Women’s Collective Giving Group Awards $125K to Area Nonprofits

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(Left to right) Cat Richards of Bracken’s Kitchen; Julia Kim and John Straw of Concern America; Diana Hill of Pathways to Independence; Josh Pace, Bicycles for Humanity; Shawna Smith of Hope Builders and Mary Capellini of Save Our Youth receive grants from Impact Giving. Photo/Shastina Torres

Impact Giving, a women’s collective giving group founded in Laguna Beach 14 years ago, has awarded $125,000 to six nonprofits – four based in Orange County and two internationally.

At its annual grant-giving gala on June 8, members awarded grants to local charities Pathway to Independence, Bracken’s Kitchen, Hope Builders and Save Our Youth and to international nonprofits, Concern America and Bicycles for Humanity.

Pathways to Independence, whose mission is to help disadvantaged single women break the cycle of poverty and abuse through education, therapy, mentoring, housing and healthcare, received $25,000. Currently, the organization houses 31 women in their own apartments and provides college tuition, mentoring, weekly therapy and healthcare. Participants remain in the program for three to six years.

Since 2013, Bracken’s Kitchen has provided meals to 1.4 million Orange County residents who do not have the means to prepare food themselves. It receives most of its food at no cost through the Rescue Food Program and transforms it into creative, healthy meals delivered via food truck to homeless shelters, senior resource centers and low-income communities. The organization also trains under-served youth and adults in the culinary arts to prepare them for jobs in the hospitality industry. Their $20,000 grant will go towards equipment that will allow meals to be placed and sealed in one container, reducing packaging time and waste.

Save Our Youth (SOY) focuses on lowering the high school dropout rate and encouraging higher education for underprivileged, first-generation youth in grades 7-12 in the Costa Mesa area. The SOY Center provides an after-school hub for approximately 100 students daily, offering college readiness support, homework assistance, arts programming and athletics. Over the past 30 years, the nonprofit has guided over 800 students to college.

Hope Builders aims to connect unemployed and undereducated Orange County youth with living wage jobs, and will use its $15,000 grant to prepare 130 low-income young adults (98% women) with the skills needed to access upwardly mobile careers in the healthcare industry.

Donated bikes collected in Colorado, then shipped to rural Africa, allow healthcare workers to see more patients and deliver essential medicines more quickly, especially to people with HIV. Besides increasing the mobility of essential workers, Bicycles for Humanity’s shipping containers are converted into bike shops upon arrival in Africa. Shops are then run by locals, typically women, who are trained to be bike shop managers and mechanics. Bicycles for Humanity plans to use its $20,000 grant to deliver 400 bikes to Katima, Namibia, where HIV rates are one of the highest in the country. Proceeds from the bike sales will go to a local primary school to fund teachers’ salaries and meals for the children, which in many cases may be their only meal of the day.

For 30 years, Concern America has been expanding women’s health care in remote villages in Mexico, Guatemala and Columbia by training midwives and healthcare practitioners who have taken on the responsibility of addressing these critical needs for their villages. With its $30,000 grant, Concern America plans to train 25 midwives and 145 healthcare practitioners and offer advanced training in diagnosing and treating cervical and breast cancers and prenatal care.

Since its founding, Impact Giving, whose mission is to change lives locally and globally through the power of collective giving, has granted 89 grants totaling $1.7 million to 49 nonprofits. The group has 125 “partners” who give $1,250 annually. Those under 40 can join for $708 a year. Partners can champion nonprofits for consideration that are vetted and voted for by the members. More information can be found at www.ImpactGivingNow.org.

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