Supporting Girls’ Resiliency
This March, Applied Materials employees around the world are celebrating Women’s History Month and International Women’s Day. Through conversations and events, we are elevating women’s stories, highlighting male allies and sharing resources on raising kids to be confident leaders and innovators, regardless of gender.
In addition, we are now in our third year of the Applied Materials Foundation’s Generation GirlTM initiative, which supports nonprofit organizations across the United States in providing girls*, especially girls of color, with the tools and resources they need to pursue their dreams.
Between Fall 2019 and Summer 2020, we funded 26 programs in six regions across the United States near Applied facilities. Programs developed girls’ self-confidence and grit; provided high-quality science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) programs for girls; and strengthened the capacity of the girl-serving sector through support of networks and professional development.
Resources from Generation Girl Grantees:
According to recent evaluation results from Learning for Action, despite the global pandemic, our grantees were still able to serve over 10,000 girls between September 2019 – August 2020. Perhaps most impressive, during a time of such personal uncertainty, staff at these nonprofit organizations were able to remain responsive to the needs of girls in almost real time, creating virtual music listening sessions to help foster feelings of connection and community; running virtual summer camps for middle school and high school girls; and connecting girls and caregivers to local community services agencies, as many experienced economic instability due to the impact of the pandemic. Some organizations were able to offer limited in-person programming as well, providing girls with a safe and comfortable environment to learn, while their parents and/or caregivers were at work. We also saw many grantees sharing activity plans and resources with the general public, in acknowledgment of the new teaching role parents were taking on at home.
A key part of the Generation Girl initiative has been the grantee cohort meetings, where representatives from grantee organizations come together to share best practices. Moving these meetings to a virtual setting allowed organizations from across the country to come together in conversation to discuss how the pandemic was impacting each of their organizations, their communities and girls and women in general.
As one grantee shared, “we gained great insight through the cohort and consider it one of the greatest outcomes of the project, particularly in light of the changes to society caused by COVID-19.”
In a time when most of us were scrambling to figure out which way was up, these nonprofits provided essential programming to ensure girls felt supported and remained resilient. And while 2020 brought considerable suffering, seeing the dedication and strength of girls in our community reminds me that the future is bright.