By TAYLOR HARTZ
Women and girls in Southington and several surrounding communities will benefit from more than $35,000 in grants awarded by the Main Street Community Foundation earlier this month.
The foundation’s Women and Girls’ Fund chose 11 regional organizations, campuses, and programs to invest in this year, including several local groups. Each of the programs serves the fund’s mission of making it possible for women and girls to improve the quality of their lives.
The fund has granted $255, 000 to their initiative since 2001, donating to programs in Southington, Burlington, Plainville, Plymouth, Bristol, and Wolcott.
This year’s grants totaled $35, 350, bringing the foundation close to its goal of $300, 000 in support of grants for women and girls, said former Chairperson of the Advisory Board Susan Sadecki.
At their annual dinner on Jan. 14, the board awarded the chosen organizations and announced Dawn Neilson as their new chairperson. Sadecki said Neilson will join their board, volunteers, and sponsors to continue the Main Street Community Foundation’s “vision of empowering women and girls.”
Several organizations that service Southington residents were given awards, including Arts for Learning Connecticut, the Early Childhood Collaborative of Southington, Girl Scouts of Connecticut, Oak Hill Chapter 126, the Women and Girl’s Fund Endowment and the Women and Girls’ Immediate Response Fund.
Theses six organizations were granted $18,000 in funding, to provide female Southington residents with services such as home care providers, outdoor activities, and one-time grant assistance.
Arts for Learning Connecticut received a $1,000 grant for a pilot program, The Beautiful Girl Project.
The organization has partnered with the Southington Public Library and Burlington Public Library for an after-school program that will teach girls in sixth to eighth grade creative expression.
“They’ll practice expressing their own feelings however they’re most comfortable,” Eileen Carpinella, from Arts for Learning, said about the program that is open to any middle-school-age girl in Southington.
The program, their first partnership with the libraries, will bring in teaching artists for poetry, meditation, creative writing, and presentation projects.
Along with distributing the 11 grants, the foundation celebrated their 15th anniversary and appointed several new officers to serve the fund’s advisory board in the upcoming year.
Susan Moreau will serve as secretary. Kaitlin Humble will serve as treasurer, and Susan Sadecki as past chair, joined by new members Patti Flippinger and Kimberly Lewis, Burlington, and Sofia Bayne, Bristol.
“I look forward to leading this group of women during this landmark anniversary year,” said newly inducted Chairperson Dawn Nielson, who hopes to reach the fund’s original endowment goal of $500, 000.
Nielson discussed plans for celebrating their 15th anniversary, including their annual WOW event on March 30, a matching gift donation opportunity, and their “A Toast to Women” campaign to honor influential women.