Women for Women Giving Circle Announces $310,000 in Grants Supporting WNC Women and Girls

(May 2021) – Women for Women recently awarded seven grants totaling $310,000. With these awards and in its 16th year of grantmaking, the giving circle has invested more than $4.4 million to support programs serving WNC women and girls.

Women for Women’s mission is to improve the lives of women and girls through collective giving. The giving circle always welcomes new members.

“This has been a year of challenge for everyone, especially the nonprofits focused on supporting people in need,” said Grants Committee Chair Pam Lane. “In 2020, Women for Women expanded the scope of issues it supports though its grant program aligning our grants with our key values. In response, we received the highest number of Letters of Intent in our history. After careful deliberation, seven organizations received funding this year – all doing important work to improve the lives of women and girls in Western North Carolina.”

The 2021 grants are:

$50,000 to Buncombe Partnership for Children to fund its Early Childhood Education Workforce Development Project addressing the extreme shortage of qualified early childhood teachers in Buncombe County by providing hands-on training, tuition assistance to obtain state certification, substitute teacher classroom placement, and on-going coaching for participants and alumnae. The program consists of two cohorts per year who receive instruction in English and Spanish.

$20,000 to High Country Caregivers to expand its Kinship Navigation Program (KNP) that assists grandmothers caring for their grandchildren in Yancey County. Participants connect with a support network that includes healthcare providers, civic organizations, social services, schools, churches, and other resources. Clients receive information about financial assistance, legal support, and other services that provide children with stability and permanency in the home as well as financial support for youth activities, counseling support and essential needs. KNP uses an established model (Relatives as Parents) with Halos in Charleston, SC, serving as a mentoring partner.

$50,000 over two years to Jewish Family Services of WNC (JFS) to expand its mental health counseling services by Licensed Clinical Social Workers to rural counties in WNC. In response to COVID-19, JFS successfully converted to a telehealth platform, providing an opportunity to expand its counseling program into Henderson, Haywood and Madison counties and potentially Transylvania and Jackson counties. JFS is one of the few counseling agencies accepting Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement and offering sliding scale fees to uninsured or under-insured seniors. JFS has rebranded its program as Healing Solutions Counseling to indicate more clearly that it is open to everyone.

$50,000 to Planned Parenthood South Atlantic (PPSAT) to provide essential reproductive and sexual health services and comprehensive sexuality education programming in WNC. PPSAT services include access to low-cost birth control, gynecological exams, gender-affirming hormone therapy, testing and treatment of sexually transmitted infections, pregnancy testing and options counseling, as well as delivery of evidence-based curricula to adolescents and their parents to educate and promote conversations regarding sex and sexuality. PPSAT has launched telehealth services to augment in-person services in response to the pandemic.

$50,000 over two years to Smart Start of Transylvania County (SSTC) to expand its Family Connects (FC) program, an evidence-based model developed by Duke University that provides medical and parenting support and referral resources to families of newborns in Transylvania County. FC contacts families within the first three weeks of a newborn’s life and provides support as well as risk profiling and necessary referrals. FC conducts one to three visits (personal or telehealth) within the first 12 weeks of life. SSTC is part of Get Set Transylvania, an early childhood collaborative that addresses the needs of children from birth to age five. Through the collaborative, SSTC’s relationships with families begin at infancy and continue as the infant grows into a school-ready child.

$40,000 over two years to Thompson Child & Family Focus (TCFF) to expand its existing foster care program in WNC through recruitment and licensing of 40 new foster homes (a 67% increase) to support 60 hard-to-place youth. TCFF is a statewide social services agency headquartered in Charlotte, with a WNC-focused team of licensing specialists, recruiters and Foster Care Coordinators supervised by the Director of Statewide Licensing and Training located in McDowell County. TFFC has a 97% placement stability average and a foster parent retention rate of 98%. A large component of TCFF’s success is its commitment to the training and support of foster families. An evidence-based model from Duke University provides the basis for the program.

$50,000 to YWCA of Asheville to support “Getting Ahead in a Just-Gettin’-By World (GA)”, an 8-week, 16-session evidence-based program that helps participants build economic independence and self-sufficiency. Participants share experiences and assess their own and community resources. Their work culminates in the setting of a Specific, Measureable, Realistic and Timely (SMART) goal to work toward during 18 months of case management. Alumnae continue as mentors and facilitators. Moving beyond traditional financial literacy classes, GA lifts women out of poverty and gives them tools to address systemic and environmental causes of poverty.

"The removal of barriers that prevent a child from thriving is at the core of the mission of Smart Start of Transylvania County,” said Deb Tibbetts, Executive Director. “The generous grant from Women for Women in support of the Family Connects program promotes access to quality healthcare and advances healthy lifestyles, starting within 30 days of a child's life. Additionally, the connection to community resources has the potential to profoundly impact a child's life."

Women for Women is an initiative of The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina (CFWNC). The Women’s Fund, a CFWNC endowment addressing the unmet needs of women and girls, contributed $61,500 to the grants.