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Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Women's Fund of Winston-Salem

By Guest Blogger Jennifer Hodges

The Women’s Fund of Winston Salem: A Community of Passionate Women Creating Social Change

A few years ago, I heard someone mention The Women’s Fund of Winston-Salem. I didn’t think much about it. At the time as I was very busy with my newborn baby. A few years passed, and last November, I read an article in the newspaper about The Women’s Fund of Winston-Salem providing more than $162,000 in grants to local organizations benefiting women and girls. I was inspired to learn more and eventually joined the Fund to help make a difference for women and girls in our community. As a mom, I know it is easy to get caught up in taking care of our families that we sometimes miss important organizations in our community that are really making a difference. I’m sharing a brief snapshot of The Women’s Fund and hope you’ll think about joining too!

The Women’s Fund was founded in 2005 by five local women who were concerned that despite a strong connection between being female and poverty, low self-esteem, domestic violence, and inadequate health care, gender-specific programs are seriously underfunded. They envisioned an organization for women by women. Today there are more than 800 members.

The Women’s Fund of Winston-Salem strives to
- Build a community of female philanthropists
- Provide grants to local programs and initiatives that address the root causes of social problems
- Create changes in the knowledge, attitudes, thinking, and practices of individuals, groups of individuals, and the systems and policies of organizations and institutions.

There are many challenges facing women and girls in Forsyth County. Did you know?
- In 2008, the number of pregnant teens in Forsyth County could fill 15 school buses
- Full time women in the workforce in Forsyth County earn 76 cents for every $1 made by males
- 44% of women headed households in Forsyth County live below the poverty level
- Heart disease is the leading cause of death of women in Forsyth County

As members of The Women’s Fund of Winston-Salem, we vote on the organizations that receive grants each year. Grants focus on creating social change, not just providing social services.

On November 3, The Women’s Fund will celebrate five years at our annual luncheon, which is open to the public. Over the past five years, The Fund has:
- Awarded nearly a half million dollars to community organizations that address the core issues facing women and girls in Forsyth County: self-sufficiency, health and safety, leadership capacity, and family issues
- Improved the lives of more than 1,300 women and girls who have benefitted by our grants.
- Published first-of-its-kind research focused specifically on women in Forsyth County. Through a Gender Lens: The Economic Security of Women and 
Girls in Forsyth County, April 2009.

By joining The Women’s Fund of Winston-Salem, you maximize your gift through the power of collective giving.

Membership in The Women’s Fund is $1,200, which can be a group or individual membership. So your book club, garden club, synagogue, church, playgroup, work, or neighborhood association could come together and if each person contributes, you could vote together on which grant proposals should be funded each year. How fun would it be to meet with your friends, discuss topics relevant to other women living in your community and vote on where you would like to see your money spent?

I hope you are inspired as I was to learn more about The Women’s Fund.

For more information, contact:
The Women’s Fund of Winston-Salem
860 West Fifth Street
Winston-Salem, NC 27101
Phone: 336-714-3468


Anonymous said...

Wow! What a powerful organization helping women and girls here in Forsyth County! Their web site is very informative and interesting. If you have not looked, it is worth 5 minutes of your time:

We have to help each other to improve the lives of everyone. What a great place to get started! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I am embarrassed to admit that I had never heard of this! Thanks for posting and letting us know about the opportunities available.

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