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Women's Fund

The Women's Fund is an endowment fund that is invested prudently and provides grants to help women and their families lift themselves to a better standard of living.  The fund is part of a growing movement nationwide, which allows women to fulfill their unique motivations to give back to their communities.  Our Women's Fund focuses specifically on making a positive impact in center Pennsylvania: Dauphin, Cumberland, Franklin, Lebanon, and Perry counties, and the Dillsburg Area.

For more information on the Women's Fund,
click here to view the brochure.
If you would like to pledge your support for the Women's Fund,
click here.

Status of Women in the States

The Status of Women in the States provides data on the current financial, social, etc. status of women in the United States and the District of Columbia. The data can be used to raise awareness, improve policies, promote women’s equality, identify needs, and create solutions.

Click here for information about the newly released Status of Women in States report.

Women's Fund Featured Grantee
The current Women's Fund Featured Grantee is the Camp Koala. For more information about the current featured grantee, click here.

Women's Fund Dream Team Featured Member
The current Women's Fund Dream Team Featured Member is the Jessica Ritchie. For more information about the current featured Dream Team member, click here.


Save-the-Date: Women's Fund 2015 Power of the Purse

Mark your calendar for the 2015 Power of the Purse focusing on "A Women's Ability to Drive Philanthropy".

Date: September 15, 2015

Time: 5:00 - 7:00 pm

Location: Hershey Lodge

More information to come!

Executive Committee
  • Carolyn C. Dumaresq, PA Department of Education, Retired, Chair
  • Norma Gotwalt, Community Volunteer
  • Hon. Patty Kim, PA House of Representatives, 103rd Legislative District
  • Julia Mallory, The Mental Health Association of the Capital Region
  • Ho-Thanh Nguyen, Pennsylvania Immigrant and Refugee Women's Network
  • Elaine Nissley, McKonly & Asbury LLP
  • Shileste Overton-Morris, Center for Schools and Communities
  • Jessica Ritchie, PinnacleHealth Foundation
  • Dr. Michele Sellitto, PA Department of Education
  • Karen Snider, Susquehanna Consulting & Financial Group

Development Committee
  • Dr. Michele Sellitto, PA Department of Education, Chair
  • Norma Gotwalt, Community Volunteer
  • Julia Mallory, The Mental Health Association of the Capital Region
  • Shaylene Scheib, Lebanon Valley College
  • Kerry Voss Smith, Office for Dispute Resolution

Grantmaking Committee
  • Elaine Nissley, McKonly & Asbury LLP, Chair
  • Norma Gotwalt, Community Volunteer
  • Sylvia Hepler, Launching Lives
  • Judith S. Samkoff, Growing Strong
  • Jody Silliker, Christ Lutheran Church Health Ministries
  • Karen Snider, Susquehanna Consulting & Financial Group

Marketing & Public Relations Committee
  • Robin Scaer, YWCA Greater Carlisle, Chair
  • Lynn Burkholder, RLB Marketing, Inc.
  • Meredith Schuler, PA House of Representatives
  • Jessica Wolfe, FGV Media

Women in Philanthropy Committee
  • Karen Snider, Susquehanna Consulting & Financial Group, Chair
  • Janice R. Black, The Foundation for Enhancing Communities

Grant Deadline for 2015: October 2, 2015
Please click here for more information on How to Apply.
Grant guidelines and application materials are made available approximately 8 weeks prior to the application deadline.

2014 Women’s Fund Grantees
Capital Area Girls on the Run - $2,000.00
Project: Capital Area Girls on the Run Spring Team

Funding to support one of the spring teams from Harrisburg School District. Girls on the Run® is a positive youth development program which combines an interactive curriculum and running to inspire self–respect and healthy lifestyles in pre–teen girls. The curriculum is designed to aid and support girls in their emotional, physical, social, and intellectual development. The 24–lesson curriculum is designed for 3rd – 8th grade girls and combines training for a 5k run with lessons that inspire them to recognize and honor their individual strengths and talents and to celebrate their inner selves. The culminating event of the 12–week season is the opportunity for the girls to participate in a non–competitive 5K running event. For most of the girls, this is the first time that they have ever attempted a physical goal of this magnitude and completion of the 5k provides an incredible feeling of strength and a real sense of accomplishment.
Carlisle C.A.R.E.S. - $1,000.00
Project: Family Grief Support Groups

Carlisle C.A.R.E.S. (Combined Area Resources for Emergency Shelter) has been serving the Cumberland County community since 2004. C.A.R.E.S. began as a mission through Carlisle United Methodist Church, and after sheltering a few men for a night, members of the church and the community realized there was a much bigger issue that needed to be addressed. As support grew, C.A.R.E.S. was able to offer shelter year round to as many as 60 guests each night, and throughout the years, the need to expand the program has grown. The family emergency shelter allows C.A.R.E.S. to shelter families using a network of churches. There are multiple shelters in Cumberland County and surrounding areas, but C.A.R.E.S. is the only emergency shelter and it acts as a gateway for families to be directed to and receive services in the community. Most families served by the Emergency Family Shelter are single mothers; out of 33 families served in 2014 as of October, 31 have been single mothers. The program helps to empower these women to be the best mother they can be and starts by helping them find a job and housing to support their family. C.A.R.E.S. also works with community organizations to refer guests to parenting classes to improve their skills.
Community First Fund - $2,000.00
Project: Women's Business Center

Community First Fund, founded in 1992 provides a variety of financing and technical assistance programs to individuals and community based organizations committed to starting and expanding small businesses, creating affordable housing units and developing commercial real estate spaces that will positively impact the community. Throughout their history Community First Fund has invested more than $85 million into more than 1,300 projects in central and eastern Pennsylvania. This has resulted in the creation and retention of more than 5,000 jobs; almost 4,000 educational opportunities for children through the startup and expansion of childcare facilities and charter schools, and more than 800 units of affordable housing. Over 80% of the people who have received loans from Community First are low income or located in a low income community; nearly 40% are women business owners. The Women’s Business Center (WBC) at Community First provides training, customized business counseling, loan capital and advocacy support to small business enterprises. The goal is to develop more knowledgeable, better prepared business owners by focusing on their unique needs and providing one on one business counseling services and intensive classroom training that supports business startup and growth in primarily low income communities. Community First Fund is certified by the Small Business Administration as a Women’s Business Center and as such focuses on the specific needs of women business owners and potential entrepreneurs, especially women who are economically or socially disadvantaged. They are offered comprehensive training and counseling on a vast array of topics in multiple languages to help them start and grow their own businesses.
Good Samaritan Physician Services - $500.00
Project: Preparing Young Women for Pregnancy & Parenting

The Family Support program has a long history of providing care for at-risk children and families and has become an integral aspect of patient care at the Good Samaritan Family Practice and its sister sites in Lebanon County. Developed within Good Samaritan Physician Services to identify, track, and offer interventions to children aged 0-6 who are at-risk of becoming “health care dropouts”, the program supports the Strengthening Families philosophy through case management, home and office visits, parent education, referral and follow-up of behavioral and/or developmental issues, attention to well-child and immunization statuses, screening for depression and domestic violence, and helping patients to coordinate with community agencies. The Family Support program offers prenatal and post-partum home visits to provide supportive education and anticipatory guidance to parents, in addition to the regular contact made via office visits and case management throughout the duration of prenatal care. The goal of providing such education is to empower women to be informed and confident mothers, and ultimately encouraging healthy pregnancies and positive parenting. Increased knowledge and awareness promotes injury prevention for mother and baby, reduces ER visits for mother and baby, and reduces the risk of child abuse. The funding received will help the Family Support program purchase small safety items (outlet covers, doorknob/handle locks, and baby gates) to supplement the injury prevention curriculum currently presented to mothers. In addition, funds will also help provide essential baby items such as formula, bottles, and diapers – items that are frequently identified as needs by young mothers. The program offers an immediate solution to ensure the child’s needs are met, after which education and community support is provided to the mother to ensure a long-term plan and solution is in place.
Healthy Steps Diaper Bank - $2,000.00
Project: Diaper Need and Proper Diapering Awareness

Nearly 6 million babies in the United States three years of age or younger are living in low-income families. Public resources such as food stamps and the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program do not provide diapers. Without a sufficient supply of diapers, parents are forced to keep babies in diapers longer than is healthy for the child; sometimes diapers are reused. Healthy Steps Diaper Bank, established in July 2013, collects, stores, and helps distribute free diapers to families in need through partner agencies. Healthy Steps, the only Diaper Bank in the Greater Harrisburg Area, is on a mission is to address diaper need by providing a sufficient supply of disposable diapers to keep babies and toddlers, clean, dry and healthy. Healthy Steps Diaper Bank provides diapers to women’s shelters and family service agencies throughout Dauphin, Cumberland, Perry, and Franklin counties. Case managers at partner agencies identify diaper needs for their clients and order diapers from Healthy Steps on a bi-weekly basis. Diaper orders are based on the Department of Health recommended daily diaper usage for specific ages, and the order for each child is based on the amount of diapers needed to supplement what the mother can supply on her own. Healthy Steps Diaper Bank also provides training on “Proper Diapering” to educate mothers on the importance of frequent changing.
Lebanon Rescue Mission Inc. - $1,620.00
Project: Agape Family Shelter Security System

For over 25 years, the Agape Family Shelter has housed hundreds of homeless women and their children. The program provides a nurturing environment for single women, pregnant women, and women with children. The staff works with each family individually to create a unique plan for their future. Goal-setting, financial planning, parenting education and informal counseling help to boost residents’ confidence and teach them necessary life skills. Connections with local agencies for child care, mental health services, educational opportunities, and job placement give women the tools to succeed. Women may leave Agape with a GED or job skills certification, a full-time job, a substantial nest egg, or a better understanding of how to be a parent. Even as families transition into independence, Agape continues to offer a safety net of emotional and material support. The relationships built at Agape can endure for a lifetime. Grant funds will be used towards the purchase of an in-house security system. Currently, there is no security system in place; a system will provide increased security for female shelter staff and residents, as well as the children living at Agape Family Shelter. This would not only protect the property, but would promote an overall sense of safety. Feeling secure is particularly significant for women who have been abused or otherwise victimized; these women compose the vast majority of Agape Shelter’s residents.
Neighborhood Center of the United Methodist Church - $2,000.00
Project: Young Mothers Together

Neighborhood Center serves at risk, low-income, and inner-city children, youth, and families with educational, cultural, human service, basic needs, and recreational programs. Presently, the Center offers affordable childcare programs for children ages 3-12 years, a free teen program for ages 12 ½ -18, and Young Mothers Together, a program for pregnant and parenting teen girls. Services for adults include a weekly food distribution, assistance to underinsured adults for prescription eyeglasses, and a free clothing bank. Neighborhood Center is also a referring agency for New Digs, a furniture program, and Recycle Bicycle, a bike program. Young Mothers Together is a free and comprehensive program offering one-to-one counseling, and monthly educational and support meetings which include topics such as nutrition, immunization, infant care, and life skills. Young Mothers Together enhances teen parent confidence and competence, and offers strategies to help the transition to adulthood. The program works with teen mothers to complete their education, navigate the network of assistance agencies, and care for their baby.
Perry County Literacy Council - $1,000.00
Project: Outreach to Moms and Daughters

Perry County Literacy Council (PCLC), founded in 1984 with a goal of reducing illiteracy, has sustained and grown, building capacity to address changing community needs and supporting a wide range of Adult Education programs that address a wide range of participants, at no cost to the participant. PCLC programs include adult basic education tutoring, including English as a Second Language; GED® preparation tutoring, classes, and official onsite testing at two sites; workforce preparation classes at two sites; and college and career readiness classes with official onsite certification testing. PCLC is a rural community organization challenged to reach its audience as the student demographic includes individuals who may not be able to read and who may not have access to television, newspapers or Internet. Most Students are referred by partnering agencies or former Students. There is a strong interest in serving mothers and daughters, as the cycle of illiteracy and poverty begins early in life and continues with the next generation. This project will support outreach, distributing resources at locations where women access services. Resources to be distributed include tote bags for mothers, children’s books targeting daughters, printed outreach materials that promote PCLC’s programs, support services, and partners and early childhood education parenting materials. The objective is to reach more young mothers and ultimately enroll them in PCLC programs. Grant funds will be used to purchase books to distribute to the girls. The children’s books will encourage early reading and offer a literacy resource that many low income families cannot afford.
Planned Parenthood Keystone - $2,000.00
Project: Comprehensive Sexuality Education with STD Testing and Treatment

Planned Parenthood Keystone (PPKey) serves 37 counties, home to 43% of Pennsylvania residents. Alongside medical centers in Chambersburg and Harrisburg PPKey operates 14 other medical centers throughout Eastern and Central Pennsylvania. More than 95% of the services offered locally comprise of potentially life-saving cancer screenings, birth control, testing and treatment of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), breast health services, Pap tests, sexual health education, and information and health counseling.

Through this grant, PPKey will provide comprehensive sexuality education to women and girls (representing patients who live below the federal poverty level or up to 150% of FPL) who access services for STD testing at the Harrisburg medical center in Dauphin County and Chambersburg medical center located in Franklin County. The education will be provided by either clinicians and/or medical care assistants. In addition to the verbal education, patients will be provided with materials that reinforce the education they have just received from a staff member. In 2007 the Pennsylvania Department of Health cited Dauphin County as having the highest Chlamydia rate of 545.28 per 100,000 people, which is more than 58% higher than the state’s rate. The rates of Gonorrhea and HIV/AIDS in Dauphin County are also higher than the state’s rate.
Salvation Army Harrisburg Capital City Region - $1,750.00
Project: HAVE Self-Sufficiency Program for Women

Since 1885, The Salvation Army Harrisburg Capital City Region has provided a variety of programs and assistance opportunities to serve the needs of children, families and senior citizens in our community. Services include: family services (weekday hot breakfast program for homeless and needy individuals, food pantry, basic needs assistance including help with utilities, clothing, household needs, furniture, holiday assistance, HAVE self-sufficiency and education program); children and youth programs (afterschool program, Bridging the Gap, and Summer Youth Enrichment); and League of Mercy visitation and outreach to senior citizens. Grant funds will be used to support at least two families with female heads of household in the intensive HAVE Self-Sufficiency Case Management program. Through HAVE, the Salvation Army provides long-term, one-on-one case management to help clients achieve long-term self-sufficiency. The program emphasizes four key areas: 1) employment; 2) housing; 3) transportation; 4) personal financial management (living within a budget). Clients are selected to participate in HAVE based on their motivation and ability to succeed if supported and held accountable for doing so. Clients agree to meet with the case manager for two hours each week, identify the barriers that are prohibiting their movement towards self-sufficiency and to establish goals and action plans to achieve goals. Clients are held accountable for their progress and supported with counseling and material support throughout their journey.
Shalom House - $1,000.00
Project: Empowerment by Design

Founded in 1986, Shalom House continues to be a safe home for up to 21 women and their children during a time of crisis as staff work with them to achieve self-sufficiency by connecting them with available resources. Programs include emergency sheltering for women and children including basic needs and extended case management services, the SHARP program which serves women who are chronically homeless and typically have a verified disability, and the SHARP VETS program which is a transitional housing program for homeless female veterans. Shalom House has been developing relationships with Members 1st, Milestone Bank and through an ongoing partnership with the United Way's Prosperity Center initiative, PNC Bank. In addition to accessing appropriate materials for all age groups that share basic information about money, banking and budgeting, Shalom House has been taking steps to incorporate assessments on personal core values, and offering training and mentoring sessions that address mindset issues that interrupt healthy purchasing habits (for example, impulse buying), saving practices, and other behaviors that preclude achieving stability, much less sustainability. Empowerment by Design is a program where Shalom House is able to access existing protocols and services offered by and through partners like Members 1st and the Prosperity Center protocols, but can augment those efforts through one on one mentoring and training, addressing the more relational components of creating a solid foundation for financial wellness.
South Central Community Action Program Inc. - $1,000.00
Project: Circles of Support

South Central Community Action Programs (SCCAP) empowers families and engages the community to pursue innovative and effective solutions to break the cycle of poverty. The agency has been instrumental in developing and implementing programs that have both strengthened the community and integrated low-income individuals into the mainstream of economic life. As of 2014, the agency operates the following critical programs: Women, Infants and Children, Weatherization, Homeless Shelters, Emergency Food and Utility Assistance, Micro-Enterprise Foodservice Training, Circles of Support, Child Care Information Services, Work Ready, MLK Career Scholarships and Gleaning. Circles of Support is a co-educational program designed to help families living in poverty move to self-sufficiency. Though it is co-educational, 84% of families who attend the program are single mothers. The model has a special focus on the issues that relate to women and girls and is unique in that SCCAP listens first to the needs of the families and then designs the program to meet the identified needs by building effective support systems around women and girls as they work on goals to build economic self-sufficiency. Initially, members of the Circles group go through a curriculum, Getting Ahead in a Just-Gettin’-by World, where families look at what life is currently like, what the causes of poverty are, and how economics can impact one’s hidden rules. Families then do a self-assessment of 11 different resources a person possesses, which serves as a springboard for families to create strategic goals for building economic stability. Once Circles members have finished the curriculum, they are partnered into a circle of supportive allies, who are community volunteers. Allies provide:
  1. relational support, which has a plethora of benefits for anyone working to accomplish a goal;
  2. additional brainstorm capacity; and
  3. an extended network of connections in the community.

The Foundation for Enhancing Communities, 200 North Third Street, P. O. Box 678, Harrisburg, PA 17108-0678,
Telephone: (717) 236-5040, Fax: (717) 231-4463