Purdue Women’s Head Basketball Coach, Sharon Versyp, presents at the 2019 Annual Women’s Fund Tea at the Porter County Expo Center on September 11, 2019.
The 18th Annual Women’s Tea took place on Friday, September 14. Over 200 women of all ages gathered together for lunch to support the Women’s Fund of Porter County. This year’s guest speaker was Sarah Harmeyer, Founder and Chief People Gatherer of Neighbor’s Table.
In 2010, Sarah asked her father to build her a big farm-house style table that she put in her backyard in Dallas, Texas. She hung chandeliers from the oak tree above and invited her neighbors to dinner. That first night, 91 people showed up. The simple idea of inviting a neighbor to share a meal turned into something extraordinary. Sarah has now had over 3,000 people sit at the very table her father built for her years ago, joining together in laughter, conversation, connections and love.
While Sarah continues to invite people to her table, her dad now builds tables for people all over the country. They have personally delivered tables to 29 states, with a goal of having a “Neighbor’s Table” in every state by 2020.
Sarah spoke about the importance of being intentional. She challenged the ladies in attendance to invite people to gather together. With a simple act of inviting strangers to gather around the table, you never know what might happen. “Community is important” said Sarah Harmeyer, “A community changes when we are intentional about what we do.” With her father serving as “Chairman of the Boards”, the official table-maker, and Sarah serving as Chief People Gatherer, they have created a movement of connecting people and communities.
The Women's Fund of Porter County offers an opportunity for women to collectively share in the joy of giving. Women from all backgrounds come together with one common goal in mind - improve the lives of women and children in our community. With the goal of raising $100,000 annually, $50,000 is awarded in two high-impact grants while the remainder is permanently endowed in the Women’s Fund at the Porter County Community Foundation.
Since 2007, The Women's Fund has awarded over $550,000 in grants and holds over $917,000 in the endowment fund, ensuring that the positive impact will continue on forever.
On Thursday, May 10, members of Impact Porter County met at Sand Creek Country Club in Chesterton to award their annual grants from the Women’s Fund of Porter County. Impact Porter County is a giving circle associated with the Porter County Community Foundation whose goal is to make a positive and lasting influence in the community by awarding grants to Porter County nonprofits whose mission is to improve the quality of life for women and children.
Over $50,000 in grants was awarded at the annual membership dinner on Thursday evening. Gabriel’s Horn Homeless Shelter and Hilltop Neighborhood House each were awarded a high-impact grant of $25,000. The other finalists, Dunebrook, Inc. and Frontline Foundations, each received a $2,500 grant.
Gabriel’s Horn is a shelter that serves all of Porter County and provides temporary housing for homeless women and children. In addition, they provide assistance in finding permanent housing, jobs, counseling and more. The funds Gabriel’s Horn received will go towards the expansion of their current facility that will assist up to 50 more people annually.
Hilltop Neighborhood House serves the community by providing early childhood education, after-school programming, and a food pantry. The funds awarded through the Women’s Fund of Porter County will be used to launch their mobile food pantry, Project 64. There are 64 hours from the time kids leave school on Friday until school starts on Monday, and for some children, access to food during that time is limited. Hilltop’s plan is to bring the food pantry directly to those children and families in need.
“When is the last time you have done something for 522 days,” said Stephanie Jones, to the 234 women in attendance at the 17th Annual Women’s Tea hosted by the Porter County Community Foundation.
“Something that you love; that you’re passionate about?” she asked the crowd. For Stephanie, what started out as a New Year’s Resolution turned into an ongoing, philanthropic adventure. For 522 days straight, Stephanie gave a gift.
“My definition of a ‘gift’ is when you give something and expect nothing in return,” said Stephanie. As she spoke of her intentional, sometimes serendipitous gifts given away throughout this journey to family, friends or even complete strangers, she explained how this challenge really stretched her, in more ways than she could have imagined.
“Giving stretches you in your goals, gratitude, and giving,” said Stephanie. “Giving to someone else is a way to show gratitude; to say thank you to those in your life, whether it’s with your time, talents, or money.”
Stephanie shared her inspirational journey and challenged those in attendance to stretch themselves by giving a philanthropic gift to the Women’s Fund of Porter County and help make a difference in the lives of women and children, right here in our community.
Impact Porter County is a giving circle associated with the Porter County Community Foundation. “Impact Porter County has a simple and ambitious goal,” said Bill Higbie, President & CEO of the Porter County Community Foundation. “To raise $100,000 annually, half of which would be given away immediately to causes that support women and children; the other half would be endowed to continue helping organizations forever.”
“What you have done here is pretty crazy,” said Bill Higbie. Today, more than $500,000 has been awarded in Women’s Fund grants to nonprofits in Porter County. The Women’s Fund now holds nearly $800,000 in an endowed fund, ensuring that the positive impact will continue forever. “Thank you for being crazy generous,” added Higbie.
Stephanie Jones is an author, speaker, and life coach. As a fearless changemaker, she’s been a private investigator, police officer, and senior manager in a Fortune 100 company. Stephanie is a member of Impact Porter County and serves as a board member for the Porter County Community Foundation.
If you would like to learn more about Impact Porter County, view recent grant recipients, or find out how you can help make a difference, visit www.pccf.gives.
Over $50,000 in grants was awarded on Wednesday evening by Impact Porter County - a women’s giving circle associated with the Porter County Community Foundation. The giving circle presented the 2017 grants on May 17th at their annual membership dinner at Sand Creek Country Club in Chesterton.
Impact Porter County members aim to make a positive and lasting influence in the community by awarding grants to Porter County nonprofits whose mission is to improve the quality of life for women and children. Two high-impact grants of $25,000 each were awarded to Hannah’s Hope and the Portage Township YMCA. The other finalists, Dunebrook Inc., Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Gary and Porter County PACT, were each awarded a $2,000 grant.
Hannah’s Hope is an organization that assists families who have children with special needs. Often times, special therapy and equipment is essential to meet a child’s physical, emotional and social needs but with the overwhelming amount of expenses families of children with special needs have, they are not always attainable. Hannah’s Hope provides up to $500 per child per year to help these families purchase the necessary tools to help their child. The funds from this grant will continue their mission to “Help Hannah Help Others” throughout Porter County.
The Portage Township YMCA and the Portage Township School Corporation have partnered together to bring a Summer Learning Loss Prevention Program to low-income second and third grade students in Portage. This free, six week summer program will provide a safe, fun and educational environment for students to help prevent learning-loss that occurs during the summer months. In the first year, thirty-two children will be selected to participate in the program. This program continues the Portage Township YMCA’s support of students and their educational, emotional and social growth progress.
Impact Porter County has now awarded over $500,000 in Women’s Fund grants since its inception. To learn more about Impact or to view Women’s Fund impact stories, visit www.pccf.gives or contact the Foundation at 219-465-0294.