In 1992, sisters Pat Petznick and Beverly Stewart formalized a foundation focused on fundraising and granting money to Arizona nonprofits serving women in need. Through the course of that granting process, it became apparent there were gaps in women's programs in Maricopa County, AZ. After a successful capital campaign, the Jewell McFarland-Lewis Fresh Start Women's Resource Center (WRC) opened in the Phoenix downtown area in 2002. Today, Fresh Start sees over 26,000 visits per year from 5,000 women in transition who are seeking support and knowledge to change their lives.
Seven core programs and services work holistically to promote the financial self-sufficiency, career and educational advancement, and
physical and emotional well-being of women and their families.
These services are all provided at the WRC and are available six days per week including evening and Saturdays. Free on-site childcare is offered during all open hours at the WRC.
Fresh Start serves women 18 years of age or older in Maricopa County who use Fresh Start’s services to learn to move on to the next phase of their lives while attaining self sufficiency. A large number of the women served are single moms, tasked with caring for their children alone, while working or trying to find work to financially support her household.
In light of Arizona women’s unemployment rates (currently 7.3%), increase in domestic violence and low rates of college graduation, Fresh Start firmly believes that the success, stability, and health of a woman and her family
depend upon three components of personal and professional development: economic self-sufficiency, educational attainment, and career security and advancement.