News

Our work is to raise funds and awareness of women's issues in Essex County and distribute grants to programs addressing these issues. We do this through 2 major annual fundraising events, through our grant-making program and the occasional community work day. Learn about our recent events below.

News

Women and Wellness
The Women’s Fund of Essex County works toward healthy change for women in need.
February 21, 2017
Northshore Magazine

The Women’s Fund of Essex County is an organization consisting of local women committed to “creating social change for women and girls in need.” It is with this principal in mind that the group makes decisions about how best to distribute the funds it raises to local nonprofit organizations and programs.

What sets the group apart are the high standards it holds itself to, and it expects the organizations it helps fund to do the same. While it has several fields of funding, the health-related services and programs for women the group is involved with stand out for the real difference and positive impacts that they make on the lives of local women in need.

Lynn Bryant is the fund’s president and is at the helm of an organization that is made up of volunteers who appear to be anything but, given the amount of time and passion members donate to the cause.

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Events North of Boston
November 17, 2016
Alyse Gause Photography. Sandra Suarez (left) of Compass Working Capital in Lynn helped Rosa Paulino save enough money to buy a home.

By Vanessa Nason, Globe Correspondent, Nov 4, 2016
Boston Globe

The Women’s Fund of Essex County held its 14th Annual Grant Awards Luncheon at the DoubleTree by Hilton Boston North Shore in Danvers, More than 300 women attended. The fund awarded $280,000 to 23 local nonprofits that provide outreach programs and services to women and girls in the areas of health advocacy, economic empowerment, rape crisis, domestic violence, and more. Since it was founded in 2003, the fund has awarded $1.3 million to over 90 nonprofits in Essex County.

Thank You
October 22, 2016

Wow! What a day! The Women's Fund of Essex County would like to thank our more than 300 guests as well as all of our generous donors who made Thursday's 14th Annual Grant Awards Luncheon a great success! We are so proud of all of the work of this year's twenty-three grant recipient agencies are doing to effect social change.

We were all inspired by Sherry Riva, Executive Director of Compass Working Capital, as she described how they are giving women the financial literacy skills needed to create savings plans to help them move from Section 8 housing into privately purchased homes. This was beautifully illustrated by Rosa's story. The work that Compass does on a daily basis is a perfect example of what we mean when we say The Women's Fund of Essex County supports programs that change women's lives.

Filmmaker, advocate, and President and CEO of the nonprofit organization The Representation Project, Jennifer Siebel Newsom wowed us with her passion about the need for us all to be more aware of how we impose gender stereotypes in all aspects of our lives, and how we pay the price individually and as a society for doing so. Her talk included film clips from her documentaries Miss Representation and The Mask You Live In. Jennifer is inspiring individuals and communities to challenge and overcome limiting gender stereotypes.

"It's high time we inspire all of our girls to be President, CEO's and entrepeneurs just as we encourage our sons to be empathic nurturing partners both at home and in their future places of work. Imagine what the world would look like if we had more women and men actively working to disrupt the current narrative and leave the world in a better place than we found it." - Jennifer Siebel Newsom

Each one of you is an important part of our community. We hope you left the Luncheon inspired by what is possible when forces for change work together. As our mission continues, we remain grateful for your ongoing support.

 

Empowering Women – The Women’s Fund of Essex County
February 11, 2016

Merrimack Valley Magazine
by Michelle Xiarhos Curran

Imagine being a single mother of three children. Now imagine having no place to call home.

For most people, the situation is inconceivable. But, according to the national nonprofit Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity, of the reported 4,500 homeless families living in Massachusetts, the vast majority of them are single mothers and their children. And there are other facts that are equally grim: 31 percent of single-parent families live in poverty; one in seven women and girls live in poverty, and one out of four of them will suffer violence or physical abuse in their lifetime, according to the National Women’s Law Center. Then there are the teen pregnancy, self-esteem and body image issues that are faced by so many women and girls.

Still, less than 8 cents of every dollar invested by organized philanthropy benefits women and girls, according to the Women’s Fund of Essex County’s website.

“Women and children have the greatest need and the shortest amount of funding,” says Becky Hallowell, president of The Women’s Fund of Essex County, an organization that raises money and provides grants to targeted nonprofit programs that are working to strengthen the lives of women and girls. “We need to step in and support that need.”

Read full story....

The Women’s Fund of Essex County’s Annual Luncheon
October 21, 2015

Essex County, MA, October 2015 – Close to 400 women gathered from all over Essex County to attend the 13th Annual Grants Award Luncheon at the DoubleTree by Hilton Boston North Shore. The Annual Luncheon recognized and honored fifteen nonprofit agencies that provide outreach and life skills to women and girls in Essex County. It celebrated the success of the grant award recipients and recognized their outstanding efforts to improve the lives of women and girls. In 2015, The Women's Fund was proud to award $230,000 to local organizations and sincerely thank all for attending and supporting the needs of the women and girls of Essex County.

Last year, The Women’s Fund announced a new unrestricted grant of $25,000 to one agency, presented on behalf of our Founders Circle. Our first winner is an agency whose vision and work is so exemplary that it goes above and beyond to meet the needs of their clients.

Above & Beyond Award for Excellence went to Raw Art Works in Lynn, MA.
This extraordinary agency supports over 1200 underserved young people a year from across Lynn’s cultural landscape.  Many have been victims of domestic violence or abuse, have troubled family relationships, are teenage mothers or may be on the street. All face issues that significantly limit their dreams and opportunities.  Through free art therapy and other programs they learn to tell their stories, work out their issues, envision new possibilities, and build the confidence and commitment for success in life.

We were honored to have Robin Young as the Keynote Speaker of Luncheon. Robin brings many years of broadcast experience to her current role as host of Here & Now. She is a Peabody Award-winning documentary filmmaker who has also reported for NBC, CBS, and ABC television.  Most notably, Robin was one of the first hosts on the groundbreaking television show “Evening Magazine”.

Founded in 2003, The Women’s Fund of Essex County’s mission is to promote philanthropy and to raise and distribute funds to organizations that provide opportunities and promote solutions for women and girls in need throughout Essex County. Since 2003, The Women’s Fund has awarded over $1 million to over 80 non-profit programs. The Women’s Fund is a field of interest fund of the Essex County Community Foundation located in Danvers, MA.

Women’s Fund of Essex County’s Grant Awards Luncheon Featuring Robin Young, Emmy Award Winning Television Host
September 16, 2015

Essex County, MA, September, 2015- The Women’s Fund of Essex County will host its 13th Annual Grant Awards Luncheon on Tuesday, October 6, 2015 from 11:30 am until 2:00 pm at the DoubleTree by Hilton Boston North Shore, 50 Ferncroft Road, Danvers, MA. The Annual Luncheon will recognize and honor fifteen nonprofit agencies that provide outreach and life skills to women and girls in Essex County. It will celebrate the success of the grant award recipients and recognize their outstanding efforts to improve the lives of women and girls. In 2015, The Women's Fund was proud to award $230,000 to local organizations.

Keynote Speaker of the Luncheon is Robin Young. Robin brings more than 25 years of broadcast experience to her current role as host of Here & Now. She is a Peabody Award-winning documentary filmmaker who has also reported for NBC, CBS, and ABC television and for several years and was a substitute host and correspondent for “The Today Show.”
Robin has received several Emmy Awards for her television work, as well as cable’s Ace award, the Religious Public Relations Council’s Wilbur Award and the National Conference of Christians and Jews Gold Award. She has also received radio’s regional Edward R. Murrow award. Perhaps most notably, Robin was one of the first hosts on the groundbreaking television show “Evening Magazine”.

Founded in 2003, The Women’s Fund of Essex County’s mission is to promote philanthropy and to raise and distribute funds to organizations that provide opportunities and promote solutions for women and girls in need throughout Essex County. Since 2003, The Women’s Fund has awarded over $1 million to over 80 non-profit programs. The Women’s Fund is a field of interest fund of the Essex County Community Foundation located in Danvers, MA.

To purchase tickets to the Luncheon and learn more about The Women’s Fund, please visit www.thewomensfundec.org.

Pat Connolly-Atkins Honored By The YWCA of Greater Lawrence
May 14, 2015

On May 14, 2015, the YWCA of Greater Lawrence honored Pat Connolly-Atkins as one of their Tribute to Women honorees.  Pat, one of The Women’s Fund founders and past presidents, was recognized for her many volunteer contributions, especially her work to help advance The Women’s Fund grant policies and procedures as chair of the Grants Allocation Committee 2007-2012.

In her Tribute comments, Mary O’Brien, Executive Director of the YWCA of Greater Lawrence, said of Pat:  Pat Connolly-Atkins is a dynamo who seldom sleeps. She is a senior public dental health professional and has served in the field of dental public health for over 40 years.  She is currently the Secretary of the North East Regional Board of Dentistry. 

Despite her extensive professional commitments, Pat has a long history of school and community volunteerism.  In particular, Pat has made a lasting contribution to The Women’s Fund of Essex County.  Pat was a founder, past president and a board member for nine years.  Her greatest contribution came as chair of their Grants Committee.  During her years of leadership in this role, she helped shape or refine many of the grantmaking processes and evaluation tools that The Women’s Fund uses to identify and fund nonprofit programs that are helping to change the lives of local women and girls.  Thanks in part to Pat’s contribution, The Women’s Fund is highly respected for grantmaking due diligence and effectiveness.

2015 Power of the Purse Fundraiser
May 7, 2015
Becky Hallowell, president of the Advisory Board welcomes all to the party. Photo by Abby Archer Photography.

Essex County, MA – May, 2015 – Over 250 women from all over Essex County attended the seventh annual “Power of the Purse” fundraising event and purse raffle held at Willowdale Estate in Bradley Palmer State Park, Topsfield.  Proceeds from the event help to fund the Women’s Fund of Essex County special projects and grant awards.  Special thanks to Willowdale Estate and to the generous merchants and friends who donated the fabulous purses and bags and beverages!

Founded in 2003, The Women’s Fund, a field of interest fund of Essex County Community Foundation, has awarded grants to date of more than $1,000,000 to over 80 different nonprofit programs that are changing the lives of women and girls in significant and sustainable ways.

Women Building for Women day
December 6, 2014

Thank you to all our Women’s Fund board members and friends who joined us on November 6th and December 6th for two fun and productive days helping to renovate homes for single-mother families in Lawrence.

12th Annual Grant Awards Luncheon Celebrates Grant Recipients
October 21, 2014
Left to right: Lynn Bryant, Grants Allocation Committee Chair, Rosa Jimenez, Center-Donna Rivera, Senior Vice President of Community Programs, Greater Lawrence Family Health, Center, Inc., Yamylet Ramos, Becky Hallowell, Advisory Board President. Photo courtesy, Alyse Gause Photography.

On October 21st, women from all over Essex County filled the ballroom at the Peabody Marriott Hotel for The Women’s Fund of Essex County’s 12th Annual Grant Awards Luncheon. Keynote speaker Piper Kerman, author of the best-selling memoir Orange is the New Black:  My Year in a Women’s Prison, shared her story and her passion for criminal justice reform with the group.  Nineteen Essex County agencies were honored, grant recipients under three fields of funding:  Economic Self-Sufficiency & Security, Health & Well-Being and Leadership & Empowerment:  Amirah, Inc., Beverly Bootstraps Community Services, Inc., Big Sister Association of Greater Boston, Boys & Girls Club of Greater Salem, Building Bridges Through Music, Inc., Citizens for Adequate Housing, Inc., COMPASS for kids, Express Yourself, Inc., Family & Children’s Service of Greater Lynn, Inc., Family Services of the Merrimack Valley, Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts, Jeanne Geiger Crisis Center, Lawrence CommunityWorks, Pathways for Children, SeniorCare Inc., The Plummer Home for Boys, Wellspring House, Inc., YWCA of Greater Lawrence and YWCA of Greater Newburyport.

"Powerful benefits result when we invest in women and girls.  Communities are stronger, our economy is more prosperous, and our nation is more just when we invest in the health and well-being, economic self-sufficiency, and leadership and empowerment of women and girls," noted Becky Hallowell, Advisory Board President.

The Women’s Fund extends special thanks to all of its generous business sponsors of the Grant Awards Luncheon:  Philanthropist Level sponsors include Anthony & Dodge, PC, Brookwood School, Glovsky & Glovsky LLC, Lahey Health, McCue Corporation, Oakmont Partners LLC, Robie Properties LLC, Salem Five Charitable Foundation, Shore Country Day School, Windover Construction and Zampell Refractories.

2014 Power of the Purse
May 8, 2014
Happy purse winner! Photo by Alyse Gause Photograpghy.

Essex County, MA—April, 2014 - The Women’s Fund of Essex County will host its sixth annual Power of the Purse fundraising event on Thursday, May 1, 2014 from 6:30-9 pm at Willowdale Estate in Bradley Palmer State Park in Topsfield. Inspired by the Victor Hugo saying, “As the purse is emptied, the heart is filled,” this signature event includes a ladies’ evening of fabulous hors d’oeuvres and wine, together with a raffle featuring chances to win distinctive purses and bags donated by renowned designers and retailers. Tickets for the event are $40 in advance and $45 at the door. Proceeds help fund annual grant awards made by The Women’s Fund.

The Women’s Fund of Essex County was founded in 2003 to promote philanthropy and to raise and distribute funds to organizations that provide opportunities and solutions for women and girls in need throughout Essex County.

To date, The Fund has awarded over $825,000 in grants to Essex County nonprofit organizations. The Women’s Fund is a field of interest fund of Essex County Community Foundation located in Danvers, MA.

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