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Community Foundation of White County

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  • Writer's pictureLucy Dold

15th Annual Women’s Bruncheon

Updated: Jun 28, 2023

It wouldn’t be spring without finding a reason to gather together with friends, eat amazing food, and get involved with happenings in your community.

At the Community Foundation of White County, we dove headfirst into the season by hosting the 15th annual Women Giving Together Fundraising Bruncheon, an event that many women and friends in the community look forward to each spring.

On June 10th, over 70 guests joined us in the historic Reynolds School House gymnasium, bringing back much nostalgia for many. The morning started with guests connecting with friends old and new while being serenaded by the beautiful sounds of harpist, Beth Pare Sherwood. The 2022 grant recipients of the Women Giving Together Fund were also hosting tables for their organizations, allowing our donors to connect directly with the grantees they are supporting through their charitable dollars. White County United Way, the Monticello Fire Department, Girls on the Run of NW IN, and Sycamore Audubon Society were talking about their programs with our guests, sharing resources, answering questions, and making new connections to build stronger support. Guests enjoyed a delicious brunch served by caterers Monon Meat Packing and Made with Paschen; ham, a quiche, delicious salads, muffins, and more gave our guests an experience to remember.

The program began with highlighting the mission of the Women Giving Together Fund: a “circle” of women committed to fostering charitable giving to address the hopes and dreams of women and children in White County. Members of the Women Giving Together Fund make an annual contribution to the fund, with half of every dollar going directly toward the following years’ grant cycle, and the other half going into the WGT endowment, offering continued growth with disbursements each year also contributing to the grant cycles. This design allows for the WGT Fund to grow sustainably. Funds will continue to grow and be available to address the hopes and dreams of women in White County forever.

Some members choose to support the Fund even more by joining the Women Giving Together Fund Committee. These amazing women are responsible for the gorgeous and meticulous details our guests get to enjoy at the bruncheon: from the catering to the flowers, the WGT Committee knows how to put on an inspiring fundraising event. In addition, the Committee is directly involved in the grantmaking process of the fund. Each year, applications for Women Giving Together grants are received in October, reviewed by our committee who then makes recommendations for grants to the Community Foundation’s governing council for final approval.

Any nonprofit serving White County, in addition to most government agencies and schools, are eligible to apply for a Women Giving Together grant. Last year, the Monticello Fire Department received a $7,500 grant to support a new effort under the Mobile Integrated Health Program, Project Sprout. Led by OBGYN nurse, Courtney Dyer, Project Sprout is an additional support for mothers during their pregnancy journey and four months postpartum. Courtney provides education, helps connect mothers with resources, takes vitals, and walks alongside mothers for support.

A $3,000 grant was also awarded last year to Girls on the Run of NW Indiana. Already an impressive program throughout the midwest, this grant expanded their organization into White County at the Boys & Girls Club. This new chapter consisted of a full team of 15 girls who worked on confidence building, leadership, emotional and social education, and physical activity, ending the season completing a 5k. Girls on the Run utilizes evidence-based programs to build self-esteem in young girls, and prepares them to lead with kindness, critical thinking, and confidence.

Another 2022 grant supported White County United Way’s Pampering Parents Event. With an award of $1,142, Pampering Parents was a new event held in conjunction with their massive coat distribution, Coats for Kids. During a time where parents are focusing their energies on getting their families through the cold months on top of holiday expenses, Pampering Parents allowed parents to take a minute for themselves. While children were being watched by trained childcare takers, hygiene products were distributed to families; insurance navigators helped connect individuals with the care they need; Katherine Jay, community navigator connected individuals in need with resources; the YWCA Dress for Success brought their mobile closet to distribute clothes for free to women.

The fourth grant awarded in 2022 for $337 was to support Sycamore Audubon Society’s Nature Club. Currently taking place at the Boys & Girls Club of White County, nature experts like Cindy Isom and Rick and Debbie Read work with elementary students on conservancy, gardening, birding, and all things nature. Even during the winter months, the students involved in Nature Club grow lush vegetables and herbs in hydroponic towers.

The highlight of this year’s bruncheon was listening to keynote speaker, White County native, Nancy Elliot Dornan Bernfield. Nancy is the co-founder of a global nonprofit, Network of Caring where she connects folks who want to help individuals in need. Giving birth to a child with many medical challenges, Nancy faced a reality where she realized she must rise to make a difference in the world while being able to support her family. Failure was never an option for Nancy, and she wouldn’t allow it to be. Now successfully taking care of her family through the launch of a significance movement at Network of Caring, Nancy travels the world to inspire people to use their influence and determination to do something of significance for others. Network of Caring focuses on three main areas: chairs for the disabled, children, and choices for those without opportunity. Nancy left our guests feeling empowered and gained a deeper understanding of the weight of the influence we hold to make a difference in the world.

Always an enchanting event, this year’s bruncheon was filled with smiles, shared connections, inspiration, and empowerment. To join the movement, make an annual donation of any meaningful amount to support the Women Giving Together Fund. Donations can be made easily online at www.cfwhitecounty.org, or checks can be made out to the Community Foundation of White County with WGT in the memo line. The Community Foundation can also accept stock, real estate, grain, life insurance, charitable remainder trusts, and more to support any of our 100+ endowed funds, including Women Giving Together. Check out our website or reach out to director, Lucy Dold at (574) 583-6911 to learn more about how you can make a difference in your community while receiving maximum tax benefits.

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