The Women's and Girls' Fund Celebrates 10 Years with Announcement of 2015 Grants
Apr 30, 2015

The Women’s and Girls’ Fund, a leadership initiative of Kern Community Foundation, celebrated its ten year anniversary today with the announcement of $35,000 in grant allocations to three Kern County nonprofit organizations.  Those that serve Kern County women or girls within the focus area of education and training were invited to apply for funds.  Three successful grant recipients were introduced today at the Women’s and Girls’ Fund annual luncheon celebration.  Those receiving awards include:

Garden Pathways for “Transformative Job Skills Education” - $15,000  The grant to Garden Pathways expands a successful program partnering with Kern County Sheriff’s Office and WESTEC to create a pathway to self-sufficiency for 50 at-risk women. By expanding a successful program for men who have left the Sherriff’s Lerdo facility, the grant will train at-risk women in “high-demand” occupations, including both technical job skills and soft skills. Garden Pathways seeks to help the individual to first heal emotionally, spiritually, and mentally, and thereby create a pathway to self-sufficiency.

CSUB Foundation for “WINGS”, Women Influencing the Next Generation through Sports - $10,000  Successful in academics and sports, women athletes are “hungry” for workshops and relevant programming in soft skills, including interviewing, professionalism, financial responsibility, and community service. This grant supports a new program to prepare women for the transition from successful collegiate athlete to the workforce. Designed around the women’s rigorous competition and academic schedules, the program will also provide opportunities to mentor junior high school aged children.

Bakersfield Women’s Business Conference for “Realizing Options for Student Excellence (ROSE) Mentoring” - $10,000  For over 20 years, the ROSE Mentoring program has used successful adult women to mentor high school junior and senior girls. Using this grant to expand capacity, the program enlists high school counselors to identify girls who then participate in monthly meetings and workshops in active listening, confidence building, college exploration and etiquette. The girls also participate in the Women’s Business Conference, and other nonprofit ventures, including Heart Walk, Breast Cancer Walk, and Relay for Life as part of their introduction to citizenship. 

“The Women’s and Girls’ Fund values social change grantmaking with grants that go beyond direct service to offer maximum community impact,” said Judi McCarthy, founding chair of the Women’s and Girls’ Fund. “This year, our grants to the CSUB Foundation and the ROSE Mentoring program are particularly exciting and we continue to be inspired by Garden Pathway’s work within the community. We believe that our investment in these projects will reap benefits far beyond this year of funding.” 

The Women’s and Girls’ Fund received   17   letters of intent to apply for funding in November 2014. From these, the Grants Allocation Committee invited 6 organizations to submit full applications and participate in interviews.  The committee allotted the full $35,000 available to them for competitive grants.  In addition, two $500 grants were made to honor Women Defining Philanthropy Barbara Grimm Marshall and Po T. Tsui.  These benefited Garden Pathways Inc. and Assistance League of Bakersfield.

“The Women’s and Girls’ Fund celebrates a milestone today – in just ten short years, we have seen local philanthropists come together and launch a new endowment that today totals $1.2 million and, with the new grants announced today, has generated $207,000 to Kern County nonprofit organizations,” added McCarthy. “For the past eight years we have focused our grantmaking on education and training.  With new community research to be released this August, the Fund’s donors will reconsider its focus and begin the grantmaking cycle, once again, in November.”  The Women’s and Girls’ Fund was launched in 2005 as a leadership initiative of Kern Community Foundation.

Kern Community Foundation is a vibrant nonprofit enterprise created by and for the people of Kern County. Its mission is powerfully simple – the Foundation is growing community and growing philanthropy. Kern Community Foundation is known as a home for Kern community philanthropists, a results-oriented grantmaker, and a trusted community leader.  Since its establishment in 1999, the Foundation has grown to hold more than 100 charitable funds with assets of about $19 million, and has awarded more than $13 million to improve Kern County’s quality of life.

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