2012 Grant Award Luncheon

Women United congratulates the Boys & Girls Clubs of Central Virginia as our 2012 Human Services Grant Award winner!

Our $30,000 grant has enabled the overcrowded Southwood Club to purchase a bus for field trips and to transport kids to the larger Cherry Avenue Club. They’ve already put more than 2,000 miles on it!

We would also like to take a moment and thank everyone who made our 2012 Human Services Grant Award Luncheon our most successful event to date!

A warm and heartfelt thanks to our keynote speaker, Dr. Teresa Sullivan. Her address was both entertaining and informative, and her willingness to answer any and all questions made for a truly memorable day.

Thanks to our generous Sponsors:

Jane-Ashley Skinner, Carter Myers Automotive, First Systems & Resources and State Farm Insurance

In-Kind Sponsors: Blue Ridge Floral Design, Festive Fare and Peggy Harrison Photography

Media Partners: The Charlottesville Newsplex, Comcast Spotlight, WCHV and WINA.

And thank you to our Steering Committee, all of our Members, Table Sponsors and the fantastic team at United Way – Thomas Jefferson Area for your continued support.

Photo courtesy of Peggy Harrison Photography – CLICK HERE for complete photo album from the Luncheon.

Membership Celebration & Open House 2011

On November 2, 2011, Women United members and friends gathered at Maya Restaurant in celebration of almost 6 years of giving to our community. Bebe Heiner, Chair and Founder of the Women's Initiative, described how Women United 's 2010 Grant had been used over the past year for indiviudal counseling for low-income women struggling with depression, anxiety, addiction and the scars of abuse. Women United Co-Chairs welcomed everyone and spoke of the importance and influence of our collective giving efforts. The evening was an opportunity for potential members to learn more about our organization and how they could join our efforts.

Click here to view our photo album on Facebook.

Living Philanthropy - 2011 Grant Award Luncheon

A beautiful Fall day greeted members and guests for the Women United Annual Human Services Grant Award luncheon at Farmington Country Club on October 4, 2011. Robin Amato, this year’s Co-Chair, set the tone when she said “It takes a special quality for someone to ‘live’ philanthropy. As we get busier and busier it’s nice to pause to celebrate our combined success.” The room was filled with women who “live their philanthropy” through their collective giving and were ready to celebrate.

Guest speaker Jennifer Ackerman, author of The Social Network Diet: Change Yourself, Change the World (co-authored with Dr. Miriam Nelson) and pictured here, was introduced by Women United's other Co-Chair, Sue Friedman. Ackerman made the impulsive move to Charlottesville in 1991. Both she and her husband are writers and the lure of the University of Virginia library and academical village, as well as the close proximity to Washington D.C., were hard to resist.

Ackerman believes a healthy lifestyle begins at home. You change the individual and the small ripples move through the community and spread beyond. “Women really know how to use social networking effectively. They know how to listen, how to nurture, and how to lean on people to help effect positive change.” Those words should sound familiar to members of Women United.

The ripples that started with the founding members of Women United have spread to enable us to award two $20,000 grants this year. Carol Johnston, Co-Chair of the Grant Committee, introduced Ruth Stone, Executive Director of Piedmont Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) and Harriet Kuhn, Executive Director of the International Rescue Committee (IRC) as grant recipients for 2011. Piedmont CASA provides specially trained volunteers to advocate for neglected and abused children. The IRC will use Women United grant money to establish a Refugee Craft Cooperative, working with talented women refugees to produce and sell their handiwork locally.

Jennifer Ackerman said “Women are tremendous catalysts for change.” We know. Through the collective giving of Women United, our members are making positive changes and “living philanthropy.”

Philanthropy is Personal - Panel Discussion

Women United in Philanthropy hosted the panel discussion “Philanthropy is Personal: Local Women
Share Their Stories” on February 15, 2011 at the Omni Charlottesville Hotel. The panelists were Founding WUP Member Margery Daniel, Ph.D., LCSW; Peggy Echols, Vice President – Operations, State Farm Insurance; and Kate Zirkle, Independent Non-Profit Organization Management

We Join. We Learn. We Give. The posters behind the speakers’ table were a constant reminder of the mission of WUP. Steering Committee Co-Chair, Robin Amato, introduced the panel.

Marjorie led the discussion. “Modern day giving includes giving of time, expertise, and gifts.” She suggested finding your passion and doing your homework; researching the need and the program trying to fill that need. She related the story of the “butterfly effect.” The theory is that the movement of butterfly wings can have significant impact on wind current. “WUP works that way. Through WUP and our collaborative giving we make a significant difference.”

Peggy gets personal enjoyment out of giving. She looks forward to getting her United Way pledge card every year. It is a point of pride working at State Farm to be involved in the community through volunteering and giving. She encourages giving in any way you can whether it’s time or money. “Whatever you can do as an individual can make a difference.”

Kate’s passion is the Boys and Girls Club. She likes to spend time at the Club getting to know the boys and girls. You can’t always write a big check, but you “can give with time and help with fundraising”. Kate also stressed you should expect measured results for your donations.

A follow up question and answer period rounded out the morning. It was another wonderful gathering of WUP members and friends. Thank you to our panelists for sharing their personal stories!

2012 Grant Semi-Finalist Presentations

On Monday, April 23, four non-profits presented our members with proposals describing what they would do if their organization received Women United's 2012 Human Services Grant Award. These organizations and their programs were selected through a rigorous screening process by our 2012 Grant Committee:

Blue Ridge Area Food Bank - Their proposal is for Women United to fund their BackPack program, which provides children in need with a backpack full of food to take home on weekends or holidays. The goal of the program is to ensure that children at risk of hunger have adequate food at times when they cannot access school-based feeding programs. Women United funds would be used to purchase essential food for 270 students during the 2012-2013 school year.

Boys & Girls Clubs - The Southwood neighborhood in Albemarle County is a community in crisis, with burgeoning gang activity and youth drug use. As the leading provider of youth development services in the area, the current Southwood Club is stretched beyond capacity. Women United funds would go towards the purchase of a bus for field trips and to transport kids to other Clubs.

Computers4Kids - Current programming includes after-school mentoring, job readiness skills and college-to-career guidance. 95% of mentored students tracked by C4K graduated from high school, significantly higher than average for low income students in our area. Support from Women United would enable C4K to expand personnel and to add Saturday Academies, Educational Workshops and Summer Camps,  increasing access and services for low income middle and high school students.

Jefferson Area CHiP - CHiP is requesting $30,000 to fund the salary of a Family Support Worker/Parent Educator who will provide at risk, low income families with education and activities around nurturing, guiding, responding, communicating and providing learning activities for their child. This one worker would provide home visiting and parent education to 45-55 children aged 0-6 in 30-35 Charlottesville/Albemarle families.

The next step in the grant process was site visits. Members of the Grant Committee visited each organization during regular service hours in order to get a better understanding of their operations. After the site visits, the Grant Committee sent their recommendations to our Donor Members, who cast their votes to determine who would receive Women United's $30,000 grant.

Donor Members not only get a vote, they are also eligible to be on the Grant Committee. For more information about grants and how you can get involved in next year’s process, please contact our Grant Committee Co-Chairs, Peggy Echols
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or Peppy Linden This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .


Gangs: The Wrong Family

There are almost 160 confirmed gang members in our area and the numbers keep growing. What can we, as a community, do to combat those numbers? Women United sponsored an event with Safe Schools/Healthy Students, the Commission on Children and Families, and representatives of the Charlottesville and Albemarle Police Departments. Topics included risk factors for gang involvement, things parents can do to minimize those risks, signs of gang activity and the kinds of programs that can help.

Daily Progress News Story

NBC29 Coverage

CBS19 Coverage

Women United in Philanthropy Celebrates 5 Years!

Members and their guests socialized and celebrated all that our Collective Giving has accomplished in the past five years. Founding Member Sue Friedman noted, “ It was an amazing display of the power of women…coming together for the common good. Made me proud.”

To read more about our collective giving please visit our Grants Awarded page.

2011 Grant Semi-Finalist Presentations

Women United gathered to hear from seven local non-profits with projects or programs that are dedicated to helping women and children in the Charlottesville community. Click here to learn more.

Each of these organizations was hoping to be selected as a recipient of one of two $20,000 grants awarded by Women United at our annual Human Services Award Luncheon on October 4, 2011.

One shocking statistic presented at the Women United event was that the Charlottesville/Albemarle community has three times the reported domestic abuse rate than average in the state of Virginia. We also have more children in the foster care system than average and thousands of women and children living in homes that are either physically or emotionally unsafe. The two grants being awarded this year by Women United could go a long way towards changing these statistics.

These are our seven grant semi-finalists and the programs our grants may fund:

Children Youth and Family Services - The presentation by CYFS included a troubling statistic: the Charlottesville/Albemarle community has three times the reported domestic abuse rate than average in the state of Virginia. CYFS spoke of their Healthy Families Home Visiting Program. This program will help mothers who are often the victims of abuse and for whom mothering does not necessarily come naturally. CYFS trains women not only about proper nutrition, but also about the importance of interactive touch. A Women United grant would pay for a part time Home Visiting position serving 13 families.

International Rescue Committee – The IRC has been helping refugees resettle in the Charlottesville community since 1998. These refugees come to the United States in order to escape persecution and often are illiterate or have linguistic barriers difficult to overcome. 80% of these refugees are women and children, many of whom have craft skills valuable in their native lands. The IRC would use a Women United grant to start a Women’s Craft Cooperative to empower local refugees to take ownership of their lives and to provide long-term financial and emotional benefits.

Jefferson Area CHIP – The Children’s Health Improvement Program provides services for low-income families in the Charlottesville community with children ages 0 to 6 and/or pregnant mothers. CHIP has found that many of these families do not understand basic home safety for children. They would use a Women United grant for their Keeping Children Safe at Home program. This program begins with a home safety assessment by both a nurse and a family support worker. Grant money would be used to fund these workers as well as to purchase things like safety gates, smoke detectors, flashlights and more.

Piedmont CASA - CASA is an organization that trains Court Appointed Special Advocates who work one-on-one with abused and endangered children to assist the courts in determining the best environment to ensure each child's safety and well-being. They work to promote and support safe, permanent and nurturing homes for child victims before the courts of the 16th Judicial District of Virginia. A Women United grant would go towards training and supervision of volunteer advocates, without whom these children often have no other voice.

Region Ten/Project Link – A Women United grant would allow Region Ten to start a Celebrating Families! program in Charlottesville in partnership with social services. These families are separated by drug or alcohol addiction and the children are at high risk of abuse and neglect. Celebrating Families! works with every member of the family, from ages 3 through adult, to strengthen recovery from alcohol and/or other drugs, break the cycle of addiction and increase successful family reunification. They work with parents and trained professionals to communicate and interact as families while the children are surrounded by safety. The goal is to bring the number of kids in foster care down and to make families whole again.

Shelter for Help in Emergency – SHE provides services designed to empower victims of domestic violence and to create a community of support. The have both a shelter and a 24-hour hotline and offer counseling and legal advocacy against abusers. A Women United grant would go towards creating a health clinic within the residential shelter. There are at least three faculty members from the UVA School of Nursing interested in participating and they and their students would provide immunizations and general health maintenance. The goal is to teach these women and children how to better care for themselves and that the ER is not their default healthcare provider. They will also learn to be self- sufficient as they return to the community.

Community Attention Youth Internship Program – This program connects at-risk children and adolescents with the Charlottesville/Albemarle community. Youths are given jobs where they learn money management and work skills that will follow them throughout their lives. They learn what responsibility means and to take pride in themselves. There are 156 local businesses that have agreed to provide jobs at about 20 hours per week. Women United grant money would be used as a stipend for these jobs.

There is a great deal of need in our community and a number of deserving projects and programs aimed at alleviating that need. The next step in the WUP grant process is on- site visits with each organization. The Women United Grant Committee has a tough job narrowing the seven semi-finalists down to a select few. The few remaining finalists will then be presented to the WUP Donor Members who will vote on which two finalists each receive a $20,000 grant.

The two Women united grants will be awarded at our 2011 Human Services Grant Award Luncheon at Farmington Country Club on October 4, 2011. The keynote speaker is Jennifer Ackerman, author of The Social Network Diet: Change Yourself, Change the World. If you would like to attend or know of an organization interested in a corporate sponsorship, please contact WUP Co-Chair, Robin Amato at (434) 981-0767 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

2009 Grant Award Luncheon - Featuring Keynote Speaker, Kelly Corrigan

Community Children's Dental Clinic was the 2009 recipient of a $33,000 Women United community grant. The grant was accepted by Ellen Tobey, Director, and William Viglione, Founder and President. The luncheon was highlighted by keynote speaker Kelly Corrigan, who discussed her book, The Middle Place, and her life surviving cancer.

Click here to see photos from the event.


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