How One Women's Foundation Grantee is Empowering Women and Changing Lives

Three years ago, 37 year-old mother of three, Tanisha Davis, was struggling to make ends meet. Her full-time job as a Certified Nurse’s Assistant wasn’t paying enough and Davis felt as if her future was bleak; until she got a phone call that would eventually change the trajectory of her life. 

“I was driving around looking for a second for job when my mom called me telling me about how she saw the Grooming Project on the news,” said Davis. 

The owner of 3 dogs - two yorkies and a poodle - Davis always had a passion for dog grooming. During her free time, Davis would practice her self-taught grooming skills on her canines. 

“I love dogs, I always had an interest in it but no one would ever hire me,” said Davis. “Finding out about the Grooming Project was a blessing, it came right on time.” 

The Grooming Project is a pilot program of Empowering the Parents to Empower the Child (EPEC), a 2017-2018 Women’s Foundation grantee. Our investment in the Grooming Project is part of the Women’s Foundation commitment to empowering women and breaking down the barriers that hold them back. We know that entrepreneurship is an essential pathway for women to gain financial independence and move up the economic ladder. And by supporting organizations like the Grooming Project and reducing occupational licensing burdens on women entrepreneurs, we are continuing to move the needle and help more women achieve their dreams.  

EPEC is a non-profit devoted to helping families achieve their dreams and become self-reliant through job training, life skills and practical solutions to end the cycle of poverty. The Grooming Project trains parents in a trade that pays a livable wage in order to help lift families out of poverty.

Students also learn valuable life skills like effective parenting strategies and financial literacy to complement their newfound professional training and sustain their economic progress. 

Davis participated in the very first Grooming Project class hosted in the summer of 2015. Students meet Monday through Friday from 8am - 4pm and learn in small classroom sizes creating an intimate environment.

Tanisha with a canine friend while learning how to groom at the Grooming Project. 

Tanisha with a canine friend while learning how to groom at the Grooming Project. 

“We all grew close, we all shed tears together cause we were all coming from some hurt in our lives,” said Davis. “We were like sisters.” 

She describes her experience as transformative and one-of-a-kind learning experience. However, being a student came with its challenges. In order to be a full-time student, Davis had to drastically cut her hours as a CNA. Students receive a weekly stipend of $160 but as a mother of three teens Davis was determined to stay enrolled. 

“For my kids to see me walk across that stage and receive my certificate set an example for them, that was a proud moment for me,” said Davis. 

Now almost two years after graduation, Davis says she is a completely new person. She has enough money to provide for her family, pay her bills and save for her dream - opening her own grooming business. She is a member on the Grooming Project Board of Directors and with the help of a mentor, Davis is working on her business plan and learning more about what it takes to be an entrepreneur. 

As a woman who once struggled to provide for her family, Davis is now groomed for success. She’s a woman who smiles more and embraces her future with confident optimism. 

Women like Tanisha are ending the cycle of poverty due to the help of organizations like Empowering the Parents to Empower the Child and the Women’s Foundation. We know working together will make change, and generous supporters like you are critical to our success and the success of Tanisha.