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Zonta Foundation's local grants top $100,000 again

February 8, 2019
Island Reporter, Captiva Current, Sanibel-Captiva Islander

Drawing on proceeds from the 2018 A Peek at the Unique, the Zonta Foundation of Southwest Florida again awarded grants totaling $105,000 to local and regional non-profits whose mission mirrors Zonta's: empowering women and girls.

In addition, the foundation separately pledged $35,000 - its highest ever contribution - to Zonta International for global initiatives that enhance women's education, health and freedom from violence.

Locally, organizations are invited over the summer to submit preliminary applications, from which 17 qualified through the selection process. With the requests totaling almost $165,000 - a record - the committee faced a daunting challenge.

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Representatives from the 17 local non-profit organizations that attended the Zonta meeting on Jan. 23 to receive their grant awards in person.

Diane Chesley and Janine Boardman, co-chairs of the Grants Committee, reported that grants were awarded to organizations - some long-standing recipients - whose work supports women at risk due to financial, health and domestic safety issues.

"We focus on organizations that help women on our islands and in the Southwest Florida community achieve greater safety, success and self-worth," they said.

"As governmental support continues to decline, Zonta's financial support for these organizations is more important than ever, and we are so grateful for continued community support so that we can meet needs that grow every year," Barbara Beran, past president and 2018 Peek co-chair, added.

For 2018, the local projects supported by Zonta include:

- Abuse Counseling & Treatment for an economic empowerment program

- Children's Network of Southwest Florida for a program for 18-year-olds aging out of foster care

- Community Housing & Resources for educational support and emergency funds for female residents facing crisis

- Dr. Piper Center for Social Services for "foster grandparent" program uniting seniors and children with special needs

- Dress for Success/Fort Myers for two programs helping women find employment or succeed as entrepreneurs

- F.I.S.H. of Sanibel-Captiva for emergency medical and dental care for women

- Goodwill Industries of Southwest Florida for support for its Micro-enterprise Institute promoting economic independence

- Habitat for Humanity's Lee County Women Build for rehab or help building two homes for female heads of household

- Healthy Start Coalition of Southwest Florida for FOCUS program to educate teen mothers

- Human Trafficking Awareness Partnerships for ArtReach and school-based programs for pre-teen awareness

- OILE, or Organizacion Internacional de Latinos en el Exterior SWFL, for teaching immigrant women sewing skills

- PACE Center for Girls Lee County for attendance at PACE day, a field trip to the state Capitol

- Parent University at Head Start for literacy classes and support services for immigrant women

- Partners for Breast Cancer Care for mammograms in at-risk communities

- SalusCare for economic empowerment for women in recovery

- Southwest Florida Women's Foundation to partially fund Earn to Learn, covering four to five years of college for lower income women

Also, to support the work by Girl Scouts organizations to mentor and support young girls, a small "support award" was made to help fund a financial literacy workshop for middle school girls in Lee County.

The 18th annual Peek at the Unique is set for March 16.

Tour tickets are $100 plus a small service fee, available through or via a link at Anyone needing assistance can email

For more information, visit



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