Women & Girls' Fund

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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

  • Cathy Cassin, Chairperson
  • Jessica Pieri, Vice Chairperson
  • Sofia Bayne, Co-Secretary
  • Marilyn Perzan, Co-Secretary
  • Julia Weston, Past Chairperson
  • Jarre Betts, Member-at-Large
  • Jeanine Audette
  • Kimberly Lewis
  • Sarah Lucian
  • Susan Moreau
  • Lisa Palen
  • Julie Rebelo
  • Sharon Stotz
  • Susan Winn
  • Carolyn Ziogas

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History

The creation of the Women & Girls’ Fund at Main Street Community Foundation came at a time when the Foundation was still relatively new and looking for ways to grow and to increase its presence in the six communities of Bristol, Burlington, Plainville, Plymouth, Southington and Wolcott.

At a MSCF board meeting, then Executive Director Cheryl Dumont-Smith mentioned that a number of community foundations had funds dedicated to serving the needs of women and girls. The Board of Directors loved the idea.

With that challenge, a breakfast meeting of local women was held at one of their houses to see if there would be sufficient interest to pursue the creation of a fund.

There was so much enthusiasm that the women came out of that meeting with a task force and committees formed. Focus groups were held in each of the six communities served by the Foundation – inviting social service providers, non-profits and community leaders to discuss the needs of the women and girls they served. Then began a marketing campaign to raise the $10,000 needed to create a fund at MSCF.

The funds were raised, and the Fund was established at MSCF in 2001. In addition, a match from the Bristol Brass Fund at the Foundation was awarded. But the income from the Women & Girls’ Fund wouldn’t generate enough income initially to make any significant grants to the local organizations improving the lives of women and girls. So some fundraisers were held, including the first WOW event.

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.

At the initial meetings, the Early Leaders of the Fund set a goal - 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 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. 
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Grant Distribution

Since 2001, the Women & Girls' fund has awarded over $620,000 in grants to support organizations and individuals in Bristol, Burlington, Plainville, Plymouth, Southington and Wolcott.

The 2021 annual grant cycle for the Women & Girls' Fund is now closed. Applications for the 2022 grant cycle will be made available during the third quarter of 2022 and if you have any questions, please contact us.

Click here to see the 2021 grants.

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Committees

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:

  • 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!

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News and Events

News
December 3, 2020 - The Women & Girls' Fund announced its 2020 grant distributions! Read more here.

Events
Wonder of Women
The 21st annual Wonder of Women (WOW) event will be held on May 3, 2022, at 5:30p.m. at the Aqua Turf Club in Planstville. In addition to several grantee organizations, the guest speaker this year will be Ayodele Casel.

Proceeds from the event support grants to programs assisting women and girls in Bristol, Burlington, Plainville, Plymouth, Southington and Wolcott.

More details and sponsorship opportunities will be available as the date gets closer! 
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The 20th annual Wonder of Women (WOW) event, which celebrated the Women & Girls' Fund's 20th anniversary, was held on September 8, 2021. In addition to a special presentation of 30th Anniversary grants, the guest speaker this year was Patti Russo, a nationally recognized leader focused on improving the quality of life for women in Connecticut and the United States; she currently serves as Executive Director of The Campaign School at Yale University.

A Big Thank You to Our 2021 WOW Sponsors!

Premiere Sponsor
Barnes Group Foundation

Platinum Sponsors
The Brewer Family Foundation
Hartford HealthCare

Diamond Sponsor
TD Bank

Gold Sponsors
ConnectiCare
The McPhee Foundation
Thomaston Savings Bank
Walmart - Bristol
Webster Bank

Silver Sponsors
Jeanine Audette
Bank of America Private Bank
Bobrow & Company, P.C.
Briar Rose Networks: Briar Rose Center for Aesthetics & Wellness/Victoria Biondi, M.D.
Bristol All Heart
Bristol Association of Principals and Supervisors
Bristol Health
By Carrier Inc.
The Joe & Kay Calvanese Foundation
Catherine and Christopher Cassin
CCOG Women's Health Group
CLA (CliftonLarsonAllen LLP)
D'Amato Construction Company, Inc.
DACRUZ Manufacturing
Fisher Daigle Wydo Advisory Group of Raymond James
Green Acres Farm
Michael J. Lepore
Sue and Mark Moreau
Radcliff Wire, Inc.
Roland Dumont Agency, Inc.
The Rosado Family
Thrivent Financial
Torrington Savings Bank
Walmart - Southington
Wheeler Clinic

20th Anniversary Sponsor 
ACG North America, Inc.
Sofia Bayne
Mary Benoit
Carolyn Checovetes
Community Foundation of Greater New Britain
Louise DeMars
Cheryl Dumont-Smith
Pattie Dunn
Lori Eschner
Margi Fletcher
The Hon. Barbara Franklin
Tori Hickerson
Peter Kelley and Robert Mielcarz
Judi Ann Lausier
Dawn Leger
Kimberly Lewis
Diane Mackloskey
Laura Minor
Colleen and Michael Nicastro
Dawn and Eric Nielsen
Lisa Palen
Jessica Pieri
Theresa Pieri
Jeanne Radcliff
Susan Sadecki
John and Susan Scarritt
Mary M. Smith
Kathi Sorey Associates
Deborah Spooner
Sharon and Rodger Stotz
Deidre Tavera
Elaine Weston
Elizabeth Weston
Washington and Susan Winn
Attorneys Carolyn and Mark Ziogas

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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.

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Women & Girls' Fund Grants

Since 2001, The Women & Girls' Fund has awarded over $620,000 in grants to organizations and individuals in Bristol, Burlington, Plainville, Plymouth, Southington and Wolcott. In 2021, one way the Women & Girls' Fund commemorated its 20th anniversary was by committing $20,000 for a special anniversary grant program to award unrestricted operating support to nonprofit organizations. Eligible applicants were asked to answer a single question: “Twenty years from now, what do you hope others see as your organization’s legacy for women and girls?”. The 20th Anniversary Grantees are:

Jane Doe No More - $5,000

The Children’s Law Center - $4,000

Prudence Crandall Center - $3,000

Environmental Learning Centers of CT - $2,000

Literacy Volunteers of Central Connecticut - $2,000

Plymouth Community Food Pantry - $2,000

St. Vincent DePaul Mission of Bristol - $2,000

2020 Women & Girls' Fund Grants

2019 Women & Girls Fund Grants

2018 Women & Girls' Fund Grants

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

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