GWC Quarterly Meeting, “World Class Care at Home”, at Self Regional Healthcare Cancer Center, May 16, 2022

On Monday evening, May 16th, members, and guests of Greenwood Women Care met at the Self Regional Cancer Center for the second Quarterly Meeting of 2022. Self Regional Hospital provided refreshments both in the lobby and outside in the Cancer Center’s Healing Garden. There was a delicious spread of cheese, fruit, petite chicken salad and pimento cheese croissant sandwiches, as well as a variety of petit fours, various wines, and a delicious punch.

Laura Bachinski, Vice-Chair of the GWC Advisory Board, called the meeting to order and, after welcoming all members and guests, thanked Self Regional and the Cancer Center’s staff for hosting the meeting. She then gave a brief summary of the various GWC committees, reminding everyone of the focus of GWC:  to encourage and support our community of Greenwood. She reviewed the benefits of membership, committee involvement, and spoke of opportunities to give additional gifts to the GWC Granting Fund in honor of, or in memory of, loved ones.

Summer Booker, Treasurer of GWC’s Advisory Board, introduced the member testimonial segment of the evening’s program. Debbie Coesens spoke about her reasons for joining Greenwood Women Care. Having moved from Spartanburg to Greenwood following retirement, Debbie was introduced to GWC by a friend. She spoke of how the mission of “Learn, Give, and Grow” truly resonates with her. Next, Tara Smith talked about why she joined GWC. Tara, a native of Long Island, New York, moved to Greenwood in 2013 and her initial membership in 2019 was a gift from her husband. Tara stated that “we are all women, and we are all philanthropists, and we become like those who we are surrounded by!” She has continued to renew her membership as she enjoys the welcoming spirit of GWC and the philanthropic aspect of the organization.

Mamie Nicholson, Vice Chair of the Board of Self Regional Healthcare Foundation and GWC member, introduced the program portion. Mamie welcomed everyone and then spent a moment recognizing other individuals and doctors affiliated with Self Regional that were present, including the CEO of Self Regional, Dr. Matt Logan, and Dr. Priya Kumar, CMO of Self Regional and GWC member. She then introduced Julie McDade, Director of Cancer Services at the Cancer Center. Ms. McDade’s presentation for the Cancer Center was titled “World Class Care at Home” and it elaborated how our very own Cancer Center has become an oasis in our community, providing cancer care here at home which rivals cancer treatment offered at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, TX and Sloan Memorial Kettering in New York City, two of the most renowned cancer hospitals in the United States.  The physicians and staff at Self Regional see each patient, along with their families, as neighbors. The team at the Cancer Center walks alongside them in their journey through illness: “We are taking care of our neighbors, family, and friends.” State of the art medical treatments are provided by this dedicated team of doctors, nurses, and staff. Medical and radiation oncologists work with innovative protocols and the newest technologies in cancer treatment to individualize each patient’s care. Currently, the Center has over 300 patients, receiving three hundred individualized treatment protocols!

Ms. McDade described a new screening program the center has for low dose CT lung cancer. Showing national cancer statistics, she attributed the high cancer survival rate to early detection. She also noted the various partnerships and collaborations that helped to make the Cancer Center successful. The Center’s staff and equipment are accredited by the Commission on Cancer, a program of the American College of Surgeons, including a newly acquired machine called the “Edge” that can pinpoint the exact location of cancer in a patient’s body. Ms. McDade concluded by encouraging everyone to engage in a healthy lifestyle and to take advantage of cancer screenings. Risk mitigation is critical: weight loss, exercise (“sitting is the new smoking”), alcohol in moderation, smoking cessation, and sunscreen (“when in doubt, sunscreen it out”). Questions were addressed by Ms. McDade and Dr. Ruiling Yuan.

Lisa Smith presented Ms. McDade with the book, Seeds and Trees: A Children’s Book about the Power of Words, by Brandon Walden, which will be contributed by GWC to the Children’s Collection of the Greenwood County Public Library in her honor.

Jan Puzar made an announcement from the Grants Review and Awards Committee regarding the workshop, Grant Writing 101, designed by this committee to help staff and volunteers of local nonprofits apply for grants. The course is free to registered participants and will be held on Tuesday, July 26th from 10 AM-12:30 PM at Westside Baptist Church.

Edris Louise Robinson, Chair of the Program and Education Committee, made closing remarks. She thanked the Cancer Center for their program and remembered how much their team meant to her and her family as they cared for her brother in his own cancer journey. She announced our next meeting will be August 21, 2022, at the Greenwood Genetics Center where the 2021 grant recipients will be celebrated. She then concluded the meeting by reminding us, “Women, together, can rock the world”!

GWC Presentation at Women’s Leadership Upstate Conference, March 25, 2022

Edris Louise Robinson and Mary Woodiwiss, GWC Advisory Board Members, presented a workshop session on Greenwood Women Care at the Women’s Leadership Upstate Conference on Friday, March 25th, planned by the Women’s Leadership Council (WLC) of the Greenwood Chamber of Commerce. Edris Louise serves as Chair of our Programs & Education Committee, and Mary serves as Chair of our Advisory Board and is also an active member of the Grants Review & Awards and Membership Committees. Their session was entitled “Learn · Give · Grow: Connecting with Your Community through Women’s Collective Giving”.

Debra Coleman, active member of the GWC Communications Committee and WLC Conference Committee member, introduced Mary and Edris Louise. A GWC PowerPoint and video enhanced  their presentation. About 35 women attended the workshop, including Debra, Rachel Strayer, Andrea White, and Alison Fletcher, GWC members.

We are grateful for every opportunity to spread the word about how GWC enriches our community and each of our members!

GWC Annual Meeting, “Celebrating All Things GWC!”, at Greenwood Community Theatre, March 15, 2022

Many members of Greenwood Women Care (GWC) and guests gathered in the Federal Building courtyard for a festive and fun reception. While enjoying the delicious spread of desserts, wraps, shrimp, fruit, olives, cheeses, and celebratory champagne, attendees fellowshipped with each other while being treated to singing and guitar playing by Byron Hilley of the Tracie & Byron Acoustic Duo. At 6:00 pm, the members and guests migrated through a side door into Greenwood Community Theatre. At the doors to the auditorium, Rhonda McGinnis and Summer Booker distributed fortune cookies made by Catherine DiBenedetto, Co-Chair of the Communications Committee, which held either a symbol, number, or uplifting message about GWC.

From the GCT stage, Mary Woodiwiss, Chair of the Advisory Board, welcomed everyone to the annual meeting, “Celebrating All Things GWC!”. She announced that there are fifteen new GWC members this year (so far!) and gave a special welcome to these new members as well as to our guests. Mary spoke about how we are looking back to 2021 with gratitude, and looking forward with hope and excitement in this, our fifth membership year. She commended the dedicated and varied work of our committees which help to “make GWC the vibrant organization that we are”.

Amy Fennell then came to the podium and gave the first of four member testimonials about why she joined GWC last year. A wife, mother of three, and music educator, Amy mentioned that when she was introduced to GWC by friends, she also received encouragement from her husband to join. She recounted that the vocal ensemble she founded and leads, Palmetto Girls Sing!, performed for GWC last May and that she was not only warmly welcomed but was also moved by the presentations at that meeting by other nonprofit leaders that she knows and admires.

Amy then drew the first two names from a fishbowl to identify winners of door prizes, handcrafted items provided by Main & Maxwell gallery and home baked items from Mary Woodiwiss. Summer Booker, Advisory Board Treasurer, delivered these and the six other prizes won by those whose names were drawn later by Andrea White, Vickie Chandler, and Sabrina Miller.

Lesley Lane of the Tech Team introduced the 2021 Annual Report video “A Year to Celebrate” with her stirring comments. This video is an inspiring visual recap that celebrates GWC’s many activities during the previous year. Such good memories were evoked of our quarterly meetings, socials, workshops, and GWC 2021 grants.

Andrea White, Executive Director of the Food Bank of Greenwood County, then shared about her involvement with GWC: “I was interested in joining this group of amazing women to help support and uplift the nonprofit community in which I love, network, and build a greater Greenwood. GWC is a special organization because the collective giving directly impacts Greenwood and advances the mission and vision of all organizational recipients.”

Next came “GWC Fun Facts” hosted by Laura Stowe and Rachel Strayer (our own Amy Poehler and Tina Fey) and our very own Vanna White, aka Catherine DiBenedetto (all from the Communications Committee). Fun Facts included how much money is currently in our endowment and that $200,074 in grants have been bestowed over the past three years via thirty grants. It was also fun to learn that you do not have to be “Old as Dirt” to join GWC, just “Older than a Kindergartener.”

Vickie Chandler then came to the stage and gave her testimonial as to why she joined GWC. Vickie was eager to support the community she has longed lived in and loved and to help introduce her daughter, Susan Albon, to a circle of community-minded women when she moved here. Vickie and Susan are Charter Members, and Vickie welcomed a new mother-daughter team this year, Terri Bacon and Carson Penney.

Next up was our 2021 Grant Number Shuffle! Casey Tompkins and Eleni Tsikalakis called seven women to the stage by the numbers or symbols found inside their fortune cookies. Each received a large card with a symbol or digit. Eleni and Casey led us through a rambunctious reordering of the women and their cards until the correct number was displayed: $78,449 awarded in 2021!

Sabrina Miller, Executive Director of the Boys & Girls Club of the Lakelands, then spoke about the place of GWC in her life and our community. Sabrina noted: “As a nonprofit leader that relies on the generosity of the community it’s a way to do for others what is being done for my organization. I believe GWC is so important because of its unique ability to allow any woman to become a philanthropist with a small annual donation, yet have that gift make a tremendous impact through the power of collective giving.”

Laura Bachinski, Vice Chair of the Advisory Board, referenced the four members who spoke and closed the meeting with a challenge to all in attendance. The challenge is to share one’s membership story with four other women and then bring them to the next GWC meeting on May 16 at the Self Regional Healthcare Cancer Center. She also thanked Greenwood Community Theatre for hosting GWC’s Annual Meeting, and all those who participated in providing this marvelous reception and program.

GWC Quarterly Meeting, “Going for the Gold! Academics-Arts-Athletics”, at Starz 24 Teen Center, February 22, 2022

This year’s first Quarterly Meeting was held at the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Lakelands in the STARZ 24 Teen Center. After members and guests fellowshipped and enjoyed delicious finger foods and beverages, they convened in an adjoining gathering room replete with a small stage. Edris Louise Robinson, GWC Advisory Board member and Chair of the Programs and Education Committee, offered a warm welcome and convened the program portion. The theme of our program was “Going For The Gold: Academics-Arts-Athletics.”

Pacquitta Coleman introduced a performance by Phoenix Academy of Arts that thrilled and entertained all with a song and dances to the music of Michael Jackson.

Rhonda McGinnis, GWC Advisory Board member and Chair of the Governance and Finance Committee, gave opening remarks.

Jamar “Hoot” Crawford of Next Level Lifestyles was introduced by Mamie Nicholson of our Programs and Education Committee. Mr. Crawford gave a brief background of his program that originally started as a training program with eight athletic players. Next Level Lifestyles has since grown to over 200 members and focuses on nutrition awareness, fitness, mentorship, tutoring, and community involvement. Young men comprise 95% of its members. He began this program in the YMCA but has since relocated to a building on Highway 72/221. With him were two of his mentees that have since become executives in the program: Tyra Murray and Titus Williams. Ms. Murray joined the Next Level program when she was seventeen years old. Mr. Williams, who is now the Executive Director of the program, joined Next Level Lifestyles when he was only twelve years old. Due to COVID restrictions, Mr. Crawford has scaled back the program’s meeting times to three days a week. Thursdays are reserved for SAT and ACT prep for those seeking to attend college. Weekends may include special programs that aim at community involvement, such as Super Bowl Sunday and Valentine’s Day. Members can also attend basketball camp when offered.

Carol Scales (Programs and Education Committee member) introduced the next presenter and host for this venue: Sabrina Miller, Executive Director of The Boys and Girls Clubs of the Lakelands, and GWC member. Ms. Miller gave a history of the Boys and Girls Club program and an overview of the numerous services for students in Greenwood and Saluda Counties. The main goal of the program is to provide a safe haven for students Monday to Friday where they can share dinner like a family and fellowship with other students in the neighborhood. There are often activities for the kids on the weekend as well. The program is open to students of all races in grades six to twelve who reside in the community. She also welcomed volunteers who love children and youth to serve tutoring a school subject or instructing in one of the arts.

Lisa Smith (Programs and Education Committee member) thanked our presenters and stated that Greenwood Women Care will donate three books to Greenwood County Library in their honor: World So Wide by Alison McGhee, Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry, and What If by Samantha Berger.

Laura Stowe, GWC Advisory Board member and Co-Chair of the Communications Committee, reminded everyone that our Annual Meeting will be March 15th and Edris Louise Robinson provided closing remarks.

New Members Soup Supper, February 10, 2022

GWC is happy to welcome 13 new 2022 Members! (So far!) On February 10th, our Membership Committee hosted an informal soup supper at the home of Nina Trent in honor of these women.

Our purpose was to welcome our new Members, give an overview of the activities of our GWC Committees, and provide a smaller gathering for women to meet others before our first Quarterly Meeting on February 22.

We shared a fine meal of several soups, breads, salads, desserts, and beverages and spent time in lively conversations. Chairs from our six standing committees gave an introduction to their activities within GWC. There was an opportunity for questions and discussion as well.

It was a lovely evening to relax and enjoy good food and each other’s good company!

Special thanks to Nina Trent for hosting us in her home, Membership Committee members for providing delicious food and drink, and Gay McHugh for taking photos.

GWC BYOF Social, “Bring Your Own Friend”, at The Greenwood Building, 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.

Greenwood Women Care logo

GWC 2021 Highlights, December 2021

GWC Highlights 2021

March 2020 – May 2021 Meetings for the full membership and guests were suspended due to Covid-19 precautions. GWC Committee meetings were held virtually.

January 2021 GWC Women’s Health Grant process announced to the community, as developed by an open subcommittee of the Grants Review & Awards Committee and other GWC Members

February 18, 2021 “Greenwood Women Care…About You!” Virtual event for new 2021 Members, hosted by the Membership Committee to welcome our 12 (now 16!) new members, complete with cake and a GWC candle!

February 23, 2021 GWC Quarterly Meeting, held virtually; “Community in Crisis Response” featuring presentations by: Rosemary Bell (Executive Director, Greater Greenwood United Ministry, and GWCMember) and Vicki Jackson (Survivor Support Director, Lighthouse for Life)

March 29, 2021 GWC Annual Meeting by email and Year in Review video produced by Lesley Lane on behalf of our newly formed Tech Team!

April 20, 2021 GWC Women’s Health Grant Award announced! Greater Greenwood United Ministry received $3250 for their Women’s Clinic in our first, biennial Women’s Health Grant cycle.

May 24, 2021 GWC Quarterly Meeting, our first in-person meeting in 15 months!  “Arts In Action!” held at The Arts Center and featuring a reception, performance by Palmetto Girls Sing!, and presentations by: Amy Fennell (Executive and Artistic Director, Palmetto Girls Sing!, and GWC Member), Karen Jennings (Executive Director, The Museum, and GWC Member) and Sylvia Martin (Executive Director, Arts Council of Greenwood County, and GWC Member)

July 22, 2021 “A Summer Soirée” at Inn on the Square, hosted by the Social Committee

July 28, 2021 Grant Writing 101 workshop presented at no charge by a Grants Review & Awards Committee subcommittee for 20 participants from local nonprofits

August 17, 2021 GWC Quarterly Meeting, “Celebrating Community Together” held at Cokesbury College and featuring a reception and our 2020 GWC Grant recipients, including the premiere of a video produced by our Tech Team and highlighting our grantees’ funded programs and projects

August 1 – 31, 2021   GWC 2021 Grant Applications received

September 21, 2021 “Autumn Skies & Apple Pies” at Catherine DiBenedetto’s farm, hosted by the Social Committee

September – October 2021 GWC presentations to community groups and at home gatherings

October 18, 2021 “Kick Off the Vote!” informational social for Members

October 18 -20, 2021   Member voting on 2021 grant requests – ranked voting online

October 25, 2021 GWC 2021 Grants Announced! $78,449 awarded to 12 local nonprofit organizations

November 16, 2021   GWC Quarterly Meeting, to be held at Burton Center and featuring a reception and presentations by: Jerry Rentz (Board Member, Emerald City Rotary Foundation) Dolly Parton Imagination Library, and Teresa Goodman (Executive Director, Community Initiatives, and GWC Member) Toddler Academy

December 31, 2021   GWC 2022 renewal due date

GWC Quarterly Meeting, “Focusing on Our Future – Our Children”, at Burton Center, 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!”, at Harley Family Center, 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