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Women in Community Development Project

Marie Kennedy, Women in Community Development, University of Massachusetts, The Office of Community Relations and Special Events, (617) 2875310

January 17, 2000 - Telephone interview

M Describe the Organization: The Women in Community Development project is a joint project by the Women's Institute for Housing and Economic Development and Project Hope, along with the University of Massachusetts' Office of Community Relations and Special Events. These groups joined together to provide support both financial and otherwise to lowincome women who wish to attend college, improve their own economic status, and contribute more to their communities.

M Where does your funding come from?: From the parent organizations, with some donations and taxpayer support through different grants. Tuition support is offered through an Agency Agreement with the Office of Urban Programs at the university. The project offers support for a two-semester minimum to help these women.

M How do you find candidates?: So far, finding them has been no problem--we publicize the program in the community and take applications and interview the candidates. Deciding whom to accept is more difficult, really, because this also means deciding that some will not be selected. That is always difficult. We are here to help as much as we can, after all, and also to show that this kind of program can be effective so other groups will offer tuition assistance to those in need.

M And you monitor the progress of those chosen?: We keep track to make sure they are doing well, and we also have a program that helps these women use their own stories to develop critiques of current policies regarding lowincome women and their children. From this beginning, they then proceed to design strategies for advocacy and intervention to effect policy changes in this area.

M What is the most difficult aspect of managing this program?: The most difficult aspect is probabl...

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