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Women’s Fund makes grants GROUP PROJECT — From left to right, Taya Storamski, 12, Devine Brown, 11, and Kyra Kroon, 12, all of Placerville, work together on a poster with an anti-bullying message at the Boys and Girls Club in Placerville. The Women's Fund awarded the Boys and Girls Club of El Dorado County a $17,500 grant for the club's "Smart Girls" program. Democrat photo by Shelly Thorene -- By Dawn Hodson From page A1 | July 02, 2012 | 1 Comment The Women’s Fund of El Dorado announced its annual grants and scholarships awards at a dinner meeting on June 14. With 135 people in attendance, the room was abuzz with energy as members gathered beforehand to talk, laugh and have a glass of wine. Judy Morris, chair of the Fund, warmly welcomed everyone saying, “because of you, this event is very special for all of us.” During dinner, Mary Zaun announced the three recipients of Focus Grants. New Morning Youth and Family Services received $17,500 to expand school-based mental health services to students and its families in the Mother Lode Union School District. The Boys and Girls Club of El Dorado County received $17,500 to fund a portion of the cost from its “Smart Girls” program. Big Brothers and Big Sisters, El Dorado County, received $5,500 to partially fund its “Girls Circle El Dorado Program.” Robyn Parker announced the three Impact Grant recipients. The Placerville Downtown Association received $3,333 to help support the “Flower Baskets on Main Street” project. The American River Conservancy received $3,333 to assist with its “Place-Based Learning” project. And Partners in Care received $3,333 to establish a “Compassionate Companion” volunteer program to address the needs of isolated seniors at the highest risk of social deprivation. Cathy Bean announced the two Wickline Scholarship recipients. One went to Kim Carnahan who is a woman in her mid-50s that is re-entering the workforce and pursuing an education at the same time. She received $1,250 that will go toward her college expenses. Shandra Raymond was the other recipient of a scholarship. She’s a young mother in her mid-30s who is supporting herself and her children. Her scholarship of $1,250 will also go toward college expenses. Morris said they received 27 applicants for a scholarship this year and winnowed it down to two. “It was very tough but these two ladies stood out,” she said. All recipients will receive their grants in July but many of the programs won’t actually start until later this year. The Women’s Fund was founded in 2007 and currently has 250 members. A fund of the El Dorado Community Foundation, Morris said their group is unique in that its members are its donors. The minimum donation each member gives to the Fund every year is $200. The $200 per member made up the $50,000 in grants they gave out at their event. Not a social or service organization, Morris said the essence of the Women’s Fund is its simplicity. “Its founders knew women were tired of meetings, tired of baking cakes and casseroles for fundraisers, and tired of decorating for those fundraisers.” “They (our members) like that it’s simple and straightforward and they can write a check and be as involved as they want,” said Morris. “It appeals to a certain demographic.” Morris said that since being in existence, the Women’s Fund has given out $203,000 in grants. They also have an endowment fund of between $180,000 to $190,000. ”This is a small, loving and generous community,” she said. The process of community giving The process used to decide who receives a grant is one that takes several months and involves the entire membership. In January of each year, the Women’s Fund holds a needs forum. Morris said the forum gives them a perspective of what the needs are in the community and where there have been cuts in services. She said they often get 100 people to attend these forums. Once the results are compiled, the membership votes on the greatest needs and then a bidder’s conference is held. After that, a Request for Proposal is issued to every nonprofit in the county. The responses are reviewed by a 10-member grants committee and it chooses the 10 applicants that best fit the needs criteria. Then a summary of each proposal is prepared by the committee and is sent to the members for a vote. Members get one vote in each category of Focus Grants, the Arts, Education, and Senior Health and Welfare. The votes are tallied and the grants awarded. However, the process doesn’t stop there. Midway through the year, a site committee visits each agency to see the results of their grants and to review how the funds are being spent. All this goes into a report the committee prepares. Morris said this is something they just started doing last year. The process used to award the Wickline scholarships is different. Women’s Fund members contact educational institutions that work with women and in particular women who are re- entering the workplace or going back to school. Applicants are then evaluated by a seven- member educational committee of the Women’s Fund. It chooses the top two candidates for a scholarship and forwards its recommendations to the board for approval. Morris emphasized that the Women’s Fund is totally volunteer and members are as involved as they have time to be. “Twenty percent are actively involved and 10 percent are involved on a day-to-day basis,” she said. ”We wanted to make this a doable volunteer activity since our members are very busy women. We’re all about bringing ladies together in an affordable way and making an impact.” For more information about the Women’s Fund, call 530-622-5621 or e-mail at email@example.com. Contact Dawn Hodson at 530-344-5071 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @DHodsonMtDemo on Twitter.
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