For the first time, members of The Women’s Fund (TWF) of the Shasta Regional Community Foundation have been treated to an up-close-and-personal look at the non-profit sites benefitting from their membership dollars.  On April 16, TWF offered an inaugural “Grantee Tour” of two local organizations that received grant funding from TWF this year.  Grants are funded annual by annual membership dues paid by members of TWF with $45,000 in grants awarded in 2016. One Safe Place and California Heritage Youth Build Academy (CHYBA) in Redding were visited by more than a dozen TWF members as part of this first-ever field trip.

All members of The Women’s Fund were invited to participate in the three-hour tour; 14

took advantage of the opportunity to visit the current grant recipients. First stop … One Safe Place. There, Executive Director Angela Jones presented an overview of the organization’s services and led a tour of its Sierra Center.   Jones reported that, so far, five women and nine children — all survivors of domestic violence — have been moved into permanent housing with the help of this year’s TWF grant of $8,000 for the program.  Nine other women and their families have been approved and are in the pipeline for assistance.  As Jones said, “Housing is the primary barrier to breaking the cycle of domestic violence.”

Next stop on the field trip was CHYBA, where executive director Cathy Taylor gave the group an overview of the organization that is dedicated to rebuilding the lives of struggling youth.  

Part of a national Youth Build movement, Taylor described the program as “unapologetically comprehensive” adding that its students graduate with marketable job skills.  “Honestly, I can say that CHYBA would not be here today without having received its first grant from The Women’s Fund,” Taylor said. “It helped us get over a huge hurdle that first year.”  This year, CHYBA received $16,000 in grant funding from TWF for a “Basic Need Training Program” for young women ages 16 to 24 years old. The students are receiving basic life skills training and support for necessities such as transportation, child care, etc. to remove barriers to education and employment and help them achieve increased financial self-sufficiency. Presently there are 102 students, of which 43% are women.

TWF member Bonnie Hill thought the field trip “was wonderful,” saying, “I was intrigued to see where our grant funds went, with such big amounts going to such a great causes. There’s so much passion in the work these people do and I wouldn’t be able to see that if I hadn’t been there in person. The field trip was great because we got a physical view of how your money is used – see the actual people who are impacted by our membership dollars.”

Look for your chance to participate in TWF Grantee Tour field trips again in the months and years ahead. According to TWF Past Chair and Grant Committee Chair, Michele Goedert, “TWF is very excited to enhance our members’ experience by offering exclusive, behind the scene tours of past grantees.  Since 2010, TWF members have had the unique privilege of voting to determine what needs or issues our grant funding will focus on each year. Now our members have the opportunity to see first-hand how their membership dollars are creating a better life for women and their families in the Redding area.”

TWF members will be able to vote on the 2017 grant Focus Area between May 1 and May 14. Watch for your email voting link in April!  The winning Focus Area will be announced at TWF’s State of the Fund event on May 16 at The McConnell Foundation. Invitations will be emailed to TWF members in April for that event too.