April showers brought women powers in 2018 with YWCA’s merger with the Women’s Research and Education Fund (WREF).
WREF’s involvement in the YWCA chapter will enable an increase in the services the YWCA provides to women and girls, including a future Girls Leadership Program.
The White Plains/Central Westchester affiliate of YWCA, which was created in 1929, has a mission to eliminate racism and empower women. Since its 1989 inception, WREF supported women and girls through a scholarship program and the Westchester Women’s Hall of Fame.
Criteria for the academic scholarships include: identifying as a female, a plan to attend a college or accredited school in the US, academic achievement and financial need, and a permanent address in Westchester County.
“We’re trying to bring together all different women’s groups in the county to be part of the nomination process for the scholarships and also the nomination process for the Westchester Women’s Hall of Fame for the inductees,” says Maria Imperial, CEO of YWCA White Plains and Central Westchester. “We want all local women’s groups to have a voice in this.”
There are varying criteria for some of these scholarships that are tailored to meet the intent of the funder. In the past, there have been scholarships geared toward domestic violence survivors, women with disabilities, and women who wish to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields.
WREF gave out approximately 22 scholarships last year (and will be giving out scholarships this year on May 5) and hopes to grow the program in the future. In the past, chosen scholars received awards ranging from $1,500 to $5,000.