Women’s Achievement Network and Development Alliance (WANDA) II

Women’s Achievement Network and Development Alliance (WANDA) II

Palo Alto
Round –
Fall-Winter 2020
Project Type –
Fast track
Project Focus –
Marketing & Communications
Organization Type –
Community or Economic Development, Women

WANDA was founded in 2007 by three women who combined their individual philanthropic and volunteer efforts to assist single mothers in achieving self-sufficiency. The three founders recruited friends and colleagues to form a donor circle titled the Leadership Circle (LC) with 17-30 members. The members of the LC provided financial support, business training, and peer social networking to cohorts of 12-35 single mothers. WANDA’s reach has been primarily in San Mateo and Santa Clara Counties through a three-year program focused on the three E’s of Education, Equity, and Empowerment. Besides a comprehensive curriculum and networking opportunities, WANDA provides a 2:1 savings match (up to $4000 if a participant saves $2000). The participants apply the savings and corresponding match toward a home purchase, retirement savings, or college education for themselves or their children. WANDA’s results show clients increase their annual salaries by up to $14,000, improve their credit scores by nearly 100 points, and are saving more than the $2000 matching grant cap.


How does WANDA expand its Education, Equity, and Empowerment program through nonprofit partnerships and additional grants and sponsorships to serve more single mothers around the Bay Area to attain greater self-sufficiency?


Given the high-touch nature of its program, growth in numbers served is limited if WANDA manages all activities of the program on its own. In 2019, WANDA pursued partnerships with other Bay Area nonprofits with similar objectives and clients served in order to expand its geographic reach and thereby number of single moms served while reducing costs. Last fall, a Stanford ACT team confirmed the viability and desirability of such partnerships through interviews with prospective partners. The project team also analyzed the key financial components to assist with determining a cost-sharing model for partnerships. WANDA gained significant momentum with the new model and had plans to launch the MidPen Housing pilot in April. With the pandemic, however, its ability to implement has been on hold as MidPen and other potential partners have different operating and client-centric circumstances. It is essential that WANDA continue to measure and demonstrate how its Education, Equity, and Empowerment program is effective and successful as part of overall sector change and how its relevance is only furthered under the new economic crisis facing those already impacted by socioeconomic inequity.

Project Objectives

WANDA seeks a phase II consultancy with ACT to build upon the recommendations through the last engagement, which demonstrated the need for WANDA to refine and focus its storytelling. The marketing message needs to reflect its impact and potential in changing the economic circumstances of low-income, single mothers who need its program now more than ever. The crisp, concrete messaging of what benefits WANDA’s programming delivers will have the goal of obtaining new investments from funders and partners. The project team will also provide high-level guidance on marketing communication channels to reach prospective funders and partners. (The team, and client, might benefit from ACT’s newly developed Digital Marketing Guides.)

Useful Items

This is a Fast Track project:

  • Scope: Focused, specific organizational issue
  • Team Size: 2-3 consultants
  • Project Duration: 3 months
  • Estimated Time Contribution: 25-30 hrs total (per consultant)

Read more about the Fast Track Project Consultant role.