‘In Her Hands’ Fund Helps Financially Struggling Black Women

The cost of living is increasing dramatically for reasons beyond the control or influence of the vast majority of ordinary people. Some people and organizations are actively taking steps to make people’s lives better. One entity improving people’s lives in the Atlanta area is the “GRO Fund.” As stated on its website, the GRO Fund (https://thegrofund.org/) defines its mission as “building bold, evidence-based and community-driven solutions to address poverty and to narrow the racial wealth gap.”

One program supported by the GRO Fund is named “In Her Hands.” This program “provides eligible women with about $20,000 over two years.” The story of Shamarra Woods, one of the beneficiaries of the “In Her Hands” program, illuminates the positive impact upon some Atlanta women. Woods is quoted as informing that she had a newborn and was subjected to “skyrocketing costs for rent and transportation.”

Woods stated: “I only had enough to pay rent and bills. [There was] not enough for food or gas.” Woods became involved with the GRO Fund’s “In Her Hands” program. But for that program, Woods commented, “she says she doesn’t know where she’d be today.” Woods identified the primary expenditures the fund made possible. “That money has gone toward childcare.” Reporting indicates that childcare, nationwide, “can cost more than $1,200 a month.”

The “In Her Hands” program supplies Woods and dozens of other women across metro Atlanta and south Georgia about $700 a month. A 2021 Goldman Sachs study is quoted as showing that “Black women make less in the labor market and face job-related economic disadvantages.” Data reported that inflation has outpaced salary increases. According to a business and research organization, “The Conference Board,” in 2022, “salary increases were on average 3.5%. By contrast, the US inflation calculator shows the inflation rate in ’22 was 6.5%.”

Hope Wollensack, founder of GRO Fund, says she created the “financial aid program to help women of color, who have exhausted all their possibilities.” Wollensack elaborated: “A lot of people have purchased a better used car, so they can get to work and school more reliably. They’ve used the money to buy new school clothes.”

Financial demands can put “dreams on hold,” Wollensack added. Woods is quoted as stating: “One of my career aspirations is to be a project manager and restart my business, but with inflation, I’ve been considering working more to offset expenses.”

The pedigree of the origin of the name of the Fund is unsurpassed. “In early 2022, FOX 5 first reported about “In Her Hands” and how its namesake comes from a Martin Luther King speech.” In 2024, GRO Fund will expand “to Atlanta’s Westside neighborhoods of English Avenue and Vine City.” As with Woods, more people may be able to dream again.

D & B Staff

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Episode 78