GWC BYOF Social, “Bring Your Own Friend”, January 18, 2022

The foyer of the Greenwood Building rang with the laughter of old friends greeting each other and new friends meeting. Greenwood Women Care’s first social of 2022 on Tuesday, January 18th was a rousing success. Nearly fifty women braved the blustery wind to gather and enjoy the company of like-minded women of our community.

Delicious refreshments of pinwheel sandwiches, cookies, fruit, and cheese and crackers were provided by our Social Committee. Four wines were served along with non-alcoholic punch and water.

After time to share conversations throughout the suite of rooms, Laura Bachinski, Co-Chair of the Social Committee, directed us into an attractive conference room. Laura welcomed everyone and introduced Lesley Lane, the Executive Assistant to the President at Greenwood Communities and Resorts. Lesley is the managing agent for the Greenwood Building and serves as Chair of the Uptown Greenwood Development Board. Lesley welcomed us to this space and informed us of new activities and businesses in Uptown Greenwood. Mary Woodiwiss, Chair of the Advisory Board, gave a special welcome to our newest members and our guests. She said that GWC welcomes guests as often as they would like to attend our Socials and Quarterly Meetings, without limit. Deb Maschoff, Co-Chair of the Membership Committee, noted that GWC accommodates a range of involvement from its members, as each member determines her level of participation in meetings and committees. Deb reminded us that contributions to GWC are fully tax-deductible. She also highlighted our strength in numbers when we pool our annual contributions to become impactful grants to nonprofits in our community.

The social evening continued in good cheer and excellent company. We look forward to our 1st Quarterly Meeting of the year at the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Lakelands’ Starz 24 Teen Center on February 22.

GWC Quarterly Meeting, “Focusing on Our Future – Our Children”, November 16, 2021

Fall was nipping the air when 40+ members and guests of Greenwood Women Care gathered at the Burton Center for the final Quarterly Meeting of 2021: “Focusing on the Future – Our Children.” The lively group congregated in Jimmy B’s Café for fellowship and delicious refreshments including sandwich wraps, a Greek-themed hors d’oeuvres tray, fruit, lemon flavored water, warm wassail-flavored punch, and other delights provided by the Social Committee.

At the appropriate time, all moved to a presentation area where Edris Louise Robinson, Chair of the Programs & Education Committee and Burton Center Day Program Director, welcomed everyone and gave a clear introduction to the work of the Burton Center. All services are provided at no cost to individuals who have disabilities and special needs and their families and are designed to help these individuals discover opportunities to mature, grow, and reach their full potential.

Mary Woodiwiss, GWC Advisory Board Chair, offered a warm greeting to all members and guests. She shared a story of how one 2021 GWC grant is already being put to use and noted that each grantee will have stories to share about how their GWC Grant helps them to fulfill their mission in our community in significant ways. Mary reminded everyone that their membership renewal packets were delivered last week and urged us to let our annual “renewal in GWC become a given”. She also spoke about how we must rebuild our Granting Fund every year and asked us to consider making an additional contribution to the Granting Fund, in any amount, with our renewal or at a later time. Such contributions may be made in memory or honor of someone. Our grants are possible only due to the commitment and generosity of GWC members.

The introduction of our program theme, “Focusing on the Future – Our Children”, was given by Lisa Smith. Mamie Nicholson graciously introduced our speakers. Our first presenter, Jerry Rentz, board member of Emerald City Rotary Foundation, informed us about the Dolly Parton Imagination Library (DPIL). He reminded us that literacy does not start when children begin school. He also shared statistics about why childhood literacy is so important, including the fact that 85% of all juveniles who interface with the juvenile court system are functionally low literate. DPIL provides registered children with high-quality, age-appropriate books by mail every month from birth until they reach their fifth birthday. Jerry was thrilled to share that the 2020 GWC Grant awarded to Emerald City Foundation provided one year of books to 200 children. To date, 1,286 children in Greenwood have signed up to participate in the program and 35,000 books have been sent to children in our county. At the end of Jerry’s presentation, Laura Padgett, Programs & Education Committee member, presented the book Little People, Big Dreams: Evonne Goolagong in his honor on behalf of GWC. This title will be added to the Children’s Collection at Greenwood County Library.

Teresa Goodman, GWC member and Executive Director of Community Initiatives, began her presentation by thanking GWC for the grant awarded to fund their prenatal care clinic which will provide countless low-income mothers with the quality care all women deserve. She discussed the new Toddler Learning Center (TLC), slated to open its doors in 2022. This program is designed to provide quality care for toddlers ages 2 to 4 from low-income families while teaching parents developmental milestones and activities to be sure their child develops at their highest potential and are ready for school. Children who take part in early childhood education programs have improved social skills and perform better in school. They also learn essential life skills. Most importantly, preschool is a place where children have fun in a safe and loving environment. Additionally, the center will assist with providing transportation to job sites for parents and facilitate connection with other necessary services to aid families in developing self-sufficiency. Laura Padgett presented the charming children’s book, Mae Among the Stars, to be donated to Greenwood County Library in Teresa’s honor.

The evening continued with an announcement from Laura Stowe, Co-Chair of the Communications Committee, about the GWC History Project. Laura stated that in January 2022, this committee will begin a project that will comprise the five-year history of Greenwood Women Care. She requested that members submit pictures, comments, or memories they might have of GWC to her or any member of the Communications Committee.

Laura Bachinski, GWC Advisory Board Vice Chair, made closing remarks asking members to consider contributing a gift membership. She noted that 8-10% of our members benefit from partial or full gift memberships and that most of these have been contributed by supporters from outside our membership. Laura reiterated the importance of growing our membership so that substantial grants may be awarded to continue the mission of GWC. Laura ended the meeting with a challenge: she pledged to contribute a gift membership in 2022 year and encouraged others to consider doing the same!

GWC 2021 Grant Awards Announced!, October 25, 2021

Greenwood Women Care is delighted to announce our 2021 GWC Grant Awards! Our collective funds received through annual membership and other designated contributions enabled GWC to disburse $78,449 total in grant funding for twelve nonprofits serving residents of Greenwood County.

Grant recipients were determined by ranked voting by our Members from October 18-20. Ninety-six members participated in the vote. Our Grants Review & Awards Committee gathered information obtained from the platform used for our online ballots. Using raw scores, weighted averages, and percentile rankings based on the total amount available to grant, the Committee evaluated the data and determined the number of projects to be funded and the amount of each grant. Special thanks to the Grants Review & Awards Committee for all your efforts to: create a grant writing workshop, publicize this granting opportunity to local nonprofits, process the applications, present information on grant requests to Members to help us make informed voting decisions, explain our voting process, determine awards based on our votes, deliver our 2021 Grants checks to the recipients, and managing all the other aspects of this core activity of GWC!

GWC 2021 Grants were awarded to:

Faith Home – $10,000 for a commercial-grade oven, serving counter, and dishwasher

Greater Greenwood United Ministry – $10,000 for assistance with copays and consultation fees for women without health insurance who require surgical intervention

Community Initiatives – $10,000 for equipment and medical providers’ salaries for free prenatal care clinic for pregnant women without health insurance

Burton Center – $7,449 for laptops and internet devices for group homes and families of special needs individuals

Greenwood Community Theatre – $7,500 for Penguin Project theatre program for children and youth with special needs

MODELS Academy – $6,500 for leadership conferences, college visits, community engagement opportunities, and personal development for young men of color

Hospice Care Foundation of the Piedmont – $5,500 for renovation of the children’s play area at the Hospice House

Alzheimer’s Association – SC Chapter – $5,500 for education programs and facilitation of community support groups to increase access to care and support services

Piedmont Agency on Aging – $1,000 for materials and supplies for greenhouse and garden to promote horticultural education

The Greenwood Promise – $5,000 for salary support for Career Coordinator to connect students with work readiness, career exposure, and employment opportunities

Lakelands Regional YMCA – $5,000 for trainers’ certification and equipment for the Rock Steady non-contact boxing program for people living with Parkinson’s

Palmetto Girls Sing! – $5,000 for participation fees for the 21st annual Crescent City Choral Festival in New Orleans

Congratulations to our 2021 GWC Grant recipients!

We are grateful for all your excellent efforts to improve the quality of our shared life in Greenwood County!

THANK YOU, GWC Members, for your support of our community!

GWC Informational Social, “Kick Off the Vote!”, October 18, 2021

Our Kick Off the Vote! event for our 2021 Grants voting was a celebration of giving! We gathered in the lovely Harley Family Center, hospitably provided by Carol Harley. Thanks to our Social Committee (with special thanks to Martha Ann Davis!), this informational social started with food, drink, and fellowship that gave us a chance to reconnect.

Jan Puzar greeted us with a smile and “rousing rounds of applause” as she led us through the meeting. We rewatched a wonderful 2020 Grants video that took us back to what was accomplished with GWC’s funding to our 10 grant recipients last year. Through seeing and listening to these recipients’ grateful words, we could once again feel and grasp the importance of our mission to assist our local nonprofits to achieve their worthy goals to enrich our whole community. Mary Woodiwiss addressed FAQs about funding sources for nonprofit organizations 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 carry out their good work.

Then we turned to GWC’s voting process. Mary Ann Dula capably led us through the logistics of our 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. Margaret Conrad described “What Happens After You Vote?”. She outlined the next steps that the Grants Review and Awards Committee will take to tally our votes and assess the data that will direct how many grant awards will be made, and in what amounts. If you have ever wondered whether your vote counts, rest assured your GWC VOTE COUNTS!

We ended the evening with time for questions. Thoughtful questions were asked by a number of Members and addressed by the Grants Review and Awards Committee. 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.

Recap by Sally Kauffmann; photos by Catherine DiBenedetto, Debra Coleman, and Denise Waldrep

GWC Social, “Autumn Skies & Apple Pies”, September 21, 2021

After a rain cancellation and a second date that threatened wet weather, a small but fun and determined group of Greenwood Women Care members braved the clouds and were greatly rewarded with a festive “Autumn Skies and Apple Pies” social. The DiBenedetto Farm was absolutely gorgeous, and all enjoyed meeting and greeting under the lights and stars.

The tables were festooned with wildflowers while trays of chicken salad croissants, pinwheel sandwiches, fruit and cheese, and more were enjoyed by all. Seasonal apple pie topped off the delicious buffet along with apple cider punch, water, and wine.  The hint of imminent fall was evident everywhere and the natural setting provided both places for quiet conversation and room for larger groups to gather. The time flew by and all too soon friends, both old and new, were saying good night and looking forward to GWC’s next gathering.

GWC Quarterly Meeting, “Celebrating Community Together”, August 17, 2021

GWC Members and guests braved the wind and rain to gather at Cokesbury College for our third Quarterly Meeting on August 17. After a lovely time of socializing on the first level of the lovely, historic Cokesbury College, we stepped swiftly through the rain to the upper floor to attend a program honoring our 2020 GWC Grantees.

Mary Woodiwiss, GWC Advisory Board Chair, opened the program, welcoming Members, guests, and grantees. This evening, we welcomed a new member, bringing our 2021 membership to 127! She reviewed GWC’s mission statement to support non-profits in our community. Mary reminded us “that every good effort of GWC happens because of the time and talents contributed by our Members over and above their annual financial contribution. We are un-staffed, but rich in resources.” She encouraged participation on our committees, saying, “strong committees are essential to the health of GWC, and they are also a great way to get to know other remarkable GWC women and to develop personally.” Mary concluded with an example of how one person’s contribution, combined with many others, makes an incredible impact on our community.

Trentsie Williams, who serves on the Grants Review & Awards Committee, welcomed representatives from all the 2020 grant recipient organizations. They were:

Austin Wilkes Society – Denise Mock

Boys & Girls Club of the Lakelands – Sabrina Miller

Connie Maxwell Children’s Ministries – Eric Taylor

Crossroads Pregnancy Center – Brenda Feece

Emerald City Rotary Club Foundation – Rachel Strayer

Food Bank of Greenwood – Andrea White, Onye Cosom

Greenwood Area Habitat for Humanity – Rob Graves

Greenwood Pathway House – Anthony Price

Healthy Learners – Aimee Clark

Project Hope Foundation – Lisa Lane, Niki Porter

Trentsie also recognized all the hard-working Grants & Awards Committee: Allison Fletcher, Jan Puzar – Co-Chairs; Margaret Conrad, Anne Craig, Mary Dula, Kathy Emily, Donna Foster, Sally Kauffmann, Sandra McMullen, Anna Welborn, Trentsie Williams, and Mary Woodiwiss.

A video presentation highlighting our 2020 grantees was unveiled. We were able to witness how our funds have been used to help each non-profit and the impact on our community. Special thanks to Mary Balfour Dunlap for recording our 10 grantees’ comments and Lesley Lane for her masterful video editing and concept!

Jan Puzar, co-chair of the Grants & Awards Committee, introduced Carol Scales, a member of GWC and a commissioner of the Cokesbury Preservation Society. Carol welcomed everyone to this historical building, which is listed in the National Register of Historic Homes and provided a brief history of Cokesbury College. Founded in the early 1800’s, Cokesbury College gave young women the rare opportunity to receive a quality education. From 1854-1874 (through the Civil War), 120 women received their classical education at Cokesbury. During the post-war period, many emancipated people who had been enslaved were provided an education as well. As the building later fell into disrepair, a decision was made in 1964 to demolish this historical building. In an effort to preserve the building, Nell Graydon spearheaded a cookbook entitled From My House to Your House, and all proceeds went towards saving the building. Women played an important role in the history of this historical institution.

Our final presenter was Louise Robinson, Chair of the Programs & Education Committee. She presented a book entitled The Perfectly Perfect Wish to the Greenwood County Library in honor of our 2020 grant recipients. Louise thanked our Grants Review & Awards, Programs & Education, and Social Committees for all their hard work to produce this evening’s event and the GWC tech team for the new Grants video and wished us all a good night.

GWC Grant Writing Workshop, July 28, 2021, “Grant Writing 101”

In our continued commitment to learning, giving, and growing, GWC hosted our annual workshop, “Grant Writing 101”, at no charge on Wednesday, July 28. The workshop was attended by 20 Executive Directors, Staff, Board Members, and volunteers of local nonprofit organizations. Church of the Resurrection provided the meeting space.

Our own Kathy Emily, Donna Foster, and Jan Puzar provided guidance on successful grant writing. These included the importance of relating grant requests to organizational mission, producing a sound program or project budget, and developing collaborative partnerships. With decades of pertinent experience, Donna, Kathy, and Jan were able to break down the fundamentals of presenting a compelling story though clear goals, concrete outcome measures, and effective language.  As one participant noted: “We were so fortunate receive such a wealth of knowledge, insight, and advice based on so much experience.”

Following the workshop sessions and a break for coffee and bagels, Funders’ Forum representatives spoke about the specific funding priorities and processes of their organizations. They were:

Mary Woodiwiss— Greenwood County Community Foundation and Greenwood Women Care

Mamie Nicholson—Self Family Foundation

Marisel Losa—United Way

The training provided attendees with the tools and fundamentals needed for improving their grant application practices. More importantly, every attendee left with a greater understanding of how to strengthen their organization’s communication, evaluation, budgeting, and partnerships. It was truly a gift to our Greenwood nonprofits.

GWC Social, “A Summer Soirée”, July 22, 2021

Greenwood Women Care held “A Summer Soirée” at the Inn on the Square on Thursday, July 22. This event marked our first in-person, purely social gathering since the pandemic began. We met in the lobby which provided us with many conversation areas for quiet (and not-so-quiet!) conversation. Members and guests were so happy to be together and enjoyed wonderful fellowship with each other.

The Inn provided elaborate and scrumptious fruit and cheese trays. Members were at liberty to enjoy the Inn’s cash bar which also had iced tea and sodas for a nominal amount.  It was a lovely gathering, and we all thank the Social Committee, especially Holley Coyle who spearheaded the effort, for their hard work in providing the rest of us with such a wonderful time.  It was a joyous celebration of summer, friendship, and new beginnings for all of us.

GGUM Final Report on the 1st GWC Women’s Health Grant

Forty-four percent, (44%-approximately 220) of the GGUM Free Medical Clinic’s patients are women. Services of the clinic are available to anyone who cannot afford health insurance yet does not qualify for Medicaid or Medicare. The GGUM Women’s Health Clinic focuses on the episodic health issues presented and offers prevention strategies to improve the quality of life for the women served. The GGUM Women’s Health Clinic specifically promotes the prevention of breast and cervical cancers.

Breast cancer is a leading cause of cancer death among women in the United States. Clinical breast examinations and mammograms can detect changes such as tumors and calcifications. The gynecologists of the GGUM Women’s Health Clinic perform clinical breast exams and screening mammograms are scheduled as recommended by the American College of Obstetricians (ACOG). The Self Regional Healthcare Mobile Mammography Unit visits GGUM quarterly providing screening mammograms to their female patients over 40.  Referrals for diagnostic mammograms are done as needed. Since the first Women’s Health Clinic in March 2021, four women have been referred for diagnostic mammograms with one having follow up on a questionable tumor.

Pap screenings are instrumental in detecting cervical cancer. Early detection of cervical cancer makes it one of the most successfully treatable cancers by removing or destroying the pre-cancerous or cancerous tissue. GGUM Gynecologists perform Pap and HPV screenings during clinic visits. There have been three cases of HPV detected and patients are receiving appropriate treatment.

Since the inception of the GGUM Women’s Health Clinic in March 2021, over 35 women have been served and are now calling the clinic their medical home. As GGUM offers gynecological medical care to patients, the GGUM Free Medical Clinic is also addressing the needs of these women as needed. The GGUM on-site Pharmacy makes it convenient for patients to receive medical care, medications, and medical supplies in one visit at one place.

Most of the women served through the GGUM Women’s Health Clinic have not seen a physician in a very long time. New patients receive health screenings (A1c, blood pressure, lipid panel, BMI, height, weight) on their first visit. This step enables the Gynecologist to assess their overall health and wellness and provide the clinical breast exam and Pap and HPV screenings.

The GWC Women’s Health Grant provided funding for critical medications and medical supplies for the women served through the clinic and disposable instruments being used by the Gynecologists.

We are so grateful to the GWC for choosing us to receive this grant! Together, we are making a difference in the lives of women in our community to provide help for them take care of themselves.

Rosemary Bell. Executive Director of Greater Greenwood United Ministries

GWC Quarterly Meeting, “Arts in Action!”, May 24, 2021

Greenwood Women Care enjoyed an uplifting and joyous time together on Monday, May 24. Our social reception and program, “Arts in Action!”, was held in the Mays Reception Hall in The Arts Center.

We were greeted with four lovely selections presented by Palmetto Girls Sing! led by Amy Fennell and accompanied by Rodney Cleveland.  One of the selections was an original composition, “My Life is a Canvas,” composed by Richard Williamson, Professor of Music at Anderson University, and accompanied by Cleveland and flutist, Rhonda McGinnis, Chair of GWC Governance & Finance Committee. Amy Fennell informed us that Palmetto Girls Sing! was formed in 2015 and is comprised of 4th – 8th grade girls. They have enjoyed numerous trips and activities, and during a 2018 trip to New York they performed at Carnegie Hall.

During the reception, we enjoyed delicious hors d’oeuvres and refreshing drinks. Carol Scales, Programs & Education Committee member, served as emcee for the program portion. Mary Woodiwiss, Chair of GWC’s Advisory Board, offered a warm welcome to Members and guests as we celebrated our first in-person meeting in 15 months. She announced that 14 women have joined GWC this year and that Members currently number 125.

Carol Scales introduced our program presenters: Karen Jennings, Executive Director of The Museum and Railroad Historical Center, and Sylvia Martin, Executive Director of The Arts Center. The Arts Center and The Museum are free and open to the public.

Karen Jennings spoke about the value of The Museum’s role in preserving local history and promoting learning opportunities. She announced that there will be a new permanent exhibit, premiering on June 10, that reflects Greenwood in the early 1900s. The Museum offers changing seasonal exhibitions, often including items on loan from community members in their exhibits and engaging volunteers in various capacities. Staff were thrilled to welcome over 10,000 guests to The Museum in 2019. The Railroad Historical Center has developed a partnership with the Greenwood High School Theatre department for their signature holiday program the “Polar Express”. Major enhancements have been made to the full collection of train cars in this stationary exhibit and other renovations of the facility and grounds have been completed or are in progress.

Sylvia Martin, Executive Director of The Arts Center, has served in various roles there since 2010.  She noted that investing in the arts has enabled Greenwood to become a successful regional hub. The Arts Center stages 9-12 exhibitions a year and is predominately funded by grants. Exhibitions often include artists’ talks and an opening reception for the public and, along with art programs and summer camps, are the heart and soul of The Arts Center. Sylvia and her staff continually look for ways to extend The Arts Center’s reach to more corners of the community. The Arts Center is also a tremendous resource for Greenwood as a venue for weddings, seminars, and other community events.

Lisa Smith, Programs & Education Committee member, presented children’s books contributed by GWC to the Greenwood County Library Children’s Collection in honor of our three guest speakers: Amy Fennell, Karen Jennings, and Sylvia Martin. Deb Maschoff, Co-Chair of the Membership Committee, reminded our Members that committee involvement is optional, but very rewarding, and that home gatherings are a great way to introduce prospective members to GWC. The Membership Committee is ready to support any member who would like to host a home gathering. Laura Bachinski, Vice Chair of GWC and Co-Chair of our Social Committee, introduced a fun new feature, “Member Minute.” Three members volunteered to speak impromptu at the close of the meeting by briefly sharing three facts about themselves. We enjoyed getting to know Summer Booker, Caroline Dennis, and Cindy Leary a little bit better. Edris Louise Robinson, Chair of the Programs & Education Committee, closed our meeting by thanking our speakers and committees and inviting everyone to our August meeting at Cokesbury College where we will greet our 2020 grant recipients and celebrate the progress they have made on their respective grants.