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RSF Women’s Fund grant cycle continues amid COVID-19 new realities

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RSF Women’s Fund Grant Committee Co-Chair Cynthia Hudson keeps the organization on task by testing out online video conferencing applications with Mara Buchholz, incoming grants chair, and Nikki Ream, moderator for video site visits.
(Courtesy)

The Rancho Santa Fe Women’s Fund is in the middle of its annual grant cycle. For the past 15 years, the Women’s Fund has been awarding monetary grants totaling over $4 million to 90+ local charities including Casa de Amparo, YMCA Camp Pendelton, Juvenile Court Book Club, and Big Brothers and Big Sisters.

The Women’s Fund prides itself on fully vetting potential recipients who apply to receive its grants from its community grant-pooling fund. Part of the Women’s Fund review includes work groups of members performing onsite visits to see the organization from within and ask question of their leaders.

Due to the stringent new guidelines on social isolation due to the coronavirus, the Woman’s Fund wanted to find ways of fulfilling its due diligence that its guidelines require, but still stay on task to approving much-needed grants.

RSF Women’s Fund members got creative! Instead of site visits, they are now holding “Virtual Site Visits” using various video conferencing applications including Zoom, Google Meet, and Fuze.

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A few of its members have chimed in on how they feel about this new process:

Active member Jennifer Miller states “As a newly inducted home school teacher to five girls under 13 in RSF, I absolutely support our Grants Committee for allowing us the opportunity for an intimate interview of local nonprofit leadership in our own homes with our families. I am proud to be a part of our proactive culture at RSFWF! Maybe more women will join now that we are all needed at home, while continuing to look for ways to help others.”

From incoming Grants Chair Mara Buchholz, “As things continued to progress with the COVID-19 virus, it became readily apparent that for the safety of both our members and organizations, we needed to come up with alternatives in order to complete our site visits. We felt that stopping the process in the midst of our evaluations was not an option as now, more than ever, our community needs our support. Not only has this enabled more of our members to participate, but also the organizations have been able to talk with us about their programs and, as necessary, they have been able to conference in outside employees who might not have been able to attend, had we done a physical site visit.”

And finally, from active member Ellise Coit, summing up what many of us feel, “One of the best ways to assuage COVID anxiety is to focus outward.”

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If you want to join the RSF Women’s Fund in its support of these wonderful organizations that need its aid more than ever, visit rsfwomensfund.org or call (760) 230-2761 for further information.


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