Women for Women Giving Circle Announces $254,000 in Grants

Our VOICE received a $100,000 grant to build a five-county infrastructure to rescue victims of human trafficking. Representatives of Our VOICE with Elizabeth Brazas, Leslie Dressler and Lynnell Goacher. Photo by Michael Oppenheim.

(May 24 - ) Astronaut, physician and entrepreneur Dr. Mae Jemison was the featured speaker at the sold-out 12th Annual Power of the PurseĀ® held on May 24th. The afternoon included the announcement of $254,182 in grants made by the Women for Women giving circle. Since 2006, the Women for Women giving circle has made grants totaling more than $2.75 million.

In a wide-ranging address touching on empowerment, inclusivity, STEM education and Star Trek, Jemison took the audience on a journey through space before reminding the crowd that we are all travelers and that the planet is our ship. "At some point, we have to acknowledge that we all are Earthlings," she said. She also discussed the intersection of art and science saying that "nothing is solved in one discipline anymore." She commented on the "sweetness of giving" and congratulated the 2016 Women for Women grantees.

The grants were made to nonprofits working to facilitate safe living environments for women and girls including efforts to combat domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking, bullying, sexting and elder abuse. They include:

$50,000 to Asheville Buncombe Community Christian Ministry (ABCCM) -- Steadfast House for a no-cost residential program that provides counseling, parenting classes, medical treatment, job skills and financial training to survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Steadfast House has established a beneficial relationship with Homeward Bound and the Housing Authority to assist in the pursuit of safe, affordable housing, which provides important stability for victims and their families.

$100,000 to Our VOICE over two years to build a stronger infrastructure across five counties for women and girls who have been trafficked. Funding will support a new Human Trafficking Coordinator to facilitate the development of a Rapid Response Team (RRT), identify and disseminate best practices to service providers, ensure coordination with Charlotte and 30th Judicial District Alliance RRTs and provide outreach and education to the public, service providers and communities.

$64,182 to REACH of Macon County over two years to enhance and expand current violence prevention efforts for 5th to 9th grade students in Macon and Jackson counties. The curriculum includes instruction on identification of abuse, safe intervention, the development of healthy relationships and the prevention of violence by working to change attitudes and beliefs that violence against women is acceptable. The program, in existence for five years, has gained much community and school system support.

$40,000 to Wheels4Hope to repair donated cars and connect them with economically vulnerable females in Buncombe, Haywood, Henderson, Madison, McDowell, Polk, Rutherford, Transylvania and Yancey counties. In partnership with Helpmate, the cars will be matched to survivors of domestic violence to facilitate recovery and independence. Access to a dependable car helps women escape unsafe environments, earn an income, stay independent and break the cycle of violence.

The 2016 Power of the PurseĀ® raised more than $100,000 for The Women's Fund, a permanent endowment at The Community Foundation. Proceeds from The Women's Fund are distributed through the Women for Women grant program and this year provided $33,000 to the grant pool. The giving circle always welcomes new members.