Watch CBS News

Women Helping Women In Los Angeles

Downtown Women's Center
(credit: Downtown Women's Center)

It's Women's History month and in a city with over 4.5 million of them, we applaud these outstanding organizations that have harnessed the power of community and made it their mission to improve the lives of so many. -- Kim Kuhteubl

Step Up Women's Network
Executive Director Jenni Luke (right) and Step Up celebrity volunteers Vanessa Minnillo and Kelly Rutherford. (credit: Marc Hall)

Step Up Women's Network

510 South Hewitt Street #111
Los Angeles, CA 90013
(213) 382-9161
More Info

Step Up Women's Network is a national, non-profit, membership organization dedicated to connecting and advancing women and girls. Simply stated, Step Up connects you to the professional women you need and to the underserved teen girls who need you. Step Up combines after-school programs with mentorship and paid internship opportunities that focus on career preparation. Programs are designed to engage women in a way that inspires a life-long commitment to responsible, philanthropic involvement, encompassing hands-on volunteer work and leadership opportunities.

Downtown Women's Center
Grand Opening Celebration of San Pedro Building (credit: Downtown Women's Center)

Downtown Women's Center

442 S. San Pedro St.,
Los Angeles, CA, 90013
(213) 680-0600
More Info

In 1978, Jill Halverson rented a storefront and opened the city's first Day Center for women in need. Today the Downtown Women's Center is Skid Row's only facility exclusively for homeless women – the fastest growing segment of the homeless. It provides permanent, supportive housing for 71 women, and a safe and healthy community for over 2500 others including: day beds for overnighters, a cafeteria for meals and a medical clinic that handles everything from mental health to breast cancer screenings. If you'd like to join the army of over 800 volunteers, you can help with an array of programs like computer training and art projects or the birthday club, where volunteers organize birthday parties to celebrate the residents' special day.

Women's Guild
50th Anniversary Gala with Marcia Cross and Billy Crystal (credit: Women's Guild)

Women's Guild

Cedars-Sinai Medical Center
8700 Beverly Boulevard, Suite 2416
Los Angeles, California 90048
(310) 423-3667
More Info
Founded in 1957, the Guild has grown from a knitting circle of 18 friends to over 1,500 members. In the early years, they raised funds through movie premieres chaired by big Hollywood stars like Rosalind Russell, Elizabeth Taylor and Joan Crawford. Today, Women's Guild members have raised more than $40 million for Cedars-Sinai, including monies for the Saul and Joyce Brandman Breast Center at the Samuel Oschin Comprehensive Cancer Institute and initiatives that fight lung disease, women's heart disease (the biggest killer of women), breast cancer and HIV/AIDS.

Women's Foundation of California
(credit: Women's Foundation of California)

The Women's Foundation of California

340 Pine Street, #302, San Francisco, CA 94104
(415) 321 2052
More Info

In addition to providing more than $24 million in grants to 1200 plus organizations over the past 30 years, The Women's Foundation of California runs an innovative Women's Policy Institute (WPI). Since 2003, the institute has trained 200 of California's fiercest women leaders on how legislation is made, and then connected them to those in power.  Fellows have advocated for legislation for safer cosmetics, measures addressing violence in the workplace and an expansion of protections for noncitizen victims of trafficking and domestic violence.  Notably, they have championed 12 bills that have become laws that benefit all Californians.  The Foundation has recently launched a Los Angeles donor circle and hosts the Momentum Awards in May.

Women's Conference
Maria Shriver and Minerva Award recipient Oprah Winfrey (credit: Frederick M. Brown, Getty Images)

The Women's Conference

1801 Avenue of the Stars #1201
Los Angeles, CA 90067
(310) 788-0100
More Info

Now recognized as the nation's premier forum for women, this "conference with a conscience" grew to distinction under the powerful leadership of the Former First Lady Of California, Maria Shriver.  In 2010, the conference expanded to three days and more than 150 extraordinary speakers came together to speak to 30,000 women empowering them to be "Architects of Change" in their own lives, their communities and the world. The Conference also has a global online community, where more than one million women gather online.  The grand finale features The Minerva Awards, a ceremony which recognizes women creating legacies of service and contributions to California, the nation and the world.

Nancy Davis
(credit: Vince Bucci, Getty Images)

Nancy Davis Foundation for Multiple Sclerosis

1801 Avenue of the Stars, Suite 1400
Los Angeles, CA 90067
(310) 440-4842
More Info

MS affects close to two million Americans primarily between the ages of 20 and 40, and three times as many women. In 1993, after being diagnosed with the disease, Nancy Davis established her foundation and held the first Race to Erase MS event, earning over $1.3 million. To date, the foundation has raised over $30 million for multiple sclerosis research, channeling most of its funds into The Center Without Walls. This nationwide collaboration of physicians and scientists brings together the brightest minds from the nation's MS research centers to work as a team on therapeutic approaches to eradicate the disease.

Geena Davis
(credit: Karen Bleier, Getty Images)

Geena Davis Institute On Gender In Media

More Info

Six years ago, while watching kid's television programs and videos with her young daughter, Academy Award winner Geena Davis noticed a remarkable imbalance in the ratio of male to female characters.  With her foundation, she has raised funds for the largest research project on gender ever undertaken in children's entertainment.  Conducted by Dr. Stacy Smith and her team at USCs Annenberg School for Communication, SEE JANE is a program of the Institute that utilizes research, education and advocacy to engage the entertainment industry in recognizing the need for gender balance in movies, TV and other media aimed at children 11 and under.

Planned Parenthood, Tamara Tunie
Tamara Tunie speaks at the Planned Parenthood Federal Funding Hearing. (credit: Kris Connor, Getty Images)

Planned Parenthood Los Angeles

400 West 30th Street
Los Angeles, CA 90007
(213) 284-3300
More Info

Planned Parenthood Los Angeles is the largest provider of reproductive health care services in Los Angeles County -- 72% of their clients are at or below the federal poverty level. All of their sixteen health center locations offer outreach programs and presentations on subjects ranging from puberty to mid-life issues, to abstinence and contraception. They work at the local, state and federal level to advocate for medically accurate sexuality education, contraceptive equity, patient safety, and affordable access to reproductive health care for all people.

St. Anne's
(credit: St. Anne's)

St. Anne's

155 N. Occidental Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90026
(213) 381-2931

Store: 11102 Magnolia Blvd.
North Hollywood CA 91601
(818) 763-0646

More Info

Sponsored by the Franciscan Sisters of the Sacred Heart, St. Anne's first opened its doors in 1908 as a safe refuge for young, unwed, pregnant women. Today it is a highly regarded social service agency committed to developing and sustaining programs that address the special needs of at-risk, pregnant and/or parenting young women and children -- most of whom come via the Los Angeles County Departments of Children and Family Services and Probation. All of St. Anne's programs strive to empower and educate, so these women and children recognize their own value and potential, giving them the hope and the tools needed for a better future.

National Council of Jewish Women Los Angeles
(credit: NCJWLA)

National Council of Jewish Women Los Angeles

543 N. Fairfax Avenue
Los Angeles, CA 90036
(323) 651 2930
More Info

Founder Hannah G. Solomon spoke at the Women's Congress of the 1893 Chicago World's Fair and called on women to shape the destinies of American lives. In 1909 Rachel Kauffman heeded that call and assembled 15 courageous women who risked the disapproval of their husbands and defied traditional thought to form the Los Angeles Section of the National Council of Jewish Women. Inspired by Jewish values of helping others -- regardless of culture, ethnicity, religion or race -- Council Thrift Shops across the city fund a variety of outreach including talkline, counseling, support groups, family court project and scholarships among others.

San Luis Obispo Women's Shelter
(credit: San Luis Obispo Women's Shelter)

Women's Shelter Program of San Luis Obispo County

P.O. Box 125
San Luis Obispo, CA 93406
(805) 781-6401
More Info

The Women's Shelter Program (WSP) began as a grassroots volunteer run shelter in 1977 offering "safe houses" for victims of domestic violence.  Today, the extensive support services offered are meant to help the victim to escape from a violent life, for good. Domestic violence and child abuse, in their fullest scope, impact primary victims, family members, society, and future generations. With this in mind, it is the program's goal to stop the cycle of violence by providing a variety of services in both Spanish and English including: emergency shelter, transitional housing, counseling, legal assistance and crisis call support.

How lucky we are to live in America where it is not just a choice for a woman to speak and do as she chooses, it is a right. Help another woman celebrate herself and her place in history.
View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.