WNY Women's Foundation's Pathways to Progress Report presents the status of the region's 582,102 women and girls using the metaphor of the "pathway" to portray sometimes steady and sure, but often bumpy and obstacle-ridden, journeys. 

The report focuses on the pathways of five hypothetical women and girls at a crossroads in their lives.  

Pathways to Progress - Full Report

Pathways to Progress - Executive Summary




MARIA is an adolescent girl among the region's 35,000 girls age 10-14 who are entering the difficult, transitional stage from childhood to adulthood, a period of self-discovery, growth and potential, and the launching pad for lifelong success. She is the future of WNY.

GINA is a single mother among the 17,000 WNY women raising children on their own and living in poverty.  While she represents the face of impoverished families in WNY, she also offers a critical opportunity to build economic security for families and disrupt a perpetuating cycle of poverty.

FRANCINE is a victim of intimate partner violence suffering among the nearly 5,400 cases of intimate partner violence against women in WNY in 2008.  Thousands more are never reported.  She represents the pervasive problem of violence against women and an opportunity to thrust what is often treated as a private matter into the regional spotlight to reshape attitudes, heighten attention from leaders and commit to prevention.

BARBARA is an aspiring leader among the 99,000 professional women in WNY, Barbara has the potential to contribute to a more balanced voice in the policies and practices shaping life in WNY, whether through public office, top-level management or civic engagement.

MRS. WILLIAMS is a senior woman and one of 60,000 women age 75+ in WNY, part of the region's growing population of frail elders. With women outliving men, the challenges of frailty, from isolation to poor health, are disproportionately experienced by women, making Mrs. Williams the litmus test for an elder-friendly region that can support and leverage the contributions of its growing senior population.


In 2012 The WNY Women's Foundation invested $399,718 toward removing roadblocks facing MARIA and GINA in three key strategic areas of Out-Of-School Time, Quality Childcare, and Family Sustaining Jobs. The Foundation is committed to continuing to invest in these strategic areas as they work directly and collectively towards improving the economic self-sufficiency of women and their children.


We appreciate and acknowledge the following for their generous supporters of Pathways to Progress:

  • Community Health Foundation of Western & Central New York
  • Joy Family Foundation
  • Robert J. and Martha B. Fierle Foundation
  • James H. Cummings Foundation
  • The John R. Oishei Foundation
  • Patrick P. Lee Foundation
  • Delaware North Companies
  • Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo

*Supporters listed by level of support