RANCHO SANTA FE — Since its inception in 2004, the Rancho Santa Fe Women’s Fund has granted more than $3.4 million to nonprofits based in San Diego County. Recently, the organization distributed a total of $254,000 to seven nonprofits.
Generate Hope was the recipient of $50,000, which goes to support victims of sex and human trafficking by offering them both refuge and rehabilitation.
Also receiving the same dollar amount was North County Lifeline. According to the advisory chair of the Women’s Fund, Sandra Coufal, MD, the branch of Project LIFE provides trauma-informed services for victims of human trafficking throughout San Diego County.
The Community Resource Center received funding of $30,000 to decrease domestic violence while educating victims on ways to achieve a healthy lifestyle after being entrapped in a life of domestic violence.
The Angels Family Foster Network was also the recipient of $50,000. The nonprofit is regarded for its work with babies and toddlers who are in foster care with the aim of providing a loving and nurturing home life.
Operation Hope in Vista helps homeless women by providing them and their families with shelter in private room settings where members of the family can be under one roof. The Women’s Fund gifted $25,700, which will help with housing and programs which empower women to be more self-sufficient.
The Emilio Nares Foundation received a $25,000. The nonprofit helps families whose children are battling cancer with roundtrip transportation to receive care and treatment.
Also receiving $50,000 was Nativity Prep based in San Diego County. The funding will go to help offer scholarships for the tuition-free prep school.
“This grant had $23,300 funded by our group, and subsequently had an anonymous donor intimately aware of our grant vetting process complete the grant request in full by adding $26,700,” Coufal said. “And our member Mindi Butterfield donated another $500 to top off the full grant.”
According to Coufal, the Women’s Fund consists of 120 members residing in Rancho Santa Fe. Members contribute $2,300 every year. While $300 covers administrative costs, the remaining $2,000 is deposited into the grant funds for future distribution.
Coufal said the group’s grant-vetting process encompasses an entire academic year.
“Each year, our membership votes in two specific areas of focus. For example, this past year, we had women’s services and at-risk youth,” she said.
Once the focuses have been determined, they are posted onto the Women’s Fund website no later than Aug. 1. Coufal said that generally they receive about 100 grant requests.
“Each grant request can be for a maximum of $50,000,” she said. “We begin our grant-vetting process by forming two work groups, one for each area of focus.” The groups consist of member volunteers, she added.
“These groups collectively decide the top organizations that are then asked for more detailed grant proposals in January,” Coufal said. “These proposals are then reviewed weekly in the spring until approximately 10 to 12 organizations are scheduled for site visits by all members who sign up to attend.”
Every May, the Rancho Santa Fe Women’s Fund hosts its annual Grant Awards Ceremony.
Coufal was quick to say the group has a stipulation that it cannot fund the same organization for the same purpose within three years of an awarded grant.
“So, the nonprofits this year have not been funded within the past three years,” she said. “We have detailed records of all the grants which we have made since our inception in 2004.”
Coufal said the Women’s Fund recently received a sizeable anonymous donation of $326,700. The anonymous donation of $26,700 that went to Nativity Prep came from this. For the next three consecutive years, $100,000 from this donation will be added every January to the pooled grant fund amounts.
“This generous donation will allow us to fund at least two more nonprofit groups each year for the next three years,” she said, adding how the extra money will allow the organization to fund nonprofits that do critical and necessary work.
“I feel that this anonymous donation validates the process and the work that our members have voluntarily done and developed over the past 14 years,” she said. “It cements the purpose of group philanthropy creating a larger impact for our San Diego County neighbors that are less fortunate than ourselves.”
To learn more about the Rancho Santa Fe Women’s Fund, including membership information for women residing in the 92067 or 92091, visit http://rsfwomensfund.org.