Women Who Care Awards Inaugural Grants


Amy Cherry

WWC members present representatives from area organizations with checks for their community-based projects. Shown, left to right, are: Paula Fritz Eddy, ECCF executive director, presenting a check to CAPSEA Executive Director Billie Jo Weyant; WWC steering committee member Doris Stackpole presenting a check to Sam McDonald of ERHC; and Capt. Scott Harvey of the Salvation Army receiving a check from Carole Harshbarger, WWC steering committee member.

The Women Who Care (WWC) organization, a project of the Elk County Community Foundation, awarded inaugural grants during the organization’s recent Annual Membership event. Formed by a group of nine women in February 2009, WWC began as a philanthropic membership giving circle that provides a vehicle for nonprofit organizations to apply for funds in order to strengthen the quality of life for families in local communities. The organization pools its funds, which supply the initial investment for projects in Elk County.

As part of the event, the organization’s 96 members had an opportunity to vote for the project they felt was most important to the community. Voting was conducted following the dinner portion of the event. Members not attending the event cast an absentee ballot. The four applicants whose projects were eligible for grants were Citizens Against Physical, Sexual and Emotional Abuse, Inc. (CAPSEA); Elk Regional Health Center (ERHC); Girl Scouts of Western PA; and the Salvation Army.

After the votes were tallied, CAPSEA and the Salvation Army were awarded their full request, while ERHC was awarded a partial grant. A total of $12,000 was distributed in all. At the beginning of the event, representatives from each organization provided a brief presentation about their organization’s project.
CAPSEA was awarded $6,000 to replace worn and outdated carpeting in their shelter and offices with new “eco-friendly” carpeting to benefit victims and children who receive services. The total cost of their project is $7,000.
Billie Jo Weyant, CAPSEA’s executive director, said the organization is “in desperate need” of new carpeting.

ERHC was awarded $3,000 for a new stereotactic breast biopsy table costing $94,500. This new equipment will replace the current biopsy process, which involves renting a mobile unit that visits ERHC’s St. Marys campus three days a month. “We are glad to have a full-time dedicated unit here,” said Sam McDonald, ERHC business and fund development manager. McDonald added the new table will allow for patients to undergo a continuum of care as part of the digital mammography program, which he said began in July. The table will be used to provide biopsies of breast lumps.

The Salvation Army was awarded $3,000 for its 2011 King’s Table community meal program, which serves approximately 2,900 people each year. This program offers a safety-net service to those unable to make ends meet at the end of each month and is the only one of its kind in the area. In 2010, the organization expects to spend $5,500 for the direct cost of the program.
Captain Scott Harvey of the Salvation Army, based in Ridgway, said the program has been offered in the area since May 2007. There is no requirement necessary for visitors to obtain a meal. He said a majority of the patrons are from Ridgway, with some from Johnsonburg and a few from St. Marys. Meals are served at 5 p.m. the last five weekdays of the month for 10 months. There are between 60-80 people who attend each night.

The Girl Scouts project was not funded. They requested $6,000 to support the “Challenge and Change: Challenge Yourself, Change the World” program, a national teen leadership program developed for Girl Scouts of the USA to help girls develop confidence and leadership skills without the competition of boys. The program helps girls learn how to become positive change-makers while they envision and start long-term community service projects. The total cost of the proposed project is $9,000.

The WWC Grants Committee recommended the four charitable organizations for this year’s grant award after reviewing all grant applications. “The event was well-attended. We were pleased with the turnout,” said Paula Fritz Eddy, Community Foundation executive director. WWC members were encouraged to bring a guest or potential member to the event. Eddy emphasized that new members are welcome and are an important part of the organization. In addition, gift baskets and prizes were awarded at the event. Any woman who has donated to the WWC fund is considered a member. There are various levels of membership. More information about membership levels and membership applications may be found online at www.elkcountycommunityfoundation.com [3]. The commitment deadline to become a member is Dec. 31, with payments due by June 30, 2011.