E-News: February 2016
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In this issue:
Spotlight on Grants

The Way Free Medical Clinic -- "El Camino" in the Hispanic community -- is one of the only places in Clay County for individuals without health insurance.  Half of female adult patients receiving primary care there have underlying mental illness. The Women’s Mental Health Program is halfway through its $20,000 WGA grant.

The focus of the grant is to assess and treat women with depression and other mental illnesses.   The original target was women of Hispanic decent.  However cultural beliefs and the stigma of having a mental illness have been challenging across all populations.

Women helped by this grant include:
  • A woman referred to The Way to overcome mental health issues and substance abuse coinciding with her husband’s cancer diagnosis.  After her release from a recovery center, she received mental health counseling and medication at The Way which helped her regain her stability.
  • A Haitian woman who lost her immigrant status was suffering severe depression.  She had been living at Quigley House (domestic violence shelter) for a year with her four young boys.  She was referred to The Way where she received counseling.  As a result, she has been able to obtain legal status for work and is currently employed.  She is a role model at Quigley House for her determination and good parenting skills.  
  • By coincidence, two women in group counseling found they both had Crohn’s disease.  Due to their illness, they had lost their well-paying jobs and homes and began to suffer severe depression.  After group therapy at The Way, and with additional treatment at Clay Behavioral Health, the women both are now working again and supporting each other, as well as assuming leadership roles in the group.
The need for mental health services for women in Clay County has been far greater than anticipated.  In addition, a large majority of these women need medication to treat their mental illnesses.  The organization continues to struggle for more mental health staff and volunteers, as well as more stable and predictable funding for mental health services.
WGA's Newest Research
From its inception, research has been a hallmark of Women’s Giving Alliance.  In 2004, three years after its founding, WGA member Sandy Cook spearheaded WGA’s first community research project.  In 2012, in honor of its 10th anniversary, WGA updated its research with another major effort.  In a few weeks, at the March 2 Member Forum, WGA will release its third look at the status of women and girls in Northeast Florida.   We sat down with Research Chair Sandy Cook (right above) and Research Editor Scott McGehee (left) to discuss what’s new – and what’s the same.

Q. Scott, why is research so important to WGA?
A. In philanthropy, it’s too easy to listen to our heartstrings or rely on conventional wisdom.  If we look to data for answers, our grant-making is likely to have more impact and greater success.

Q. Sandy, you’ve been involved in all three research efforts.  Any observations?
A. Each project was quite different.  
  • The original research was data-rich but not very qualitative.  Out of that, we created something that still guides us today, namely WGA’s Four Fields of Interest (Educational Attainment, Economic Empowerment, Physical and Mental Health, and Safety and Justice).
  • The second research was conducted coming out of a recession;  our findings were highly descriptive.  It was clear that Mental Health was an important area, and we followed through.
  • The research for our 15th Anniversary has more and better data, but the findings are complex and multi-faceted.  It’s just not one clean issue.  Things are very interrelated.  We also have surfaced successful approaches to deal with complex problems and challenges.
Q. Scott, what can we expect?
A. The print report will be stories and examples showing the possibilities for new approaches grounded in evidence-based research.  The details, including data and best practices, will be in a special section on the new website.   We’re excited about the possibilities this research raises not only for WGA, but for the community at large.

Click here!
March  2, Wednesday, 11-1 pm, UNF
(Registration prices go up Monday, February 22)
Advocacy Update
From time to time, and often informed by our grantee agencies, WGA adopts advocacy positions on issues impacting women and girls in Northeast Florida. Recently, we have been made aware that many girls who are in the criminal justice system, or at risk of such involvement, are in fact victims of sex trafficking. This can impact girls as young as 12.  Speaking out about the plight of these girls and their needs, both individually and collectively, aligns with our mission of improving the lives of women and girls in Northeast Florida.
     Travel to "Tally" (Tallahassee)
A total of 14 people (8 of them WGA members) rode the bus 214 miles round trip to the Florida State Capitol in Tallahassee on January 26, 2016.  They met with 13 legislators requesting support for a $3.5 million line item in the budget of the Attorney General to be used for Open Doors, a first responder network for child victims of sex trafficking.  The legislators indicated support for the program and were mostly encouraging.   Staff support for the trip was provided by the Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center and The Children’s Campaign.  Seen above (from left to right) are WGA members Kara Williams, Elizabeth Gainer, and Pam Field with Senator Greg Evers (Appropriations Subcommittee on Criminal and Civil Justice).   Thanks for making the trip and supporting this important initiative!
Recent Events
ENDING RELATIONSHIP VIOLENCE was the subject of a WGA lunch gathering at the Cummer Museum February 2 presented by One Love Foundation CEO Katie Hood (left) and Kim Rutkowski (right), chairwoman of One Love Foundation and a WGA member.  Attendees learned that Duval County is the first public school system in the nation to adopt the One Love program.  Check out One Love's newest "couplets" campaign defining the difference between a good relationship and an unhealthy one at
NEW MEMBERS WINE & CHEESE AT THE BEACH was well attended in Ponte Vedra January 12.  Left, Hostess and WGA First Vice-President Martha Baker, new member Jill Mikes, WGA President Paula Liang enjoy the event.  Also attending right, were new member Elizabeth Gainer and new DBW Fellows Jill Auld and Marie O'Keefe.
Meet the 2016 DBW Fellows ...part 2
Through the Delores Barr Weaver Fellows Program, Mrs. Weaver and other generous women subsidize emerging philanthropists to develop Northeast Florida's future women leaders today. As full voting Members of WGA, Fellows are paired with mentors to introduce and engage them in all aspects of strategic philanthropy. At the same time, these young women under the age of 40 help shape our organization for the future. To learn more, go to
WGA accepts up to 15 Fellows in each class.  Please welcome five of this year's Fellows. (first row, from left to right, followed by second row)
  • Diana Donovan, Director, Office of the President, Jacksonville University;  WGA Mentor Jana Ertrachter
  • Courtney Weatherby-Hunter, Philanthropy Director, Children's Home Society of Florida; WGA Mentor Barbara Haugen
  • Melinda Patterson, Attorney, Patterson & Teelon Law, P.A.; WGA Mentor Deanna Brown
  • Spring Behrouz, PhD, neuroscientist, Founder/CEO, NeuroInitiative; WGA Mentor Sue Nussbaum
  • Heather Corey, Development Director, ElderSource;  WGA Mentor Ellen Siler
The New Website Has Arrived!

It's Here!
same username and password
Calendar Reminders
We’re happy to have you as a member, whatever your level of involvement.  We hope you’ll join us at the upcoming events that interest you.  And remember, you are always welcome to bring guests.  All we ask is that you register so we can plan accordingly.

Member Forum  

Wednesday, March 2  / 11:00 am - 1:00 pm (program will begin promptly at 11:30 am)

Don't miss it! Join your WGA friends for the unveiling of WGA's newest research.  Better still, bring a guest.  One of WGA's two large luncheons each year.
UNF Herbert University Center, 12000 Alumni Drive  32224
$35 (includes lunch) for registrations thru Friday, February 19;  $45 beginning Monday, February 22.
  Click here to register

Women in Leadership  

Wednesday, March 16  / 11:30 am - 1:00 pm

We have a big studio to fill at WJCT.  Come join us!  A panel discussion moderated by WGA member and civic leader Audrey Moran.
WJCT Studio A, 100 Festival Park Avenue  32202
(Brown bag lunch)  Optional:  When you RSVP, indicate whether you would like a box lunch from Chef's Garden @ $15.   Click here to register

Neighborhood Connector Events
Neighborhood Connector Groups grew out of members’ interest in getting to know one another in small, close-to-home settings. Activities depend on the interests and ideas of the members in each area and include periodic gatherings. Although local in focus, any member is welcome and encouraged to attend any Neighborhood Connector event – and to bring a friend! Please RSVP to the Neighborhood Connectors listed below.
Mandarin/Deerwood/Orange Park – Tuesday, February 16 (6:30 – 8:30 pm)
Program: Martha Baker – WGA Impact Team & Grant Research Developments
Host: Debbie Gottlieb
RSVP to Connector: Marion Tischler (; 904-891-8114)

Nassau County – Wednesday, February 17 (11:30 am – 1:00 pm)
Program: Rethreaded – WGA Grant Recipient and Pop Up Shop
Location: Amelia Island Plantation Property Owners Clubhouse
RSVP to Co-Connectors: Kate Ligare (; 904-491-8067) & Christine Meehan (; 904-310-6325)

Riverside/Avondale – Wednesday, February 17  (5:30 – 7:00 pm)
Program: Joanne Cohen, J.D., VP Philanthropic Services, The Community Foundation
Host: Mary Alice Phelan -Beau Rivage Condominiums– River Room
RSVP to CO-Connectors: Mary Alice Phelan ( & Anne Sulzbacher (

Ponte Vedra/St. Johns County – Thursday, February 18 (6:00 – 8:00 pm)
Program: Joyce Mahr – Betty Griffin House
Host: Susan Schantz
RSVP to Co-Connectors: Amy Dunigan (; 904-280-1716) & Donna Heffner (; 904-273-2843)

Marsh Landing – Monday, February 22  (6:00 – 8:00 pm)
Program: Mary Marx, President & CEO of PACE Center for Girls
Host: Barbara McTiernan
RSVP to Co-Connectors: Rebecca Johnson ( & Barbara McTiernan (

Downtown “Overlay” – Tuesday, February 23 (5:30-7:30 pm)
Location: River Club
RSVP to Connector: Martha Barrett (

San Marco/San Jose – Wednesday, February 24 (6:00-8:00 pm)
Program: Program: Joanne Cohen, J.D., VP Philanthropic Services, The Community Foundation
Host: Karen McComb
RSVP to Co-Connectors: Nancy Felton ( & Pam Sorenson (

Ortega – Thursday, February 25 (6:00-8:00 pm)
Program: TBA
Host: Avery Williams
RSVP to Connector: Heather Houston (
Special Thanks to Reporters & Photographers for this E-News

Julia Baker, Joanne Cohen, Sandra Cook, Melanie Cost, Stephanie Cost, Jennifer Croy, Anne Ellis, Pam Field, Scott McGehee, Karen Estella Smith, Barb Wenger, Kara Williams
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