A family member is struck with cancer, a single mother loses her job, a couple splits in a divorce, scenarios like these occur everyday and can create economic pitfalls for women already fighting to stay afloat in tough economic times.
Now the Allegheny Chapter of United Way is sponsoring several organizations in the region to give a helping hand to women caught in economic crises.
United Way is launching a financial coaching program in partnership with NeighborWorks America and Schneider Downs called Mentoring Matters. More than 40 employees from the accounting firm underwent two days of mentor training last week to learn how to help women in “transition” by improving their financial planning skills.
United Way Director of Community Impact Julie DeSeyn said the program is the result of a large fundraising effort meant to help women going through unexpected life changes.
“(The) United for Women campaign, where we raised over a million dollars last year ... for programs that help women who are in transition, who have gone through a life change," DeSeyn said. "Maybe a divorce, or loss of a job, or having to care for someone that they hadn’t cared for before that’s put them in financial jeopardy, so we are funding programs that are going to support those women.”
These funds are being directed to six different agencies that will recommend individual candidates to Schneider Downs mentors, who will assist them with planning to become more financially stable.
“It most assuredly would never happen without Schneider Downs stepping up and saying that they wanted to do something special in the community,” DeSeyn said. “I mean 40-plus employees that were not in Schneider Downs for two full days and then are going to be working with women regularly going forward.”
The volunteers will develop one-on-one relationships with women in need of help to build a less financially fragile future.