Salt Lake City—In their final act, the Utah Women’s Giving Circle, a grassroots group formed to change the statistics for women in Utah, celebrated their twelfth and final round of grants, collectively investing more than $225,000 through a total of 62 high impact nonprofit projects since inception.
Co-founder Peggy Hunt remarked, “We came together in 2011. One of the missions of this organization was to allow women to pool their money to support projects that impact women and girls in Utah. We wanted this to be a group that everybody could belong to.”
Fraser Nelson, also a co-founder and the founder of the Community Foundation of Utah, added, “Not only did we want there to be access and equity on the giving side, but also on the nonprofit side, with a short, simple application process.” She went on to highlight the unique nature of the Giving Circle’s funded projects, “We can really have a lot of pride in the ways we have supported organizations in getting projects off the ground that made and continue to make a difference. We have often been there from the start.”
Members voted on the evening of June 20th to equally invest their remaining funds of $30,000 across seven community initiatives:
$4,285 Grant: Seekhaven Family Crisis & Resource Center
Project: Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Crisis Support
Created to provide emergency temporary lodging for survivors of violence in southeastern Utah until long-term solutions can be arranged, this grant will allow more than 20 additional women to access emergency lodging.
$4,285 Grant: AHA Foundation
Project: Stop FGM Utah
This grant will support the AHA Foundation in establishing local educators to deliver training on female genital mutilation to at least 150 health professionals in Utah, increasing awareness and support for the estimated 3,000 women and girls who have been impacted locally.
$4,285 Grant: Utah Abortion Fund
Project: Repro Wellness Kits
In response to the overturn of Roe v. Wade, the Utah Abortion Fund is working to deliver reproductive wellness kits for free to any Utah mailing address, including emergency contraception like Plan B One-Step, condoms, pregnancy tests, and reproductive health resources, reducing barriers, cost and supply chain limits. Launched in July 2022, more than 900 kits have been delivered so far.
$4,285 Grant: Utah Women & Leadership Project
Project: UWLP Dashboards: Data Visualization & Metrics
This grant will fund a team of undergraduate students for one semester who will work to develop high impact visual dashboards for key metrics measuring the well-being of Utah women and girls, supporting ongoing awareness and action to improve safety, health, and equal opportunities for Utah women.
$4,285 Grant: Clean Slate Utah
Project: Legal Fees for Criminal Record Expungement for Women
In providing support for women eligible to request expungement of criminal records as they work to access better jobs and stable housing, this grant will specifically target the barrier of legal fees, ensuring that low-income women have equal access to recovering their lives.
$4,285 Grant: Utah Public Radio
Project: UWGC Utah Cares
A repeat partner of the Utah Women’s Giving Circle, Utah Public Radio will develop a multi-part radio and podcast series with this grant, sharing stories of Utah women and girls, as well as highlighting frontline services and organizations working to support Utah women to increase awareness.
$4,285 Grant: The Salt Lake Tribune
Project: Women’s Reporting
This grant will support female-centric reporting of stories relevant to Utah women and girls, such as reproductive health rights, gender bias, and equal pay. Additionally, The Salt Lake Tribune will host writing sessions for women and girls to share real stories of impact.
In sharing the impact of their project with members, Destiny Garcia, Executive Director at Clean Slate Utah, remarked, “This is personal for me. I used to suffer from homelessness and today I am a homeowner. This is because I was able to clear my record and access opportunities.”
The founders of the Utah Women’s Giving Circle included Fraser Nelson, Peggy Hunt and Mary Beth Reimondy, but the organization was a grassroots community initiative from the start, engaging 279 Utah women and girls in tangible philanthropy as members over the years.
As much as the Utah Women’s Giving Circle served as a funder for projects focused on the unique needs of women and girls in the community, it also served as an opportunity for nearly any woman or girl to experience the impact of collective giving. In fact, at one point membership included four generations from one family, including the final chair of the Giving Circle, Kim Paulding.
Kerry Bringhurst from Utah Public Radio expressed disappointment at the loss of this catalyzing force, “One thing I will really miss about the Utah Women’s Giving Circle is the opportunity to connect with different, lesser known, and new services in the state of Utah.” Utah Public Radio received their fourth grant as part of the final awards, toward media programming that will create exposure for the funded projects, among other focuses. “Through just the stories that have been funded already, the impact reaches thousands upon thousands of people.”
A long-time member and supporter of The Utah Women’s Giving Circle, Mame Fitzpatrick concluded, “You can’t put a price tag on the awareness that has been generated.”