WISE was founded by a group of multicultural, first generation immigrant women in 1995 as a vehicle for educational, leadership, social and economic empowerment for immigrant and refugee women and girls. WISE's founding members witnessed and experienced the negative impact of a lack of education and having English as a second language has on the empowerment of immigrant women and girls.
The mission of WISE is to empower immigrant women and girls to succeed. WISE envisions a future where immigrant women and girls will be honored for their wisdom, celebrated for their leadership, and empowered to create change in their lives and their communities.
The mission of the agency was built around empowering immigrant women and girls to succeed, by using education and the development of leadership skills to increase their economic self-sufficiency. The overall goal was to break the chain of poverty and provide the necessary support and education for immigrant women to seek leadership positions in workforce. Over the past decade, WISE has implemented a number of community-based initiatives aimed at raising public awareness of immigrant issues, developing leadership capacities, and promoting self-sufficiency of immigrant and refugee women and girls.