Fund for Women and Girls awards $250K in grants to local nonprofits

The Fund for Women and Girls recently celebrated 25 years of impact in the community by awarding $250,000 in grants to local nonprofits that help improve the lives of women and children.

“We are incredibly fortunate to have 25 years of support from our fund members,” Carolyn Sanderson, fund chair, said. “We want to congratulate our grantee partners and thank them for the tremendous impact they make in our communities every day.”

The Princeton-based fund is comprised of members who make individual donations. Then, applying the concept of collective philanthropy, they meet annually to recommend grants to local nonprofits.

This year’s grants were awarded to RISE, Housing Initiatives of Princeton, Womanspace, Freedom House and Kindersmile.

The fund was created at the Princeton Area Community Foundation with a $2,000 grant from Women in Development – Mercer County (now Women in Development – New Jersey) and more than $25,000 in seed gifts from chapter members. Bristol Myers Squibb then provided a matching grant: When the Fund was able to raise $100,000 from 100 donors, BMS awarded the fund an additional $100,000.

Now, 25 years later, the fund has awarded more than $2 million to nonprofits in the region, including a quarter of a million dollars awarded in November.

“With the generous support of Fund for Women and Girls members, 2023 is the seventh consecutive year that we’ve awarded multiyear grants,” Terry Kent, Grants Committee chair, said. “Our grantee partners make significant contributions to our community in furtherance of our mission to improve the lives of vulnerable women and children in our region.”

  • RISE, Hightstown, received a three-year grant totaling $75,000 for its Rising to Help Single‐Parent Families program. The initiative provides financial support to 196 low‐income, single‐parent households, mostly led by Latina women. Some 326 children live in these households, mostly in the Hightstown and East Windsor area. With the grant, the organization plans to expand its services for the families, many of which live paycheck to paycheck. RISE will provide close monitoring, counseling by case managers and funds in an emergency. For many families, an unexpected expense — such as a car repair — can jeopardize their stability and well‐being.
  • Housing Initiatives of Princeton, Princeton, received a two-year grant, totaling $50,000, for its Transitional Housing: Changing Families’ Lives – One at a Time program. The grant will support the first new unit of HIP’s three-year goal of adding three new units, with high‐touch support services, to its existing seven units in its Transitional Housing program. The nonprofit provides individualized, comprehensive wrap-around services to help families gain permanent housing. A case manager, housing navigator and family liaison help families with budgeting, accessing mental health counseling and ensuring children thrive at school. In 2022, the program helped nine working, single moms and 11 children plan for their futures. It also provided rental assistance to 59 women and 53 children.
  • Womanspace, Lawrence, received a two-year grant, totaling $50,000, which will provide operating support for the nonprofit. It provides extensive services for victims of domestic violence, including food, clothing, transportation and other essential items for families living in the shelter and those who have been placed in motels. The organization also runs five hotlines and trains Domestic Violence Victim Response Teams, which work closely with police departments throughout Mercer County. The nonprofit serves more than 11,000 survivors each year.
  • Freedom House, Trenton, received a $25,000 grant for its Supporting the Family Afterward Program at Diane’s House, one of only a few programs in the state that allows women in recovery to live with their children. The program provides housing and case management services to help mothers, who are stable in their recovery after completing a structured treatment approach, reunite with or maintain custody of their children. The women learn life skills and get help with career planning, employment and budgeting. A case manager oversees their stay and works with court staff to permanently reunite the women with their children.
  • KinderSmile, Trenton, received a $25,000 grant for its Perinatal Health and Wellness Program at KinderSmile Community Oral Health Center in Trenton. Trenton has a dire lack of dental services for children and uninsured adults, which often leads to emergency room visits. The program supports uninsured mothers, from pregnancy to three years postpartum. It provides culturally sensitive training about the importance of oral health, and it provides a year of free dental care to 75 women a year.

Additionally, a $25,000 grant was awarded to the Community Foundation. Four nonprofits also received grant payments for multiyear awards that were announced in 2022 and 2021: Court Appointed Special Advocates of Mercer County and Burlington Counties, Children’s Home Society, Arm In Arm and Homeworks Trenton.