The Transylvania Times -

Women For Women Announces Grants


Maximina Lopez, a Mountain BizWorks coaching client and borrower, owns La Mexicana in Rosman. Mountain BizWorks received a $50,000 grant from Women for Women to expand a program that supports Latina businesses in four counties.

TRANSYLVANIA COUNTY, N.C. Gloria Steinem addressed a sold-out crowd of 1,100 at the 8th annual Power of the Purse luncheon Monday, May 21. The event took place at The Crowne Plaza resort in Asheville and included the announcement of $252,000 in grants to nonprofits addressing economic security for women and girls in Western North Carolina made by the Women for Women giving circle.

Speaking to the large and enthusiastic crowd, Steinem was eloquent and funny in a wide-ranging talk followed by questions from the audience.

She began by reminding attendees that “what is important about today is that you can change tomorrow.” In the course of her remarks, she addressed the future of the women’s movement, pay equality, parenting, distribution of wealth, North Carolina’s Amendment One and more.

The afternoon also included announcement of grants from Women for Women, an initiative of The Community Foundation of Western North Carolina. Since 2005, the Women for Women giving circle has made grants totaling more than $1.75 million. The 2012 grant recipients are:

• Burke County Public Schools/Family Connections - $47,000 awarded for an 18-month project. Step Up for Teens, which focuses on twelfth grade pregnant or parenting students and continues for six months after high school to help participants pursue education and job placement.

• Centro de Enlace - $55,000 awarded for a two-year project called ¡Edúcate! serving Latina women in Yancey County, a designated Tier 1 (highest need) area. The program will improve economic security for Latina teens and mothers through a multi-generational model, including weekly tutoring sessions, mentoring, financial planning, empowerment and relationship coaching, meetings with parents and overnight visits to colleges.

• Just Economics - $50,000 awarded for two years to hire a community organizer for Voices for Economic Justice, which trains low-income women to advocate on their own behalf, particularly for “living wage” jobs. Funding will support activities in Buncombe County and expansion into Transylvania County.

• Mountain Area Child and Family Center - $50,000 for two years for the Mothers on the Move program serving Bun-combe County. The project provides comprehensive support, case management and free or low-cost child care to allow low-income mothers to pursue educational and professional goals.

• Mountain BizWorks - $50,000 for one year to expand Empowering Latinas Through Business and Credit Building, which provides customized business coaching and loans to start or grow businesses. Participants come from Buncombe, Henderson, Polk and Transylvania County.

Elizabeth Brazas, president of The Community Foundation, said, “Women for Women is successful because the group is guided by a vision of the change they want to see. The Community Foundation is proud to partner with them to help to make that vision a reality.”

The Community Foundation is a nonprofit serving 18 counties in Western North Carolina; a permanent regional resource that inspires philanthropy, mobilizes resources and facilitates more than $8 million in charitable giving annually.

In 2011, The Community Foundation adopted a new strategic plan that focuses discretionary resources on people in need, early childhood development, food and farming and preserving natural and cultural resources. More information can be found at


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