ST. LOUIS - The Fontbonne Community Connection, a women's giving circle at Fontbonne University, has announced its 2009 grants to staff, faculty, students and student organizations.
The announcement was made at a general membership meeting held on campus July 16. After reviewing 35 proposals, the full FCC membership voted to award 13 grants, totaling nearly $60,000. Projects supported by these grants range from student/faculty collaboration with St. Louis-based survivors of the Bosnian genocide to the creation of an Internet-based three-dimensional educational environment on campus.
Inspired by a national trend in giving circles, several alumnae came together in 2007 to form the FCC. They shared a philanthropic vision to pool modest resources in order to support worthy programs and projects initiated within the Fontbonne University community. Members of the FCC include Fontbonne alumni and friends who have each committed to a minimum contribution of $1,000 annually. Proposals are reviewed and voted upon by the entire membership. Grant recipients report to FCC membership on the use of funds and the results obtained. Reports from the past year's recipients have been touching and impressive, according to members. Grants have enabled Fontbonne students, faculty and staff to make a difference, both on campus and in places as far away as Belize and Costa Rica. In a ripple effect, the Costa Rican government became willing to contribute funds after an FCC grant provided partial funding for early identification of infants at risk for hearing disorders in that country.
In its first six months, more than 50 women joined the FCC as charter members. The giving circle, with membership now at 84, is completing its first full year and second giving cycle as an organization. The FCC's membership goal for the coming year is to surpass 100 members - women who value having a personal stake in their charitable giving and who support the dreams and aspirations of applicants from the Fontbonne community.
Fontbonne appears to be at the forefront of a national trend in the growth of women's giving circles, illustrating the dramatic impact of women uniting as philanthropists. Fontbonne has been contacted by various secondary schools, colleges and universities, both locally and across the nation, seeking to replicate similar women's giving circles at their institutions.
"By contributing side-by-side with one another we each feel the distinct sense of pride and satisfaction as our individual gifts take on the impact of a much larger gift," said Marilyn Sheperd, Fontbonne's vice president for institutional advancement and one of the initial organizers. "The FCC encourages Fontbonne University students and faculty to dream big about the differences they can make in the world and then helps support those dreams."
Read about the 2009 grant recipients.