The Ojai Women’s Fund (OWF) is currently holding elections for grant recipients of its inaugural year funding program. Winners of the 2016 grant awards will be announced November 1st. OWF was the dream of Ojai residents Karen Evenden and Peggy Russell. In less than nine months, Evenden and Russell gathered a team, created a grants-making organization to fund Ojai nonprofits with membership donations, and signed on almost 300 Ojai women to participate in its first year of shared giving. OWF surpassed its initial goal of $35,000 by raising a total of $56,000 to distribute among five local grant recipients currently being chosen by member votes.
The Ojai Women’s Fund shared giving concept is based on the very successful Santa Barbara Women’s Fund. Member dollars are pooled and member votes determine the programs to receive financial grants. This approach to philanthropy makes it possible for women of all economic levels to participate and be proactive in their own community. Each vote represents a $1,000 donation: members may choose to contribute the entire amount to earn an individual vote, or donate $100 or more and join a shared giving group to participate in a collective vote. Either way, each woman has a voice and a vote on where her money is directed.
OWF is about caring relationships with each other and the community. Rewards are threefold: members benefit through a shared approach to research, decision-making and giving; local nonprofits benefit through financial grants to help fund critical programs (organizations not selected to receive grants still will benefit from raised profile and greater awareness of good works); and Ojai benefits immeasurably from a concerned, involved population of women and their valuable contributions to the many local programs that assist and sustain our community.
Ballots for the 2016 OWF Grant Cycle are now in the hands of individual members and group captains. OWF groups have been gathering to discuss the candidates researched and nominated by the OWF Grants Committee and will submit their ballots by October 25. Out of this year’s 33 nonprofit applicants, 11 are on the ballot and five will be selected. The goal of the Ojai Women’s Fund is to designate one financial grant to each of five categories: Arts, Education, Environment, Healthcare and Social Services.
On December 1st, the Ojai Women’s Fund will host a celebratory 2016 Grant Awards Presentation at 5:00pm at St. Thomas Aquinas Center, 183 St. Thomas Dr., Ojai. Everyone is invited and encouraged to "save the date". Tickets may be purchased after November 1 online at the OWF website or over the phone by calling (805) 746-3096. A $20 per person donation is requested.
Visit www.ojaiwomensfund.org for more information on Ojai Women’s Fund membership, grants, tax-deductible donations, community involvement, volunteer opportunities and more.