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 established 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 $718,000 in program grants has been awarded over the past 21 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

  • Jessica Pieri, Chairperson
  • Susan Kalt Moreau, Secretary
  • Catherine Cassin, Past Chairperson
  • Jarre Betts, Member-at-Large
  • Jeanine Audette
  • Lori Gottschall
  • Laura S. Minor
  • Morgan Murphy
  • Colleen Nicastro
  • Lisa Palen
  • Sharon Stotz
  • Carolyn Ziogas

Directors Emeritae

The Directors Emeritae of the Women & Girls Fund are those who served with distinction and excellence, and who made extraordinary contributions to the Fund through their devotion of time, expertise, special initiatives, and service. We are pleased to recognize the following Directors Emeritae: 

  • Cathryn Addy
  • Melanie Barnes
  • Mary Benoit
  • Trudy Brown
  • Barbara Campbell
  • Ann Clark
  • Cindy Donovan
  • Cheryl Dumont-Smith
  • Pattie Dunn
  • Margi Fletcher
  • Rita Gerzanick
  • Wilma Hart
  • Dee Hession
  • Susan Laberge
  • Dawn Leger
  • Diane Macklosky
  • Carolyn Norton
  • Jeanne Radcliff
  • Susan Scarritt
  • Sue Scully
  • Jessica Weed
  • Katherine Weed
  • Helen Zervas


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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 $718,000 in grants to support organizations and individuals in Bristol, Burlington, Plainville, Plymouth, Southington and Wolcott.

The 2022 annual grant cycle for the Women & Girls Fund is now closed. Applications for the 2023 grant cycle will be made available during the third quarter of 2023 and if you have any questions, please contact us.

Click here to see the 2022 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 10, 2023 - MSCF announced over $43,000 in grant awards from the Women & Girls Fund at the annual Grantee Reception! Read more here.
May 5, 2022 - MSCF's Women & Girls Fund collects donations to assist Ukrainian women and girls. Read more here.
November 9, 2021 - MSCF announced $45,000 in grant distributions from the Women & Girls Fund! Read more here.
September 29, 2021 - The Women & Girls Fund collects feminine hygiene products for the local communities. Read more here.
September 9, 2021 - 20 years and $20,000 in anniversary grants celebrated at the Wonder of Women Event! Read more here.
December 3, 2020 - The Women & Girls Fund announced its 2020 grant distributions! Read more here.

Wonder of Women
The 22nd annual Wonder of Women (WOW) event was held on May 2, 2023 at 5:30pm at the Aqua Turf Club in Southington. A record attendance of 450 individuals joined us for an uplifting evening that proved life is better when you're laughing. A grantee speaker from Prudence Crandall Center showcased the impact of the Fund before Christine O'Leary took the stage as guest speaker. Christine is a comedian and self-proclaimed ‘Joy Junkie’, and brings the ‘funny’ to companies, colleges, charitable events, clubs, and prides across the country. And did she ever bring the funny! 

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

Save the date for the 2024 event: May 1!


A Big Thank You to Our 2023 WOW Sponsors!

Premier Sponsor
Barnes Group Foundation

Platinum Sponsors
Hartford HealthCare
Merrill Lynch Wealth Management

Diamond Sponsors
City of Bristol
Petit Family Foundation
TD Bank

Gold Sponsors
Briar Rose Networks, Center for Aesthetics & Wellness/Victoria Biondi, M.D.
Thomaston Savings Bank
Webster Bank
Wheeler Health

Silver Sponsors
Andover Trust
Bank of America Private Bank
Mary Benoit
Whit and Jarre Betts
Bristol Association of Principals and Supervisors
Bristol Federation of Teachers
Bristol Health
The Joe & Kay Calvanese Foundation
Catherine and Christopher Cassin
CCOG Women's Health Group
DACRUZ Manufacturing
D'Amato Construction Company, Inc.
Family Eye Care
FDW Group of Raymond James
Micari Financial Group, LLC
Modern Mechanical Systems, Inc.
Plainville Funeral Home
Radcliff Wire
Roland Dumont Agency, Inc.
The Rosado Family
Susan and John Scarritt
Torrington Savings Bank
Attorneys Carolyn and Mark Ziogas

Bronze Sponsor
Cathryn Addy
Tia Amdurer, author of Take My Hand: The Caregivers Journey
Jeanine Audette
Bobrow & Company, P.C.
Dancingly Yours
DePaolo Family Foundation
Cheryl Dumont-Smith
Pattie and Bill Dunn
Ginny and Geoff Fitzgerald
Margi Fletcher
The Graziano Moore Family
Dawn Leger
Lori Meusel Eschner
Laura S. Minor
Sue Moreau
Colleen and Michael Nicastro
Marie C. O'Brien
Lisa K. Palen
Jessica Pieri
Jeanne Radcliff
Roberge Painting Co.
Susan and Ronald Sadecki
Deborah Spooner
Sharon and Rodger Stotz
Thrivent Financial
Tracy, Driscoll & Co Inc.
Ultimate Wireforms, Inc.
Bruce Wazorko Jr. CPA, LLC
Julia Weston
Susan and Washington 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 over $718,000 in grants to organizations and individuals in Bristol, Burlington, Plainville, Plymouth, Southington and Wolcott. In 2022, $43,400 in program grants were awarded to 13 organizations. In addition, two additional named funds at Main Street Community Foundation supported proposals submitted to the Women & Girls Fund.

The grants supported the following causes, programs and projects:

Brian’s Angels Homeless Outreach - $1,000
Warm winter outerwear for women and girls experiencing homelessness

Bristol Family Resource Centers - $4,600
Girl Up! program, a targeted small-group initiative to build leadership skills in girls ages 6-12 in three Bristol public schools
Barbara Hackman Franklin Fund for Women
Women & Girls Field of Interest Fund 

Bristol Historical Society - $600
Celebrating Local Firsts event, an intergenerational program for Women’s History Month in collaboration with the Girl Scouts

Girl Scouts of Connecticut - $3,000
Girl Scout Starter Troop pilot program to establish three new Girl Scout troops in the Foundation’s service area

Kelly’s Kids - $1,000
Wolcott Youth Services Bureau pilot program featuring activities to increase girls’ confidence, self-esteem, social skills and positive development

PARC - $5,000
Aging with Disabilities program for senior women with developmental disabilities in Plainville

Plymouth Community Food Pantry - $2,400
Supplies for the Community Diaper Bank, including diapers, wipes, food and formula

Prudence Crandall Center - $5,000
Emergency Shelter for victims of domestic violence and their children in the Foundation’s service area

Shepard Meadows Equestrian Center - $5,400
Mothers and Daughters Equine-Assisted Workshop series aimed at strengthening the mother/daughter bond while also increasing self-esteem and well-being

St. Vincent DePaul Mission of Bristol - $1,900
The Lunch Table program featuring inspirational speakers and group activities to foster dignity, independence and friendship for women and girls who are either in the shelter or homeless
Women & Girls Fund
John & Gloria DiFrancesco Fund for Women and Girls 

Southington Valley Midget Football League - $4,000
Scholarships and safety head gear for the Powder Puff League serving girls ages 8-17

The Agape House - $2,000
Food for prepared meals provided to women and girls experiencing homelessness

Tunxis Community College - $7,500
Launch Your Leadership Journey program to develop leadership skills in women who are students enrolled in Tunxis Community College from the Foundation’s service area

2021 Women & Girls Fund Grants

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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