The Fund for Women surpasses 1,000 founders and celebrates giving more than $1 million to help women and girls in the First State.
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The Fund for Women recently reached a milestone of 1,000 founders who have contributed $1,000 each.
So the all-volunteer organization is celebrating its sweet first 16 years, but members are already working to increase their ranks while raising another $1 million to help women and girls in Delaware. Kay Preston, chair of the Fund for Women, predicts reaching that goal won’t be a problem.
“We have momentum, and people just want to be a part of it,” she says. “Now that people have heard more about us, they want to be part of the community and the sisterhood of the Fund for Women.”
The fund was established in 1993, when the original 16 founders set out to recruit 1,000 folks who would each contribute $1,000 to become a founder. The goal was to fund a $1 million endowment with the Delaware Community Foundation.
That endowment has reached $2.3 million, including $1 million from the Swinging With a Star golf tournament run by the Fund for Women’s founders. So far, more than $1.2 million has been awarded to 216 nonprofit programs that serve women and girls in Delaware.
A handful of the many grant recipients includes Child Inc., La Esperanza, the Food Bank of Delaware and Lutheran Community Services in Wilmington. Because of the ailing economy, a portion of last year’s grants went to programs that address basic needs such as food, shelter and utilities.
Preston has heard many heartwarming stories about how women (and girls) have been moved to join the fund’s ranks. A single mother stood at an event and told how a program funded by the grant helped her finish college and inspired her to become a founder. A young girl once forfeited her birthday presents and Christmas gifts in order to become a founder like her grandmother.
For those who can’t swing a $1,000 lump sum, prospective founders are allowed to spread payments over five years.
Preston became a founder in 2003 after a friend told her about it. “It’s been very worthwhile and enriching to me,” she says. “We belong to the women of Delaware.” —Drew Ostroski
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