The Circular
   Fall 2017   

...helping women and girls on the road to economic independence
September Education Meeting 
"How often have you given a donation and wondered, 'Where did that go?'"  This was the question that RWGC co-chair Nancy Bloom posed at the beginning of our annual Education Meeting. That question was soon answered by representatives from each of our ten grantee organizations in small round-table discussion groups. Members learned about the programs we fund, and grantees learned about other each other's work and areas in which they might collaborate. The exercise was not only educational, but also heartwarming, as members heard about the impact our grants have had on participants. Here are a few anecdotes from the meeting .
  • Crystal obtained a 'Certificate of Relief' as a graduate of The Women's Legal Action Project and Support Services program run by the Judicial Process Commission. The certificate restores rights she lost as a result of a criminal conviction. She is a mother of two and is now working on her degree at SUNY Brockport.
  • April's dream is to own her own house. She is working toward that goal as a participant in Empire Justice Center's C.A.S.H. (Creating Assets, Savings and Hope) program. One lesson she particularly valued was how to negotiate with creditors. She has also found comfort in being able to call her C.A.S.H. coach at any time for counsel and in meeting other women facing similar financial struggles.
  • Sarah came to Spiritus Christi's Jennifer House in handcuffs. She blossomed after a few stumbles in this prison outreach program. In her past, she had been addicted to drugs and had lived in an alley. At Jennifer House she stayed sober, went on to receive a B.S. degree at SUNY Brockport (with a 4.0 average!), and is now working on her Masters of Social Work degree.
Member Jill Miller presenting at the Big Brothers/Big Sisters table
Member Robin Weintraub presenting at the Unity Hospital Table 


Member Ann Weintraub and Cameron's Ysland Brown 
Member Nancy McAfee with Shawanda McGee and Shalinda Bollar from the Center for Teen Empowerment
Crystal White speaking of her experience
with the Women's Legal Action Project 
Member Ann Johnson acted as facilitator for this meeting and did a skillful job of keeping us on task! Thanks, Ann.  
Facilitator Ann Johnson

  Many thanks to our member photographer, Lori Farr, for these photos.

RWGC honored at the Community Foundation Luncheon
The Rochester Area Community Foundation celebrated its 45th anniversary at its annual Philanthropy Awards luncheon on September 19th at the Riverside Convention Center.
The RWGC received 'Special Recognition' and was lauded for reaching its 10th anniversary and for raising and distributing more than $1.1 million in grants to help local women and girls. Co-chairs Nancy Bloom and Melinda Andolina received a note from the Foundation which read:  

"To the Rochester Women's Giving Circle:
We are grateful for our 10 year partnership and look forward to many more years of RWGC grantmaking to assist women and girls in our community.  In recognition of this milestone anniversary and distribution of $1 million-plus in grants, Rochester Area Community Foundation will pay for a portable, stand-up banner to be created and printed so that you can promote RWGC at events."  
Attendees at the luncheon included members Emily Neece, Jolene Smith, Melinda Andolina, Paula Carter, Shirley King, and Joanne Giuffrida
Fall Social 
Seventy members and guests attended our Fall Social at the AAUW's Perkins Mansion. There was lively conversation over drinks and hors d'oeuvres.  The highlight of the evening was former RWGC co-chair, Shirley King's, presentation on the Venture-Up Grant. This was a two year $100,000 grant given in 2015 to Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection (HW-SC), an organization that helps Rochester youth graduate from high school and be prepared for college and employment. Our grant funded the salary of a Career Navigator who worked with two cohorts of 20 young women each year. The navigator's role was to help them transition from high school to college or vocational training, resulting in employment that paid a living wage and that had a career path.
Shirley didn't sugarcoat the issues...18 of the 19 young women in the first cohort going to community college had to take non-credit bearing remedial courses before they could even start a degree program. That caused a major "reset" for everyone -- the young women, the Giving Circle, and Hillside Work-Scholarship Connection. Participants had to revise their career goals and aspirations; the Giving Circle and HW-SC had to recognize that the grant's original outcomes - 80% graduating on time, on grade - were overly optimistic. The most surprising statistic Shirley shared was that, nationally, less than 1% of first-time, full- time community college students graduate in 2 years. And both national and local statistics show that for the demographic we funded, only 10%-17% graduate in 3 years.

Our grant covered a two year period so we do not have final outcomes for all of the young women. However, HW-SC projects that by summer 2018, or three years after the start of community college, 45% of the 1st cohort will graduate, far surpassing national and local statistics. Additionally, 2 other participants successfully completed vocational training, enabling them to be employed and earn a living wage. If those projections are accurate, that means that 55% of Cohort 1, or 11 young women, are prepared to be self-sufficient, taking charge of their lives. Results for Cohort 2 show that 16 of the young women were still involved at the end of the grant.

An important result of the grant was the systemic change that occurred at 
HW-SC. Their focus had been on getting students through high school and preparing them for "next steps." However, this grant provided them with information they never had....what actually happens to their students after they graduate. It was a wake-up call. They have now researched, designed, and implemented College and Career Services, a comprehensive process that progressively exposes students to careers, training, and education, starting in the 7th grade and culminating in realistic career choices by 12th grade. 

At the conclusion of Shirley's presentation, after a spirited Q and A session, members were in agreement that our funds were well invested and that they would like to do a grant like this again. 

"Standing Room Only" at the Venture Up presentation
Spotlight on the Membership Committee 

Do you ever wonder who so aptly organizes our events....from finding the venues, to registering attendees, preparing name tags, and getting the food and beverages? It is the Membership Committee.
Besides managing events, the Committee is responsible for attracting new members and retaining current members. It maintains ongoing contact with members, sends handwritten notes to guests who have attended functions to encourage them to join the Circle, and writes welcome letters to new members and thank you notes for contributions.
Once a year the Committee hosts an orientation session for new members to learn about the Circle in more detail. It's a great opportunity for new members to meet other new members in a small setting.  
Many Circle members join the Membership Committee so they can  meet and interact with other members on a first name basis.
The Committee is currently looking for several new members. If you're interested, contact either of the co-chairs, Nancy Hessler or Teri Davis.

Below are a few photos of some of the members of the 2017-2018 committee. 
Sandy Meade and Sarah Gardener
Eileen Bisha and Teri Davis

Judy Straw and Jerrilyn Boynton

Members of the Membership Committee at the Fall Social, Nancy Hessler, Cathleen Clancy, Jerrilyn Boynton and Judy Straw
The Power of Prevention:  LASS program 
When you consider that the typical juvenile female offender is 14-16 years old, the need for positive youth development programs at early ages becomes crystal clear. Girls as young as 8, especially those in poverty, are susceptible to the influences of gangs, drugs, violence, bullying, and negative media images. Research shows that girls who participate in high quality programs that promote positive behaviors and experiences gain self-esteem and self-confidence and are less likely to engage in risky behavior.
In our 2016 grant cycle, we funded  a financial literacy program for 6th grade at-risk girls at School #35. The program is part of an after-school initiative, named Ladies Attaining Self-Sufficiency (LASS), which seeks to develop a positive identity and life skills in the LASS girls. In addition to financial literacy, the girls learn about health and safety, emotional control, healthy relationships, respect for other cultures, manners and babysitting. 
We recently received a video from the LASS program which we'd like to share with you. We think it shows the powerful work that this small grassroots group is doing.
Click  here to watch it now.

Member News
Welcome to these new members:
New members Lindsay Garrett (above) and Linda Josephs (below)
  • Jane Chapman                              
  • Lindsay Garrett            
  • Linda Josephs
  • Jennifer Kaukeinen    
  • Susan Moore            
  • Janet Morris
  • Abbie Schonfeld
  • Jean Shafer
  • Shirley Shumway
  • Alice Smith
  • Sue Topel-Samek
  • Nancy Willer
Summer Patio Party at Susan Halpern's
In July , member Susan Halpern, opened her historic Pittsford farmhouse for a patio party. We sat on an open air porch, drank wine, ate hors d'oeuvres, and admired Susan's gardens.The best part was getting acquainted with other members in a small group setting. Below are a few pictures from the event:
New member Alice Smith
Cindy Yancey
Hostess Susan Halpern

Foreground: Nancy Bloom, Carol Medley, Melinda Andolina 
Back: Cindy Yancey, Laura Humphrey, Alice Smith and Judy Straw
Thanks to those who go above and beyond.....
As a member, your obligation to the Giving Circle is met when you pay your annual dues of $1,050, and we thank you for that. A special thanks to those who meet and then exceed this obligation... members who serve on committees, who host events (see the GracedbyGrit article below), who give beyond the financial obligation and who underwrite some of our expenses (like the wine at the socials!). Thank you, thank you, thank you!  

You may recognize the gorgeous model in this's member Margie Berliant. In May, Margie's daughter, Kate Nowlan, had a trunk show in Rochester with 20% of sales donated to the Giving Circle. Kate's California based workout wear company is Graced by Grit.  The event raised over $800 for the Giving Circle! Many thanks to both Kate and Margie. 
                                                                                                                                     After 10 years in leadership positions, one of RWGC's founders, Alyce Van Patten, is taking a break...but never fear, Alyce will still be a member and someone whose 'historical memory' we can tap! 
Alyce has served as co-chair of the Giving Circle, chair of the Grant Making Committee, a member of the Membership Committee, our archivist, and our record keeper and keeper of the books! Beyond the RWGC, she has been in leadership positions at  Zonta and at Resolve. Now she wants more well deserved time in her new home and with her grandchildren. 
T hanks for all you've done by starting and growing the Giving Circle, Alyce!
Last year, member Susan Halpern collected donated Christmas decorations for another of our grantees, Cameron Community Ministries. If you have any that you would like to donate this year, please contact Susan.  
Another of our grantees, Mary's Place, is always looking for clothing donations that would be appropriate for job interviews for the women in their program. If you have a donation, please contact Joni Steinman. 
If you would like to host a social for other members of the Circle and would like help organizing it, OR if you'd like to host an informational house party for friends who may be interested in the Circle, contact Membership Co-chair  Teri Davis. 
A member of the Steering Committee would be glad to come and give a short presentation to prospective members. 
We're in the process of updating our website, but for now, when looking at the RWGC website, log in to the membership page with your first initial and last name as your ID and 'circle2011' as the password. Disregard the stated length of time of your membership, as it's incorrect.) 

The Grant Making Committee- the 'heart' of the RWGC
Are you interested in doing some intensive but rewarding committee work?  Consider becoming a member of the Grant Making Committee. When you do, you will gain greater insight into the important work that is being done in the Rochester community by non-profit agencies.
At our September Education Meeting, Grant Making co-chair Joanne Giuffrida made a pitch to recruit members to the Committee. 
Members of the Grant Making (GM) Committee conduct the essential business of the Giving Circle, which is to make recommendations about which programs will the Circle will fund. GM Committee members are expected to:
  1. Attend and participate in five mandatory committee meetings. The dates for these meetings in 2018 are April 4, 11 and 18; May 9 and 16. Meetings start at 5:30 at St. John's Home.
  2. Complete assignments between committee meetings, including review of grant proposals.
  3. Work cooperatively with other Committee members to conduct site visits for the purpose of gathering supporting facts for a funding recommendation.
  4. Maintain confidentiality throughout the grant making process.
  5. Engage actively and respectfully in committee discussions of grant proposals.
  6. Vote on funding recommendations.
Giving Circle members who are interested in serving on the GM Committee should have good organizational skills in order to complete assignments at each
GM co-chair Joanne Giuffrida
stage of the review process. They should have the ability to analyze and synthesize proposal information and be able to communicate that information concisely to the Committee.   
Participation in the Committee's work provides an opportunity to work with some amazing women while fulfilling the Giving Circle's mission.  

If you're interested in being a member of this Committee, contact GM Committee co-chair, Joanne Giuffrida.  Please consider joining!
Save these Dates:   
  • Sunday, December 31, 2017
    • Date by which your $1,050 membership contribution is due
  • Tuesday, January 23, 2018
    • RWGC Business Meeting, 5:30-7:30 p.m. (doors open at 5), Asbury Basement, 1050 East Avenue, Rochester 14607
  • Wednesday, April 25, 2018
    • Spring Social, 5:30-7:30 p.m.,
      at the AAUW, 494 East Avenue, Rochester, 14607
  • Wednesday, June 20, 2018
    • Grant Awards Breakfast, 7:30-9:00 a.m. (doors open at 7), at the Monroe Golf Club, 155 Golf Avenue, Pittsford, 14534
  • Monday, September 17, 2018
    • Education Meeting, 5:30- 7:30 p.m. (doors open at 5), Asbury Gathering Center, 1050 East Avenue, Rochester 14607
  • Monday, November 5, 2018
    • Fall Social, 5:30-7:30 p.m. (doors open at 5), at the AAUW, 494 East Avenue, Rochester, 14607