“Kick Off the Vote!”, at Harley Family Center, October 17, 2022

Our “Kick Off the Vote!” event for our 2022 granting was indeed a celebration: a celebration of our vibrant organization and support of local nonprofits and a celebration of community spirit and giving. We gathered at the Harley Family Center to enjoy each other and a social time that gave us a chance to reconnect. Thank you, Social Committee for once again making everyone feel welcome and providing both delicious snacks and beverages.

Sally Kauffmann of the Grants Review and Awards Committee welcomed each of us in a very unique and joyful way. She serenaded us with lyrics she especially edited for GWC based on Curtis Mayfield’s 1965 release, People Get Ready, followed by a 1978 Sandy Patti song, In Heaven’s Eyes. Sally went on to note that we were all here, happy and enthused, as we share a common bond, the desire to help others in need, and reminded us that we are all in need in different ways. She ended with a modified line from a 1969  hit by The Hollies, “They ain’t heavy, they are our brothers and sisters.”

Mary Woodiwiss addressed “FAQs about Nonprofit Funding” and emphasized nonprofits’ variations in scale, scope, and mission. We realized that although our local nonprofits differ, they all are important and in need of support to conduct their good work. This year, GWC is thrilled to celebrate our largest membership  to date (137 members), and we anticipate bringing our total awards in our first four years of granting to over $250,000 disbursed for the good of our community.

Then we turned to GWC’s voting process. Mary Dula capably led us through the logistics of our online voting and outlined numerous “best practices” when online voting. This year we are excited to consider a wide range of proposals for funding. We were encouraged to rank all applicants in our voting so that the Grants Review and Awards Committee can make funding determinations that clearly and accurately reflect the will of our Members. Debbie Coesens described “What Happens After We Vote?”. She outlined the next steps that the Grants Review and Awards Committee will take to assess the voting data that will direct how many grant awards will be made, and in what amounts.

We ended the evening with time for questions. Several members asked thoughtful questions of the Grants Review and Awards Committee. Mary Woodiwiss announced the formation of a subcommittee to direct the process for our second Women’s Health Grant in spring 2023 and encouraged any member interested in participating to contact Jan Puzar. This grant is made biennially to one organization and funding comes from an endowed fund held by Greenwood County Community Foundation for which GWC has been designated to make granting advisements. Mary closed the evening by thanking us all for our contributions to the GWC Granting Fund through our annual memberships and through additional gifts to this fund that make our substantial support of local nonprofit work possible.

GWC attempts to be good stewards in our giving and this time together inspired us to continue to give generously. We are very proud of the nonprofits, their leaders and staff and are grateful that we can have a part in supporting their daily efforts. We left as a band of sisters who do indeed care and give to express that care in our home community.