Women Helping Women: WFBR Grantee Luncheon Celebrates the Power of Philanthropy

Published Wednesday, April 20, 2016 at 5:11 pm

Story and Photos by Jessica Isaacs | jessica@highcountrypress.com

Kindness, laughter and warm smiles filled the room on Wednesday as local leading ladies joined for the annual Grantee Luncheon hosted by the Women’s Fund of the Blue Ridge. The get-together was held at the Blowing Rock Conference Center and gave guests a closer look at how the dollars they raised have been spent in the community.

Each High Country nonprofit that received funding from the WFBR last grant cycle was represented at the luncheon, and their leaders told heartwarming stories from clients who have triumphed over adversity thanks to support from the fund.

Women’s Fund of the Blue Ridge

“If you’re a member, you’re making a difference. If you volunteer with us, if you donate, you are making a difference,” WFBR Executive Director Karen Sabo said to the crowd. “The stories that you have heard today are a small percentage of the lives that you are changing. By being here, by being a member, by thinking about becoming a member, you are changing lives for the better.”

Guests heard from the women who act as boots on the ground for many local service programs, and each positive message served as an example of what can be achieved through kindness, caring and generosity.

A local woman receives hugs and support after sharing her personal story of life-changing experience at Hospitality House.

A local woman receives hugs and support after sharing her personal story of life-changing experience at Hospitality House.

Sabo, the WFBR Grants Committee and each nonprofit representative expressed  heartfelt gratitude to the ladies in the room whose contributions are transforming the future for local women and girls.

“We have an unfortunate aspect to our culture where girls and women think they have to compete with each other rather than support each other. By all of us being in this room today, by us having the Women’s Fund of the Blue Ridge, we are counteracting that negative aspect of our society. We are saying it should not be like that. We are women helping women — that is our purpose, and united we are much stronger than we can be if we divide from each other.”

Two successful local women’s funds, each in operation for a decade or more, merged two years ago to form the WFBR, which has since raised and distributed more than $237,000 to local programs for women and girls. Combined with the experience of its two predecessors over the past 10 years, the WFBR has given more than $1 million to nonprofit programs in the High Country.

Flip through these photos from the luncheon to find out which nonprofits were represented, then click on each one for more information.

Don’t wait to get involved! You can make a difference, too.

Featured Nonprofits

Appalachian Committment to a College Education for Student Success

Women's Fund of the Blue Ridge Grantee Luncheon 2016

Beth Marsh, ACCESS

A Safe Home for Everyone

Women's Fund of the Blue Ridge Grantee Luncheon 2016

Deanna Stoker, A.S.H.E.

Ashe Family Literacy

Women's Fund of the Blue Ridge Grantee Luncheon 2016

Beth Sorrell, AFL

Blue Ridge Women in Agriculture

Women's Fund of the Blue Ridge Grantee Luncheon 2016

Carol Coulter, BRWIA

The Children’s Council of Watauga County

Women's Fund of the Blue Ridge Grantee Luncheon 2016

Robin Triplett, The Children’s Council

The Community Care Clinic

Women's Fund of the Blue Ridge Grantee Luncheon 2016

Alyssa McKinnon and Melissa Selby, CCC

Domestic Abuse is Not Acceptable

Women's Fund of the Blue Ridge Grantee Luncheon 2016

Lee Cornett, DANA

Girls on the Run of the High Country

Women's Fund of the Blue Ridge Grantee Luncheon 2016

Mary Sheryl Horine, GOTR

Hospitality House

Women's Fund of the Blue Ridge Grantee Luncheon 2016

A local woman shares the story of her life-changing experience with the Hospitality House through funding from the WFBR.

Hunger and Health Coalition

Women's Fund of the Blue Ridge Grantee Luncheon 2016

Emily Oakley, HHC

Mitchell County SafePlace

Women's Fund of the Blue Ridge Grantee Luncheon 2016

Kellie Biggs, MCSP

Lees-McRae New Opportunity School for Women

Women's Fund of the Blue Ridge Grantee Luncheon 2016

Jennie Harpold, NOSW

Opposing Abuse with Service, Information and Shelter

Women's Fund of the Blue Ridge Grantee Luncheon 2016

Jennifer Herman and Kelsi Butler, OASIS

WAMY Community Action

Women's Fund of the Blue Ridge Grantee Luncheon 2016

Melissa Soto, WAMY

Watauga Crisis Assistance Network (WeCAN)

Women's Fund of the Blue Ridge Grantee Luncheon 2016

Graham Doege, WeCAN

Western Youth Network

Women's Fund of the Blue Ridge Grantee Luncheon 2016

Rachel Saylor, WYN

WFBR Grantee Luncheon 2016

Women's Fund of the Blue Ridge Grantee Luncheon 2016

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