At the annual "Power of the Purse" luncheon, The Women's Fund celebrated its success in gathering funds to give to local nonprofits. In its first five years, the organization donated more than $500,000 to charities.

"This really is a celebration of how each of our small gifts made a big impact in the community," said Lorrie Gazette, member and one of the speakers at the event.

Although it is a relatively young organization, the membership has already reached 233.

This year's grant recipients were Christian Women's Job Corps, Literacy Council of Tyler, Young Audiences of Northeast Texas' Dance for Life program, and the Children's Advocacy Center.

"Nothing tells our story better than hearing from our recipients," said Sharon Howell, event chair.

According to the Women's Fund website, Dance for Life is a year-long dance residency with a goal of engaging at-risk middle school girls.

"The intent is to improve their school performance and attendance, while increasing their self-esteem, motivation and confidence. The grant from the Women's Fund will provide the funding to expand this program to two more schools and introduce these girls to dance while teaching positive self-image leading to good life choices and improved academic performance," reads the website.

The funds given to the Literacy Council are being used for its new Career Pathways program for women in the Dual Enrollment program.

The program would help women in their Dual Enrollment program gain work experience and additional skills to make them more appealing to potential employers, according to the website.

"This program will help 30 women not only get their GED, but also workforce certification so that they can potentially move directly into work within six weeks of starting the program. By educating women and then helping them obtain marketable job skills and experience, they become empowered and continue to move forward, stopping the intergenerational cycle of illiteracy and poverty," reads the website.

The Children's Advocacy Center helps children who have been sexually abused. The grant funds will expand its evidence-based mental health therapy program.

"This project will expand that capacity by 30 percent and will enable CAC to increase the healing component of their mission by providing effective mental health treatment for traumatized children, their protective caregiver(s) and family member(s)," according to the website.

Christian Women's Job Corps' grant is being used for its computer education program to replace its current 18 computers and add an additional eight.

"One computer will increase the job skills of 10 women in a year," according to the website. "This addition to the computer education program will increase the educational impact from the existing 180 participants to 260 a year."




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