Women & Girls' Fund

Visit the Women & Girls' Fund Facebook page for all the latest news and happenings.

Our Mission

Make it possible for women and girls to improve the quality of their lives.
The Women & Girls' Fund was created in 2001 as a community based endowment of the Main Street Community Foundation. The Women & Girls' Fund exists because we believe in the potential of women and girls and the power they have to build strong communities. This fund serves females of all ages in Bristol, Burlington, Plainville, Plymouth, Southington and Wolcott. We tap into the power of women to strengthen their communities by:

  • Funding programs and organizations that help women and girls obtain the skills they need to lead successful lives. Nearly $400,000 in program grants has been awarded over the past 16 years.
  • Empowering and celebrating women by hosting events such as the annual WOW fundraiser, publishing news, sponsoring community presentations and by inviting women to serve on the Women & Girls' Fund Advisory Board and committees.
  • Increasing public awareness of the needs that exist for women and girls and the opportunities available to help bridge the gap.

Advisory Board Officers

  • Dawn Nielsen, Chairperson
  • Julia Weston, Vice Chair
  • Lisa Palen, Treasurer
  • Susan Moreau, Recording Secretary
  • Jeanine Audette, Past Chairperson
  • Cathryn Addy, Member-at-Large
  • Jarre Betts, Ex-Officio


The idea of the Women & Girls' Fund was brought to the Board of Directors of the Main Street Community Foundation in 2000. With the Main Street Board's approval, the Women & Girls' Fund was established as a community based endowment, the income from which supports programs that work to improve the conditions and opportunities for females of all ages in Bristol, Burlington, Plainville, Plymouth, Southington and Wolcott.

Since its establishment in 2001, the Women and Girls' Fund has provided funding to over 80 organizations. The funds for these grants come from two sources, the proceeds of the annual WOW spring event and an annual distribution from the endowment.

The Advisory Board of the Women & Girls' Fund directs the activities of the Fund. The Advisory Board sets funding goals and strives to reach more and more women as the fund grows each year.

The original founders of the Fund set a goal when the Fund was first established - building the endowment to at least $500,000 to ensure that there will always be funds available to identify and meet the needs of women and girls in the six communities served.

As part of a the Fund's 10th anniversary in 2011, the Women & Girls’ Fund launched an Endowment Building Program to build the endowment closer to the $500,000 goal. In the Spring of 2011, thanks to the generosity of Women & Girls’ Fund Founding Member Noreen Schumann, the Women & Girls' Fund was challenged to raise $25,000 in gifts toward the endowment by December 31, 2011. We did just that, and as a result, we increased our endowment by over $50,000 in 2011.

In 2016, the Advisory Board announced the First 500 Challenge, a campaign to bring the Fund's endowment up to and over $500,000 by the end of the 15th year. The Fund received a pledge of $15,000 from a few anonymous donors to help kick off the challenge, which was announced at the annual Wonder of Women (WOW) event in March 2016. In addition, the original founders of the Fund pledged $10,000. The Advisory Board also announced the establishment of the 500 Club, which will include all donors who have donated $500 or more to the First 500 Challenge. Thanks to over 150 generous donors, the goal was reached and the original dream of the Founders to have an endowment of $500,000 was realized by the end of 2016! But we can't stop there. We need to continue to grow the Fund so every woman and girl in your local communities can improve her conditions and opportunities.

We thank all current and future supporters of the Women & Girls' Fund who are investing in our community by providing funding to a variety of organizations that address the vital needs of women and girls of all ages... now and in the future.

Grant Distribution

Since 2001, the Women & Girls' fund has awarded nearly $400,000 in grants to support organizations and individuals in Bristol, Burlington, Plainville, Plymouth, Southington and Wolcott.

The 2017 annual grant cycle for the Women & Girls' Fund is now open with applications due on September 29, 2017. Click here for full guidelines and instructions on how to apply for a grant from the Women & Girls' Fund.

Click here to see the 2016 program grants.

Back to Top


The Women & Girls' Fund Advisory Board cordially invites you to join one of our committees. We ask that you bring your ideas, talents, community spirit, and your dedication to assisting women and girls to obtain their goals! We welcome your valuable time and expertise in any of these committees:

  • Community Engagement
  • Distribution
  • Events

Please consider attending a meeting of any committee or speak with its chairperson or members to gather more information. To make a connection, please contact Main Street Community Foundation at 860.583.6363 or send an email to office@mainstreetfoundation.org. We'll make sure you get the information you need and the welcome you deserve!

Back to Top

News and Events

January 10, 2017 - The Women & Girls' Fund announced its 2016 grant distributions! Read more here.

Thank you to all who attended the 16th annual Wonder of Women (WOW) event on April 25, 2017, at 5:30 p.m. at the Aqua Turf Club in Southington. With over 400 friends and inspiring guest speakers, the night was one to remember. The evening featured two grantee organizations and the guest speaker, Silvia Baldini, a nationally recognized chef and winner of Food Network's Chopped

A Big Thank You to Our 2017 WOW Sponsors!

Premier Sponsors
Barnes Group Foundation, Inc.

Presenting Sponsor

Diamond Sponsor
TD Bank

Platinum Sponsors
The Hospital of Central Connecticut
Thomaston Savings Bank

Gold Sponsors
Cathryn Addy
Raymond James
The Pediatric Care Center LLC
Webster Bank
Wheeler Clinic

Silver Sponsors
Bristol Hospital
The Joe & Kay Calvanese Foundation
CCOG Women's Health Group
DePaolo Family Foundation
Farmington Bank
Radcliff Wire, Inc.
Shannon's Diamonds & Fine Jewelry, Inc.
Ultimate Wireforms, Inc.
U.S. Trust Bank of America Private Wealth Management

Bronze Sponsors
Green Acres Farm
Hair I Am
Sue Moreau
Roland Dumont Agency, Inc.
Sharon and Rodger Stotz
Walmart - Southington
Women's Health Connecticut Dr. Victoria Rose Biondi & Associates

Friend Sponsors
Bristol Pediatric Center
Cathy and Chris Cassin
D'Amato Construction Group
Pattie Dunn
Hamel Paint & Paper
Micari Financial Group, LLC
Donna Ptak
Kathi Sorey Associates
Ursula Sowinski

Back to Top

Contributing to the Women & Girls' Fund

To make a donation directly to the Women & Girls' Fund, please click here.
To contribute to any other funds, please visit our Donate now page.

Back to Top

Women & Girls' Fund Grants

Since 2001, The Women & Girls' Fund has awarded nearly $400,000 in grants to organizations and individuals in Bristol, Burlington, Plainville, Plymouth, Southington and Wolcott. In 2016, $42,570 in program grants were awarded to 15 organizations. In addition, three additional named funds at Main Street Community Foundation supported proposals submitted to the Women & Girls' Fund The total amount awarded to the 15 organizations was $45,465 and the grants supported the following causes, programs and projects:

Boys & Girls Club and Family Center of Bristol - $2,134
Entrepreneurial Program (E-Program), a pilot program for eight girls from Bristol to master simple home repair and develop skills to build projects for their home or to sell.


Bristol Youth Lacrosse - $2,695

Scholarships for girls in Bristol, Burlington, Plainville, Plymouth, Southington and Wolcott and field equipment, including goal sets and replacement nets, for the girls lacrosse program.

Women & Girls’ Fund - $370

John & Gloria DiFrancesco Fund for Women & Girls - $430

Malerbo Childrens Field Maintenance Fund - $1,625

JoAnn & David Mills Family Fund - $270


Bristol Youth Services - $1,236
Skills to Pay the Bills program, which provides social/family life education and independent living skills to teenage girls in Bristol.


Chippens Hill Middle School - $3,400

Partnership to Promote Healthy Relationships, a program run by Prudence Crandall Center that provides domestic and teen dating violence prevention services for students at CHMS.


Early Childhood Collaborative of Southington - $4,500
To enhance the development of young children in music and movement by providing training and supplies to Southington Family Child Care Providers.


Environmental Learning Centers of Connecticut, Inc. - $3,000

Camperships for girls from Bristol, Burlington, Plainville, Plymouth, Southington and Wolcott to enable them to attend the summer programs.


For Goodness Sake -$1,200
To support women from Bristol, Burlington, Plainville, Plymouth, Southington and Wolcott making the transition to independent living and needing additional assistance to purchase items not provided by the warehouse.


Imagine Nation – A Museum, Early Learning Center - $5,000

Building Blocks for Empowering Teachers, a program to empower teachers to build the skills to be emotionally balanced, mindful and able to juggle the multitude of daily tasks that they deal with.


Literacy Volunteers of Central Connecticut - $4,000

Family Sustainability through Literacy Plus, a program to increase reading, writing and math literacy, giving women from Bristol, Plainville and Southington the tools to gain financial literacy and work with their children.

Women & Girls’ Fund - $3,000

City of Bristol Treasurer’s Fund for Financial Awareness - $1,000


Oak Hill/Chapter 126 - $1,600
Continuation of the Beautiful U Project for girls from Bristol, Burlington, Plainville, Plymouth, Southington and Wolcott with and without disabilities in grades five through eight.


Plymouth Family Resource Center - $750

Girl Power, a program for 4th and 5th grade girls at Plymouth Center School. The program focuses on helping girls acquire social emotional skills using the curriculum from Girls Scouts of America.


Prudence Crandall Center - $4,000

Partnership to Promote Healthy Relationships, a program that provides domestic and teen dating violence prevention services for youth and teens in Plainville Community Schools.


Southington Valley Midget Football - $3,250

Safety head gear for Southington girls in the Powder Puff football program.


The Children’s Museum - $4,300
Girls & Science, a program that provides 15 female students in grades 1-6 from the Boys and Girls Club of Bristol to participate in a one-week, hands-on STEM summer camp program at The Children’s Museum.

Women & Girls’ Fund - $3,160

Barbara Hackman Franklin Fund for Women - $1,140


Wheeler Clinic - $4,400

Cognitive Behavioral Intervention for Trauma in School, a program to expand access to mental health services for students at Greene-Hills School and West Bristol School in Bristol.

2015 Women & Girls' Fund Grants

2014 Women & Girls' Fund Grants

2013 Women & Girls' Fund Grants

2012 Women & Girls' Fund Grants

2011 Women & Girls' Fund Grants

Back to Top