Announcing our 2015 Focus

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The Giving Circle’s lifetime members came together in the Fall to set the course for an even bigger impact.

In 2015, the Giving Circle will be focusing in on a pervasive barrier to women’s empowerment: the objectification of women and girls and the many ways that the inherent value of a woman is undermined.

Our vision is a sustained conversation within our community, leading to action, targeted grants, and an enduring impact.

Our 2015 events will shed light on this focused topic, spur dialogue, and create momentum around actions that we can all take to support a foundational view of women and girls as uniquely powerful individuals with limitless potential at school, at work, and as leaders in their homes and communities.

Dorsey & Whitney has aligned with our 2015 focus as the leading sponsor. We invite your company to join them in recognizing the true value of Utah’s women and girls.

Contact us for more information at wgc@utahcf.org for more information or download the pledge form here.

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Announcing our 2014 Grant Awards!

Annual Voting PartyLast night, more than 50 of our members came together with a dozen representatives of the nonprofits on our ballot to learn more about these incredible organizations and vote to award our fourth cycle of grants.

As always, the Annual Voting Party left a deep imprint on all of us involved. With more than 55 initial applications, narrowing down the ballot to nine nonprofit programs was already a difficult process. After hearing from each of these worthy organizations, the wait while votes were counted was full of excitement and anticipation.

We were honored to award $23,000 in grants to these four fabulous nonprofits:

SmartGirls$8,000 Grant:
Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Salt Lake & Weber-Davis
SMART Girls Program

The SMART Girls Program engages small groups in informational and experiential learning activities to empower female club members with the knowledge and skills necessary to practice healthy lifestyle choices.

cfsc$8,000 Grant:
Child & Family Support Center of Cache County
Women’s Sexual Assault Therapy Group

Groups are designed to help 60+ participants understand and overcome emotional challenges, achieve and maintain healthy relationships, and prepare to accomplish their goals with confidence.

Erin Kimball Foundation$5,000 Grant:
Erin Kimball Memorial Foundation
H.O.M.E. Program

H.O.M.E. (Housing, Options, Mentoring, Empowerment) is a bridge from shelter to independence, providing transitional housing and support services to women forced into homelessness by domestic violence and sexual assault.

UforV$2,000 Grant:
Utah for Veterans
Women Warrior Trips to Zion

Women Warrior Trips to Zion National Park for two groups of 4 Utah veterans who have experienced sexual assault or harassment with the support of a volunteer therapist.

Congratulations to our 2014 grantees!

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Recognizing our Members with Multiple Lives

The Utah Women’s Giving Circle is an organic and tight-knit group of women who are committed to creating a state where every woman and girl has every opportunity to thrive.

This past year, the Giving Circle opened up the opportunity to become a Lifet

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ime Member through a $1,000 donation to the endowment, creating a lifetime impact. But this wasn’t enough for some of our incredible members.

Last night, at the annual Voting Party, the Giving Circle was proud to recognize Linda Johnson and Sallie Shatz for living up to more than one life and making additional $1,000 donations to the Giving Circle’s endowment.

Thanks to these dedicated women, the Giving Circle has established the Nine Lives Award to recognize them and future Lifetime Members living up to multiple lives!

Grantee Impact: Women of the World

466-300x200Women of the World is a small organization making a big impact for women refugees in Utah. Samira Harnish and new case manager Abby Bossart made it clear how important every dollar is to their work with our $2,500 grant going toward the funding of Abby’s position.

Women of the World empowers refugee women to make Utah their home, learning practical English, gaining an understanding of human rights in the United States, and gaining skills toward self-sufficiency within a circle of women who can relate to their experience.

“Women of the World fosters an environment where refugee women themselves play a vital role in helping the community of refugee women to succeed, not just themselves.

Life is stressful and full of challenges for the refugee ladies we serve. Everyday is spent trying to tackle a new system, care for their families, figure out bills, and on top of everything else take English classes and GED prep classes to create a brighter future.

With the grant from the Utah Women’s Giving Circle, I was able to be a key advocate to many refugee ladies here in Utah. From gathering and giving donations to prepare for the winter weather ahead, to helping clients apply for colleges and Universities, I am proud of the women and their accomplishments and continued successes.”

– Abby Bossart

We encourage our members to continue to donate to those organizations that inspire them.

You can learn more about Women of the World here and make a donation here.

Grantee Impact: Girls on the Run

4H0A5643The 2014 Girls on the Run youth development program for young girls in the 3rd through 8th grades was delivered to 78 teams and directly impacted 1,129 girls.

Our grant of $2,500 provided scholarships to 64 low-income girls, empowering them through improved body image, a stronger sense of self, new teamwork skills, and the confidence that comes from finishing something quite difficult: a 5K race celebration at Sugarhouse Park.

Around 6,000 women were additional impacted by this program through mentoring and race involvement and more 3,000 racers and spectators turned out for the culmination.

4H0A5790“…we saw the power of Girls on the Run with 5th grader “Eva.”  Eva participated in GOTR Spring 2014. Eva is overweight and struggles with issues of self-confidence.  Participating in GOTR was not always easy for Eva, and coaches shared that she sometimes complained or even quit during practice. However, she stuck with GOTR, gaining new friends and new confidence along the way. At the 5k, Eva pushed herself and finished strong, smiling when her family and team members cheered her across the finish line.  After the race, Eva was beaming and talked about how proud of herself she was and her plans to continue running at the park during the summer.”

– Peggy Paterson, Principal of Lincoln Elementary

We encourage our members to continue to donate to those organizations that inspire them.

You can learn more about Girls on the Run here and make a donation here.

Grantee Impact: People Helping People

Members were thrilled to hear from Amberley Miller about People Helping People’s work with single mothers and other low-income women to instill the confidence and skills needed for independence and self-sufficiency.

People Helping People received a $5,000 grant just under a year ago and has impacted more than 5,000 women and children across the Wasatch Front in 2014 through their outreach, education, mentoring, and employment support programs.

68 women completed all four phases of the employment program that our grant went to support. 95% of those women are employed full time, 86% have health insurance, 62% paid off their debt, and 84% are off all forms of public assistance.

These numbers are impressive, but the everyday impact is even more inspiring. Check out Michelle’s story below:

Download the PDF file .

We encourage our members to continue to donate to those organizations that inspire them.

You can learn more about People Helping People here and make a donation here.

Grantee Impact: VOA Utah’s Young Women Transition Home

Volunteers of America Utah’s Executive Director, Kathy Bray, shared the impact of our 2013 $5,000 grant last night at our annual Impact Celebration.

So far in 2014, 11 homeless young women have had a safe home, food, and support at VOA’s Young Women Transition Home, all toward helping them move into independence. Impressively, 91% of these young women were working and/or attending college during their stay, a huge step toward self-sufficiency and long-term stability.

Learn more about how your dollars changed these 11 lives through Alex’s story:

We encourage our members to continue to donate to those organizations that inspire them.

You can learn more about VOA Utah here and make a donation here.

Grantee Impact: Legal Aid Society of Salt Lake & R’s Story

Stewart Ralphs of Legal Aid SocietyLast night, the Giving Circle members gathered with our 2013 grantees to learn about their work over this past year and how our grant dollars were utilized.

The Legal Aid Society of Salt Lake received a $5,000 award for their Domestic Violence Victim Assistance Program. That grant assisted 23 women and their children in escaping violence in their homes.

As of November, Legal Aid Society assisted more than 1700 women and 1100 children in escaping domestic violence. The impact on just one of their clients is immeasurable:

R’s Story:

“On May 19, 2011 at two in the morning, I snuck out of my bedroom where my husband was finally asleep, pulled out the little tracphone my mother had snuck over to me several weeks back, walked into the little bathroom, and sent a single text message:  ‘Mama, come get us.  I can’t do this anymore.’”

“The next day, after my husband had gone to work, my mother came and collected me.  I was 22, six months pregnant, with a two year old son.  My husband had been systematically isolating me for three years.  I did not have a cell phone, I did not have access to the money, and it as understood that I was not to drive the car.  He kept me in the apartment, not allowing me to go to prenatal appointments, and even controlling what, or if, I ate.

After I left, he was angry, but I was not coming back.  Ever.  I looked up the Legal Aid society for help.  In early July, I received a letter from LAS, telling me that they would take my case and that my attorney’s name was Eliza.

It seemed like a simple case at the outset, but it quickly morphed into what seemed like the longest, most heavily litigated divorce in the history of possibly ever.  It lasted for 22 months…in which my husband launched what can best be described as a small scale terrorist attack.  He bombarded me with phone calls and text messages, stalked me, staked out my house, withheld my children from me and used them as bait and bargaining chips.  He became so aggressive that the victim’s unit of the police department called and recommended I go into hiding, which I did.”  “His harassment extended beyond just me.  He raged against everyone he encountered.  The police, [my attorney and the Legal Aid executive director], even court officials.  He alienated the two child visitation agencies in Salt Lake City.

In that 22 months, Eliza stood for me in court at least a dozen times, spent 13 hours in mediation, assisted me in getting two writs of assistance when he absconded with my children, and with the help of [Legal Aid’s DVVA program and its director] Keri Gardner, she got me a protective order and defended it twice.

…In the end, Eliza got me my divorce, with full custody of my sons, and in that same 22 months I went to college and got a degree in paralegal studies.  I now work at one of the premier law firms in Salt Lake and have my own apartment where I live with my children in as much safety and peace as one can hope.  If I had a million dollars, I would give it to Legal Aid Society, ….which has been doing good for almost a hundred years.  I hope they have a hundred more.”

We encourage our members to continue to donate to those organizations that inspire them.

You can learn more about the Legal Aid Society here and make a donation here.

Upcoming Event: Dr. Michael Kimmel on Masculinity 12/10/14

Dr. Michael KimmelDon’t miss breakfast and dialogue on masculinity with best-selling author and researcher Dr. Michael Kimmel, an incredible opportunity created by member Jacki Zehner and the Community Foundation of Utah:

Mars and Venus or Planet Earth: Women and Men in America Today
December 10th @ 8 AM
Alta Club

Learn more and register here:
http://www.utahcf.org/news-and-events/events/2014/12/event-mars-and-venus-or-planet-earth-women-and-men-in-america-today/