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June 2020
A Record $595,000 Awarded to Break the Cycle of Female Poverty—WGA has Invested More Than $7 Million in Women & Girls Since 2002
Mary Pietan
I hope you were able to join us on May 20th at the Virtual Member Forum. It was a very powerful presentation and as you can see with our headline, we are moving forward. We emphasized that it is not business as usual in our world, but WGA is doing "business as usual." If you were unable to attend and would like to hear and see our presentation, check out the link below.

Please take a moment to read about the 8 grants WGA was able to award (described below). For the first time in WGA's history we were able to fund all the grants that made the final cut. What a milestone! This achievement is due to the generosity of our members and friends in our community and to the wonderful Wenger Challenge.

The grants team realized in April that they needed $586,000 to fund all the finalists and so the push began to encourage everyone to renew their annual membership in time to meet the grants pool deadline. We were able to meet that goal and actually exceed it by $9,000. That gave the Decision Team the enviable task of deciding what to do with our surplus. It was decided not to roll it over into next year's grants pool, as our members had expressed a desire to do something immediate in answer to the crisis caused by COVID-19. So, the decision was made to give the money to Feeding NE Florida with the proviso that it be directed to providing food to homebound senior women in our community. This is an area that was not addressed by this year's grants, and it is a vulnerable age group directly affected by the self-isolation during our current crisis.

Congratulations to the agencies and thank you to the hard-working Grants Decision Team, which is comprised of our core team, the volunteer readers and the finance team. It is indeed a team effort, and all should be very proud of the outcome!

Have a good, safe summer and I look forward to "seeing" you in the fall.


2020 Member Forum Slide
Did You Miss the Virtual Member Forum?
You can view the event HERE: https://vimeo.com/421089267/8227d49d37

2020 Member Forum Attendees Zoom Screenshot
Grants Ratified at Member Forum
Grants Slide
Barnabas Center, Inc.: Hope Builders for Women 2.0, $60,000 (Nassau County)
Barnabas Center provides comprehensive services to address the complex needs of women living in poverty. Expanding upon a previous grant from WGA, the Hope Builders for Women 2.0 program will now offer individualized life skills training such as career and education planning, health and wellness coaching, and financial literacy. The program will also provide direct financial assistance for housing, transportation and childcare, and includes a savings match program of up to $1000 for each woman in the program.

BEAM (Beaches Emergency Assistance Ministry): Single Parent Program, $80,000 (Duval County)
The Single Parent Program at BEAM was started in 2014 with a previous grant from WGA. This 3-year program helps women find a path to economic stability and includes intensive case management, financial literacy training, career support, and access to mental health services. Women in the program achieve a variety of career and financial goals including completing higher education degrees, increasing net income and savings, reducing debt and becoming first time homeowners. This grant from WGA will support 60 new women on their path to economic stability.

Boys & Girls Clubs of Nassau County: SMART Girls Initiative, $46,000 (Nassau County)
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Nassau County is an outcome-driven youth development organization, providing exceptional afterschool programs and services. This grant from WGA will fund the implementation of their SMART Girls curriculum which provides age and gender specific programming for girls aged 11-18. This comprehensive curriculum focuses on academic achievement, healthy choices, and career readiness and incorporates both adult mentorship and peer support to create a safe supportive environment for learning.

Delta Research and Educational Foundation: Dr. Betty Shabazz Academy/Growing and Empowering Myself Successfully (BSA/GEMS), $10,000 (Duval County)
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. is an international organization comprised of college-educated women who provide scholarship and service to underserved and underprivileged individuals in our communities. This grant will fund programs that will engage 200 African American girls, aged 11-18, in activities that promote their interest and motivation to complete college or obtain a vocation and become more fiscally responsible. In addition to monthly trainings in financial wellness, the program will include career evaluations and field trips to a local college, a CPA, and the Federal Reserve.

Girl Scouts of Gateway Council: Community Development Troops, $100,000 (Duval, St. Johns, & Clay Counties)
Community Development Troops bring traditional Girl Scouting to low-income, high-crime communities that desperately need safe, positive youth development programs. The curriculum focuses on life skills including financial literacy and includes a variety of field trips, community service projects, camping experiences, and leadership opportunities. This grant from WGA will help provide programming for approximately 1200 at-risk girls in our community.

MaliVai Washington Kids Foundation, Inc.: Girl Power!, $100,000 (Duval County)
The MaliVai Washington Youth Foundation provides afterschool and summer development programs for youth in our community. This grant from WGA will fund the implementation of the Overcoming Obstacles Curriculum. This curriculum will provide classes for middle and high school girls focused on subjects such as goal setting, problem solving, conflict resolution, and financial literacy. Additional services will include academic support, mentoring, and access to mental health services.

Rethreaded Inc.: Survivor Development Program, $110,000 (All Northeast Florida Counties)
Rethreaded works directly with survivors of human trafficking to provide mental health services, long-term career training, and employment. Employees work at Rethreaded an average of two to five years while they rebuild their lives, gain marketable job skills, and build their resumes. The Survivor Development Program provides each woman with access to trauma-specific counseling, weekly life skills classes, and other career development opportunities. This grant from WGA will allow Rethreaded to expand their programming to include the use of a peer support model and individualized case management.

Year Up Jacksonville: Workforce Development Program, $80,000 (Duval County)
Year Up Jacksonville, in partnership with FSCJ, provides women with professional training for livable wage jobs in high growth sectors. The Workforce Development Program includes six months of classroom-based and professional training in Information Technology and Sales/Customer Support. Following this training, women then earn a six-month internship with one of the agencies corporate partners. This experience allows women to immediately apply and enhance their skills, preparing them for professional careers. The program also provides wraparound support, including weekly stipends, access to professional clothing, mentorships and assistance with childcare, housing, healthcare, and other challenges. This grant from WGA will provide training and support for approximately 160 women.

In addition, an extra grant was awarded to Feeding Northeast Florida.

Feeding Northeast Florida Grant Slide
WGA in the Media
WGA has received great press coverage this spring. Check out the following:
Upcoming Events
WGA Connectors
Downtown Connector
Tuesday, July 14, 5:30–7:30 p.m.

Our Downtown Connector event is now VIRTUAL! Register HERE.
Women with Baby
Poverty's Impact on Chldren
Wednesday, Sept. 16, 11:30 a.m.–1 p.m.
Jessie Ball DuPont Center, Great Hall, 40 East Adams Street, Jacksonville
In Florida, 40% of families with children living in poverty are female-headed households. And children who grow up in the bottom fifth of national family income are more likely to remain in poverty as adults. We'll hear from local agencies on the challenges faced by these children and how we can help.
Save the Date!
WGA Annual Meeting
Wednesday, Oct. 21, 11 a.m.–1 p.m.
UNF Herbert University Center, 12000 Alumni Drive, Jacksonville

You won't want to miss hearing success stories of clients of our grantees that will illustrate the impact of our gifts. Mark your calendars now and invite a friend!

Welcome, New Members
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