Soroptimist International of Phoenix Surpasses Women’s Empowerment Service Goal

SIP award winner Amy May with her children

Soroptimist International of Phoenix (SIP), a nonprofit focused on gender equality, diversity, education and economic opportunities, is celebrating 100 years of the worldwide Soroptimist International organization by serving and empowering Arizona women in need.

Dedicated to providing resources to women who need it most, SIP pledged at the beginning of the year to serve 100 local women as part of the celebratory milestone. SIP members exceeded their goal by supporting a total of 126 women. Valley women were selected to receive cash awards, access to community service programs and mentoring by SIP members. The organization has been instrumental in helping women receive funds, access and support in getting an education, whether that be finishing high school or pursuing higher education.

“We are passionate about education as a pathway to economically empower women and girls,” said Shirley Agnos, longtime SIP member and past president. “We’ve been dedicated to supporting the education of women and girls for 86 years but there is more work to do. Education is the key to gender equality and although we’ve made progress, we still have a long way to go.”

Among the 126 women is Amy May, a single mother of three who is on track to obtain her associate degree after pursuing it for 13 years. May had her first child at 16, married and had two more children. She always wanted to go to college, but her husband never supportive her dreams. So when her marriage ended, she began taking classes with the long-term goal of attending law school at Arizona State University, which she plans to do next year. With the help of SIP’s Live Your Dream educational grant, May was able to pay for school expenses and move into more affordable housing.

“Winning this award was a lifeline for me,” said May. “I was doing everything by myself and on my own. I constantly feel like I barely can keep my head above water and winning this brought my head above water for the first time in a long time.”

SIP was founded by women who wanted to serve but couldn’t be admitted to the Rotary Club because they were women. Over the years, SIP has retained its roots of empowering women through education, resources and support by providing tailored and needed programs to serve the most vulnerable women in the Valley. Programs include the Women Investing in Successful Education scholarship and mentorship program and the Dream It Be It Workshop dedicated to career empowerment.

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About Julie Coleman

Julie Coleman is a contributing writer for Frontdoors Media and helps individuals, families and businesses maximize the impact of their philanthropy.
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