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May 2019
President’s Message
Ellen Wiss

What a great Member Forum! I hope you were there in person to listen to the powerful presentation on the Impact WGA has had on Mental Health. We learned that it wasn’t just the grantees or the women and girls we helped who were impacted. Our entire community and many of us as individuals were also. That impact might have come in the form of being more educated on the needs of so many in our community, or it may have come in the form of beginning an ongoing dialogue between agencies and funders, or it may have been the start of a conversation over a cup of coffee with a family member.

If you were unable to attend our fabulous forum, please take a moment to read the comprehensive, yet very readable Executive Summary that is being mailed to our members, mental health grantees, political leaders and funders. If you want even more information a link to the full 40 page report is below. And of course, that report will be easily accessed on our website at anytime.

We awarded grants to 7 agencies and those grants are described below. Please take a moment to read about the agencies and their proposals.

Our wonderfully busy spring has allowed me to meet many of you at our recent educational offerings, such as Social Media 101 and the New Members Wine & Cheese at Moxie’s Kitchen and Grill. Welcome to all of you, and I hope you enjoy being a part of something much bigger than each of us as individuals.

Another Catalist (formerly WCGN) conference is coming up. This one will be hosted by the Washington Women’s Foundation in Seattle. Remember, this is the group that started the whole women’s collective giving circle concept 25 years ago. Many of us enjoyed Philadelphia in Oct. 2018 and I know that the interest for the Seattle meeting will be even greater. More details are in the article below.

I would be remiss if I didn’t take this opportunity to thank so many of you for a wonderful year of hard work. Linda Simmons and her Impact committee and TCF deserve a special shout out: Linda and her team for exhaustive research and the writing of the Mental Health Report, and The Community Foundation and their partnership with us in getting this report published and distributed. As is always the case, the work of WGA could not be accomplished with out the help of so many!

I wish all of you a wonderful, hopefully relaxing, summer and look forward to working with many of you next fall when we kick off a new grants and education season. All of our committees will be looking for new members. Please take a moment to check out the opportunities and committee descriptions on our website and see where you might like to get involved!

Again, thank you for being a part of WGA, and if you are still considering joining us, I hope you will!


Join or Renew Today!
How Do You Spend $2 Million?

That was the question asked and answered at the recent Member Forum. And what an impressive answer it was! Attendees heard a detailed report of the Impact of our Mental Health Strategic Focus during the years 2012 to 2018. Again and again, we heard how the impact of our investment rippled through the community and created results beyond our expectations.

A printed executive summary was available for attendees at the Forum and later mailed to WGA members. To read the full report, click here.

First Set of Poverty Grants Announced at Member Forum

Attendees at Member Forum also ratified the third set of grants in our initiative to Break the Cycle of Poverty for Women and Girls. Over $500,000 was awarded this year. For the full set of recipients and a description of their programs, click here.

Catalist Conference 2020

Catalist (formerly WCGN) is delighted to announce its 8th national conference will be hosted by the Washington Women’s Foundation, the organization that ignited our movement and our network (and the news of which inspired the founders of WGA!) in Seattle February 23-25, 2020. Our own Paula Liang will have the gavel, as she becomes chair of Catalist in July of this year. Since WGA hosted the conference in March 2017, Catalist has grown from 49 affiliates to 69 and over 17,000 individual members.

The Conference theme: PowerUP! The Spark that Ignites Change aims to increase attendees' knowledge of effective responses to address community needs by sharing new ways of thinking about philanthropy. Catalist hopes to challenge members with new ideas and perspectives, inspiring them to make changes in their community.

The keynote speaker on Sunday night will be Tricia Raikes, a former leader in creative services at Microsoft, co-founder of the Raikes Foundation, a White House Champion for Change under President Obama, and founder of Women Investing in Nebraska, a Catalist affiliate that adapted the WaWF model to a university setting. The Raikes Foundation is deeply invested in advancing diversity, equity and inclusion within its organization, through its work and throughout philanthropy. Tricia will talk about how this focus on equity guides their work.

The conference will take place at the Motif hotel in downtown Seattle. Paula was there recently and reports that it is lovely, with an outstanding rooftop bar! If you would like to read about the work she is doing with other networks of giving circles and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and other funders to unite and support the field, you can click here.

Early Bird registration for the conference opens July 1 There are limited Early Bird spots, which are expected to sell out by July 31, so mark your calendars! You can register and check for speaker updates at or follow along on social media. Twitter @catalistwomen.

Downtown Connector Event, Thursday, July 18, 5:30 p.m.

Join your fellow WGA Members and bring a friend to the Downtown Connector. All WGA members are invited regardless of where you reside. Be sure to join us for this fun gathering. Light snacks and wine will be served. We look forward to seeing you.

The River Club, 1 Independent Drive, 35th Floor, Jacksonville 32202

Coming This Fall

WGA eNews takes a break for June, July and August. So plan ahead now to attend these fall events:

Neighborhood Tour, Friday, Sept. 20, 8:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Through its Supporting Neighborhoods initiative, the Community Foundation has partnered with leadership organizations in four neighborhoods: New Town, Northwest Jacksonville, the Historic Eastside, and Arlington. WGA members will convene for a half-day session in one of these four neighborhoods (TBA) and will have the opportunity to hear about great work happening in each of these neighborhoods, learn about TCF’s work in partnership with these four neighborhood organizations, pose questions to a panel of neighborhood leaders and tour one of the neighborhoods to see both bright spots and challenges firsthand. Location TBD, REGISTER by Sept. 13. Cost: $15 for lunch.

Annual Meeting, Wed. Oct. 23, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.

Join WGA members and guests to learn what’s new! A partner luncheon to our Member Forum, the annual meeting will continue our collective education in our focus area: Breaking the Cycle of Female Poverty: Intervention and Prevention. You won’t want to miss hearing the success stories from clients of our grantees that will illustrate the impact of your investments and positive ripple effects in our community. Bring a friend!

UNF Herbert University Center, 12000 Alumni Drive, Jacksonville, 32224

REGISTER by Oct. 11. Cost $35 includes lunch; $45 beginning Oct. 12.

Welcome New Members!

(and thanks to the women who referred them)

New Members
Tara Braithwaite
Susan Callender
Maria Cavanaugh
Jane Condon
Jennifer Ged
Linda Goldsmith
Susan Gottesmann-Jarzyna
Elyse Gustafson*
Lori Joyce
Mari Kuraishi
Alison Marchese*
Michelle McGriff
Carol Messerlie
Cristi Navarro*
Pamela Ognjenovic
Linda Pittenger
Susanne Reineke
Karen Rettner
Milena Spasova

Elizabeth Bernardo
Nancy Dreicer
Tara Feather
Jennifer Kowkabany
Paula Liang
Luanne Luby
Trisha Meili
Audrey Moran
Barbara Moulding
Susan Rodgers
Susan Schantz
Courtenay Wilson


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