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March 14, 2018
President’s Letter
Ellen Wiss

Hello WGA friends!

As you know, Member Forum is the event that is designed to educate our members, guests and the community. From the overwhelming feedback received from many in each category, it delivered! Thank you to the 237 of you that attended to hear the message thread of INFLUENCE!

Kicking off the high energy meeting was an announcement by TCF President Nina Waters that one of our founders, Delores Barr Weaver, offered a $15,000 15 Year Anniversary gift challenge to draw in at least $60,000 additional to this year’s grants pool and that the Baker Family had already matched with a $10,000 gift, too! Music to our ears and gratitude in our hearts for the impact this will have on helping lift women and girls out of poverty this year.

We have over $1 million in grant proposals. All worthy of funding. All gifts of any amount donated by April 30th will help fund more of these grants this year. Join/Renew to help impact the grants this year, too. Last year we granted $450,000. With the challenge gifts, renewals and new memberships it’s possible to dream of funding all of these proposals without any cuts…

Read Full Letter

Ellen Wiss, President
(720) 256-6143
WGA Grants Pool Match

In honor of WGA’s 15th anniversary, the remarkable Delores Barr Weaver has generously offered a 3-to-1 match towards the Women’s Giving Alliance 2018 Grant Pool! This is a phenomenal opportunity to stretch your giving dollars further. Let’s get that Grant Pool filled to the brim!

Donate online or write a check to Women’s Giving Alliance and include in the memo line: WGA Match. For questions: Contact Teri Calinao at 904.356.4483 or


2018 Member Forum
Grant Spotlight: Jewish Family and Community Services

In 2012, WGA Members decided to maximize impact by selecting one focus area for several years. Members’ interest in mental health (2012-2016) grew from WGA research, which showed that Florida ranks 49th in per capita spending for mental health. In November of 2016, WGA granted Jewish Family and Community Services (JFCS) $100,000, which has allowed JFCS to provide a sliding fee scale to individuals and families for mental health counseling. Thanks to the WGA, JFCS has been able to provide mental health services to 86 women and girls ranging from the ages of 10-70.

JFCS shared a story with us about a 16-year-old girl who had recently moved to Jacksonville. In her previous home, this young woman attended a local high school where she had “trouble with mean girls.” This lead to panic attacks and her beginning to cut on herself. When she told her mother that she was having suicidal thoughts, her mother moved her and her sister to Jacksonville to escape an abusive environment at school and at home. A psychological evaluation was required for her enrollment in her new Jacksonville school, but unfortunately was not available until two months later.

Thanks to JFCS she began attending therapy, where she and her therapist worked on addressing the social anxiety that had riddled her life since elementary school, her depressed mood which was associated with her isolation, and her past trauma from verbal and physical abuse. Because of the work she did in therapy her counselor was able to advocate for her to be allowed to attend high school prior to getting the psychological evaluation. Thanks to the help she received from JFCS, she is now enjoying her new school, learning, and meeting new friends.

Members Take Our Message to Capitol
(Left to right) Poppy Decunto, Jan Healy, Ellen Wiss, Senator Audrey Gibson, Paula Liang, Kristi Brandon, Mary Pietan

On February 7 and 8, six WGA members visited Tallahassee to advocate for ending child marriage and to build relationships with our local delegation. Although the Florida Senate had passed their bill to end child marriage unanimously before WGA arrived, the House had not yet brought it to the floor and amendments were proposed that would allow 16 year olds to marry if pregnant and their partner was no more than two years older.

WGA members strongly advocated for a clean bill to be passed in the House as proposed in the Senate. We had the opportunity to meet with both our local delegation, key leadership and sponsors of the bill. After WGA's visit, the bill was revised in the Senate to eliminate the pregnancy provision and increase the minimum age to marry to 17, and keeping the two year age difference. It is expected to pass the House as revised, which makes it the most protective bill of girls in the country! Success! Florida leads!

Most of our representatives and senators suggested we meet with them outside of session, in their home offices to discuss our focus of ending female poverty. WGA's Advocacy Committee has already begun preparing for those meetings.

Read the op-ed article by WGA leaders in The Florida Times Union on this issue.

Want to get involved in WGA's Advocacy Committee? Email Pam Field at or Kristi Brandon,

(Left to right) Mary, Poppy, Kristi and Paula with Senator Aaron Bean

Upcoming Events
Get Connected! It’s fun in WGA! (photo of Downtown connector event in February)

Women in Leadership: Tuesday, April 10, 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. Hear from a distinguished panel on why women are in short supply at the top of government and businesses in the US. WJCT Studio A, 100 Festival Park Ave. Jacksonville 32202. Bring your friends and lunch or order a box lunch when you REGISTER by April 3.

Holistic Health – Mind, Body and Spirit: Tuesday, May 1, 8-9:30 a.m. Two clinical psychologists share how to create a balanced life. Jessie Ball duPont Center, 40 East Adams Street, Jacksonville 32202. A light, healthy breakfast will be provided at 8 a.m. REGISTER by April 24.

Welcome New Members!
Joyce Oliver
Danielle Mason*
Vanessa Holland*
Martha Greene
Kimberly Jones
Jamie Rosseland*
Jenna Hulse*
Referrals made by:
Jill Auld
Aidee Chavez Frescas
Sarah Helms
Paula Liang
Kasey Wagner
Ellen Wiss
Member Directory    •    Grants    •    Connectors
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