Saint John’s Program for Real Change Named A 2023/2024 Grant Recipient of $5M in State Funding by The California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls 

California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls supporting Saint John’s Program for Real Change in their work to unleash the potential of women and children in crisis.  

California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls supporting Saint John’s Program for Real Change in their work to unleash the potential of women and children in crisis.  

(SACRAMENTO, California – July 3, 2023) — Saint John’s Program for Real Change, a non-profit organization dedicated to unleashing the potential of women and children in crisis, was named one of the 2023-2024 grant recipients of $5 million in State funding by the California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls. The CCSWG announced the recipients of a $5 million grant program to fund organizations serving women and girls who have been disproportionately affected economically by the ongoing pandemic. Grantees include organizations serving low income, unemployed, or underemployed, AIAN, BIPOC, LGBTQIA, unhouse, rural, disabled, senior and veteran populations.  

This dedicated investment of state funding into organizations serving women and girls locally across the state represents a unique investment in the economic health and well-being of nearly half of California’s citizens.  

“As CEO of Saint John’s Program for Real Change, I applaud the California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls for their dedicated action in addressing economic challenges faced by women and girls. This $5 million grant program represents a unique investment in the well-being of nearly half of California’s citizens. At Saint John’s, we understand firsthand the barriers they face and are committed to empowering women through comprehensive services. By investing in their creativity, agency, and capacity as innovators and leaders, we pave the way for their economic stability and long-term success. Together, we create real change and a future of equal opportunities,” said Julie Hirota, Chief Executive Officer at Saint John’s Program for Real Change.  

Saint John’s provides comprehensive direct services for unhoused women and girls disproportionately impacted by COVID to improve their lives. As the largest residential program focusing on unhoused women and children in the Great Sacramento region, Saint John’s plays a unique role in the community. 

Not only were women disproportionately impacted by COVID, but unhoused women faced even greater impact.  

Economic recovery for unhoused women and girls impacted by COVID requires intentional interventions. 
The women we serve at Saint John’s Program for Real Change contribute to and excel in various areas of importance: 

  • Empowering Childcare: The remarkable women in our program prioritize their personal growth while ensuring their children receive nurturing care through Saint John’s no-cost childcare services. They understand the significance of promoting their children’s social and emotional development and academic success. 
  • Resilience and Support: Women benefit from our collaborative efforts as part of Sacramento’s continuum of care for the homeless. They access our comprehensive safety net program, which offers shelter, nutrition, substance use treatment, and mental health services. Together, we work alongside regional service providers and governmental entities to provide the support they need. 
  • Skillful Upskilling: Women engage in educational and vocational programs to upskill and expand their horizons. They participate in on-site instruction, completing high school diploma curriculums and taking part in hands-on employment training programs. By doing so, they gain the necessary skills to secure meaningful employment and develop transportation and childcare plans. 
  • Financial Independence: Women in our program are committed to building their financial security. They actively participate in life skills classes, such as budgeting and financial management, to acquire the tools required for economic independence. Alongside our dedicated case managers, they establish savings accounts, overcome obstacles to secure independent housing, and achieve self-sustainability. 

At Saint John’s Program for Real Change, we are privileged to witness the dedication, resilience, and growth of these incredible women. We strive to provide the necessary resources and support to empower them as they navigate their journeys toward personal and professional success. 

Funding from the CCSWG provides the opportunity for Saint John’s to serve a greater number of unhoused women and children, as well as, enabling Saint John’s to provide no-cost quality childcare while women are engaged in employment training, education, coaching and services to address any barriers to employment. 

California women not only face a significant wage gap, they face bias and opportunity gaps that mean 
women are more likely than men to earn low wages and to live in poverty. These barriers, along with 
other forms of discrimination mean that the 50.3% of California’s residents that are female are 
significantly less likely to be able to weather a financial crisis like the one COVID-19 caused, and they will require significant ongoing investment in order to recover. 

“The California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls is the only state agency dedicated 
exclusively to gender equity concerns. As such, it is critical that we be a resource for organizations in local communities that are doing the hard work of directly supporting equity and economic growth for California’s diverse women and girls,” said CCSWG Chair, Assemblymember Rebecca Bauer-Kahan. “The Commission’s research has made clear the need for sustained investment in women who are key stakeholders and drivers of what will soon be the fourth largest economy in the world. Women are 
essential to our workforce, to innovation, and to creative problem-solving and leadership. We must invest in California’s more than 20 million women today, tomorrow, and every day.” 

This second, and potentially final year of this state investment in women’s economic equity will bring up to $5 million in funds to local communities through nonprofits, direct service providers, local women’s commissions, intermediary organizations, and governmental entities in response to the economic needs of California women. By using funds allocated to the Commission to support the economic well-being and of women who are half the state’s workforce, but not yet half of its leaders, the California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls seeks to close the persistent gaps in opportunity for women and girls to not just exist as part of our labor force, but to thrive as we invest in their creativity, agency, and capacity as innovators, small business owners, and leaders. 

“We cannot build a thriving and equitable California without economic investments in gender parity at the state, county, city and community levels,” said CCSWG Executive Director Holly Martinez. “With women still facing a persistent wage gap, limited investment in their businesses, a disproportionate level of student debt and rent burden, and a persistent expectation that they shoulder the bulk of family caregiving responsibilities in addition to holding full-time jobs, it has never been more apparent that investing in women’s economic equity is investing in the future of California’s growth and global competitiveness. Women are half the workforce and the only way to grow is to support the expansion of their opportunities and success.” 

In the award process, the Commission prioritized new and returning organizations who work to improve access and affordability of child and/or elder care services, increase utilization and uptake of safety-net programs that offer services to support basic needs such as shelter, food, clothing, etc., achieve reskilling/upskilling through accreditation, certification, or vocational or educational programs, and enhance financial ability to grow economic security, assets, and wealth building. 

“The California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls is elated to embark on the second year of this highly competitive and transformative grant opportunity, which continues to funnel much-needed resources to diverse communities centering women and girls throughout the state,” said CCSWG Deputy Director of Operations and Grants, Tifani Bartow. “It is clear that the need for economic recovery, and sustained investment in economic equity, access to opportunity and supportive resources for women, girls and all Californians remain a priority especially when we see the growing needs and challenges of women and girls on the rise.” 

As California continues to tackle issues of gendered economic inequality, it has never been more critical that California invest in women and girls across our state. Because women are essential to California’s future. A complete list of grant recipients can be found at 

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