A Note From Our Chair

A Note From Our Chair | Diana GerrishThe Women’s Fund of Central New York was a brainstorm in 1998, recorded its first donations with the Community Foundation of Central New York in March 1999, and gave out its first grants in 2001, when its endowment reached $170,000 in donations and three-year pledges. Today, halfway through our campaign to boost our endowment to $1M, it’s clear we’ve come a long way. Over the years, the Women’s Fund of CNY has given out nearly $140,000 in grants to organizations that fulfill our mission: 

To support, empower and recognize the advancement and full participation of women and girls in Central New York. 

Our endowment was $839,471 at the end of the 2012 fiscal year (March 31, 2012) and we distributed $24,000 in grants at our Spring Event on April 17, 2012. We’re creating a wonderful legacy for our community. 

Some things haven’t changed since those early days though. The Women’s Fund continues to be managed by a passionate, dedicated group of women who volunteer their time and skills. Personally, I love the stories from the early days of the Fund. One former Chair told me how the Governance Council would meet in someone’s living room to seal envelopes containing newsletters or event invitations. (With a mailing list of over 2,000, we now use a mail house!) The women put in this level of effort because they wanted, and we want, our donors’ gifts to fulfill the Women’s Fund mission as much as possible. The commitment and collaboration of Women’s Fund volunteers strengthen the organization and foster a network of women in Central New York focused on helping one another. 

Once our endowment reaches $1 million, we’ll be able to give out larger grants and start new initiatives, like the 2012-13 year “Kick Start” grant, where working capital is given directly to qualified women entrepreneurs. The Women’s Fund Governance Council is beginning to look at other ideas that can leverage our funds to result in greater positive impact. I hope you’ll be a part of the change and the legacy by contributing to the Women’s Fund of Central New York – and help us get to $1 million! 

— Diana Gerrish 

The Women's Fund of Central New York is a component fund of the Central New York Community Foundation.

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