By Tejal R. Vakharia, Board Member
It is a great honor to serve as the Chair of the Women’s Leadership Council’s (WLC), Little Kids, Big Futures Philanthropy Fund Committee. Working with passionate women, united as a driving force to close the gaps in childhood literacy in Lake County, has been quite self-actualizing.
As women united in Lake County, Little Kids Big Futures is an initiative of the WLC Philanthropy Fund, established 17 months ago. Our purpose is to ensure that children living in Lake County’s most challenged communities are prepared for kindergarten and ready to succeed. Through the philanthropy fund, we distributed grants to three early literacy programs in Lake County totaling $26,000 in 2014, to support a Kindergarten Camp, a Summer Enrichment Program and a comprehensive tutoring program for Pre-K students in North Chicago.
This year we are celebrating the extraordinary achievement of having raised more than $47,000. Directed by members, funds have been allocated to four early childhood literacy programs.
- $22,000 is granted to the BEST Pre-K Program to provide scholarships to 13 children in the Round Lake area, who otherwise cannot afford a healthy start to begin school
- $12,000 for Success By 6-Kindergarten Countdown Camp, to execute the first year of the camp program for approximately 30 kids in Waukegan after the initial program development funding in 2014
- $9,000 has been allocated for program expansion of Success By 6 into Zion for the first time, with baseline assessment and Early Learning Clubs 45 families in Zion
- $4,000 towards the Summer Enrichment Collaborative, to provide scholarships for 10 Waukegan school children in need, to participate in a program to address summer learning loss
The year 2014-2015 has been an incredible year for WLC as our Little Kids Big Futures’ philanthropy fund has grown over 80%. The largest grant has grown by 83% which helped us fund more programs this year. This is attributed to the continued growth of WLC which is now over 70 women strong. Caring, committed and growing each member of the WLC makes an annual gift of $1,000 or more and the first $500 of every member’s contribution goes into the ‘Little Kids Big Futures’ philanthropy fund. Also, our signature fundraising event ‘Power of the Purse’ netted $15,000 this year which majorly contributed to the increase in the funding allocations.
Thinking ahead to 2015 and beyond, we are positioned to continue this remarkable growth and will continue to mobilize women through leadership and resource development to support critical early literacy programs. Programs that will ensure the foundation for strong and successful academic futures for Lake County’s most vulnerable children.
I would like to invite you to join us, and build the strength of women leaders, for creating lasting changes in lives of the children in Lake County. To learn more about the Women’s Leadership Council, please contact: Diana Nielander at Diana.email@example.com.
About Tejal R Vakharia
Chair, Little Kids, Big Futures Philanthropy Fund Committee
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