Changing Lives Through Giving

Building a legacy year by year, a brief history of the Women's Fund

The Women’s Fund is established as a special fund at the Community Foundation.

A group of women philanthropists, inspired to help women and girls in our communities to grow and achieve their dreams, come together and raise $200,000, establishing a fund that

  • Addresses the serious issues that impact women and girls in our region
  • Builds a permanent endowment that can be used to help women and girls now and in the future
  • Allows the power of donors’ individual contributions to become a collective philanthropic force

The Women’s Fund launches a campaign to bring the Fund to $500,000 by our 10th anniversary in 2012

The $500,000 campaign goal is met, exceeded and celebrated at our 10th anniversary

Five years later, at our 15th anniversary, it’s time to look to the future and to set a new goal: $1 million by our 20th anniversary in 2022 through establishment of The Empowerment Society

We invite you to become a member of The Empowerment Society and play a significant role in supporting, encouraging and helping women and girls.

Empowerment Society members generously support the Women’s Fund with a cumulative gift of a total of $1,000 or more each calendar year. It's easy, just $84 a month ensures your membership in The Empowerment Society. Your gift can be in the form of cash or check. For greater convenience, you can use VISA or MC and pay online!

Members will be recognized in the Community Foundation’s Annual Report, in the Women’s Fund Newsletter and at Women’s Fund events.

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Women's Fund Initiative Yields Mental Health Information Service

WelLinked website screen shot

Women and girls in our five-county region who struggle with mental health issues have gained a powerful new tool they can use to find help. With support from the Women’s Fund and the Community Foundation, the Mental Health Association of the Southern Tier (MHAST) recently launched WelLinked, an online platform for finding mental health care providers and other services in Broome, Chenango, Delaware, Otsego and Tioga counties.

The roots of WelLinked ( go back to a study conducted by an ad hoc committee of the Women’s Fund, starting in 2014. The group investigated why women and girls in our region can’t always find the mental health services they need. There is no shortage of services in the region, the committee found. But without a comprehensive, up-to-date directory to aid the search, women had a hard time connecting with services that fit their requirements.

“Many times, there’s a disconnect between providers. Sometimes referrals get made, for example, to services that no longer exist, and that turns into a roadblock,” says Keith Leahey, executive director at MHAST in Binghamton. “When we do referrals, we have a list of therapists, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they’re all accepting folks.”

In 2016, the Women’s Fund and the Community Foundation jointly awarded MHAST $47,000 to develop a confidential, online resource for mental health information. Using a simple interface with drop-down menus, women (or caregivers and health care providers working on their behalf) can query WelLinked about services and then receive a list of available, appropriate options.

Providers of mental health services will contribute information to WelLinked and take responsibility for keeping it up to date, Leahey says.

Anyone can use WelLinked, of course, but MHAST is particularly trying to serve women, says Joanne Weir, the organization’s director of development. “We are marketing it to women, and the look and feel are designed to appeal to women.”

Based on the calls MHAST receives from people who need help navigating the mental health landscape, demand for this information is great, and it knows no socioeconomic boundaries, Leahey says. “Hopefully WelLinked is something that people are able to benefit from, and not hit a bunch of walls.”

Because it’s an online service, WelLinked also helps users by eliminating their concerns about the stigma attached to mental health problems, Leahey says. “The more anonymity they feel, the more likely that they’re going to get connected to services.”


Past Women's Fund Grant Stories


2015 Women's Fund Mental Health Focus Group Report

In March 2015, the Women's Fund Leadership Committee held a focus group of area providers to assess the mental health needs of women and girls and the services available to meet those needs. Find the full committee report here.


2012-2013 Women’s Fund Needs Assessment 

To better understand the needs of women and girls in the region and to better meet those needs we conducted a needs assessment in 2012. Read the full report here.


Together We Can Accomplish What None of Us Could Do Alone

Our Mission
Our Goals
Our Structure
What We Have Accomplished So Far
How You Can Help
Current Members of the WF Leadership Committee


Our Mission: "The Women's Fund improves and empowers the lives of women and girls in the region through collective and engaged philanthropy among women."

Women have made important strides in recent decades, achieving significant leadership positions in business, academia, government and the military. How can it still be, then, that two-thirds of American adults who live below the poverty line are women? How is it that more than one-third of all women-headed households in the U.S. fall below poverty level? What are we to think in a nation where a girl without a high school diploma has a 90% chance of being poor and raising children who will also live in poverty?

In 2002 we resolved to put the collective power of our hearts, minds and money to work to find solutions to these and many other serious issues that have a profound impact on women and girls, so we could make a real difference right here in our own communities.
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Our Goals

  • Address the serious issues that impact women and girls in our region by grantmaking to organizations addressing those issues.
  • Build a permanent endowment that can be used to help the region's women and girls now and for the future.
  • Provide an efficient way to turn the power of donors' individual contributions into a collective philanthropic force that can achieve greater impact on women's issues than any single smaller donation could.
  • Involve donors to the Fund in the process of deciding how the grant funds are spent and which agencies and projects receive them.

Our Structure

The Women's Fund Leadership Committee oversees the activities of the Fund and serves as an advisory committee to the Board of Directors of the Community Foundation for South Central New York, which has the legal responsibility for the operation of the Fund. The Leadership Committee's members (as well as those of other Women's Fund committees) are drawn from donors to the Fund.

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What We Have Accomplished So Far

The Women's Fund has made $130,300 in grants to over fifty projects and programs at nonprofit agencies throughout the five-county region we serve. We have funded programs that address: sexual violence and domestic abuse, financial literacy, small business development, character and leadership development for girls, women's health, parenting skills, Internet safety and more.

As of January 31, 2017 The Women's Fund balance was $ 670,104. As an endowed fund, we adhere to the Community Foundation's spending policy of 4%.  In 2016 we awarded $20,000 in grants for a total of $131,300 awarded since inception in 2002.

Women's Fund grants awarded to date.

How to apply for grants from The Women's Fund.
2017 Grant Guidelines

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We invite you to join us in the work of The Women's Fund!

Your gift can be in the form of cash or check. For greater convenience, you can make a pledge over time or use VISA or MC.

For those who aren't ready to make a gift right now, and are interested in learning more about planned giving options or bequests, we are happy to speak with you at your convenience. (Contact us)

Donate Now!Ready to make a gift or pledge of support?

Call us at (607) 772-6773 or download a convenient form to mail to:
Community Foundation for South Central New York
520 Columbia Drive, Suite 100
Johnson City, NY 13790

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Current Members of the Leadership Committee

Whitney Racketa, Chair Ann Machlin
Betty Goodwin, Vice Chair Roberta Melville
Jennifer Bastian Merri Pell-Preus
Karen Bearsch Margherita Rossi
Joan Eisch Nicole Rouhanna
Katherine A. Fitzgerald Jennifer Small
Amy Howard Marcia J. Steinbrecher
Cory Jacobs Amy Szostak 
Sandra Johnson  

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