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 supports programs and initiatives that benefit women and girls 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. Over $500,000 in program grants has been awarded over the past 18 years.
  • Empowering and celebrating women by hosting events such as the annual WOW fundraiser, publishing news, sponsoring community gatherings and by inviting women to volunteer 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

  • Julia Weston, Chairperson
  • Lisa Palen, Treasurer
  • Susan Moreau, Recording Secretary
  • Dawn Nielsen, Past Chairperson
  • Jarre Betts, Member-at-Large


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 over $500,000 in grants to support organizations and individuals in Bristol, Burlington, Plainville, Plymouth, Southington and Wolcott.

The 2019 annual grant cycle for the Women & Girls' Fund is now closed. Applications for the 2020 grant cycle will be made available on July 15, 2020 and if you have any questions, please contact us.

Click here to see the 2018 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/Marketing and Publicity
  • 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 17, 2019 - The Women & Girls' Fund announced its 2018 grant distributions! Read more here.

Thank you to all who attened the 18th annual Wonder of Women (WOW) event on April 23, 2019. With over 400 friends nad inspiring guest speakers, the night was one to remember. The vening featured two grantee organizations and the guest speaker, Colleen Kelly Alexander, a lifelong athlete and motivational speaker who inspires positive change, contribution, determination and actionable gratitude. The 19th annual Wonder of Women (WOW) event is scheduled for April 21, 2020; we hope to see you there! 

A Big Thank You to Our 2019 WOW Sponsors!

Premier Sponsor
Barnes Group Foundation, Inc.

Presenting Sponsor
TD Bank

Diamond Sponsor
Merrill Lynch Wealth Management

Gold Sponsors
Cathryn Addy
The Hospital of Central Connecticut
Thomaston Savings Bank
Webster Bank
Wheeler Clinic

Silver Sponsors
Bristol Hospital
The Joe & Kay Calvanese Foundation
CCOG Women's Health Group
DACRUZ Manufacturing
Liberty Bank
People's United Bank
Radcliff Wire, Inc.
Raymond James
Roland Dumont Agency, Inc.
Shannon's Diamonds & Fine Jewelry, Inc.
U.S. Trust Bank of America Private Wealth Management
Walmart - Bristol

Bronze Sponsors
Amara Associates
Jeanine Audette
Avon Country Deli
The Borysewicz Family
Briar Rose Networks: Briar Rose Center for Aesthetics & Wellness/Victoria Biondi, M.D.
Catherine Cassin
Center for OB-GYN in CT
City of Bristol
D'Amato Construction Group
DePaolo Family Foundation
Pattie Dunn
Green Acres Farm
First Bristol Federal Credit Union
Ed and Sharon Krawiecki
Lawn Doctor
Manchester Pizza & Grill
Micari Financial Group, LLC
Sue Moreau
Lisa Palen
Dr. Glen Palmisano
Susan Sadecki
Rob Sanderford
Sharon and Rodger Stotz
Jane Theriault
Ultimate Wireforms, Inc.
Walmart - Southington

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 over $500,000 in grants to organizations and individuals in Bristol, Burlington, Plainville, Plymouth, Southington and Wolcott. In 2018, $52,180 in program grants were awarded to 19 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 19 organizations was $55,227 and the grants supported the following causes, programs and projects:

Bristol Family Resource Centers - $3,300
Best SELF: Self Image & Esteem, Leadership and preparing for the Future
Women & Girls’ Fund - $1,630
Barbara Hackman Franklin Fund for Women - $1,670

Bristol Youth Services - $2,495
Skills to Pay the Bills program for teenage girls
Women & Girls’ Fund - $1,988
City of Bristol Treasurer’s Fund for Financial Awareness - $507

Community Counseling Centers of Central Connecticut - $2,400
Self: A Workshop to Improve Esteem for young women

Early Childhood Collaborative of Southington - $2,500
Reducing the Stress of Childcare Providers program

Environmental Learning Centers of Connecticut - $2,500
Camperships for girls

For Goodness Sake - $4,052
Sweet Dreams program which provides new mattress and bedding sets

Girl Scouts of Connecticut - $3,000
2019 summer camperships

Girls Inc. of Western Connecticut - $2,630
Changing the Conversation after school program at Tyrrell Middle School in Wolcott

Jane Doe No More - $2,000
Safe Student Initiative and Escape Alive Survival Skills Self-Defense programs at St. Paul Catholic High School in Bristol

John J. Driscoll United Labor Agency - $5,000
Building Pathways CT, individual supports for women training for a career in the Building Trades
Women & Girls’ Fund - $3,450
Wally Barnes Fund for Community Leadership Initiatives - $1,040
John & Gloria DiFrancesco Fund for Women and Girls - $510

Literacy Volunteers of Central Connecticut - $3,700
Family Sustainability through Literacy Plus, a program to increase reading, writing, math and financial literacy for women and their children
Women & Girls’ Fund - $2,200
City of Bristol Treasurer’s Fund for Financial Awareness - $1,500

Oak Hill – Chapter 126 - $4,050
One-on-one fitness training for women with disabilities or health challenges

Plymouth Community Food Pantry - $1,250
Purchase supplies for Diaper Bank

Rushford Center - $4,500
Building Resiliency through Alternative Therapies program, which provides women in outpatient treatment programs with therapies such as yoga and meditation

Shepard Meadows Therapeutic Riding Center - $1,800
Equine Assisted Activities & Therapies for women and girls

Southington Middle School Athletic Association - $2,000
Support a middle school girls’ sports program

St. Casimir Rosary Society - $800
Replacement mixers for the preparation of food for fundraisers

St. Vincent DePaul Mission of Bristol - $5,000
Housing support for women and girls

The Children's Law Center, Inc. - $2,250
Legal representation for female children in family court

2017 Women & Girls' Fund Grants

2016 Women & Girls' Fund Grants

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