Women with limited incomes often delay necessary medical treatment or education to provide first for their children or for other essentials. But a small non-profit organization, Washington Women in Need, has found a way to help low-income women without taking away from scarce family resources.
Since 1992, WWIN has provided financial assistance to more than 3,700 low-income women, according to executive director Deborah Cushing. The group pays for medical costs as well as dental, vision and hearing services, mental health counseling, health insurance, and education.
The WWIN program cuts red tape, so qualified women avoid a tortuous (and often torturous) bureaucratic process for limited public funds. Program director Kathy Young said that clients are pleased with the streamlined process that treats them with "the utmost respect and dignity."
WWIN is the brainchild of former software executive Julia Pritt, who once needed a boost herself. Over a short time, her mother died, her husband left her, and she was diagnosed with breast cancer. While she could cover her expenses -- she had co-founded a successful company with her ex-husband -- she worried about how less fortunate women coped with these costs. She had grown up with little money; her family had no health insurance and didn't visit doctors or dentists, and her mother had lost all of her teeth. Pritt recalled these hardships in creating a non-profit that would pay for services her family lacked.
Pritt personally covers all of WWIN's operating costs so that all donations go directly to clients.
To qualify for WWIN assistance, women must be over 18 years old, Washington state residents, and low income. For more information on WWIN, check the Web at www.wawomeninneed.org, or call (425) 451-8838.