The newly formed Women Who Care organization is hoping to strengthen the community by educating, encouraging and expanding the number of women committed to philanthropy by providing funds and assistance to issues important to families.
The organization was established in January as a project of the Elk County Community Foundation.
“We thought a Women’s Giving Circle would be a good fit. One of the reasons we chose women was because we knew there were many women who have made a difference in the community through their philanthropy but have not always been recognized for their works,” said Paula Fritz Eddy, executive director of the Foundation.
Various local charitable organizations stand to benefit from the group which plans to award grants for a range of projects.
Eddy explained such targeted projects may include those new to a non-profit organization or the expansion of an existing program which benefits women and families.
Possible funding project examples range from a new program established at the Boys and Girls Club or YMCA, new furniture or appliance at a CAPSEA shelter or at Oakwood Manor, a special class for women re-entering the workforce through the CEC or new equipment for the hospital’s maternity or pediatric department.
The WWC Fund program breakdown consists of 85 percent of funds collected will be granted each year to a 501C3 non-profit organization, 10 percent of funds will be deposited in an endowment and five percent will be used for administration purposes. All funds will be maintained by the Elk County Community Foundation.
The endowment aspect of the fund will build over the years to create a fund for ongoing and future grants.
Any woman donating to the WWC fund is considered a member. Those contributing $100 for two consecutive years, by Dec. 31 will be considered a founding member of the group.
Annual membership costs are broken down into varying donations; $100 as a daisy member, $250 as a carnation member, $500 as a lily member or $1,000 as a rose member.
A kickoff event for the group which is open to the public is planned for October 8 at the St. Marys Country Club from 7 to 9 p.m. The “Fall Dessert Fondue” will include an art auction with donations from local artists and a musical performance by Jennifer Stackpole.
Eddy explained nearly 400 invitations are being sent out to area women, however anyone wishing to attend is welcome and encouraged.
Women Who Care came to fruition as Eddy and Gwen Auman of Elk Regional Health Center brainstormed on the idea to form the group.
“Gwen saw the needs of women and family health issues from the hospital aspect and myself from a broader prospective of community need,” Eddy explained.
From there the pair identified women from each community who they thought would be interested in volunteering for the group, thus creating a steering committee. Members of the committee include Doris Stackpole, chairperson, Jane Bryndel, Jennifer Dippold, Barb Duffy, Carole Harshbarger, Kris Kronenwetter, June Sorg, Gwen Auman and Paula Fritz Eddy.
“We decided that ‘in spite’ of the economy, this type of group could be formed and could benefit women and families in our county and give back at a time when it is needed the most,” Eddy said.