Charlotte women driven to make a difference reach $5 million in giving to charity

Women’s Impact Fund annual meeting in Charlotte.
Women’s Impact Fund annual meeting in Charlotte.

The Women’s Impact Fund, a collective-giving effort made up entirely of women, has passed the $5 million mark in its effort to support important causes in the Charlotte area.

Created in 2003, the group currently has 450 members. The fund’s latest grants were announced earlier this month, and included $440,000 divided among nonprofits working in the arts, education, environment, health and human services.

Recipients included Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation, Matthews Free Medical Clinic, ourBRIDGE for KIDS, Supportive Housing Communities and WINGS for Kids Inc.

“The work of these five nonprofits combined with our grant dollars is what can really make a difference,” Anne Essaye, outgoing Board Chair of the fund, said in a statement.

“There is still a lot to be done as demonstrated by what occurred in our community this past year and the outcomes of the Opportunity Task Force. Women’s Impact Fund is committed to being a part of the solution through our collective giving.”

The Women’s Impact Fund was created to maximize the role women play in solving critical problems in Charlotte. That includes fully investigating the city’s needs, and finding the nonprofit agencies that can prove they are having a measurable impact.

The most recent round of grants was announced during the group’s May 9 annual meeting held at the Foundation For The Carolinas in uptown Charlotte.

2017 Women’s Impact Fund grant recipients:

  • Arts & Culture grant recipient: ourBRIDGE for KIDS received $100,000 to support the “After School Creative Arts Learning Program” which incorporates special arts initiatives and cultural experiences into summer language programs for immigrant and refugee children.
  • Education grant recipient: WINGS for Kids Inc. received $100,000 to advance their social-emotional education programs, which support K-5 students by providing daily after-school mentoring and instruction in select Title I schools. The organization relies on part-time staff from local universities and colleges who receive extensive training.
  • Environment grant recipient: Catawba Riverkeeper Foundation received $100,000 to expand its technical program staff to enhance the ability to patrol waterways, investigate reports of pollution and expand education programs in area elementary schools. Increased staff will also support advocacy projects for local and state policy matters.
  • Health grant recipient: Matthews Free Medical Clinic received $80,000 to support its mission of providing free, quality healthcare to low-income and uninsured residents. The grant will provide needed resources to enhance the clinic’s efficiency and increase the number of patients served.
  • Human Services grant recipient: Supportive Housing Communities received $60,000 to provide housing and support for men, women and families, especially veterans and those with mental illness. The program uses an approach that prioritizes finding permanent housing quickly followed by additional services as needed.

Also during the annual meeting, Deborah Majewski with Bank of America was elected to chair the Women’s Impact Fund board for 2017-18.

For more information, visit www.womensimpactfund.org.