Empowering Women as Leaders (EWL) is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting non-traditional aged women in financial need achieve their highest potential through scholarships, mentoring, and networking.
Founded in 2004, EWL provides scholarship assistance to non-traditional college-aged women who often face challenges with obtaining traditional financial support. We call the women we support our “STARs”. Our goal is to ignite each STAR's own light and energy and give them confidence that they can achieve their dreams.
We go the distance with our STARs by providing them with both mentors and networking opportunities during their college years and as they take on leadership roles in their careers. These events help them gain confidence as they move into the workplace.
The Woman Behind EWL
EWL is the vision of Carolyn Bondy, who has an extraordinary passion to leave a legacy for women who are financially unable to complete their college education. She also has a strong desire to demonstrate that one woman with a dream can make a difference.
Carolyn’s motivation comes from her roots in East Texas. Carolyn grew up in Beaumont, Texas, raised by a supportive and loving family. Her parents wanted her to go to college; however, Carolyn got married at 19 years old and by the age of 25, she admitted to her parents that she had made a terrible mistake and was getting a divorce.
At that time, Carolyn’s parents suggested that she move back home to go to college and that they would pay for her education. That was a major turning point in Carolyn’s life. It took her seven years to complete college, but at age 32 she graduated from Lamar University with a 3.7 GPA and a job offer from Texas Instruments in Dallas, Texas. With an education and a desire to achieve, Carolyn’s career excelled through the years. She later worked for Sabre Airline Solutions where, within seven short years, she rose to the position of Vice President.
As Carolyn approached 50 years old, she began to reflect on her life and what she could do to leave a legacy and make a difference. She wanted to give other women the second chance her parents gave to her to further her education.
After considerable research, in October 2004 Carolyn founded EWL with nine other women, all from the corporate world and all who shared her desire to help other women achieve. They met with the Dean of Texas Woman’s University and told him of their newly established 501(C)3. He was so impressed that he helped EWL establish our STAR program that continues to this day.
The approach is simple. The organization has partnered with Texas Women’s University who helps provide the pipeline of candidates to be considered for scholarships. Currently, there are EWL Chapters (locations) in Dallas, Ft. Worth, Austin and Houston. The Chapter board is responsible for the fundraising required to support the STARs with their educational needs, as well as the interview process to select the STARs. STARs are brought on board two times annually. Once selected, they are paired with a mentor to assist them throughout their education and into their career journeys.
Celebrating Our Success
Carolyn’s dream was to provide scholarships to 50 women by the time she was 80 years old. Within twelve years that goal was exceeded, and new goals were made to establish EWL Chapters throughout the United States and to grant an additional 250 scholarships.
To date, EWL has sponsored over 138 women in re-inventing their lives through scholarships and mentoring. EWL has awarded $375,000 in scholarships. Our STARs graduate with an average GPA of 3.5 and success rate of 95%. We are successful because of an intense program of support, mentoring, networking, career advice and assistance dedicated to helping our STARs through their journey.
We continue to have a strong relationship with Texas Women’s University. EWL is currently working to establish partnerships with two additional university systems, which will help broaden our reach to support many more deserving women.
We have many inspirational stories of our STARs that can be found here.