Soroptimist Grants $2.8 million to Women Through its Live Your Dream Awards®

Economically empowering women and creating stronger communities

September 2020
Contact: Kamali Brooks, MarComm Manager,

Philadelphia, PA — Soroptimist, a global volunteer organization that economically empowers women and girls, awarded three recipients with its finalist-level Live Your Dream: Education and Training Awards for Women®By providing resources to improve education, skills and employment prospects, the program helps women facing extreme adversity to create better lives for themselves and their families.

Soroptimist awards more than $2.8 million annually in Live Your Dream Awards to 1,700 women. These women face enormous obstacles including poverty, racism, domestic violence, sex trafficking, teen pregnancy and substance abuse. The program is unique in that recipients may use the cash grant to offset any costs associated with their efforts to attain higher education—such as books, childcare, tuition and transportation. 

Each of the 2020 Live Your Dream Awards finalists has a story of strength and courage.

Sandra, from California, USA, is one of those finalists who has bravely conquered trauma from her early life and is on the successful path to living her dream and creating a better life for her family. A sexual abuse survivor, Sandra was first molested at age nine. Then her father was deported, and Sandra’s mother abandoned her when she was 11. She was raped at age 13, which resulted in a pregnancy, and spent years in an abusive relationship. Yet this strong mother of four would not be defeated. Inspired by the academic advisors who have helped her navigate the higher education system, she is studying sociology and hopes to become an academic advisor. She looks forward to a brighter reality for herself and her children. “My dream is to earn a bachelor's degree and eventually a masters in order to leave all these hardships behind. I want to show my children that even through all the messy obstacles it can be done, and goals can be reached.”

The other two other finalist recipients asked not to be identified due to safety and privacy concerns. Both are survivors of sexual and domestic violence currently working toward bachelor’s degrees. The Live Your Dream Awards will go a long way to help them stay on their chosen paths. Stated one of them, “I have been able to pay my monthly bills, fix my car, and better provide for my family. It is really hard to find balance between being a single mother, a full-time student, and the only source of income. This award took a huge financial burden off of me.”

“We are so proud of these three women, and the other nearly 1,800 who have received a Live Your Dream Award this year,” said Soroptimist President Penny Babb of Peoria, Arizona. “Their stories are a testament to their strength and to the power of our program to help transform lives.”

Since the Live Your Dream Awards program was launched in 1972, Soroptimist has disbursed about $35 million in cash awards, helping more than 30,000 women achieve their dreams of a better life for themselves and their families. The Fels Institute of Government, a research and consulting organization based at the University of Pennsylvania, released a study evaluating the program’s impact. The report concluded the program is highly effective in helping women gain the tools they need to make economic improvements in their lives by increasing their employment prospects and self-esteem. Many recipients create a ripple effect by pursuing careers designed to help other women or girls. Recipients are able to free themselves from public assistance while serving as positive role models for their children—leading to stronger communities and nations. Read the Fels study:

The Live Your Dream Awards received the 2017 American Society of Association Executives’ Power of A Gold Award, a top-level recognition for associations working to make a better world. Soroptimist is now accepting Live Your Dream Awards applications through November 15, 2020, and encourages eligible candidates to apply:

Headquartered in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA, Soroptimist ( provides women and girls with access to education and training through the work of volunteers in 21 countries and territories. Its Soroptimist Dream Programs, which include the Live Your Dream Awards and Dream It, Be It: Career Support for Girls®, ensure women and girls have access to the education and training they need to achieve economic empowerment. Dream It, Be It provides girls with tangible strategies to accomplish their future career goals. A 501(c)(3) organization that relies on charitable donations to support its programs, Soroptimist also powers®—an online community that offers volunteer opportunities in support of women and girls.



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