The Women’s Fund of South Central Kentucky announced Thursday it will distribute $140,000 in grants to area nonprofits this year.
With increasing membership and available funding, the charitable chapter of the Community Foundation of South Central Kentucky will award three $10,000 grants in addition to a $110,000 grant.
Jennifer Wethington, executive director of the Community Foundation, expressed excitement about the organization’s progress in helping improve the community.
“Not only have we made an impact with our grants, but our members feel the satisfaction in knowing that they’ve made an impact in the community as a group,” Wethington said. “You have friends telling friends telling friends. That’s how our membership has grown.”
When Wethington became the first executive director of the Community Foundation, she got a call one day from a donor with an idea for a new fund with an independent goal of improving the lives of the community’s women and children. Under Wethington’s leadership, that idea grew, person by person, into today’s 420-plus member Women’s Fund.
Cara Benningfield, the newest chair of the Women’s Fund, has been involved with the fund for the past seven years.
“We were tired of giving a $100 here, a $100 there,” Benningfiled said. “But when you put all those (donations) together, we can do things these organizations didn’t think was possible.”
The Women’s Fund is divided into a permanent endowment fund, now exceeding $950,000, and a nonpermanent fund, which is used toward the annual grant to provide an immediate community impact.
Last year, the Women’s Fund awarded a $110,000 impact grant to Habitat for Humanity to support its effort building energy-efficient homes for low-income families at Durbin Estates in Bowling Green. South Central Kentucky Kids on the Block, the Friends of Lost River Cave and Junior Achievement of South Central Kentucky each received $5,500 checks.
The Women’s Fund awarded $100,000 to the Boys and Girls Club of Franklin-Simpson in 2017, $90,000 to the Salvation Army of Bowling Green in 2016, $85,000 to Haven4Change in 2015, $61,500 to Family Enrichment Center in 2014 and $51,000 to the Barren River Area Safe Space in 2013.
To apply for this year’s grants, nonprofit agencies in the 10-county Barren River region must meet several guidelines and demonstrate the potential to improve the quality of life for women and children through education, health or community development. The deadline to apply is Aug. 13.
At the conclusion of the grant cycle, the Women’s Fund grant committee will narrow the applicant pool to eight finalists – and then after discussing the goals of each organization, that pool will be further cut to four nonprofits.
On Oct. 22, the Women’s Fund will announce the grantees during an annual dinner, which offers the opportunity for nonprofits to share their stories with at least several hundred members.
To join the Women’s Fund, there are several options. An individual must contribute at least $1,000 during the fiscal year, which runs from July 1 to June 30, to receive a vote that year, or she can contribute $250 or $500 for quarter or half memberships, respectively. A group of four women, or eight women under age 25, can collectively donate $1,000 and jointly cast a single vote, and an individual can donate $25,000 to become a lifetime member.
– For more information on the Women’s Fund, visit cfsky.org/womens-fund.
– Follow reporter Caroline Eggers on Twitter @eggers dailynews or visit bgdaily news.com.