The Advisory Committee for the Greenbrier Valley Women’s Fund invites area women who would like to have a positive impact on the lives of other women to attend its second annual luncheon and distribution meeting. The salad luncheon will be held at noon on Sept. 9 at Saint James Episcopal Church in Lewisburg. Sarah Riley, executive director of High Rocks Educational Corp. will be the keynote speaker. She will talk in general about High Rocks programs to educate, empower, and inspire young people and specifically about the HUB youth center in Lewisburg. Food for the luncheon is being prepared by Giovanni’s Café and Takeout Restaurant with smoothies prepared by students from the HUB.
The Women’s Fund will also be presenting distribution checks for projects selected by the membership. This year, members will decide funding amounts for programs at three area nonprofit organization: 1) Communities in Schools of Greenbrier County (CISGC) to support CISGC’s work to help girls remain in school to graduate from high school as well as its “Cool WV Women,” speakers forum for eighth grade girls and its “Salvaging the Sisterhood,” classroom workshop series that it presents in conjunction with the Family Refuge Center; 2) Monroe County Coalition for Children & Families, Inc (FRN) to help women in Monroe County purchase dentures. This assistance reduces pain, improves diet, decreases other health problems, and increases self-esteem; and 3) Oakhurst Outreach, a facility that provides safe, comfortable housing for women recovering from substance abuse. At last year’s Women’s Fund luncheon, Oakhurst’s executive director met keynote speaker Tammy Jordan and established a relationship with her Fruits of Labor program. The grant will help cover the costs of transportation from Oakhurst’s facility in White Sulphur Springs to the Fruits of Labor culinary and life skills program in Rainelle.
Membership in the Greenbrier Valley Women’s Fund is available to all women who pay annual dues or make a donation to the fund. Dues for 2015 are $20, the entire amount of which is applied to the fund. Since the fund is an endowment, only the earnings are distributed and the principal is protected. Accordingly, the fund will be able to provide grants to empower women in perpetuity. Membership forms and ballots may be obtained by visiting the “Women’s Fund” page at www.gvfoundation.org, calling 304-645-5620, or emailing email@example.com. Ballots must be returned by Sept. 1 to be counted.
The Greenbrier Valley Women’s Fund was established in 2006 at the Greenbrier Valley Community Foundation (GVCF) to assist local nonprofits that work in our region to empower women. West Virginia ranks at or near the bottom of all states in the key areas of women’s lives. According to the Institute for Women’s Policy Research’s The Status of Women and Girls in West Virginia, women in WV have the lowest level nationwide of educational attainment and employment. They are more likely to live in poverty, to die of heart disease or lung cancer, to have diabetes, or to experience physical limitations due to their health status. To date, the fund has distributed over $8,000. Recipients include: The Family Refuge Center, High Rocks Educational Corporation, Almost Heaven Habitat for Humanity, the Alderson Quilters Guild, Greenbrier/Pocahontas Parents as Teachers, the Tutoring Center, Pocahontas County Historic Preservation Project, Homeless Inc., the Women on Wellness program, Carnegie Hall WV, and the Greater Greenbrier Chamber of Commerce. The 2015 Women’s Fund Advisory Committee members are Diane Browning, Joan Browning, Vicki Dove, Suzanne Horst, Courtney Jesser, Mary Leb, Gloria Martin, Rebecca Morrow, Sarah Riley, Susan Rosshirt, and Robin Spence.
Sarah Riley grew up in Pocahontas County. She graduated with honors in history from Harvard University with a focus on economic underdevelopment. Since 1996, Sarah has been planning, teaching, counseling, fundraising, networking and building the High Rocks program. She was the sole recipient of the 2015 Helen Lewis Community Service Award for the Appalachian Region and received the 2015 Zenith Award for the Greenbrier Valley.
The Greenbrier Valley Community Foundation was incorporated in 1999. It is a collection of funds, each with a separate agreement, donors, and philanthropic purpose. When appropriate, each fund makes an annual grant to area nonprofit organizations and through scholarships for higher education. GVCF has distributed over $3 million to the community.