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Women’s Fund Luncheon makes remarkable impact for area organizations

Published on: March 11, 2015

By MITCH TRAPHAGEN

 

Laurie Kepler, right, executive director of the Mary & Martha House, with Jan Falcione, also of the organization, during the Women’s Fund Luncheon. Mary & Martha House was the top finalist, winning a $25,000 grant. Mitch Traphagen photos.

Laurie Kepler, right, executive director of the Mary & Martha House, with Jan Falcione, also of the organization, during the Women’s Fund Luncheon. Mary & Martha House was the top finalist, winning a $25,000 grant. Mitch Traphagen photos.

The South Shore Council of the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay held its 2015 Women’s Fund Luncheon at Club Renaissance at Sun City Center last Thursday and, in the process, made a huge impact on programs and services for women and, in some cases, their children.

Three South County nonprofit organizations, Beth-El Farmworker Ministry, the Firehouse Cultural Center and the Mary & Martha House, had been selected as finalists for grants to create or expand programs for area women.

For all three organizations, it was a big win. The top selected organization was to receive a $25,000 grant, with the two other organizations each receiving $5,000. During the luncheon, however, the organizations were happily surprised to find out the plans had changed. While the top finalist would still receive $25,000, the other two would instead each receive $12,500 —  thus making a much bigger and far-reaching impact for each of the organizations.

Georgia Vahue, executive director of the Firehouse Cultural Center.

Georgia Vahue, executive director of the Firehouse Cultural Center.

Mary & Martha House, the South County nonprofit that depends entirely upon community support, was named the top finalist. The organization, established in 1982, provides shelter for abused and homeless women and their children — and goes much further than merely providing a roof over heads in need: the organization also provides training and extensive support services to help women and their children get back on their feet, opening the doors to success to those struggling in the South County area. The organization’s values are summed up as compassion, respect, excellence, integrity and confidentiality. For their work and mission, the Women’s Fund provided the top grant of $25,000.

The Firehouse Cultural Center and Beth-El Farmworker Ministry were named as runners-up, each receiving $12,500.

The goal of the Women’s Fund is to support the special needs and interests of women, encourage the advancement and full participation of women in the community, create opportunities for women to become leaders in philanthropy, demonstrate the impact of collective giving, and build an endowment to benefit future generations of women.

David Moore, executive director of Beth-El Farmworker Ministry.

David Moore, executive director of Beth-El Farmworker Ministry.

That is a goal that benefits not only women but also the entire community in ways that often go far beyond description.

For information about the Mary & Martha House (and for how you can help), visit www.marymarthahouse.org.

For information about the Beth-El Farmworker Ministry, visit www.beth-el.info.

For information about the Firehouse Cultural Center, visit www.firehouseculturalcenter.org.

For information about the Community Foundation of Tampa Bay, visit www.cftampabay.org.

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