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Jennifer Pope Baker '89 and Women's Fund Eye Solution to Critical Problem

March 26, 2014

"Now that we understand the ripple impact of not serving this population we know we have to come up with solutions," Jennifer Pope Baker, executive director of Women’s Fund of Central Indiana, tells the Indianapolis Star. "We have a responsibility to change things. We can’t walk away from this issue. It’s too important."

Baker, a 1989 graduate of DePauw University, is featured in a column by Matthew Tully.

"Two years ago, leaders at the Women’s Fund of Central Indiana decided to take a closer look at the area’s nonprofit landscape in order to determine if there were specific areas of need that weren’t being met," he writes. "They hosted a year of conversations, studying existing programs and talking with just about anyone they could about the challenges facing at-risk girls and women. Time and again, they heard the same thing: There is a gap in programs serving at-risk women in their first years of adulthood. No longer in school, foster care or other youth programs, these 18- to 24-year-olds also aren’t a great fit for many programs that serve women. They’re too often left on their own."

EAST COLLEGE TOWER hdr"Anybody you talk to says the biggest mistakes they made in life were in that time frame,," Baker states. "You’re so vulnerable but also at a time in life where you think you know everything. There is a need for programming that is culturally competent for that age group, and that helps them use that bold confidence they have in themselves."

Tully writes, "With that in mind, the Women’s Fund next week will announce an exciting, potentially transformational initiative to fill the void. It’s doing so in a creative way -- planning to spend possibly millions of dollars in the coming years to help nonprofit entrepreneurs build and grow start-up programs or organizations. Once the initiative is formally announced, the fund will accept applications from anyone in Indiana and beyond with a plan to serve young women. Two or three grants will be awarded in the initial round, and the winners will become full-time employees of the Central Indiana Community Foundation while they are developing their nonprofits. The hope is that this development stage will lead to new community organizations and programs, which the Women’s Fund will then support."

Read the complete column -- "New effort poised to help young women" -- at IndyStar.com.

Learn more about Jennifer Pope Baker, a communications major Indy Star Rolled Upwho serves on DePauw's Board of Visitors, in this previous summary.

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