly women – in securing postsecondary educational degrees and certificates that can lead to family-sustaining careers.

“We are very encouraged by the findings of the Family Economic Security Program research. Our deepest gratitude goes to our incredible supporter, Citi, for helping us create this pathway to success. Norwalk Community College and Housatonic Community College have been committed, dedicated partners on this journey,” stated Juanita James, CEO and President, Fairfield County’s Community Foundation.

She continues, “We hope the information contained in The Evolution, Expansion and Evaluation of The Family Economic Security Program creates impact not only in Fairfield County, but throughout Connecticut and nationally.”

“High-quality financial empowerment services are a key ingredient for building more inclusive cities,” said Eileen Auld, NY Tri-State Market Director, Citi Community Development. “Through the Family Economic Security Program, students gain access to services that are critical to expanding economic opportunity for themselves and their families.”

With continued support from policymakers, educators, donors and advocates, the Family Economic Security Program has the potential to change the paradigm and empower students to persist and pursue a degree that leads to family-sustaining employment.

About Fairfield County’s Community Foundation

Fairfield County’s Community Foundation promotes philanthropy as a means to create change in Fairfield County, focusing on innovative and collaborative solutions to critical issues impacting the community. Individuals, families, corporations and organizations can establish charitable funds or contribute to existing funds. The Community Foundation is in compliance with the Council on Foundations’ national standards and has awarded over $208 million in grants to nonprofits in Fairfield County and beyond. As a trusted nonprofit partner and thought leader, Fairfield County’s Community Foundation brings together community organizers, business experts and philanthropists to solve our region’s challenges. Our goal is to create a vital and inclusive community, where every individual has the opportunity to thrive.

About Fairfield County’s Community Foundation’s Fund for Women & Girls

The Fund for Women & Girls, a special interest fund of the Foundation, is the largest women’s fund in New England. Our mission is to engage philanthropists and invest in sustainable solutions that lead to economically secure and healthy women and girls throughout Fairfield County. Since 1998 The Fund has invested nearly $5 million in grants to programs serving females ages 5 to 90. The Fund is a member of the global Women’s Funding Network and the White House endorsed Prosperity Together.

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About Citi

Citi, the leading global bank, has approximately 200 million customer accounts and does business in more than 160 countries and jurisdictions. Citi provides consumers, corporations, governments and institutions with a broad range of financial products and services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, securities brokerage, transaction services, and wealth management.

FESP Women & Girls Initiative

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