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OCTOBER 9, 2017
President’s Letter
Ellen WissAs we welcome fall, we won’t soon forget Hurricane Irma, who ravaged our community as summer came to an end this past month. With some of us still without electricity, internet, offices, and even displaced from homes, it’s a difficult time right now. Many of WGA’s events and meetings had to be cancelled, too. Our members are struggling with the aftermath in their own homes. The agencies represented at our events that cancelled are still busy assisting victims. And, the many meetings scheduled at TCF were not possible because damages made the building inoperable.

Patience, understanding, and offering a helping hand are positive ways to respond. That’s exactly how our community has and continues to respond. As a result, there’s more hope than despair in the air.

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Ellen Wiss, President
(720) 256-6143
Annual Meeting October 25

Register yourself and your friends for the annual meeting on October 25th. This is your chance to exercise your vote for the ratification of the first round of grants in our new focus area of breaking the cycle of female poverty. You’ll also hear heartwarming success stories and ripple effects from grants you have already made. You’ll hear Wanda Lanier of Barnabas and Cindy Funkhouser of I.M. Sulzbacher Center share their clients’ successes from the mental health grants they received. And you’ll also hear from Nekia and her success story stemming from a mental health grant by WGA to B.E.A.M. that rippled through steps of educating for economic success that ultimately resulted in breaking the cycle of female poverty. It doesn’t get any better than this, ladies. Don’t miss the reward of seeing your grant dollars at work achieving the target goals and don’t keep your friends from experiencing the magic, too! See you there!!

Register Now
Welcome New WGA Officers!

Joining Ellen Wiss, President, and Jan Healy, Vice President in their second year of their roles will be:

PRESIDENT-ELECT: Mary Pietan (2017- 2018)
An active community volunteer, Mary is on the board of the Garden Club of America, The Women’s Board of Wolfson Children’s Hospital and the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens. She is a Founding and Legacy Member of WGA, and on WGA's board for the past 15 years. She has served on the boards of Episcopal School of Jacksonville and the Baptist Health System Foundation. A graduate of the University of MN, Mary worked for 17 years in development for Baptist Health System Foundation, the Cummer Museum of Art & Gardens and for Profit Solutions. 

SECRETARY: Sheila Collier (2017-2019)
An Oklahoma native, Sheila Markes Collier has embraced Jacksonville for over 31 years. For 13 years, Sheila had a career in banking, specializing in Cash Management and was one of the few female Vice Presidents. Sheila has served on The Women’s Board of Wolfson Children’s Hospital for 16 years, and chaired the 2015 Art & Antiques Show. She currently holds Board/leadership positions with First Coast American Cancer Society, The Hope Lodge Capital Campaign, WGA, and North Florida School for Special Education. Sheila was Co-Chair of Hotel Logistics for the WCGN National Leadership Forum in March 2017.

TREASURER: Faith Schonfeld (2017-2019)
Faith Schonfeld was a financial professional for 40 years, specializing in corporate lending and investment banking, risk policy development and oversight, and operational risk management. Faith has always supported women’s interests by starting the Chicago chapter of a national women’s banking association; as an initiating member, chair and board member of The Chicago Finance Exchange; as a board member of the YWCA of Metropolitan Chicago; and on The Trustees Council of Penn Women. Faith moved to Jacksonville and joined WGA in 2014, the WGA Finance Committee in November 2014, and began participating in the Grants process in January 2015.
In the Wake of Hurricane Irma, Contribute to Local Relief

For people struggling to get by, the destruction of Hurricane Irma can be a big blow back into the cycle of poverty. Join the relief efforts by contributing to Florida’s First Coast Relief Fund, established in partnership between The Community Foundation, local United Way chapters and other funders. 100% of all funds will go to non-profits providing local disaster relief services that aren’t provided by government programs.

How to Contribute to Florida’s First Coast Relief Fund

Online:, Text: STORM to 50503
By check: Pay to the order of United Way of Northeast Florida and mail to P.O. Box 41428, Jacksonville, FL 32203-1428. Be sure to note “Florida’s First Coast Relief Fund” on the check.

Upcoming Events

Thanksgiving with a Side of Philanthropy
Thursday, Nov. 9, 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
The Community Foundation Board Room
245 Riverside Ave., Suite 310
Led by Joanne Cohen, VP of Philanthropic Services for TCF. $25 covers course materials and a light dinner. Register by Oct. 30.

Visit the I.M. Sulzbacher Center, WGA Grant Recipient
Tuesday Nov. 14, 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.
611 East Adams Street
Learn about the comprehensive services for the homeless offered at Sulzbacher. Bring your lunch or order a box lunch for $15 when you register.

View Events Calendar
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