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January 17, 2017
President’s Letter
Ellen Wiss

Happy Healthy New Year!

Reflections and resolutions come to mind this time of year! For WGA, reflections on 2017, our 15th Anniversary year, brings us a lot to smile about and an offer of resolve. Our growth in numbers and diversity allowed us to help more women and girls than ever before with our largest grant distribution to date!

Our 2018 resolution is to do more!

One of the most moving moments of the movie “Schindler’s List”, comes at the end when Schindler, after saving many lives with courage and all the resources he could find, still says “I could have got more out. I could have got more. I don’t know. If I’d just….” Regret for not doing all that we can when it matters most is the main idea.

WGA wants no regrets. We want to help lift as many women and children as possible out of poverty!

January is the time of new beginnings and commitments which is why it’s our annual Commit to WGA Month! There is a tremendous amount of renewed energy in the air as our 2018 Membership Drive is already off to a strong start! So far 270 women have already made their annual commitment to WGA and chosen to support our focus on Breaking the Cycle of Female Poverty. How can you join the movement and make your 2018 commitment?

We have made four easy options available:

  • Go to On every page of our website, there is a bright green “Join / Renew” button in the upper right hand corner.
  • If you’re ready to finalize your commitment simply click on the button and follow the easy instructions. You can pay online or by check. As always we love happy check writers!
  • If you want us to count you in for our 2018 Grant Pool simply send in the downloadable Commitment Form. We understand that your payment will follow closer to when the 2018 Grant Pool closes on April 28.
  • Or you can simply contact Teri Calinao, our Philanthropic Services Officer at The Community Foundation, who would be thrilled to handle your annual commitment. She is available at (904) 356-4483 or
Help us make this the biggest grant pool ever in 2018 by committing in the next 30 days – either by payment or the Commitment Form. Breaking the Cycle of Female Poverty is a huge challenge and your dollars have already had a successful impact! Please commit again now. And, don’t forget to recruit a friend or two to do the same.

We’ll make our 2018 WGA resolution come true with you!

Ellen Wiss, President
(720) 256-6143
Advocacy Web Update

Check out our newly updated Advocacy page.
Visit Page
Spotlight On Grants: Hurricane Relief
Our Rapid Response Emergency fund ($17,000, plus a $3,000 matching grant from The Community Foundation) was distributed in equal allocations, $5,000 each, to domestic violence shelters Quigley House (Clay), Hubbard House (Duval), Micah’s Place (Nassau) and Betty Griffin House (St. John’s) for Hurricane Irma relief efforts.

Our decision was based on research documenting spikes in domestic violence after disasters. Hubbard House reported a 28% increase in hotline calls in the month of October. Betty Griffin House reported more calls related to the stresses of loss of wages and property damage. Quigley House experienced an increased number of clients.

The shelters experienced practical issues due to the storm: lost power, spoiled food, and debris issues. Over 100 clients had to be evacuated from Hubbard House to different shelters. Betty Griffin House housed 60 clients from Hubbard House and there were unbudgeted staffing costs due to extra hours worked during the storm.

Follow-up with these shelters revealed deep appreciation for these additional funds. In the thank-you letter from Hubbard House, Kristi Brandon, Chief Development Officer wrote “Please pass along our grateful thanks to the Women’s Giving Alliance for supporting our services during this time of increased need.” The Chief Executive Officer at Quigley House, Peggy Payne, wrote: “Thank you for the generous donation to Quigley House. We are grateful to the Women’s Giving Alliance and Board of Trustees of The Community Foundation for recognizing the impact Hurricane Irma had on our domestic violence program.”
Show Up and Make a Difference
The third annual WGA advocacy trip to Tallahassee is February 7 and 8. We will be encouraging our elected officials to support the end of child marriage in Florida.

From 2001 to 2015, more than 16,000 children under the age of 18 married in Florida, the second highest rate in the United States for that period. Child marriage is linked to higher rates of dropping out of school, poverty, domestic violence and mental and physical health disorders.

Bills have been submitted to both the House and Senate with bi-partisan support. Lend your voice to the ban of child marriage by joining WGA in Tallahassee.

Read Full Story
Upcoming Events
(Register yourself and a friend for these many fabulous and FREE events)

Women Aging into Poverty in North Florida, Jan. 23, 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. Dr. Mary Gatta, Professor of Sociology at City University of New York, will speak. Riverside House Reception Room, 2165 Park Street, Jacksonville, 32204. Bring lunch or order box lunch when you REGISTER HERE.

New Member Social, Jan. 23, 6-7:30 p.m., hosted by Jennifer Croy in her Avondale home. Complimentary refreshments. REGISTER HERE.

Informational Social for Delores Barr Weaver 4Sight, Jan. 25, 5:30 – 7 p.m. Hobnob Community Room, 220 Riverside Ave., Jacksonville. Wine and light hors d’oeuvres, hosted by Poppy Decunto, Melanie Cost Young and Kara Williams. REGISTER HERE.
From left: Melanie Cost Young (member), Audrey Moran (new 4Sight) and Jennifer Ernest (Fellow) at a recent 4Sight Informational Social.
Breaking the Cycle of Female Poverty in Nassau County, Feb. 7, 11:30 a.m.– 1 p.m. a panel discussion sponsored by WGA, St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, Burns Hall, 801 Atlantic Avenue, Fernandina Beach. Bring lunch or order a box lunch when you REGISTER HERE.

Food Insecurity in Northeast Florida, Feb. 13, 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. Join us for a panel discussion and hear from a family who successfully competed the “1,000 in 1,000” program, Jessie Ball duPont Center Lecture Hall, 40 East Adams Street, Jacksonville, 32202. Bring lunch or order a box lunch when you REGISTER HERE.

WGA Member Forum, March, 1, 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. Join other members and guests at one of our two luncheons per year. Invite a friend! Lunch included: $35 until Feb. 22, $45 after. UNF Herbert University Center, 12000 Alumni Drive, Jacksonville, 32224. REGISTER HERE
Connector Events Launching for 2018!
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 which can be purely social or have program content. Although local in focus, all WGA Members are welcome and encouraged to attend any Connector Group event – and to bring a friend! All we ask is that you RSVP so the hostess can plan accordingly.
Most Connector Groups are holding events in the next few weeks, prior to the WGA Member Forum on March 1. To see what’s happening in your neighborhood, click here. Don’t miss these informal ways to connect with other like-minded women.
Welcome New Members!
Marge Cash
Lurah Patrick
Elizabeth Paul
Jan Andrews
Beatriz Coles
Aileen Hatcher
Vicki Van Horn
Lissa Dunn
Rosie Stubbs
Anna Merkel*
Whitney Harper*
Lynn Herlihy
Kim Bongiovanni
Jean de Tarnowsky
Jacqueline Williams
*4Sight Member
And thanks to the women who referred them:
Stuart Ashby-Fore
Jan Healy
Judy Herrin
Paula Liang
Carla Marlier
WGA Member Spotlight
Trisha Meili, WGA Steering Committee member, worldwide motivational speaker, and author of her book, “I Am The Central Park Jogger”, was featured in an interview this month with First Coast News. In her interview, she courageously and thoughtfully shares her story to help local women find healing and help from WGA grantee, The Women’s Center.

Thank You, Trisha, for all you do for WGA and our community!

Read more about Trisha here Do you know of other WGA members in the recent news or spotlight? Please send information to to be recognized in future e-news.
Member Directory    •    Grants    •    Connectors
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