Women’s Individual Giving Society Welcomes New Members and Announces Donation
Group fund of $ 26,600 for various causes
The Santa Ynez Valley Women’s Independent Giving Society (WIGS) held its 12th annual meeting at the Sally and Bob Corlett Woodstock Home and Garden on June 9. WIGS members and guests were treated to “A Day in Provence” with a French-inspired lunch. and a presentation from the staff of Santa Ynez Valley People Helping People (PHP).
The purpose of the annual meetings is to allow WIGS members to receive progress reports on programs funded from the previous year as well as updates on current program needs, including client successes.
At the end of the presentation and progress reports, members decide how they want to invest their donations for the current year and vote accordingly. The programs of the beneficiaries are funded on a pro rata basis according to the choices voted by the members. Donations totaled over $ 26,000 this year.
“Our local economy is significantly dependent on the agriculture, tourism and hospitality industries, each interconnected with each other – and each devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said WIGS President Nancy Hunsicker. “The long-term effects of the virus have turned the lives of many of our neighbors upside down in ways no one could have imagined. We hope to provide People Helping People with more support to advance their work in our community. ”
Inspired by similar organizations in Los Angeles and Santa Barbara, WIGS was founded 12 years ago by Nancy Englander, Mila Hart, Claire Hanssen, Annette Serrurier, Sandra Simon, Carolyn Balaban, Nancy Hunsicker, Sandra Focht, Barbara Crist and Phyllis Hennigan. They and other donors wanted to create a circle of women’s giving, based and focused on the Santa Ynez and Los Alamos valleys. They had a strong desire to invest their contributions to maximize their impact on improving life in the Santa Ynez Valley.
People Helping People was selected as the WIGS umbrella organization because PHP operates a diverse range of social service programs, allowing WIGS members to choose funding from a wide variety of programs. PHP manages the operations of WIGS without overhead, thus allowing 100% of donations from WIGS members to directly fund services. All food and drink for the WIGS Annual Meeting is donated and prepared by members.
This year, WIGS members voted to fund the following: homelessness prevention, food program, family resource centers and youth programs.
“The generosity of this group of women is remarkable and indispensable,” said Valerie Kissell, CEO of PHP. “The costs of our food distribution program have increased significantly as we expanded our distribution efforts in Solvang and Los Alamos from biweekly to weekly. Our housing assistance and homelessness prevention program spending now exceeds $ 120,000, with demand increasing every day. We have expanded our Solvang office with a new wellness room where we offer free counseling services for young people, adults and the elderly.
This year’s private lunch for members was prepared by Ann Marie Powers, Sally Corlett, Sandy Simon, Deb Biddinger and Patty Hately, with cookies baked by Gerry Shepherd. New members included Sally Corlett, Deb Biddinger, Francisa Escobar, Bonnie Holdren, Alanna Tarkington and Susan Weber. The program also honored the memory of longtime WIGS member Rachel Pace who passed away on May 8.
To become a regular member of WIGS, a minimum contribution of $ 500 is required. This contribution can be shared between two parties which will share a single vote. Supporting members contribute $ 1,000, have one vote and are invited to join the group’s annual steering committee.