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Women’s Foundation launches fund-raising workforce campaign

An organization dedicated to putting more women in Alabama’s workforce and expanding their job opportunities is set to begin what it has labeled a strategic fundraising campaign.

The Women’s Foundation of Alabama announced this week the Watershed Campaign, with a goal of raising $7.5 million and moving 10,000 women into the state’s workforce by 2027.

“The time is now for state leaders to break the dams holding women back for far too long. This is Alabama’s watershed moment — a moment representing a turning point in how people act or think about something,” said foundation President & CEO Melanie R. Bridgeforth. “This campaign will be the catalyst for change. On behalf of women across the state, we call on philanthropy, business, and government to join this movement to think big, play big, and invest big in the exponential power and potential of women and families.”

Campaign co-Chair Quentin Riggins said Alabama won’t win until its women do.

“There’s no organization working harder to make that happen than Women’s Foundation of Alabama,” said Riggins, Alabama Power senior vice president of Governmental and Corporate Affairs. “As a leader in Alabama’s business community, I want women to have every opportunity to thrive in our state.

“The state cannot move forward unless we are working together to create an equal path for all Alabamians to succeed.”

According to campaign co-Chair Nancy Dunlap, the organization is changing lives.

“It’s time for real change. Alabama can not win with just Band-aid solutions,” said Dunlap, professor emeritus at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. “The Women’s Foundation of Alabama understands that and gathers partners who can provide wrap-around services, such as child care and mentoring, with educational and job opportunities.

“The launch of this campaign represents a new opportunity for every Alabamian to join in and make a difference.”

One of the key parts of the fundraiser is being referred to as “The Essential Plan.” The project calls for state leaders to invest more than $250 million over the next four years into causes that will allow more women to enter and stay in the workforce.

According to the foundation, more than 80,000 women are absent from Alabama’s workforce. If the issue is remedied, the state’s economy could grow by as much as $12 billion and see an additional 33,000 employees, the foundation said.

Austen Shipley is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News.

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