Standing just outside the bustling cocktail networking reception for The Women’s Fund, Joanne Solman, Executive Director, couldn’t help feeling a mixture of joy, sadness and hope as she relayed the story of a Women’s Fund recipient we’ll call Jaden. Joanne and her team were visiting a transitional housing group called the Agape Center for Women when Jaden revealed, “this is the first time I’ve sold anything that wasn’t myself.”
It turns out that Jaden’s transformation began as a grant from The Women’s Fund to the Agape Center where Jaden had been staying. “It’s amazing how just $1250 goes such a long way” says Joanne. The women’s fund provided dirt and seed and one year later, the transitional group turned into a business owning 7 acres of land flourishing with organic vegetables that are then sold at the local farmers market. Jaden’s transition from victim to organic gardener sprouted from the grass roots efforts of The Women’s Fund of Miami-Dade who improve the lives of women and girls through grant making, research, advocacy and education. “We recently had 58 organizations apply for a grant. These are a lot of grass-roots organizations who would otherwise never get funding from anyone” says Joanne.
Their networking event with a silent auction during the 10th crowd of over 300 people who came to support others like Jaden and the transitional housing group. Professionals, law students and other non-profit groups from the greater Miami-Dade area enjoyed cocktails, networking and bidding on auction items under the roof of the Miami Center for Architecture and Design. Last year about $40,000 was raised with the goal this year being $50,000. It would appear the community believes in The Women’s Fund Facebook tagline. “When women thrive, the whole community thrives.”
This mustard seed mentality of The Women’s Fund has a little known secret: they have funded and nurtured over 400 organizations in the last 20 years totaling over $3.5 million. Organizations such as Lotus House and Casa Valentino got their start from The Women’s Fund. Organizations wishing to become a recipient of a grant can apply online at www.womensfundmiami.org. Not only does the Women’s Fund grant money, they follow up with guidance, support and education to see that recipients make the most of the grant and flourish. Donations are accepted on their website.
By: Tia Castle