In 1921, a group of women joined an organization in Oakland, California, called Soroptimist to work toward strengthening their community. At the time, women weren’t permitted to join the all-male community groups. Since then, the organization has grown to about 1,300 clubs in 21 countries and territories throughout the world.

A lot has changed for women and girls in 100 years. But the road to equality continues to be difficult. Women and girls face tremendous challenges, solely because of their gender. And they suffer disproportionately from poverty, racism, sexual assault, domestic violence, and sex trafficking.

With its long history of working with women and girls, Soroptimist knows that helping them get education, skills and training is a powerful strategy toward achieving economic empowerment. The organization’s Dream Programs provide the access to that necessary education and training.

The Live Your Dream Awards® provide cash grants for women who are pursuing a degree or enrolled in a technical training program. The women, who provide the primary financial support for their families, may use the funds in any way that helps them achieve their educational goals—whether it’s to pay for tuition or rent or childcare. Each year approximately 1,800 women receive almost $3 million in cash grants. Since 1972, the program has helped more than 33,000 women and their families gain financial independence.

Soroptimist’s Dream It, Be It® program prepares girls for future career success by providing them with guidance, training and resources. to make good decisions. More than 73,000 girls have gone through the program since it launched in 2015.

Learn more about Soroptimist International of Raleigh.