Groups focus on women’s needs with new advisory committee, fund

The Women's Club, pictured above at its annual tea fundraiser, is one of several agencies that is partnering with the Community Foundation for San Benito County to create a Women's Fund.

The Community Foundation for San Benito County will receive a boost to start its new Women’s Fund – with checks to be presented from the Women’s Club of Hollister and Zeta Epsilon, the local chapter of women educators who are part of the Delta Kappa Gamma organization, at an advisory meeting Tuesday.

Zeta Epilson members planned to present a check for $10,000 Tuesday morning, with the Women’s Club also making a founding donation at the meeting.

Look for more on the Women’s Fund in Friday’s print edition of the Free Lance

Linda Smith, a member of Zeta Epsilon, with includes members from San Benito County and Watsonville, said her organization is focused on providing opportunities for young women and girls to pursue education. Members of the group include active and retired educators.

“Last year when we were looking to get funding to send some eighth grade girls to a Girls, Inc. summer camp to get them ready for high school, we had done some fundraising,” Smith said. “We were looking to other organizations to see if they might be interested in this endeavor as well.”

The Community Foundation for San Benito County donated to the effort. When the idea for the Women’s Fund came up later in the year staff members from the Foundation approached Smith about a partnership.

The Women’s Fund officially launched this fall with lead gifts from Sallie Calhoun and Rebecca Wolf, who pledged to match donations through the end of the year dollar for dollar up to $25,000.

“Women’s funds are an extremely effective way to advance the status of women and girls in the community,” said Stephanie Hicks, the director of development and outreach for the local nonprofit “It helps women to form a philanthropic movement and it’s very powerful. It can be very effective and powerful.”

Other founding members include Anne Morris, Nenette Corotto, Beverly Meamber, Mary McCullough, Susan Schwabacher Modic and San Benito Bene.

An advisory committee has been formed that will meet to decide what the priorities are for the Women’s Fund in its first year.

“The group of women on the advisory committee is really varied in their knowledge and the gifts they bring to the table,” said Smith, who is on the committee. “The advisory committee met just once so far, but it’s really inspirational how everybody is looking at what are the needs of women and children in San Benito County. We are really looking at finding out a lot of data and doing some research to see what the needs really are before we make decisions on how to use the money.”

To find out more about the Women’s Fund or to become a Women’s Fund Founder, call Stephanie Hicks at 630-1924 or email [email protected]

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