The Women’s Fund of the Wayne County Foundation is hitting some big milestones in their work to provide opportunities and growth for women and girls in the community.

At their annual luncheon on April 13 at Forest Hills Country Club, 266 women came together to witness grant recipients learn of the funds they would be receiving and to hear about their contributions to the community. The event was enhanced by the showcase of creative works donated by over 60 area artists and auctioned off to attendees to raise additional funds.

The $40,000 in 23 announced grants included $2,750 for the Dwyer Center to provide educational sessions for expectant mothers, $2,000 for JACY House to fund child abuse prevention programs, $2,500 to Refuge of Hope to support operations, $4,820 to YMCA for a summer basketball camp for Richmond Middle School female players, and $1,000 to the Black Legacy Project to expand their archive that records and celebrates the work of Black citizens of Wayne County.

According to a news release, during an artist’s reception event on Friday, April 12, the Best in Show award was bestowed upon Steve Koger for his photograph of Lt. Williams, while Carl Gay claimed the second-place prize for his painting “Going with the Flow.” Nancy Taylor received an honorable mention for her woven silk scarf, Jana Angelucci was recognized for her photo of McGuire Hall, and the final honorable mention went to Brandi Sanchez for her clay dish titled “Ocean.”

Over 260 women gathered April 13 at Forest Hills Country Club to celebrate recipients of grants for programs and projects that support women in Wayne County. Supplied

Artist recognition continued during the Saturday event as Sharon Pinson was named winner of the People’s Choice award for her stained-glass piece titled “Purple Spring.” The Women’s Fund Committee also paid tribute to Ali Carter-Rivera for her creation of a necklace titled “Sisterhood,” which symbolized the Women’s Fund’s 20th anniversary.

Mary Jo Clark and Pat Heiny had originally co-founded the fund after conversations around Clark’s dinner table with friends about the needs of women and girls in the community led the pair to begin raising and directing funds to projects that could help.

The Women’s Fund has distributed a grand total of $421,694.90 in support of women and girls in Wayne County during that time.

Those interested in learning more about the fund can visit

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A version of this article appeared in the April 24 2024 print edition of the Western Wayne News.

Chris Hardie is the owner and publisher of the Western Wayne News.