A Fund for Women Grants History

Grants Really Do Make a Difference

Tai’Kiah Phillips with her daughter Taraji Hillman

Onward Odyssey: Tai’Kiah Phillips Is Rocking College and Motherhood

By Sarah White, Advisory Committee

Recognizing the role higher education plays in economic empowerment, A Fund For Women selected Onward Odyssey – Empowering Women to receive a $20,000 grant in its 2016 cycle. Tai’Kiah Phillips is rocking college as a result.

Onward Odyssey is an outgrowth of the UW-Madison’s Odyssey Project, a free humanities course offered through UW–Madison’s Division of Continuing Studies and English Department to adult students facing economic barriers to college. Each year since 2003, the Odyssey Project has given 30 students free tuition, textbooks, and childcare, allowing them to participate in a two-semester humanities course and earn six college credits. Many Odyssey graduates go on to finish college degrees. Over the years, the program has grown to include an Odyssey Junior program for children and Onward Odyssey to help program graduates continue their education.

Onward Odyssey – Empowering Women serves at-risk women with four programs: Special Education Assistant (SEA) training; Odyssey English 100; Odyssey Introduction to Food Systems; and one-on-one academic coaching. Tai’Kiah Phillips participated in SEA in 2016 and Odyssey English 100 in Spring 2017.

The arrival of daughter Taraji had interrupted Tai’Kiah’s plans to return to college after dropping out of UW-Whitewater. She had done well in high school but the transition to college was difficult. “You’re away from home, you think you’re so mature, but you get there—wow!” she said. Tai’Kiah returned to Madison and began working. “Life happened,” interrupting her academic plans. “When I got to Odyssey, they pushed me back in the right direction,” she said.

The SEA program prepared Tai’Kiah to pass the exam for the credential required to work in the Madison Metropolitan School District. Odyssey English 100 brings Tai’Kiah closer to her goal of a career as a teacher. Tai’Kiah is now studying at Madison College.

“The Odyssey program gave me an opportunity to prove to myself and everyone else that I can do school, and I can be a full-time mother, and I can still try to reach my goals,” she said.

“Tai’Kiah illustrates how motivated our Odyssey students are and how helpful the Fund for Women grant has been in empowering young mothers to overcome adversity and achieve dreams through higher education,” said Emily Auerbach, Professor of English and Director of the UW Odyssey Project.

Grants History: 1994-2016


  • A Fund For Women- Loan Fund for Individual Women- $3,000
  • Bayview Community Center- Multicultural Service Network 1994- $800
  • Briarpatch- Future Choices Project- $1,500
  • The Business Forum- Education Scholarships 1994- $2,500
  • Centro Hispano- Choices Initiative- $544
  • Take Our Daughters To Work- Take Our Daughters To Work- $1,000
  • YWCA of Madison-Transport Rural Women to Mammograms- $1,000
  • Youth Impact Adventures, Inc.- ZAP Program- $8,000


  • The Business Forum- Education Scholarships 1995- $3,000
  • Centro Hispano- Media Workshops for J. Fabregas- $300
  • Community Adolescent Programs- Partners in Youth Employment- $5,000
  • Community Coordinated Child Care- Outreach to Hispanic Providers- $300
  • Kennedy Heights Community Center- Southeast Asian Women’s Group- $1,944
  • Nehemiah Community Development Corp.- ZAP Project- $2,500
  • YWCA of Madison- Child Care Fund- $2,000


  • Atwood Community Center- Girls to Women Program- $5,000
  • Broadway Simpson Waunona- Teens in Control Program- $2,500
  • D.C. Advocates Battered Women- Rural & Older Women Violence- $5,000
  • Dane County Youth Connection- Grrrl Club- $3,800
  • Employment Options, Inc.- Revolving Loan Fund- $5,400
  • Over 50 Employment Services Inc.- Women in Search- $1,250
  • Rape Crisis Center-Chimera Self-Defense Classes- $1,650
  • The Respite Center- Purchase of Books and Videos- $450
  • WI Center for Academically Talented Youth- Women in Science- $5,000
  • WI Women Entrepreneurs-Southcentral- Girls’ Biz- $1,500


  • The Business Forum- Education Scholarships 1997- $4,000
  • Bayview Community Center- Multicultural Service Network- $500
  • Community Coordinated Child Care- Business of Child Care Workshop- $1,400
  • Dane County Youth Connection- Grrrl Club- $3,000
  • East Madison Community Center- Women’s Leadership Development- $2,000
  • Friends of Nancy Denney Community- The Nancy Denney House- $5,000
  • Kennedy Heights Community Center- Women’s Group History Tours- $1,242
  • Madison Metropolitan School District- Lincoln School: Portrait of WI Mural- $1,000
  • Neighborhood House Community Center- Middle School Girls Group- $1,000
  • Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, Inc,-  Occupational Spanish Training- $2,000
  • Sigma Delta Epsilon- Expanding Your Horizons Workshop- $1,500
  • YWCA of Madison- Child Care Fund- $2,000


  • The Business Forum- Education Scholarships- $2,000
  • Childbirth & Parent Education Association- Perinatal Education Program- $1,000
  • Community Action Coalition- Women in Construction Project- $2,500
  • Red Caboose Day Care Center- Parent Groups- $2,983
  • Simpson Street Free Press, Inc.- Series of Feature Articles- $1,500
  • YWCA of Madison- Child Care Funds for CNA Graduates- $2,000


  • Lillith Project- Middle School Girls Technology Access- $50,000


  • WI Center for Academically Talented Youth- young Women of Promise- $50,000


  • Dane County Parent Council- Safe Homes for Families Project- $50,000


  • Institute for Women’s Policy Research- Status of Women in Wisconsin Report- $2,500
  • Dane County Parent Council- Safe Homes for Families Project- $50,000


  • Atwood Community Center- Girl Neighborhood Power- $10,000
  • Bayview Foundation- Southeast Asian Girls Project- $10,000
  • East Madison Community Center- Girls Development Group- $10,000


  • Bayview Community Center- Project T.E.A.C.H.- $11,350
  • East Madison Community Center- Junior Girls Development Group- $12,650
  • WI Center for Academically Talented Youth- Children of Promise- Madison & Camp Program- $16,000
  • Wexford Ridge Neighborhood Center- Women Rise Up!- $10,000


  • Domestic Abuse Intervention Services (DAIS)- $25,000
  • WI Initiatives in Sustainable Housing (W.I.S.H.)- Home For Life- $15,000
  • Porchlight, Inc.- Housing First- $8,000
  • Interfaith Hospitality Network- Second Chance Housing Project- $12,500
  • WI Academy for Graduate Service Dogs (WAGS)- $4,000
  • Jewish Social Services- Senior Women’s Independence- $2,000


  • Atwood Community Center- Women CAAN- $11,500
  • Catholic Charities- CompanionCare- $5,000
  • Freedom, Inc.- Family Strengthening Project- $10,000
  • Interfaith Hospitality Network- Second Chance Apartment Project- $12,500
  • UNIDOS Against Domestic Violence- Mujeres Adelante- $12,000
  • West Madison Senior Coalition- Food Resource Pantry Program- $1,000
  • WI Initiatives in Sustainable Housing, Inc.- A Home For Life- $19,500


  • Domestic Abuse Intervention Services (DAIS)- DAIS Drop-In Support Group & Direct Aid for Victims of Domestic abuse- $17,000
  • East Madison Community Center- Alternatives to Violence For Girls- $12,500
  • Freedom, Inc.- Family Strengthening Project- $15,000
  • Girl Scouts of Blackhawk Council, Inc.- Madison Speak Out Sister- $3,000
  • Goodman Atwood Community Center- Girl Neighborhood Power Big Sister, Little Sister Mentoring Project- $14,000
  • Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, Inc.- Empowering Girls to Make Healthy Choices- $17,000
  • Simpson Street Free Press, Inc.- Developing Young Professional Women and Journalists of Color- $6,500
  • YWCA of Madison- Girl Neighborhood Power Girls, Inc. at the YWCA- $15,000


  • Madison Children’s Museum- Take Two: Me & You- $5,000
  • YWCA of Madison- Girls, Inc. at the YWCA $20,000
  • African American Ethnic Academy, Inc.- Sisters Achieving Self-Sufficiency (SASS)- $20,000
  • Domestic Abuse Intervention Services (DAIS)- Drop-In Community Support Group and Direct Aid for Survivors of Domestic Abuse- $5,500
  • Goodman Community Center- TEEN: Teen Education & Employment Network for girls- $15,000
  • Girl Scouts of Blackhawk Council, Inc.- Power Up (bullying prevention/resolution program)- $25,000
  • East Madison Community Center- Alternatives to Violence for Girls- $9,500


  • East Madison Community Center- Alternatives to Violence for Girls- $9,500
  • Canopy Center, Inc.- Power of Women Project- $23,500
  • Care Net Pregnancy Center of Dane County- Nurturing a New Life Parent Education Project- $2,300
  • The Exchange Center for the Prevention of Child Abuse- Parents and Children Together- $21,500
  • Goodman Community Center- Moms Own Mentor: Project MOMs!- $15,000
  • Kennedy Heights Community Center- Economic Pathways- $8,000
  • Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin, Inc.- Dane County Parent Education Program- $10,000
  • The Rainbow Project, Inc.- Madres y hijas- $19,700


  • Catholic Charities– Diocese of Madison, Inc.- Caring for Myself- $15,000
  • Children’s Service Society of WI (CSSW)- FAST Works– Mom to Mom Connections- $15,000
  • Independent Living, Inc. (ILI)- Creative Caregiving Solutions- $20,000
  • South Madison Coalition of the Elderly (SMCE)- Volunteers to Support Caregivers- $25,000
  • Supporting Active Independent Lives (SAIL)- Empowering Women Caregivers- $25,000


  • Care Net/Elizabeth House- Social Worker/Case Manager- $15,600
  • Community Action Coalition- Right Track- $16,000
  • Center for Families- Young Moms- $24,000
  • Goodman Community Center- C3: Connection, Community & Compassion- $20,000
  • East Madison Community Center- SKILLS (Self-sufficiency, Knowledge, Independence, Life, Leadership and Setting Goals)- $11,800
  • Operation Fresh Start- Taking Charge of Our Future- $12,600


  • Goodman Community Center- Cycle of Success- $14,100
  • Operation Fresh Start- College Ready- $11,600
  • Rape Crisis Center- Preventing Sexual Assault/Girls in Transition- $1,000
  • Youth Services of Southern Wisconsin- Street Outreach Program- $14,200
  • YWCA- Third Street- $9,100


  • YWCA: Third Street Program –$15,000
  • Community of Hope United Church of Christ: Backyard Mosaic Project –$10,000
  • Centro Hispano of Dane County: ComVida Program –$6,600
  • Operation Fresh Start: Learning to Lead–$6,600
  • Youth Services of Southern Wisconsin: Transitional Living Program–$6,600
  • Goodman Community Center: Girls, Inc. of Greater Madison–$6,600
  • Lussier Community Education Center: Young Women Thriving–$6,600
  • Nehemiah Corporation: Lilada’s Livingroom–$2,000
  • Wisconsin Alliance for Women’s Health: Ask.Learn.Vote Campaign–$5,000


  • YMCA: Construct-U and YWebCA $30,600
  • Goodman Center: Girls Inc, Career Savvy Program $25,000
  • DAIS: Career Workshop Support $12,420
  • 2015 Women’s Funding Network Conference $7,480


  • Odyssey Project: Onward Odyssey- $20,000
  • Centro Hispano of Dane County: CAMINOS Career Pathways Bank Teller Training Program- $37,200
  • Domestic Abuse Intervention Services (DAIS):Economic Empowerment for Domestic Violence Survivors, Career Workshops- $10,000
  • Doyenne Group Evergreen Fund- $10,000
  • Doyenne Group Evergreen Fund- $10,000
  • The Road Home Family Employment Fund:The Road Home Dane County- $10,000
  • YWCA Madison: Women in YWeb Career Academy(YWebCA)-$23,473