ST. MARYS — More than 170 people attended the fall business meeting of the “Women Who Care” initiative where $30,000 in grants was awarded to nine local nonprofit organizations that make a difference.
Women Who Care is a philanthropic project of the Elk County Community Foundation that was started in February 2009. It strives to “educate, encourage, and expand the number of women committed to philanthropy in order to strengthen the community by providing funds and assistance to issues that are important to families,” according to the ECCF’s website. These women contribute to funding eligible nonprofit organizations that enhance the quality of life for Elk County families.
The business meeting was held at the Highlands Event Center in St. Marys on Thursday.
“The grants awarded by WWC supply money for new programs or to enhance community programs that otherwise may not be funded,” said ECCF Executive Director Paula Fritz Eddy.
Area organizations that received awards included the Christian Food Bank, St. Marys Area School District, Community Nurses, Boys & Girls Club of St. Marys, Messengers Supporting Recovery, Big Maple Farms Natural Therapies, Johnsonburg Area School District, the Elk County Humane Society and the Elk County Historical Society, according to a press release.
“Nonprofit organizations are invited to apply each year for a grant,” said WWC chairperson Kris Kronenwetter. “At our annual business meeting, members of WWC listen to presentations from each of the applicants and then vote on their favorite projects.”
Each of these organizations received a different amount of funding, to help contribute to a project, program, class, upgrade or other local efforts that benefit the surrounding community, such as startup funds for a summer program or character education classes.
A “Donor Advisor for a Day” award is also presented at each yearly meeting, which allows a WWC member to award a $500 gift card to the organization of their choice. Lynette Kraus, the winner of the drawing, awarded the card to the ECHS.
A founding member and first WWC chairperson who passed away this year, Doris Stackpole, was honored as well. The crowd watched a slide presentation hosted by Kane photographer Rocky Holland and his wife, Marcy, on the beauties wildlife.
The WWC organization has 229 members, all of whom have helped grant $188,200 to community organizations over the past nine years, an ECCF spokesman said. Members contribute an annual minimum ranging from $100-$1,000, which entitles them to a vote on what agencies should receive the funds, as well as two events each year.
“WWC provides an opportunity for women of all income levels to invest in their communities and learn more about philanthropy,” Fritz Eddy said. “Their combined donations make a tremendous impact on the availability of important programs that benefit women and their families in our area.”