From its beginnings as a giving circle of 16 local women in 2007, the Women’s Fund of Northern Santa Barbara County has grown to over 200 members, awarding a total of $529,500 to 26 nonprofits in North County in just five years.

The Women’s Fund is pleased to announce the following 2012 awards to agencies that focused on activities for health and wellness:

Community Partners in Caring: $10,000 for volunteer expenses, especially mileage reimbursement, for door-to-door transportation to low income seniors living in Santa Maria, Lompoc, and Santa Ynez Valley.

Child Abuse Listening Mediation (C.A.L.M.)

$20,000 for its Great Beginnings Program that focuses on prevention and early intervention through home visitation and center-based services to the parents with infants or young children through age five who are at risk for poor mental health outcomes and/ or abuse in the Santa Maria, Lompoc, Guadalupe, New Cuyama, and Santa Ynez Valley.

Alzheimer’s Association

$20,000 for its Santa Maria Family Service Program designed to train and support caregivers of patients with Alzheimer’s in Santa Maria, Guadalupe, and Lompoc to deal with the stress and the overwhelming workload.

Planned Parenthood

$10,000 for two core community education programs which focus on the prevention of teen pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV/AIDS prevention in Santa Maria.

VTC Enterprise

$10,000 capital grant for its Sensory Integration Program to purchase specialized equipment to enhance sensory integration for adults who have deficiencies in this area, causing distress and confusion, making them act out.

Valley Haven

$10,000 capital grant to bring a bathroom to code and wheelchair accessible as part of licensing requirements to move into a renovated building, providing these Lompoc seniors extended hours and an additional day in a safe environment.

“It is truly amazing what can be accomplished and the positive community impact that can be made in the lives of women and children through collective giving,” said Jennifer Mills, chair of the Women’s Fund of Northern Santa Barbara County. “There really is strength in numbers.”

The Santa Barbara Foundation, a fiscal agent and partner to the Women’s Fund, provided generous staff support and covered administrative costs, enabling the fund to return all of its membership dollars to the program. It also granted the organization $10,000 included in the collective pool for this year’s grant cycle. In addition, the Women’s Fund received a generous grant of $20,000 from the Orfalea Foundations.

The Commission for Women honored the Women’s Fund as the Santa Barbara County’s 4th District Service Organization of the Year for 2010 as an organization that advocates on behalf of women in need. In December, the Association for Women in Communications-Santa Barbara recognized this group as the associations’ nonprofit of the year for 2011. No doubt these women are using the power of the purse as a catalyst for change.


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