Collective Philanthropy for Local WomenThe Community Foundation for Northern Virginia’s Business Women’s Giving Circle (BWGC) announced the winners of its fifth annual grant cycle today. A total of $52,500 has been awarded to four local nonprofit organizations and schools that provide STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math) programs to girls and young women in Northern Virginia. To date, the BWGC has awarded $230,500 in grants.
"These programs provide innovative and essential opportunities to spark STEM interest and expand the STEM skills of girls and young women in our region, and we are delighted to invest in their work after an evidence-based, deeply thoughtful selection process,” said Amy Kay, Principal at C3G3 – Strategies to Grow the Greater Good, and co-chair of the BWGC Grants Committee. “Now in our fifth year, our grantees’ work continually inspires our dynamic members to collectively identify and support outstanding programs, propelling our strategic initiatives to prepare girls and young women to achieve their full potential in STEM and advance a thriving community,” she added.
Currently with 58 members, the Business Women's Giving Circle brings together engaged women who want to support positive change for girls and young women in our community. Launched in 2014 by the Community Foundation for Northern Virginia, it invests in innovative programs, connects meaningfully with members and grantees, and inspires others to join the power of collective philanthropy. Annual membership in the Business Women’s Giving Circle is $1,100 and includes a vote in the annual competitive grant cycle. All contributions are pooled for a greater collective impact.
“As leaders in our communities and industries, BWGC members know how important positive experiences with science, technology, engineering and/or math are to this next generation of young women,” said Tanya La Force, founder of Mission Focused Consulting, and chair of the BWGC. “Careers in these fields offer greater financial and job security. With women still underrepresented in most STEM professions, our focus is to give more girls opportunities to grow their confidence in these subjects. As we celebrate 5 Years of Empowering Young Women, we look forward to growing our membership to have an even greater impact in the years ahead.”
The winning organizations are as follows:
RESET - $12,500Serving all of Northern Virginia
The grant will help to provide computer science, coding, physical science, and other STEM programs to Girl Scouts in Northern Virginia. Programs will enable Girl Scouts to achieve their STEM merit and leadership badges.
“This generous level of support from the Business Women’s Giving Circle will enable RESET to reach hundreds of Girl Scouts,” said John Meagher, RESET Executive Director. “We are gratified by the trust that BWCG has placed in our model of training older Scouts in computer science, who then lead hands-on learning sessions for younger Scouts. We also welcome the opportunity to provide these Scouts the opportunity to work with women RESET volunteers from STEM professions, who provide them with examples of education and career pathways that they may want to consider for themselves.”
Space of Her Own, Inc. (SOHO): $10,000Serving Alexandria
The purpose of this grant is to provide fun and engaging STEM projects to vulnerable 5th grade girls in Alexandria, serving 12 girls with the SOHO-Del Ray program, and 12 with SOHO-West End. This grant will also provide STEM-related activities for up to 90 girls during grades 6-8 with the SOHO Club.
“As founder and director of the Space of Her Own, I have been incredibly inspired by the enthusiasm, expertise and support provided by Business Women's Giving Circle members,” said Linda Odell, Executive Director. “You are a wonderful group of women and are very much appreciated. BWGC is a breath of fresh air.”
TrailsforYouth - $15,000Serving Fairfax County
Funding will support the Girls Rolling and Learning STEM (GRLS) program. This weekly club will use bicycles and physical activity to introduce and educate STEM principles to primarily at-risk girls in grades 5-8. While working on and riding bikes, girls will learn concepts such as hydraulics, ratios, resistance, balance, energy and movement all while getting exercise.
"Throughout history the bicycle has enabled women to experience freedoms they have never known before,” said Julie Childers, Executive Director of TrailsforYouth.Org. “With this generous grant from the Business Women's Giving Circle, TYO will provide girls with opportunities to experience STEM principles and concepts while receiving much-needed physical activity in nature."
Wesley Housing Development Corporation: $15,000Serving Fairfax County
“As a result of the Business Women’s Giving Circle’s generous support, Wesley Housing can expand the FILES program to more young girls from low-income households throughout Northern Virginia,” said Director of Resident Services, Darryl Leedom. “The program provides an innovative outlet for our youth residents to explore STEM learning and gain the technical skills needed for the 21st century workforce in a new, fun, and engaging way,” added Leedom.
“The girls and young women who will receive this year’s grants reflect diversity in age, in experience, and in their application of STEM,” said Catherine F. Schott Murray, Shareholder in the Estate Planning Group of Odin, Feldman & Pittleman, P.C., and co-chair of the BWGC Grants Committee. “Indeed, the techniques by which STEM is introduced, fostered, and allowed to grow within each grantee organization are innovative and exciting. We look forward to seeing the impact each grant will have on its respective community and engaging within each of those communities so that more can be inspired to join the BWGC and further broaden our reach.”