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Zonta awards local grants of $74,500

By Staff | Feb 3, 2015

SalusCare clients with their holiday gift from Zonta: a printer for the computer system. PHOTO PROVIDED

Through the generosity of island businesses and individuals and the success of its annual A Peek at the Unique home tour, the Zonta Club of Sanibel-Captiva is again about to impact the lives of many women in Southwest Florida-more than ever before.

Each year around this time, Zonta-through the Zonta Foundation of Southwest Florida, a 501(c)(3)-awards grants to its partner organizations. This year, local grant checks totaled $74,500-the highest amount ever awarded for local projects.

Grants are made based on compatibility with Zonta’s mission to improve women’s lives, track record, and accountability.

To be eligible to apply, organizations must be named in the club’s strategic plan, have a relationship with a Zonta service team, and be a recognized non-profit with the mission of helping women.

The membership raises these funds annually through the Foundation and awards them in grants the following year.

Due to the unprecedented success of the record-breaking 2014 Peek, there was enough money this year to meet all or most of the grant requests.

However, the Grants Committee pays careful attention each year to ensure each request fits with Zonta’s mission and will impact the largest possible number of women.

Once awards are made, there are accountability measures such as half-year and year-end reports.

Virginia Jones, president-elect, who has chaired the Peek in prior years, commented: “Last year’s Peek was highly successful but we can never take this for granted. Also, we are about to engage in a new strategic planning process and partners may change as a result.

“As they move around the community generating support from sponsors and benefactors, our members are stressing that only with continued community support can we meet the needs, which grow every year.”

Here are the awards for 2015, in each of the club’s current focus areas:

Reducing Violence:

* Abuse Counseling & Treatment (ACT): $10,000 to support the salary of a bilingual counselor and behavioral therapy program serving up to 175 women.

* Guatemalan Rural and Children’s Education (GRACE): $9,200 for educational materials, workshops and an anti-violence “Laws for Peace” program in the U.S. and Guatemala.

* Human Trafficking Awareness (HTAP): $10,000 to expand current ArtReach and “train the trainers” programs, reaching 300 middle and high school students.

Education and Self-Sufficiency:

* Community Housing & Resources (CHR): $6,300 toward education costs-tuition, books and other fees-for 6-8 female CHR residents wishing to advance their job prospects.

* PACE Center for Girls Lee County: $9,000 to support the salary of a volunteer coordinator, expanding the efficiency of programs for at-risk teenage girls.

* Head Start/Parent University: $10,000 for materials, transportation and supplies for literacy/life skills classes for up to 250 mothers with children in Head Start.

Women’s Health:

* F.I.S.H. of Sanibel: $10,000 for up to 20 mammograms and follow-up care, other medical services and educational workshops and support for women in the Helping Hands program.

* SalusCare: $10,000 for software, workbooks and life skills workshops for up to 40 women and educational assistance for women seeking to further their education.

* For more information, go to www.zontasancap.com and click on “Service Partners.”

In addition, the membership has pledged $22,250 to Zonta International for its global projects targeting women’s health, education and freedom from violence.

The Zonta Club of Sanibel/Captiva is a service organization of professional women working together to provide hands-on assistance, advocacy and funds to strengthen women’s lives on the islands, in Lee County and around the world through Zonta International: visit www.zonta.org.

The 2015 Peek at the Unique is set for Saturday, March 14th. The tour has already sold out but there are other ways to support the club and foundation: visit www.zontasancap.com.