PJ staff report
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. – In just its third year of operation, a group of Fayetteville women is infusing the local community with $50,000 to improve the lives of women and children.
Created in early 2008 through a grant from NCGives, the Women’s Giving Circle of Fayetteville has been adding to its ranks, and its coffers, with 2010 grants almost doubling the total awarded in 2009.
The increase in funding comes as the recession takes a disproportionate toll on women and families in Cumberland County.
While homelessness overall in the county fell 10 percent from 2008 to 2009, homelessness among women and children grew by more than 16 percent over the same time period, says the circle’s Annual Scorecard, a collection of data used to educate circle members on the plight of the county’s residents.
Teen pregnancy rates in the county stood at 74.5 per 1,000 residents, higher than the overall rate for the state of 58.6 per 1,000, and almost one in four children in the county live in poverty, the scorecard says.
Created with a mission of promoting philanthropy among women and meeting the needs of women and children in Cumberland County, the circle started with 14 members and now has 115 on its rolls.
Each member pledges to donate $550 a year for three years, with $400 of that allocated to a grantmaking pool, $100 deposited into an endowment and the remaining $50 used to cover administrative costs.
While the fund is administered by the Cumberland County Community Foundation, the circle’s members are in charge of choosing the beneficiaries of its grants.
For the 2010 grant cycle, the members elected to focus awards on the basic needs of women and children, including food, shelter and health care.
The Cumberland County Department of Public Health received $20,000 for its Baby Store Project, a program that provides baby supplies to maternity patients that participate in prenatal care and education.
The circle awarded $12,500 to the Center for Economic Empowerment and Development to support its Lease to Home Program, which allows low-income families to rent homes with the goal of eventually purchasing the home.
St. Ann Neighborhood Youth Center received $7,500 for its Community Afterschool and Summer Program, an outreach effort that provides tutoring to children in public housing and other high-poverty areas.
Planned Parenthood of Central North Carolina was awarded $4,500 to provide educational materials and information to teens who are at risk of becoming pregnant.
The Child Advocacy Center received $4,000 to produce and distribute child-abuse prevention materials for several local programs.
And Hungry Angelz received $1,500 to provide food for homeless children during the weekends.