The 2020 Fall Business meeting of Women Who Care (WWC) was held virtually on October 1st with 182 WWC members voting on grant funding for their favorite organizations and projects. The membership awarded $36,979 in grants to eleven non-profit organizations.
Women Who Care saw its beginning on October 8, 2009, when one hundred women from all walks of life came together at the St. Marys Country Club for one express purpose: how do we collaborate to effect a change to improve the lives of our families today and in the future? After a year of organizing, that question was answered when WWC began granting their pooled donations in 2010 to support local non-profit organizations. As of today, a total of $268,400 dollars in grants have been invested into worthy projects that enhance life in our communities.
Every fall since 2010, WWC members have gathered at their annual meeting to vote on their organizations and projects to receive a grant that year. Then came the fall of 2020, when COVID-19 changed everything.
Even though the annual in-person meeting could not be held this year, the women of WWC showed their spirit of philanthropy and happily participated in the “Girls Night In” 2020 Virtual Annual Meeting. All organizations applying for a grant were asked to submit a short video on their project. The videos were compiled and placed on YouTube for members to review prior to placing their vote.
An annual meeting packet mailed to all members included their voting ballot as well as the opportunity to pre-order turkey dinners to be picked up at one of three drive-thru locations in the county, and to purchase chances on two beautiful mega-baskets and a 50-50 drawing. After picking up 159 turkey dinners the night of the event, many members gathered safely with small groups of trusted friends at someone’s home to enjoy their dinners and tune into the Live Facebook event that announced the winners of the grants, door prizes, baskets and 50-50. Additional income from our member’s tremendous support of the raffles allowed every grant request to be funded this year. The event was a huge success with more votes being cast for grant recipients than any past year.
Area organizations receiving 2020 awards were: Guardian Angel Center, $5,000 for a custom counter; WRC/Ridgmont Campus, $2,579 for Amazon Fire Tablets for face-to-face family contact; Friends of Twin Lakes, $3,500 to develop management plan; Ridgway YMCA, $1,500 for deep cleaning, 2 foggers & disinfectant; Boys & Girls Club, $5,000 to enhance & offset programs; Elk County Farm Bureau, $2,500 for AG Mobile Lab; Penn Highlands Elk, $2,000 for Jaxson bags; City of St. Marys, $5,000 for portable ice rink; Penn State Extension 4-H, $3,000 for virtual programming; St. Leo’s School, $2,400 for air purifier, and $500 for You Go Girl program; Johnsonburg School District, $4,000 for technology program.
The 2020 granting monies were made possible through donations made by the 255 area women who are members of Women Who Care, a philanthropic giving project of the Elk County Community Foundation
(ECCF). The women of Elk County have truly embraced the Women Who Care mission. WWC was built locally, and gives locally, covering issues like human services, recreational opportunities, women and girl equality, strengthening families, and education. Members find that with the same amount of money they would use to write a check to a charity, they get to make more of a difference to more organizations, spend more time with friends, and learn more about what their community needs. Two gatherings a year bring members together to socialize, learn about programs in our community, and vote on projects to support each year during its fall granting meeting.
With a goal to provide grants to local charitable organizations, women make an annual minimum contribution ranging from $100 to $1,000. Their donation entitles them to a vote on what agencies will receive the dollars as well as the opportunity to enjoy yearly events. All area women are invited to join Women Who Care. For more information, contact ECCF at 834-2125, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit their website at www.elkcountyfoundation.org.