The Women's Independence Scholarship Program in Wilmington, North Carolina, has received a $30 million gift from Maryland philanthropist Doris Buffett for scholarships that help women go back to school after leaving abusive partners.
Established in 1999 as a program of Buffett's Sunshine Lady Foundation, WISP will use the gift to establish its own foundation and continue its work for another ten years. Women who are domestic violence survivors can apply through WISP for scholarships to cover the cost of tuition, books, school fees, and related expenses such as child care and transportation. To date, the scholarships have helped nine hundred women nationwide graduate from school.
"Someone who goes from poverty to getting their RN [degree] and being able to work in a job that provides them with health benefits and a living wage is provided with hope for the future," said WISP executive director Nancy Soward. "This is really a premier program in the country, changing people's lives."