TR Robertson — The Foundation for Women Warriors is a 100+ year old non-profit organization which works to honor and empower the women veteran’s community. The facility located in Vista’s Business Park area, 1185 Park Center Drive, Suite R, started on June 1, 1920, in West Los Angeles known as the California Soldiers Widows Home Association. According to Jodie Grenier, Chief Executive Officer of the Foundation, the idea for the association even goes back to the Civil War when a need was seen, to help women working with the soldiers, to provide a housing stipend and childcare assistance and more. As the association grew and moved to Los Angeles the need for assistance for women veterans grew. By 2005 the organization became known as Military Women in Need Foundation and by 2016 the name Foundation for Women Warriors was established and in 2018 the facility in Vista opened to assist women veterans.
Even with the name changes, the vision of the organization has remained the same – “To serve women veterans and their children so that their next mission is clear and continues to impact the world.” The principals they established for those working in the Foundation and for the women that were helped include Integrity, Honor, Commitment, Community, Pursue Excellence in all we do.
Jodie said they seek to provide emergency assistance when needed, wellness training and budgeting skills and at their core to prevent veteran women from becoming homeless. When women veterans contact them seeking help the Foundation finds out their needs and if needed they work with them to create a financial management program along with whatever they can do to help the veteran. When the woman veteran is having childcare issues that are impacting the veteran’s job, the Foundation helps find after school, day care or summer camp contacts. Jodie emphasized they are not a job placement organization. Meetings with the women are through phone referrals, Zoom and one on one contact. She said 77% of the women vets they deal with are single moms. Last year they assisted over 1,000 women and children with their services. Since 2014 the Foundation has assisted over 5,618 women and children. When women veterans make contact, the Foundation goes through a vetting process to establish the specific need or assistance they are seeking.
The Foundations web site lists the following ways assistance is provided for women veterans – Provide emergency stipends and basic needs assistance to cover rent, utilities and household goods for women. Offsetting childcare cost to assist women vets pursing education and maintain employment. Delivering women focused professional development. Help women vets to locate resources needed to improve mental health, gain employment and/or secure or maintain housing. Present access to scholarships, internship and mentorship opportunities. The Foundation also provided COVID-19 Emergency Services. Jodie pointed out that the Foundation works with Camp Pendleton and in August they will be running a symposium on the base concerning transitioning to civilian life. Appointments are needed for the symposium.
The Foundation serves Southern California, but Jodie said 56% off their contacts come from San Diego County vets. They have numerous community, nonprofit and corporate sponsorships but are always looking for donations and assistance. One example is the current Bright Beginning Baby Supply Drive where they are putting together large baskets filled with baby supplies for new and expecting moms. They have an Amazon wish list established and currently have a little over 100 women veterans who have contacted them about participation in the first Baby Shower, set for March 5th from 10 am – 1 pm. Their hope is to have one Baby Shower a month, picking around 20 women each month to receive the baskets. Jodie said that eventually all of the women who have signed up and qualify will be served. They still need supplies for newborns and if your corporation, organization or you personally can help out, Jodie said to make contact with the Foundation.
Another fundraising activity planed is the Women’s History Month Virtual 5K that will be held March 1-31st. More information on this is on their web page, a variety of prizes will also be handed out. Another interesting program is the screening of “Unsung Heroes: The Story of America’s Female Patriots” film, produced by Ron Howard, held on March 2nd from 6:30-9:00 pm. This Zoom screening can be seen by signing up on the organization’s web site – www.foundationforwomenwarriors.org . Also listed on the web sites are several other activities planned for March.
Michelle Stansbury, PR for the Foundation, responded in an email, another issue women veterans deal with is the skyrocketing increase in rent which can create at risk problems for vets, especially veterans with PTSD. She stated that areas like Vista, Escondido and Oceanside, where local nonprofit Wounded Warrior Homes have transitional housing for veterans with PTSD, have experienced a 20% increase in rent costs. She said local nonprofits are needed to assist in providing housing support services for at risk populations. This is another example of services groups like the Foundation for Women Warriors tries to provide when possible.
Go to the web site and click on the donations section if you or your group can help out. Phone contact us 310-903-9976 or 310-733-2450.