Every January, the Zonta Club of Sanibel-Captiva, through its foundation, awards grants to local non-profits whose missions mirror Zonta’s own: empowering women and girls. The funds represent proceeds from Zonta’s annual home tour, A Peek at the Unique, which was cancelled this past year due to coronavirus concerns. However, through the generosity of many businesses and individuals, local grants totaling $82,500 have been awarded to 15 Lee County programs, including two on Sanibel.
This has been a year like no other, and Zonta faced additional challenges, with requests totaling over $165,715, about twice the amount available to distribute. Nevertheless, a spirit of celebration endured at a Zonta-hosted Zoom meeting on January 20, with each organization’s representative having a few onscreen minutes to describe her organization and its goals.
Pam Eccles and Marianne Ravenna, co-chairs, and their grants committee focused instead on specific needs in a COVID-19 environment, and looked for organizations that have adapted and survived in spite of difficulties. “These organizations have made creative changes in the ways they operate, managing to maintain their vital services to women at risk,” they said. “Their work continues to help women achieve a sense of safety, success and self-worth.”
For 2021, local projects supported by Zonta grants are:
- Abuse Counseling & Treatment (ACT): Ongoing economic empowerment program
- Angel Wings: Shelter for homeless women without families (new this year)
- Children’s Network of Southwest Florida: Support for 18-year-olds aging out of foster care
- Community Housing & Resources (CHR): Educational support and emergency funds for female residents
- Piper Center for Social Services: Foster grandparents program uniting seniors and children with special needs
- Dress for Success Fort Myers: Help for women seeking employment or entrepreneurship
- Earn to Learn Florida: Assistance with college or trade education for women
- F.I.S.H. of Sanibel-Captiva: Emergency medical or dental care for female clients
- Goodwill Industries of S.W. Florida: Micro-enterprise institute to create entrepreneurs
- Habitat for Humanity Lee County Women Build: New or renovated homes for female heads of household
- Healthy Start Coalition of S.W. Florida: FOCUS program to educate teen mothers
- Organizacion Internacional de Latinos en el Exterior SWFL (OILE): “Healing Stitches” program and language skills for immigrant women
- PACE Center for Girls Lee County: Incentives for “Earning thru Learning” program
- Partners for Breast Cancer Care: Mammograms for women in at-risk communities
- SalusCare: Economic empowerment for women in recovery
Zonta is getting ready to announce “Peek Repurposed,” a unique event planned within COVID-19 guidelines. From March 1-10, Zonta will host an online auction of repurposed furniture by local artists and original art, and on Saturday, March 13 (regular “Peek” day), will present a jewelry and antiques appraisal event, offering 15-minute sessions ($100 donation) with local experts. More details will follow.
As always, proceeds will help fund programs that empower women and girls, locally and elsewhere. In addition to the regional grants awarded for 2021, Zonta also pledged $17,500 to Zonta International for global initiatives (zonta.org).
For information on Zonta and this year’s “Peek” event, or to donate, visit www.ZontaSanCap.org, follow Zonta Sanibel-Captiva on Facebook and “like” us (@zontasancap) on Instagram.