In August 2015, more than 350 women of Door County gathered together at
our annual Celebrate Women! Luncheon. Our guest speaker was
Liz Murray, author of Breaking Night, which tells the inspirational story of
her personal journey from a homeless teenager to a graduate of Harvard
Liz’s parents were addicts. Her mother died of a disease caused by her addiction when Liz was in her teens. Despite living on friends’ couches, subway cars, and on the streets, Liz’s remarkable perseverance helped her return to high school and finish in just two years.
It’s easy to focus on Liz and her indomitable spirit, yet Liz shared her discomfort with placing too much emphasis on her. At every step of the way, Liz points to people, organizations, and the community which made her incredible journey possible. She talked about the teacher who refused to let her give anything less than her very best effort. Liz spoke of the local program for homeless youth that offered her a safe place to clean up and hot meals to eat. She told us of the woman from her community who didn’t have much to give, but insisted on doing Liz’s laundry every week. And of course Liz spoke of the scholarship program which made her education at Harvard possible.
Liz ended her talk at our luncheon by expressing her deep appreciation for groups like the Women’s Fund of Door County. She thanked people like you who give so generously of themselves and their resources without any expectation of compensation or reward. Liz is a remarkable woman, but she would be the first to say that it takes a community for anyone to truly thrive.
That’s why we took the opportunity at our luncheon to announce the public phase of our Building Her Future Builds Our Community endowment campaign. Our goal is to build a permanent source of funding for women and girls in Door County. We’re already more than halfway to our goal, but we need the help of good people like you to turn this beautiful dream into a reality.
With your generosity, we will grow our endowment to the level where we can grant out at least $100,000 every year to charities that are positively impacting the lives of women and girls in Door County.
We’ll divide up that $100,000 between two granting programs. We’ll distribute about $35,000 a year through our existing process. In addition, every three years we will award approximately $200,000 in the form of a single Community Collaborative grant. This new process will offer nonprofits the opportunity to work collaboratively beyond their usual scope to creatively and proactively address issues resulting in systemic social change.
To make this a reality, we need to increase the Women’s Fund Endowment because building her future builds our community.
The Women’s Fund is governed by a passionate and creative volunteer board of influential leaders, all of whom are also donors to the Women’s Fund. Their donations, and yours, are pooled and used to award grants to organizations which nurture the personal and professional growth of women and girls.
The Women’s Fund has already awarded more than $100,000 in grants to Door County charities over the last six years. While we are pleased with the impact of our investments in local non-profits, we have also come to understand how much greater the need is than we are able to grant today.
So we undertook a planning process. Our first step was to revisit our priorities and redefine the focus of our efforts. We determined that the Women’s Fund can best help women and girls by:
Second, we reconfirmed that the Women’s Fund does not duplicate or replace what existing charities are doing for Door County. We continue to build partnerships by granting to organizations that impact the lives of women and girls.
While this focus is critical to guiding our grants, the reality is that we need to increase the amount we have to invest in women and girls in Door County.
As a result, we launched this campaign to grow the Women’s Fund Endowment to $1.2 million. We are pleased to report that because of the remarkable generosity of the people of Door County, we nearing our goal!
As of Fall 2016, we are approaching $1 million in gifts, pledges, and commitments in our Endowment - thanks in no small part to the generosity of our Named Fund donors. The annual payout from an increased endowment, combined with the proceeds from our annual luncheon and other activities, will allow the Women’s Fund to award approximately $100,000 annually to the charities that improve the lives of women and girls in Door County. But we’re not quite there yet. Please consider making an investment in the future of women and girls in Door County by contributing to the Women’s Fund of Door County.