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

  • 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


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 2019 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:

  • 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 16, 2020 - The Women & Girls' Fund announced its 2019 grant distributions! Read more here.

To our community,

Upon the recommendations of the CT Governor to reduce spread of COVID-19, the CDC and the Connecticut Department of Public Health along with the Southington Health District to implement community mitigation strategies to increase containment of the virus and to slow down the transmission of the virus, including cancellation of large gatherings, the sad and difficult decision has been made to cancel this year's WOW Event, scheduled for April 21st.

This is an unprecedented time we are in. As disappointing as this is, personal safety for all is at the forefront of the decision. Thank you for your understanding. Next year the Fund will be celebrating its 20th anniversary and we look forward to celebrating with you - mark your calendars for September 8, 2021!

Stay well,
Dawn Nielsen & Jeanine Audette
WOW Event Co-Chairs
The 19th annual Wonder of Women (WOW) event was to be held on April 21, 2020, at 5:30p.m. at the Aqua Turf Club in Planstville. Seats were $60 per person. In addition to several grantee organizations, the guest speaker this year was to be Lori Borgman, a humor columnist presenting All Stressed Up and No Place to Go

A Big Thank You to Our 2020 WOW Sponsors!

Presenting Sponsor
Barnes Group Foundation, Inc.

Gold Sponsors
Hartford HealthCare
Merrill Lynch Wealth Management
TD Bank
Thomaston Savings Bank
Webster Bank
Wheeler Clinic

Silver Sponsors
Bank of America Private Bank
Bobrow & Company, P.C.
Donna Borysewicz's ShelterLogic Family
Bristol Hospital
CCOG Women's Health Group
DACRUZ Manufacturing
D'Amato Construction Group
Fisher Daigle Wydo Advisory Group of Raymond James
Michael J. Lepore
Radcliff Wire, Inc. 

Bronze Sponsors
Accu-Grind Cutter Service, Inc.
Alyssa's Cakery
Jeanine Audette
Joseph Audette
Branco Insurance Group
Catherine Cassin
Central Connecticut Chambers of Commerce
Century 21 Bay-Mar Realty Inc.
Green Acres Farm
Alexander S. Guida III
First Bristol Federal Credit Union
Lawn Doctor
Sue Moreau
Naugatuck Construction
Colleen and Michael Nicastro
Dawn Nielsen
Marilyn Perzan
Steven Petrarca Events
Susan and Ronald Sadecki
Sharon and Rodger Stotz
"The Hookers" (Table 19) in recognition of Isabella Hooker and in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the 19th amendment
Julia Weston
Susan Winn

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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 nearly $600,000 in grants to organizations and individuals in Bristol, Burlington, Plainville, Plymouth, Southington and Wolcott. In 2020, $39,320 in unrestricted operating support grants in response to the COVID-19 pandemic were awarded to 12 organizations. In addition, two additional named funds at Main Street Community Foundation supported proposals submitted to the Women & Girls' Fund. The total amount awarded to the 12 organizations was $42,000 and all grants were awarded for unrestricted operating support in response to COVID-19:

Boys & Girls Club of Bristol - $2,500
Barbara Hackman Franklin Fund for Women - $2,090
Women & Girls’ Fund - $410

Bristol Family Resource Centers - $5,000

Bristol Youth & Community Services – Parent & Child Center - $2,000

Early Childhood Collaborative of Southington - $2,500

Environmental Learning Centers of Connecticut - $4,000

For Goodness Sake - $3,500

Girl Scouts of Connecticut - $2,000

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

Plymouth Community Food Pantry-Diaper Bank - $750

Prudence Crandall Center - $5,000

St. Vincent DePaul Mission of Bristol - $5,000
Women & Girls’ Fund - $4,410
John & Gloria DiFrancesco Fund for Women and Girls - $590

The Children's Law Center, Inc. - $4,750

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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