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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

GCCF Announces Community Enhancement Grants, August 2021

Greenwood County Community Foundation (GCCF) awarded grants to five local nonprofit organizations in our 2021 Community Enhancement granting cycle. Grant recipients and their funded programs are:

Arts Center of Greenwood County — for Black History exhibit and “Connecting with the Dream” community events

Boys and Girls Club of the Lakelands — for Project Learn

Community Initiatives — for Neighborhood Center Renovation

Greenwood Pathway House — Trauma-informed Services Project

Greenwood Performing Arts — for Intergenerational Outreach Performances

Beginning in 2012, GCCF has awarded more than $800,000 through annual Community Impact Grants and more than $4,000,000 through these Community Impact Grants, Donor Advised, Field-of-Interest and Community Response Fund grants. In each cycle of GCCF’s Community Impact Grants, grant applications are reviewed by a diverse committee of community members and funding determinations are finalized by the GCCF Board of Directors.

Information about the 2021 Open Granting grant cycle may be found at: www.greenwoodcf.org/grants/. For further details about the granting process, contact Mary Woodiwiss, Director of Grants and Projects, at mwoodiwiss@greenwoodcf.org or 864.223.1524.

Congratulations to our Grant recipients! Thank you for your dedication to enhancing life in our community!

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

GCCF Awards Innovation Grant to Community Initiatives, June 2021

GCCF Awards Innovation Grant to Develop Community Initiatives’ Free Dental Clinic

Greenwood County Community Foundation (GCCF) has awarded an Innovation Grant for $50,000 to Community Initiatives for the establishment of a Free Dental Clinic.

The GCCF Innovation Grant is offered biennially and supports creative ideas that foster strategic change within the Greenwood County community. It is awarded to applicant organization demonstrating a sound approach to addressing root causes of systemic problems or deficiencies, and by contributing to a healthy, thriving community. Collaboration and partnerships among organizations are expected and essential to assure lasting impact and success. Community Initiatives is utilizing their current patient base at their free health clinic, La Clinica Gratis, expanding the clinic to include others in need of dental services, and collaborating with local dentists and staff to implement the Free Dental Clinic, with plans to engage additional, local nonprofits and students from SC dental programs by the second year of clinic operations.

In response to this significant grant award, Leslie Fisk, Vice Chairperson of the Board of Directors of Community Initiatives, stated, “We at Community Initiatives are excited and proud of being awarded the Innovation Grant from the Greenwood County Community Foundation and of a new partnership with Whole Life Dental. Dental problems cause people pain, embarrassment, social isolation, and serious health problems. Many people forgo necessary dental work in favor of paying bills, such as rent or utilities. Addressing these problems will allow our clients to live life more fully and is just another example of how Community Initiatives seeks to treat the whole person.” Ben Dunlap, DMD, reiterated the importance of this clinic: “Basic preventative care can reduce the need for expensive restorative treatments when performed correctly and carefully. Unfortunately, the most vulnerable in our community currently have few options for receiving this care. We are blessed with the partnership of Community Initiatives and the Greenwood County Community Foundation. We are truly humbled by this opportunity to serve our neighbors in need.”

“This project is significant for Community Initiatives because it affects the overall health outcomes for our patients and the targeted population we serve, those with little or no insurance”, said Teresa Goodman, Executive Director of Community Initiatives. “Oral health is a window to a person’s overall wellness, and as a health driven organization, we must address and create health equity for underserved populations to be educated about oral health options and to receive treatment that will result in improved health outcomes, including longer lives. The development of a free dental clinic will change the lives of those who need it most and have a positive impact on our county’s health, workforce development, and other measurable outcomes. Thank you to the Greenwood County Community Foundation for seeing the vision and becoming a viable part of the project’s development. We are more than grateful for their support.”