Money is at the Foundation of Inequality for Women
by Ellen Creager, Detroit Free Press Staff Writer

Women hold up half the sky but get most of the rain.

And nobody's offering them an umbrella, either.

That, in a nutshell, is the conclusion of a new report, Women and the Future of Michigan, that profiles the status of women and girls in this state.

The report blasts corporate givers and philanthropic organizations that ignore projects that would directly help women and girls of Michigan get a leg up in employment, education, medical care or safety.

"When equity comes, it will be fine and good, but until then society expects women to raise the children, and they need help" in the workplace, schools and at home, says Susan Church, executive director of the Michigan Women's Foundation, which prepared the report.

Of the $300.8 million given by the state's 19 largest philanthropic organizations, only 1 percent ($2,8 million) funded programs specifically for women and girls in 1988, the foundation found.

"We are not suggesting that foundations are intentionally neglecting women, or that it's sexist behavior," Church says. "We want to suggest they should examine whether their funding programs really address problems that women have."

For instance, an adult literacy program or teen mothers' program will do no good if it doesn't consider women's needs for child care or transportation, she says.

Copies of the report will be mailed out this week to trustees and staff of foundations and corporate giving officials. The report will be sued in a state conference on the status of women in Michigan for educators and politicians Oct. 4 in Lansing.

The Michigan Women's Foundation, started in 1986, has provided more than $100,000 in grants. Current recipients include Turning Point domestic violence center in Mt. Clemens and the Michigan Metro Girl Scouts.

Trustees include Helen Milliken, state Sen. Lana Pollack, D-Ann Arbor, Judge Maureen Reilly of the Michigan Court of Appeals, Mildred Jeffrey, and Mary Jo Pulte, CEO of the Mitchell Corp., who provided the money for the group to get off the ground.

For more information about the Michigan Women's Foundation, write Susan Church, executive director, 2277 Science Parkway, Okemos 48864. [Note that this is no longer the current address of the Michigan Women's Foundation.]

A Statistical Portrait of Michigan Women

Some statewide statistics compiled by the Michigan Women's Foundation:

Current Address: Michigan Women's Foundation, 17177 North Laurel Park Dr., Suite 445, Livonia, MI 48152
telephone: (734) 542-3946; fax: (734) 542-3952
Center for Women, 25 Sheldon Blvd., SE, Grand Rapids, Michigan 49503
telephone: (616) 742-2389; fax: (616) 459-8460

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