Northshore Magazine

Northshore October 2015

Northshore magazine showcases the best that the North Shore of Boston, MA has to offer.

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Page 124 of 222

L L OV E A L L O r i g i n a l L O VE ONE L O L A share the love 120 in-depth LIVE history," says Bryant, "and we've grown so quickly from a small group of women reaching out to friends and acquaintances." That group has since grown into a large network of supporters that include local businesses and people. Shortly after its creation, The Women's Fund partnered with the Essex County Community Founda- tion, which provides the Fund with administrative and legal backing and nonprofit status, among other things. The organization's two arms, the Advisory Board and the Grants Allocation Committee, each perform an important function: The Advisory Board, made up of around 20 women, performs the fundraising and administrative legwork. "Our Advisory Board is pretty remarkable," says Hallowell, "because each woman has signed on for terms of up to nine years. This is a big commitment, and a lot of work, but these women feel so passionately about what they do, and about the power of philanthropy to solve social issues." As an all-volunteer organization, they are in the unique position of be- ing able to invest the majority of the funds they raise directly into resources for women and girls. On the other end of things, the 20-member Grants Al- location Committee determines how to distribute those funds for the greatest possible impact. Bryant, who has chaired the committee in the past, explains, "We invite proposals from established agencies for existing programs that support women and girls in one of three ways: leadership and empowerment, health and well- being, or economic self-sufficiency and security." In 2015, The Women's Fund allocated $230,000 to 15 different agencies: $47,000 went to programs that promote leadership and empowerment, like SMART Leaders—a mentoring program run by the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Haverhill. Smart-Girl and the Leadership Academy at Camp Nokomis for Esperanza Girls also re- ceived funding this year. Grants equaling $52,000 went to economic self-sufficiency and security programs, such as the Homeless Mothers Self-Sufficiency Program. "We try to cover a wide variety of demographics, and a wide geographical area, with the programs we fund. The programs we choose generally benefit girls as young as seven or eight up to senior and elderly women," says Bryant. The Grants Allocation Committee's rigorous guide- lines for agencies and their extensive vetting procedures have earned them respect among the nonprofit commu- nity. The process begins in December, when the com- mittee receives applications for grants from over thirty agencies. Every eligible program receives a site visit from two committee members.

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