The Women’s Fund of Southwest Florida and SCORE Naples collaborate on revolving loans for women entrepreneurs

Posted March 15th, 2013 by Priority Marketing and filed in News

The Women’s Fund of Southwest Florida is partnering with the SCORE Naples, counselors to small businesses, and Economic Development Investment Fund (EDIF) to offer women business owners in Collier County business counseling services and workshops in preparation to access to capital for their business start-up or expansion.

The mission of The Women’s Fund of Southwest Florida is to raise money through federal and state grants, and relationships with individual and corporate donors, and employ a strategic grant-making model to fund programs and organizations that address the needs of women and girls in Southwest Florida.

Initially The Women’s Fund will strive to connect prospective clients in Collier County to capital through EDIF’s Rural Microenterprise Revolving Fund (RMAP). Women business owners and entrepreneurs inCollier County are currently eligible to apply. Loan amounts will range from $5,000 to $50,000, depending upon the needs and qualifications of applicants. As The Women’s Fund revolving loan fund increases, this program will also be offered to Lee, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties.

Women entrepreneurs in Collier County, aiming to boost their development and ongoing success by participating in this pilot loan program, are encouraged to contact the SCORE Naples chapter located at the Fifth Third Bank Building, 900 Goodlette Road North Naples.

“Our organization provides a wide range of business counseling services and training including guidance in preparing the loan application, which can enhance the success of loan procurement,” according to George Ahearn, Chairman of SCORE Naples.

According to the recent Florida Chamber of Commerce Small Business Index Survey, 78 percent of Florida small businesses were not able to get financing.

“A cross-sector effort by financial institutions, The Women’s Fund, and other investors to establish a revolving loan fund will bring much needed access to capital to the women-owned businesses in our region. We believe women can be key players in recharging our region’s economy if their businesses are better positioned to flourish,” said Brenda Tate, President of The Women’s Fund of Southwest Florida.

For more information about The Women’s Fund of Southwest Florida visit www.womensfundflorida.org. Follow The Women’s Fund online at facebook.com/floridawomen and on twitter.com/twfofswfl.

To improve your prospects for securing a loan, women entrepreneurs in Collier County should contact the SCORE Naples Office for business counseling services via their website at www.scorenaples.org or by calling  239-430-0081.

The Women’s Fund of Southwest Florida to benefit from EILEEN FISHER store events in Naples and Sanibel

Posted March 8th, 2013 by Priority Marketing and filed in Events, News

EILEEN FISHER, Inc. will dedicate a portion of store sales in Naples and Sanibel on Saturday, March 23 to benefit The Women’s Fund of Southwest Florida. Shoppers will be treated to sweets and treats at both stores. Representatives from The Women’s Fund of Southwest Florida will be on hand at both stores to share information.

EILEEN FISHER stores are open from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. on Saturday, March 23.  The Naples store is located at 1211 Third Street South and the Sanibel store is located at 2055 Periwinkle Way.

The mission of The Women’s Fund of Southwest Florida is to raise money through federal and state grants, and relationships with individual and corporate donors, and employ a strategic grant-making model to fund programs and organizations that address the special, critical needs of women and girls in Southwest Florida. Members of the Women’s Fund of Southwest Florida Board of Directors include Brenda Tate, President; Linda Uhler, Secretary/Treasurer; Lalai Hamric, Vice Chair, Lou Pontius, Chair, Amanda Cross, Director, and G. Helen Athan, Director.

For more information about The Women’s Fund of Southwest Florida visit http://www.womensfundflorida.org  or email contact@womensfundflorida.org. Also, follow The Women’s Fund on facebook.com/floridawomen and on twitter.com/twfofswfl.

The Women’s Fund of Southwest Florida to participate in 36-Hour Giving Challenge to raise funds for women-owned businesses

Posted March 4th, 2013 by Priority Marketing and filed in News

The Women’s Fund of Southwest Florida invites local businesses, residents and community organizations to join the 36-Hour Giving Challenge, an online fundraising event at that supports nonprofit organizations in Southwest Florida. The Women’s Fund of Southwest Florida aims to raise $50,000 to support BEST – Becoming Economically Successful Together, a pilot program that combines a direct loan and matched savings account program to offer financial support to qualifying women-owned businesses in Southwest Florida. The 36 Hour Giving Challenge begins Tuesday, March 5 at 7 a.m. and continues until Wednesday, March 6 at 7 p.m.

To donate, go to https://thegivingpartner.s3.amazonaws.com/index.html and make a $25+ credit card donation to The Women’s Fund of Southwest Florida. You can also visit The Women’s Fund’s profile at http://thegivingpartner.guidestar.org/NonprofitProfile.aspx?OrgId=1127627 to support them in winning a $5,000 prize for most visits.  The sites will be active once the challenge begins on Tuesday, March 5 at 7 a.m.

The Women’s Fund’s business partner Florida Community Bank has issued a $10,000 challenge grant that can double the impact of donations made to The Women’s Fund and help them to compete for a $5,000 prize for best business-nonprofit partnership.

In addition, the Economic Development Investment Fund (EDIF), The Women’s Fund non-profit partner, is supporting the 36-Hour Giving Challenge and helping them compete for a $5,000 prize for best non-profit partnership.

The 36-Hour Giving Challenge is made possible by presenting partners Community Foundation of Sarasota County and The Patterson Foundation, with support from sponsors Gulf Coast Community Foundation, Manatee Community Foundation, Charlotte Community Foundation and the William G. and Marie Selby Foundation.

For more information about The Women’s Fund of Southwest Florida visit http://www.womensfundflorida.org  or email contact@womensfundflorida.org. Also, follow The Women’s Fund on facebook.com/floridawomen and on twitter.com/twfofswfl.

The Women’s Fund of Southwest Florida receives $20,000 grant from Florida Community Bank

The Women’s Fund of Southwest Florida has received a $20,000 commitment from Florida Community Bank to support BEST – Becoming Economically Successful Together, a pilot program that combines a direct loan and matched savings account program to offer financial support to qualifying women-owned businesses in Southwest Florida. The grant will be paid over a two-year period.

“Florida Community Bank is proud to support The Women’s Fund of Southwest Florida.  I am proud to be a partner with this organization as they move forward to assist women in starting or expanding their own business and building their financial assets,” said Kent Ellert, FCB President and CEO.

“We are grateful to Florida Community Bank for their generous gift that will help us move BEST forward,” said Brenda Tate, president of The Women’s Fund of Southwest Florida.

BEST will provide financial services to women-owned businesses and low-moderate income earning women in Collier, Lee, Charlotte, Hendry and Glades counties.  The program will facilitate savings and borrowing in order to purchase assets such as a first home, starting or expanding a small business, and education/training for use in getting a job that brings in livable wages. The Women’s Fund is collaborating with other key organizations in the region to share the critical responsibilities of BEST to achieve collective impact.

The mission of The Women’s Fund of Southwest Florida is to raise money through federal and state grants, and relationships with individual and corporate donors, and employ a strategic grant-making model to fund programs and organizations that address the special, critical needs of women and girls in Southwest Florida. Members of the Women’s Fund of Southwest Florida Board of Directors include Brenda Tate, President; Linda Uhler, Secretary/Treasurer; Lalai Hamric, Vice Chair, Lou Pontius, Chair, Amanda Cross, Director, and G. Helen Athan, Director.

Florida Community Bank is a $3.2 billion company which is the 5th largest independent bank in Florida. Their customers benefit from the strength of a well-capitalized bank, empowered local decision making, innovative products and services and full access to 41 locations across Florida.  Equal Housing Lender, Member FDIC. For more information about the Bank visit: www.FloridaCommunityBank.com.

For more information about The Women’s Fund of Southwest Florida visit: http://www.womensfundflorida.org  or email contact@womensfundflorida.org. Also, follow The Women’s Fund on facebook.com/floridawomen and on twitter.com/twfofswfl.

The Women’s Fund of Southwest Florida expands leadership

Posted February 18th, 2013 by Priority Marketing and filed in News

Amanda Cross and G. Helen Athan have joined the Board of Directors of The Women’s Fund of Southwest Florida. Both new directors bring extensive experience to the board and a passion for supporting women’s issues.

G. Helen Athan is a shareholder of Grant Fridkin Pearson, P.A. in Naples, Fla. and has practiced law in Southwest Florida since 1989. She has an “AV” rating from Martindale-Hubbell and is listed in Best Lawyers in America. She has extensive experience in all aspects of commercial and residential real estate law, including acquisition, development, financing, title and leasing, and business organizations and transactions. Community involvement includes:

 

  • Education Foundation of Collier County, Inc., former Member of the Board of Directors and Conversation Leader for Connect NOW Initiative
  • Substance Abuse Coalition of Collier County, Member of  Board of Directors
  • Ave Maria Law School, Adjunct Professor in Commercial Systems, Spring 2012
  • Leadership Collier, Class of 2004
  • St. Katherine’s Greek Orthodox Church, Scholarship Committee
  • Collier County Bar Association, Real Estate Section, past Chair
  • Hospice of Naples, Inc., former Director

Amanda Cross’ professional career began in the computer industry as co-founder of CWC Software. In 1990, Amanda moved to Sanibel with husband, W J Torpey, a saltwater fly-fishing guide and their young daughter, Lindsay. A few years later Lindsay developed a life threatening electrical problem in her heart, which was diagnosed at Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida. After a friend’s infant son was diagnosed with cancer, Amanda co-founded Sanibel-Captiva Cares (SCC) to raise money and awareness for Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida. To date, more than $4 million has been donated to the hospital by SCC. She is now involved in the capital campaign to build a freestanding facility for  Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida on the Health Park Campus. Other notable services, achievements and recognitions include:

  • Gulfshore Life 2006 Outstanding Volunteer Fundraiser
  • Canterbury School (Fort Myers) trustee for 15 years
  • Currently serves on the boards of these organizations:
    • Lee Memorial Health System Foundation
    • Harvard Club of Lee County
    • Democratic Club of the Islands
    • Women’s issues:
      • Member, League of Women Voters of Sanibel
      • Supporter, EMILY’s List and Ruth’s List to elect women to state and national political offices
      • Trustee, recently endowed family foundation whose mission will focus primarily on women

The mission of The Women’s Fund of Southwest Florida is to raise money through federal and state grants, and relationships with individual and corporate donors, and employ a strategic grant-making model to fund programs and organizations that address the special, critical needs of women and girls in Southwest Florida.

For more information about The Women’s Fund of Southwest Florida visit http://www.womensfundflorida.org  or email contact@womensfundflorida.org. Also, follow The Women’s Fund on facebook.com/floridawomen and on twitter.com/twfofswfl.

The Women’s Fund of Southwest Florida receives donation from Florida Community Bank to support revolving loan fund

Posted January 10th, 2013 by Priority Marketing and filed in News

The Women’s Fund of Southwest Florida has received a $3,000 donation from Florida Community Bank to assist The Women’s Fund in growing a revolving loan fund to provide women business owners access to capital for their business start-up or expansion.

“Florida Community Bank is proud to support The Women’s Fund of Southwest Florida.  I am proud to be a partner with these entrepreneurs as they move forward starting or expanding their own business,” said Kent Ellert, FCB President and COO.

“We are grateful to Florida Community Bank for their generous gift that will help us to grow a revolving loan fund and provide much-needed access to capital to women-owned businesses in our region,” said Brenda Tate, president of The Women’s Fund of Southwest Florida. “Even though women owned businesses outperformed men’s during the last recession, lack of access to capital continues to hold these small businesses back. We believe women can be key players in recharging our region’s economy if their businesses are better positioned to flourish.”

As part of a pilot program recently launched by The Women’s Fund, loans ranging from $5,000-$50,000 are currently available to qualified women business owners and entrepreneurs in Hendry, Glades and Collier counties through the Rural Microenterprise Revolving Fund. The loan program will be expanded to Lee and Charlotte counties when the revolving loan fund reaches $100,000.  To request an application for more information, email contact@womensfundflorida.org.

In November 2012, The Women’s Fund released research findings on the status of women in Southwest Florida, examining four core areas including population and diversity, employment and income, achievement and autonomy, health and well-being. The Women’s Fund commissioned the Regional Economic Research Institute at Florida Gulf Coast University to investigate the status of women and girls in Southwest Florida in order to benchmark progress, inform public policy, set funding priorities and programming, and to inspire demand for additional knowledge about the status of women and girls in Southwest Florida.

The mission of The Women’s Fund of Southwest Florida is to raise money through federal and state grants, and relationships with individual and corporate donors, and employ a strategic grant-making model to fund programs and organizations that address the special, critical needs of women and girls in Southwest Florida. Founding members of the Women’s Fund of Southwest Florida Board of Directors include Brenda Tate, president; Linda Uhler, Secretary/Treasurer; Lalai Hamric, Vice Chair and Lou Pontius, Chair.

Florida Community Bank is a $3.5 billion company which is the 5th largest independent bank in Florida.  Our customers benefit from the strength of a well-capitalized bank, empowered local decision making, innovative products and services and full access to 41 locations across Florida.  www.FloridaCommunityBank.comEqual Housing Lender, Member FDIC.

To schedule a presentation by The Women’s Fund, contact Brenda Tate at 239-281-2233. For more information and to view the executive summary of The Status of Women in Southwest Florida report, visit http://www.womensfundflorida.org/ or email contact@womensfundflorida.org. Follow The Women’s Fund online at facebook.com/floridawomen and on twitter.com/twfofswfl.

The Women’s Fund of Southwest Florida launches direct loan pilot program for women-owned businesses

Posted November 26th, 2012 by Priority Marketing and filed in News

The Women’s Fund of Southwest Florida is partnering with the regional Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and Economic Development Investment Fund (EDIF) in Sarasota, a non-profit loan company, to offer women business owners access to capital for their business start-up or expansion. Initially, The Women’s Fund will strive to connect prospective clients in Collier, Hendry and Glades counties to capital through EDIF’s Rural Microenterprise Revolving Fund (RMAP). Women business owners and entrepreneurs in Hendry, Glades and Collier counties are eligible to apply. Loan amounts will range from $5,000 to $50,000, depending upon the needs and qualifications of applicants.

The program will be expanded to Lee and Collier counties as the revolving loan fund increases. As part of the pilot program, entrepreneurs can also apply for training and technical assistance at SBDC to boost their development and ongoing success. To request an application for more information, email contact@womensfundflorida.org.

According to the recent Florida Chamber of Commerce Small Business Index Survey, 78 percent of Florida small businesses were not able to get financing.

“A cross-sector effort by financial institutions, The Women’s Fund, and other investors to establish a revolving loan fund will bring much needed access to capital to the women-owned businesses in our region. Even though women owned businesses outperformed men’s during the last recession, lack of access to capital continues to hold these small businesses back. We believe women can be key players in recharging our region’s economy if their businesses are better positioned to flourish,” said Tate.

The Women’s Fund recently released research findings on the status of women in Southwest Florida, examining four core areas including population and diversity, employment and income, achievement and autonomy, health and well-being. The Women’s Fund commissioned the Regional Economic Research Institute at Florida Gulf Coast University to investigate the status of women and girls in Southwest Florida in order to benchmark progress, inform public policy, set funding priorities and programming, and to inspire demand for additional knowledge about the status of women and girls in Southwest Florida.

The mission of The Women’s Fund of Southwest Florida is to raise money through federal and state grants, and relationships with individual and corporate donors, and employ a strategic grant-making model to fund programs and organizations that address the special, critical needs of women and girls in Southwest Florida. Founding members of the Women’s Fund of Southwest Florida Board of Directors include Brenda Tate, president; Linda Uhler, Secretary/Treasurer; Lalai Hamric, Vice Chair and Lou Pontius, Chair.

To schedule a presentation by The Women’s Fund, contact Brenda Tate at 239-281-2233. For more information and to view the executive summary of The Status of Women in Southwest Florida report, visit http://www.womensfundflorida.org/ or email contact@womensfundflorida.org. Follow The Women’s Fund online at facebook.com/floridawomen and on twitter.com/twfofswfl.

The Women’s Fund of Southwest Florida presents new programs to support economic security for women in Southwest Florida at Rotary Club

Posted November 15th, 2012 by Priority Marketing and filed in News

The Women’s Fund of Southwest Florida presented research and programs to support opportunities leading to economic security for women at the Nov. 6 Rotary Club meeting in Fort Myers. The initiatives include a leveraged savings program for low-to-moderate income women to assist them in building financial assets for education and training, toward the purchase of their first home, or to  startup or expand their business.

“The Women’s Fund is working hard to secure federal funding for our region’s women to build assets through savings,” said Brenda Tate, president of The Women’s Fund of Southwest Florida.  “Can you imagine every family who applies for need based scholarship being offered the opportunity to open a savings account at a local bank to save for education? When that savings goal is reached, The Women’s Fund will match each saved dollar with two more. That’s a two to one return on the investment.”

The other program, paired with training and mentoring, will offer women business owners access to capital for their business start-up or expansion.

The Women’s Fund recently released research findings on the status of women in Southwest Florida, examining four core areas including population and diversity, employment and income, achievement and autonomy, health and well-being. The Women’s Fund commissioned the Regional Economic Research Institute at Florida Gulf Coast University to investigate the status of women and girls in Southwest Florida in order to benchmark progress, inform public policy, set funding priorities and programming, and to inspire demand for additional knowledge about the status of women and girls in Southwest Florida.

The mission of The Women’s Fund of Southwest Florida is to raise money through federal and state grants, and relationships with individual and corporate donors, and employ a strategic grant-making model to fund programs and organizations that address the special, critical needs of women and girls in Southwest Florida. Founding members of the Women’s Fund of Southwest Florida Board of Directors include Brenda Tate, president; Linda Uhler, Secretary/Treasurer; Lalai Hamric, Vice Chair and Lou Pontius, Chair.

To schedule a presentation by The Women’s Fund, contact Brenda Tate at 239-281-2233. For more information and to view the executive summary of The Status of Women in Southwest Florida report, visit http://www.womensfundflorida.org/ or email contact@womensfundflorida.org. Follow The Women’s Fund online at facebook.com/floridawomen and on twitter.com/twfofswfl.

 

The Women’s Fund of Southwest Florida releases groundbreaking research report on the status of women in Southwest Florida

Posted November 1st, 2012 by Priority Marketing and filed in News

The Women’s Fund of Southwest Florida has completed a study on the status of women in Southwest Florida, examining four core areas including population and diversity, employment and income, achievement and autonomy, health and well-being. The Women’s Fund commissioned the Regional Economic Research Institute at Florida Gulf Coast University to investigate the status of women and girls in Southwest Florida in order to benchmark progress, inform public policy, set funding priorities and programming, and to inspire demand for additional knowledge about the status of women and girls in Southwest Florida.

Key findings of the research are being used to help guide The Women’s Fund of Southwest Florida in opportunities for establishing programs and directing funds.  Several positive attributes for women in Southwest Florida were found:

  • A greater percentage of girls than boys graduate from high school
  • More women are registered to vote than men
  • Nearly 5 percent of women are self-employed in their own incorporated business
  • Women currently have lower rates of unemployment

But other key findings cause concern:

  • Median annual earnings for women are about 87 percent of that earned by men in Southwest Florida
  • Women own only 26 percent of Southwest Florida businesses
  • Only 67 percent of Southwest Florida corporate boards include women
  • No women represent Southwest Florida in the U.S. House or Senate
  • Southwest Florida homeownership rates for women (8.5-15.2 percent) are substantially less than overall homeownership (71-79 percent)

“The research explored issues facing women and girls in Southwest Florida such as why fewer women work in management occupations than men, how many women start businesses per year, and what types of businesses women are likely to start,” said Brenda Tate.  “As a result, The Women’s Fund is investigating several new programs to support financial and educational opportunities for women. One is a leveraged savings program for low-to-moderate income women to assist them in building financial assets for education/training, first home purchase, or business startup/expansion. The other is a program to offer women business owners access to capital for their business start-up or expansion paired with training and counseling. The success of these programs will depend on the Fund’s collaboration with partners such as the Small Business Development Center, CredAbility.org, and financial institutions serving our region.”

The mission of The Women’s Fund of Southwest Florida is to raise money through federal and state grants, and relationships with individual and corporate donors, and employ a strategic grant-making model to fund programs and organizations that address the special, critical needs of women and girls in Southwest Florida. Founding members of the Women’s Fund of Southwest Florida Board of Directors include Brenda Tate, president; Linda Uhler, Secretary/Treasurer; Lalai Hamric, Vice Chair and Lou Pontius, Chair. For more information and to view the executive summary of The Status of Women in Southwest Florida report, visit http://www.womensfundflorida.org/ or email contact@womensfundflorida.org. Follow The Women’s Fund online at facebook.com/floridawomen and on twitter.com/twfofswfl.

The Women’s Fund of Southwest Florida receives donation from women’s retailer EILEEN FISHER

Posted October 29th, 2012 by Priority Marketing and filed in News

The Women’s Fund of Southwest Florida accepted a donation of $6,226 from national women’s retailer EILEEN FISHER. The gift represents 10 percent of store sales from a Sept. 22 special event held at participating EILEEN FISHER retail locations in Florida including the Sanibel Island store at 2055 Periwinkle Way, the Naples store located at 1211 Third Street South, the Winter Park store located at 112 North Park Ave., and the Sarasota location at 1501 Main St.

The Women’s Fund of Southwest Florida, a philanthropic non-profit group committed to improving the lives of women and girls in Southwest Florida through impact investing, was one of 26 women’s fund organizations across the U.S. selected to participate in this national fundraising event.

The Women’s Fund of Southwest Florida is currently working with the Regional Economic Research Institute at Florida Gulf Coast University to conduct research to identify the most pressing issues affecting women and girls in Southwest Florida. The Women’s Fund of Southwest Florida raises money through relationships with individual and corporate donors, and employs a strategic grant-making model to direct grants to programs and organizations that address the special, critical needs of women and girls in Southwest Florida.

For more information, visit http://www.womensfundflorida.org/ or email contact@womensfundflorida.org. Follow The Women’s Fund online at facebook.com/floridawomen and on twitter.com/twfofswfl.