By Jess Kleean & Katie Hutton
Even after nearly ten years in the High Country, The Women’s Fund of the Blue Ridge has maintained its dedication to its mission of bringing about positive change and economic justice for women and children in our community – and they aren’t stopping anytime soon.
The Women’s Fund of the Blue Ridge is a community-giving organization that has been positively impacting the lives of women and children in the High Country for the last ten years. Above all, the members of the Women’s Fund believe that all women and families deserve the right to equality, safety, opportunity, and self-determination in every aspect of their lives, and they strive to achieve these goals through grant writing, advocacy, and community building. As a non-profit organization, the Women’s Fund is sustained by a group of women philanthropists aiming to be a catalyst for good in the High Country by making necessary resources accessible to women in our community to be able to reach their full potential.
Danielle Thuot, Executive Director for the Women’s Fund, describes what brought her to the organization by saying: “When you hear the words, ‘Women’s Fund,’ you think about the ability for women to make a difference in a community, and anytime I hear of a group of women who are going to come together and do something – well, that is a place I want to be. Because in a place like that, positive change is going to happen.”
By providing funding to local non-profit organizations, the Women’s Fund of the Blue Ridge sparks a diverse set of programs that benefit women and their families all throughout the community. Supporting numerous programs through their 2017 grants, including the ASU ACCESS Scholarship, FARM Cafe, and Hospitality House, you would have a difficult time finding someone in the High Country who hasn’t been influenced by these programs in some way, shape, or form.
But what makes this organization notable is that their effort is truly rooted in community giving, meaning that the community being impacted by change is the same one that is funding it. Each donation from the community is pooled with other donations in order to crowdsource the maximum amount for good. Executive Director, Danielle Thuot, explains it best stating:
“Let’s say you donate ten dollars to the Blue Ridge Women’s Fund. We then combine your donation with someone else’s ten dollar donation, or even someone else’s hundred dollar donation. Now your small donation has increased tenfold – same with the amount of good you are able to do with it. This is what we do and 1.3 million dollars later, I’d say we are doing a lot of good.”
Feeling inspired? The Women’s Fund has a couple of big events coming up including their ongoing Hygiene Supply Drive supporting OASIS, Hospitality House, Ashe Sharing Center, and Reaching Avery Ministry. Additionally, their annual Power of the Purse event hosted at Chetola Resorts on June 28th is a day full of great food, impactful speakers, and a silent auction with all proceeds going towards their philanthropic efforts in the High Country.
Throughout March, the world celebrates Women’s History Month by honoring some of the brightest examples of women bringing about positive change in their communities, and lucky for the High Country – we have some fantastic examples right here in our own community. If you are feeling inspired by The Women’s Funds’ efforts, feel free to donate here or check them out yourself at their next big event!