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

  • Julia Weston, Chairperson
  • Lisa Palen, Treasurer
  • Susan Moreau, Recording Secretary
  • Dawn Nielsen, 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 over $450,000 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 closed. The 2018 grant cycle will open on July 15, 2018.

Click here to see the 2017 program grants.

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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!

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News and Events

January 18, 2018 - The Women & Girls' Fund announced its 2017 grant distributions! Read more here.

The 18th annual Wonder of Women (WOW) event will be held on April 23, 2019, at 5:30 p.m. at the Aqua Turf Club in Southington. In addition to several grantee organizations, the guest speaker this year will be Colleen Kelly Alexander, a lifelong athlete and motivational speaker who inspires positive change, contribution, determination and actionable gratitude.  

Sponsorship opportunities are available! Click here for the Wonder of Women Sponsorship Package.  

A Big Thank You to Our 2018 WOW Sponsors!

Premier Sponsor
Barnes Group Foundation, Inc.

Diamond Sponsors
Merrill Lynch Wealth Management
TD Bank

Platinum Sponsor
The Hospital of Central Connecticut
Thomaston Savings Bank

Gold Sponsors
Raymond James
Walmart - Bristol
Webster Bank
Wheeler Clinic

Silver Sponsors
Bristol Hospital
The Joe & Kay Calvanese Foundation
CCOG Women's Health Group
Center for Advanced Reproductive Services
D'Amato Construction Group
Farmington Bank
Radcliff Wire, Inc.
Shannon's Diamonds & Fine Jewelry, Inc.
Thrivent Financial
U.S. Trust Bank of America Private Wealth Management
Walmart - Southington

Bronze Sponsors
DePaolo Family Foundation
Green Acres Farm
Sue Moreau
Marie C. O'Brien
Roland Dumont Agency, Inc.
Sharon and Rodger Stotz
Ultimate Wireforms, Inc.
Dr. Victoria Rose Biondi & Associates/Briar Rosa

Friend Sponsors
Bristol Chiropractic & Acupuncture Inc./Dr. Palmisano
Bristol Pediatric Center
Cathy and Chris Cassin
Central Connecticut Chambers of Commerce
Pattie Dunn
First Bristol Federal Credit Union
Val and Tim Furey
Micari Financial Group, LLC
Dawn and Eric Nielsen
Kathi Sorey Associates
Ursula Sowinski

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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 $450,000 in grants to organizations and individuals in Bristol, Burlington, Plainville, Plymouth, Southington and Wolcott. In 2017, $47,151 in program grants were awarded to 14 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 14 organizations was $51,111 and the grants supported the following causes, programs and projects:

Boys & Girls Club of Bristol Family Center - $2,500
SMART Girls, a health, fitness, education and self-esteem program to meet the developmental needs of girls 13-18
Women & Girls’ Fund - $1,160
Barbara Hackman Franklin Fund for Women - $1,340

Bristol Family Resource Center - $2,500
Education and support for Licensed Day Care Providers
Women & Girls’ Fund - $2,250
Furey Family Charitable Fund - $250

Bristol Preschool Child Care Center - $2,456
Three early learning workshops for parents and children which will focus on early literacy and language and physical development

Bristol Youth Services -$2,100
Skills to Pay the Bills, a program that provides social/family life education and independent living skills
Women & Girls’ Fund - $1,185
Dumont Family Charitable Fund - $915

Connecticut Women’s Education & Legal Fund - $4,000
Increase access of low income women to free legal information, bilingual advocacy and referrals to low cost attorneys

For Goodness Sake - $4,255
Provide families with either a Basic needs basket or an Appliances/Linens package as they make the transition to independent living
Women & Girls’ Fund - $2,375
Smith Family Charitable Fund - $1,880

Girl Scouts of Connecticut - $2,500
2018 summer camperships

Imagine Nation, A Museum Early Learning Center - $4,000
A Healthy Imagine Nation – Creating a Happy Healthy Start, a program to promote a healthy lifestyle to children and their families

Jane Doe No More - $3,000
Safe Student Initiative, a program to educate students at Lewis S. Mills High School on the prevention of sexual violence

John J. Driscoll United Labor Agency - $5,000
Building Pathways CT, a program which gives women the opportunity to have a career in the trades

Literacy Volunteers of Central Connecticut - $2,500
Family Sustainability through Literacy Plus, a program to increase reading, writing, math and financial literacy for women and their children
Women & Girls’ Fund - $1,585
Dumont Family Charitable Fund - $915

Prudence Crandall Center - $4,000
Partnership to Promote Healthy Relationships, a program that provides domestic and teen dating violence prevention services for youth in Plainville Community Schools

Rushford Center - $8,000
Support to provide women in the behavioral health outpatient treatment programs with alternative therapies such as yoga, meditation and fitness training

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
Women & Girls’ Fund - $3,830
John & Gloria DiFrancesco Fund for Women and Girls - $470

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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