E-News: November 2016
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President's Letter
Hello Friends!

As I write this first note as WGA President, I feel deeply honored and grateful for your trust in me. If you were one of the 273 in attendance at the Annual Meeting last month (our largest turnout to date), you know how excited I am!

That day, we announced and ratified six new grants and a BIG, new focus area: Breaking the Cycle of Female Poverty.  We also celebrated our roots and welcomed 18 new Delores Barr Weaver Fellows, our largest cohort to date.  We are now over 400 women strong, granting nearly $500,000 per year, with a total of nearly $5 million to our community for the benefit of women and girls as we begin our 15th anniversary!

So much happened at the Annual Meeting that we are spreading our coverage over two issues.  In the December issue, you’ll read more detail about our DBW Fellows and see more photos and facts from our History Review. Also, I’ll share more thoughts on the new focus area. Many of you heard the startling statistics about poverty:
  • One in five children live in poverty,
  • These children live primarily in single female-led households, and/li>
  • One in seven women live in poverty.
Hence, our new focus will involve dreaming BIG and applying what we learned from our founders…stay tuned.  Meanwhile, please check out more research on our website and the excellent press coverage we received from the Florida Times-Union.

Please consider joining a committee and visiting grantees to deepen your relationship to WGA. Bring your friends to connector and education events to consider joining us.

I’ll close by echoing my dear friend (member, too) about enduring, effective ways to achieve BIG dreams.  She said, “While the issues are serious, this doesn’t mean we can’t have fun, too!"   Serious fun!   That’s my promise to you.

In gratitude and service,
Ellen Wiss
(720) 256-6143
2016-2018 Grantees
Betty Griffin Center
Hope in Recovery Part II
$100,000 (domestic violence, St. Johns County)

Services that combine treatment for substance abuse with services related to domestic and sexual abuse.
Delores Barr Weaver Policy Center
Girl-Centered Practice Collaborative
$100,000 (girls in the juvenile justice system in Duval, Clay and Nassau Counties)

Co-creation of a continuity of care model to reduce the use of the juvenile justice system as a mental health provider for girls.
Hubbard House
Rise! Program
$100,000 (domestic violence, Duval & Baker Counties)

Individual and group mental health counseling services to adult female victims of domestic violence who are receiving wrap-around services at its emergency shelter facilities and outreach programs..
Jewish Family & Community Services
Sliding Fee Scale Mental Health Counseling
$100,000 (Duval, Clay & St. Johns Counties)

Individual and family mental health counseling to women and girls.
Nonprofit Center of Northeast Florida
Impact Grant

Pilot project to support grantees and extend the impact of the grants that WGA has made during its five-year focus on mental health.  Baptist Health is matching WGA funding at $10,000 for this work.
Volunteers in Medicine
Healing the Mind, Body, Heart and Soul
$22,000 (Duval County)

Mental health screening, counseling, medication & psychiatric services to working, uninsured women who live or work in Duval County.
This year's total Grant Pool was $432,000, an increase of $37,000 over last year.  These are the last new grants that will be made specifically in the focus area of Mental Health, and they will run until the end of 2018.
Since 2002, including the grants above, WGA has invested a total of $4.9 Million in the Northeast Florida community. 

Of that amount, $1.9 Million – nearly 40% -- has been invested in the mental health of women and girls.
What Impact Are We Having?
At the recent Annual Meeting, a major report was given by Grants Impact Team evaluating WGA’s progress to-date in our single focus area of Mental Health.  This was an Interim Report as only seven of our Mental Health grants – less than a third -- have concluded with enough time for analysis.  15 more grants are still active in the community.  Retiring Impact Co-Chair Kiki Karpen (left) listed impressive statistics:
  • 2,250 women and girls have received services supported by WGA mental health grants
  • 45 events focused on mental health and our grantees’ work; all were open to members and guests.
  • Increased community awareness through news coverage and involvement of key stakeholders.
  • Successful advocacy efforts on behalf of mental health funding.
  • Training of professionals to increase evidence-based, gender specific practices
Kiki's closing remarks included the slide below.  The Impact Team's complete Interim Report, as well as a two-page Executive Summary are both available on the website..
Shift to New Focus Area
With outgoing President Paula Liang (left) making the "BIG" announcement -- and incoming President Ellen Wiss (right) pledging that "this is 'BIG', but we can do this!" -- WGA members voted at the recent Annual Meeting to spend the next five years focused on "Breaking the Cycle of Female Poverty: Intervention and Prevention".

Paula explained that Intervention mostly will be focused on helping women already living in poverty, while Prevention will center on girl-focused programs such as STEM education and reproductive health and education. 

The shift to the new focus area began when the Grants Impact Team updated
WGA research on the status of women and girls in Northeast Florida and published its summary report in March 2016.  In the following months, facilitated discussions with members clarified that this was the appropriate focus prompted by the research.

Although there are still 15 WGA Mental Health grants outstanding, the grants cycle in 2017 will begin with a focus on Breaking the Cycle of Female Poverty. 

Hats off to all who participated in the process.  And now it's time to roll up our sleeves and get to work!
Help Select New Year's Grantees

Volunteers Needed to Evaluate Grant Proposals
Help Launch Our New Focus Area:
"Breaking the Cycle of Female Poverty"

At its heart, WGA is a membership organization.  This means that members collectively donate funds to improve the lives of women and girls in Northeast Florida -- and members ultimately determine which agencies will receive WGA Grant Pool dollars.  The Grants Decision Team is the group of volunteers entrusted to make the recommendations voted on every October at the Membership Annual Meeting.  And, yes, with another grant year beginning, new volunteers are needed to help evaluate the next cycle of proposals.
There are three types of Grants Decision Team volunteers (right).  All team members must agree to adhere to a strict code of confidentiality and ethics regarding letters of interest, proposals and the decision-making process.  While there are a limited number of Core Team and Financial Team member positions, there are an unlimited number of Volunteer Readers.

Serving as a Volunteer Reader is a flexible way to join the Grants Team, learn about the grants process and the good work being done by many outstanding non-profits in our community. 
Volunteer Readers work largely independently and are not required to attend any meetings except the first overall Grants Decision Team Organizational/Training meeting held January 13, 2017 (11 am -1:30 pm) at The Community Foundation.  Participation as a Volunteer Reader is encouraged if this is your first introduction to grants or you are a new member of WGA.

Financial Committee members are required to attend the January 13 training session (above), as well as ad hoc sessions.

If you are interested in joining the Decision Core Team, additional mandatory meetings are scheduled for January 26, 2017 (11:00am – 2:00pm), April 27, 2017 (11:00am – 2:00pm) and April 28 if necessary, and June 9, 2017 (10:00am – 2:00pm).

To learn more about the Grants Decision Team process, visit "Our Grantmaking" page on the new WGA website.  If you are interested in participating as one of the three types of Grants Decision Team volunteers for 2017, please contact Maureen Kingsley Paschke ( by December 1.
New Calendar Available! Save the Dates!

By now, you should have received the 2017 WGA Calendar and General Brochure in the mail.  This is a great publication to share with friends and prospective members.   It can also be downloaded from the Calendar page on our website (in the right hand column).

Take time now to mark in your personal calendar the dates of next year's lectures, panel discussions, workshops, and meetings that interest you. 

It's going to be a great year!
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For questions or more information, please contact Teri Calinao, Donor Services Manager or (904) 356-4483.
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