Every summer, the Zonta Club of Sanibel-Captiva, through its foundation, invites applications from 501(c)(3) organizations in Lee County for grants to be awarded early the following year. Those selected become Zonta partners, each with a club member as liaison.
And every March since 2002, Zonta has raised its grant funds through “A Peek at the Unique,” the home tour. In January 2020, Zonta distributed $104,700 from its 2019 Peek to 16 local partners, including Community Housing and Resources (CHR), F.I.S.H., SalusCare, Habitat for Humanity, Dress for Success, PACE and ten more.
Despite cancellation of the 2020 Peek last March, out of concerns for health and safety, funds for distribution in January 2021—while reduced—will be available through the generosity of benefactors, sponsors, and 2020 tour ticket-buyers.
Zonta is proud to introduce some of the wonderful organizations supported by these funds: Meet the Dr. Piper Center for Social Services, a Zonta partner since 2017.
Founded in 1976 to continue the work of Dr. Ella Mae Piper in the Fort Myers Dunbar community, the Center seeks to improve the lives of the low-income elderly and children with special needs aged 4-17. Zonta funds support the Center’s Foster Grandparents Program, which creatively links these two at-risk groups. Volunteer “grandparents,” who receive a stipend, mentor and tutor children identified by teachers as at-risk academically (through signs of domestic violence, sexual or other abuse, substance abuse, or parental incarceration). The children gain individual attention, school and life skills, and the consistent presence of a caring adult. The grandparent volunteers gain social and emotional confidence, leadership skills, and financial assistance.
Since Zonta’s involvement, the Center has seen 95% of the at-risk children advance to the next grade, and almost all grandparent volunteers reporting fulfillment in their work and improved physical well-being. In 2021, the Center hopes to maintain 90 female volunteer grandparents who will mentor and tutor over 200 girls in the Lee County school system. Zontian Susan Tucker, club liaison, said: “The Foster Grandparents program empowers women and girls, with a focus on Zonta mission elements such as education, economic self-sufficiency, safety and health. It is a win-win situation.”
Look for information soon about a “Repurposed Peek” set for Saturday, March 13. To support Zonta’s work with the Dr. Piper Center and other local partners, visit www.ZontaSanCap.org and click on “Donate.”