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Women’s Fund of the Blue Ridge Grants $130,000 to Local Nonprofits for First Grant Cycle After Merger

Oct. 1, 2014. During their first-ever grantmaking process, the Women’s Fund of the Blue Ridge has allocated an impressive $130,000 to 16 local non-profit organizations this fall.

This new philanthropic fund is the result of a recent merger of the Appalachian Women’s Fund and the High Country Women’s Fund, each of which has also made substantial grants over the past eight years.

“We are thrilled,” said Karen Sabo, Executive Director of the Women’s Fund of the Blue Ridge (WFBR). “The board members of the two funds hoped that by combining, they’d make an even more positive impact, be able to help even more women. And that’s exactly what’s happening.”

WFBR Logo JPEGThe Women’s Fund awards grants to regional non-profit organizations with programs that serve women and girls. Specifically, the WFBR funds programs that advance women’s financial, professional, and personal potential, serve marginalized populations, use innovative techniques to help women and girls reach their full potential, and affect social change in the pursuit of fairness and justice.

Board chair Kay McCloskey said “…what’s truly gratifying is our impact. The combined amount both funds have given since they were created is $800,000, and with the grants this year that number is now $930,000. In an area with a relatively limited population, this really is amazing.”

According to Becka Saunders, WFBR Grants Committee Chair, the Women’s Fund of the Blue Ridge supports both fundamental and innovative programs. “We give grants to address basic human needs like food, healthcare, and helping with utility bills, and also to more complex programs that address long-term attitude changes that break negative cycles,” said Saunders.

The Women’s Fund of the Blue Ridge invites community members (both women and men) to become members. For more information, visit www.womensfundoftheblueridge.org, email info@womensfundoftheblueridge.org, or call WFBR Executive Director Karen Sabo at 828-264-4002.

Agencies supported by the Women’s Fund of the Blue Ridge 2014 grants include the following:

Hunger and Health Coalition, Watauga County. Grant will support the Women Over 60 Food Program.

ASU: ACCESS (Appalachian State University: Appalachian Commitment to a College Education for Student Success), Watauga County. Allocation is for summer scholarships for ACCESS students, all of whom come from families below the poverty level.

Western Youth Network, Watauga County. Grant is to support The Girls Circle, helping marginalized girls with academic improvement and self-esteem.

W.A.M.Y. Community Action, Watauga, Avery, Mitchell, and Yancey Counties. Funds are for women’s financial literacy and credit building, and self-sufficiency assistance.

OASIS (Opposing Abuse with Service, Information, and Shelter), Avery and Watauga Counties. Allocation is for support group sessions for domestic violence survivors in order to promote self-growth.

D.A.N.A (Domestic Violence is Not Acceptable), Alleghany County. Funds given will help women make financial transitions out of violent relationships.

BRWIA (Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture), Alleghany, Ashe, Wilkes, Watauga, Avery, Mitchell, and Yancey Counties. Money given is for scholarships for women farmers to take business courses, and for capital investment grants through the Mary Boyer Food & Sustainability Agriculture Grant Program.

Daymark Recovery Services, Watauga County. Grant provides free childcare for mothers during mandatory evening substance abuse treatment sessions.

A.S.H.E. (A Safe Home for Everyone), Ashe County. Funds are to assist domestic violence survivors in transitioning into independent living situations.

Mountain Alliance, Watauga County. Allocation is for Mountain Alliance’s LIFT (Leadership in Female Teens) program, which helps young women between the ages of 13-18 improve self-esteem and strengthen support between girls in the high school community.

Community Care Clinic, Watauga County. The WFBR supports dental care for CCC patients, and vision care for uninsured female diabetics.

The Children’s Council, Watauga County. Grant supports on-site childcare for mothers enrolled in the GED program, and expansion of the Parents as Teachers program for high-risk mothers.

NOSW (New Opportunity School for Women at Lees-McRae College), Avery County. Funds support this free immersive educational program for low-income Appalachian Women.

WeCAN (Watauga Crisis Assistance Network), Watauga County. Allocation supports homelessness prevention program for women through funding for emergency rent, mortgage, and utility payments.

Hospitality House Alleghany, Ashe, Avery, Mitchell, Watauga, Wilkes, Yancey Counties. Support is for operational and support service expenses for women in the Emergency and Transitional Housing Programs.

Girls on the Run, Ashe, Avery, Watauga, Wilkes Counties. Grant is for support of this youth development and empowerment program and expansion into Avery and Wilkes Counties.