The Women & Girls Fund

The Women & Girls Fund logo.

Established as a giving circle in 1999 by a small group of women who shared a concern for the real-life needs of local women and girls, the Northwest Connecticut Community Foundation Women and Girls Fund has grown to more than 200 supporters who help women and girls develop economic self-sufficiency by means of education, financial literacy and social services.

Support for the women and girls of Ukraine

History will remember the Ukrainian women with heart wrenching emotion, as they fought to protect their children and their country. Maria Lisicka took her two children and fled when shelling began in Lutsk, western Ukraine.

“I will do everything for my children,” she said. “I didn’t want to take them away, I wanted them to be at home, but what can be done? I want their psyche to be normal. The most important thing is children. I don’t care about the rest.”

On behalf of these women, the loyal donors of The Women and Girls Fund and the Executive Committee, we will be making a donation to UNICEF as they provide relief to the most vulnerable victims of this war, the children.

If you would like to join us, please make to the Northwest CT Community Foundation Women & Girls Fund. Write Ukraine in the notes.


2022 Annual Meeting

At the Women & Girls annual meeting, held May 12, 2022, we welcomed Professional Speaker Krista Rizzo, CPC, who discussed the importance of empowering women with her dynamic and energetic talk “We Are All Wonder Women”.

Krista has over two decades of Relationship Management experience and has been featured in multiple media outlets, podcasts and publications for her expertise on reinvention and transformation, including iHeart Radio, FOX, TODAY, and Microsoft. Her clients are some of the world’s most recognized brands including Nissan, L’Oreal, Canon, Verizon, and Amex. She is a member of The International Coaching Federation, The Forbes Coaches Council, The TODAY Show Parenting team, The Female Founder Collective, The TEDx Andrews Class of 2020. She is also a contributor at Thrive Global and LifeHack. She partnered with Global Empowerment Mission and #bStrong to help raise funds for NYC Families in Need during COVID-19.


The Women & Girls Fund Scholarship Challenge

In partnership with Northwestern Connecticut Community College, and begun by a generous donation of $1,000 from Bibby Veerman, a friend and supporter, the Women & Girls Fund has established a scholarship fund that will help women and girls who enroll in healthcare degree programs at Northwestern Connecticut Community College (NCCC). Find out more.


Grants in 2022

In 2022, The Women & Girls Fund will be inviting certain organizations to apply for funding.


Grants Awarded in 2021

The Women & Girls Fund would like to share with our loyal supporters a change to the Fund’s grantmaking process for 2021. The change is a strategic decision made by the Fund’s Development Committee to amplify the impact of our grants where the need is the greatest. Instead of a request for a grant proposal, Fund leadership will use knowledge gained from prior grant processes, grantee partnerships and research, to strategically invest in longer-term opportunities that support the economic mobility and advancement of women and girls in Northwest Connecticut.

Due to the restrictions at the clinical sites it has been difficult for the nursing students at Northwest Connecticut Community College to complete all of the required in-person clinical hours. The College has been creative and have secured some additional sites for clinical experiences for the students. One of these sites is the Community Health & Wellness center. They are willing to take 16 NCCF students over the course of the semester, but the students would need to undergo a background check and drug screening in order to participate. The Women & Girls Fund will provide a grant to fund these additional fees and to assist in keeping the flow of nurses into the healthcare system.


Past Events

Why 2021 Will Need All the Humor You Can Provide: Laughter, Community and Strength

In an effort to keep everyone healthy, our recent events were held via Zoom.

​Gina Barreca brought down the house on March 25, 2021 with an evening of laugh-out-loud fun with Connecticut's own First Lady of Comedy. Hailed as "smart and funny" by People Magazine, Gina Barreca was deemed a "feminist humor maven" by Ms. Magazine. The only full-time female academic to be a member of the Friar's Club, Gina is also an honoree of the CT Women's Hall of Fame. She has been awarded four honorary degrees and is a sought-after speaker for both academic and non-academic groups. Gina lives with her husband, Michael, in Storrs.

Sex, Suffrage and Scandal

Our fall event, Sex, Suffrage and Scandal, was also held via Zoom to a large audience. The feedback is in and many wrote to say the found the evening entertaining, educational, and just what was needed at this time.

If you missed it, please watch the video:


​Learn more about the status of women and girls in Northwest CT.

Read Essential Equity: Women, Covid-19 and Rebuilding CT (pdf) a collaboration between funders and member organizations of the Connecticut Collective for Women and Girls (CCWG) and the Connecticut Data Collaborative. The Connecticut Collective for Women and Girls is a collaborative of organizations committed to the advancement of women and girls, including those who are cisgender, transgender, and non-binary, in the state of Connecticut

Read: From Challenge to Opportunity: A Report on the Status of Women & Girls in NW CT

Watch: Videos Highlighting Recent Grants

Get involved: Complete the Volunteer Form. We will contact you about opportunities to help women and girls in your community.

Recent Grants Supporting Women and Girls
Advocating for and empowering women and girls
CT Collective For Women & Girls

In 2019, The Women and Girls Fund supported CT Women's Education and Legal Fund with a $1,000 grant to support the work of the Connecticut Collective for Women & Girls.

The purpose of this network is to deepen support within the participating organizations to raise the visibility of issues that affect women and girls and the aid in the advancement of women and girls throughout the state.

Over the past year the Collective evolved into an official network with the potential to organize statewide support around issues that affect women and girls while providing opportunities for...organizations and individuals that are committed to gender equity. - Kate Farrar, CWEALF

Improving career preparation and financial control
Girls & Women in Manufacturing

In 2019, The Women and Girls Fund supported Northwestern Connecticut Community College with a $4,275 grant to support the Girls and Women in Manufacturing, a program that includes manufacturing, and financial literacy courses.

The Girls and Women in Manufacturing Program provides graduating high school girls and unemployed/under-employed women with the skills they need to enter the manufacturing workforce. They earn industry recognized credentials, in addition to college credit which can be applied to the manufacturing degree. Students will interact with industry representatives (some of whom will be involved in teaching the courses), do industry visits, and have the opprotunity to job shadow. Students also co-enroll in a non-credit career readiness and financial literacy course to improve their knowledge of career preparation and financial control of their resources.

Supporting girls and women in technical careers increases their economic status, supports the local economy, and helps grow vibrant communities that attract and keeps young workers. - Sharon Gusky, Northwestern Connecticut Community College

Gaining Financial Literacy
Money Smart

In 2018, The Women and Girls Fund supported Family Strides with a $3,000 grant to support a series of financial education workshops for at-risk, low-income mothers.

Utilizing the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation Money Smart Curriculum, the program helps individuals build financial knowledge, develop financial confidence, become more money-savvy, and use banking services effectively. The Money Smart modules provide participants with the knowledge and resources they need to use the services and products of financial institutions effectively, create and implement a spending plan, use credit and borrow money responsibly, protect their financial rights, safeguard their money and determine their readiness to buy a home.

Women will increase their knowledge of credit and banking services and will be more likely to make informed decisions on money matters, save money, and improve their financial health and well being for themselves and their families. - Nicole Kilduff, Family Strides

Helping in Recovery
Hanson House Resiliency Group

In 2018, The Women and Girls Fund supported the McCall Center for Behavioral Health with a $2,400 grant to support the Hanson House Resiliency Group.

One of McCall’s newest programs, the Hanson House is long-term residential program for women recovering from substance use that focuses on clinical support and holistic treatment in a home-like setting. The Resiliency Group for the Hanson House women holds weekly sessions dedicated to life skills, financial literacy, and employment support as well as empowering the women involved and providing additional clinical support.

The program consists of two sessions. The first focuses on important life skills such as resume writing, job searching, financial planning and continuing education. The second session uses the research based curriculum, Women’s Circle, which takes a strengths-based approach to empowering women. Programs include “Identity – Who Am I,” which focuses on women’s self-discovery and the importance of one’s place in family, community, and culture, “Relationships,” which explores working and professional relationships, family and friendships, as well as competition and community, and “Being a Well Woman,” which focuses on holistic health and wellness using a variety of creative processes such as collage, games, surveys, case studies, and analysis along with guided visualization, stress relief and inspirational role models to explore self-care and how to support one another.

Because of the unique challenges women in recovery face, the Hanson House program focuses on the central role that relationships with children, intimate partners and others play in women's recovery. - Sara Osborne, McCall Center for Behavioral Health

Empowering Girls
Be All You Can Be

In 2017, The Women and Girls Fund supported the Bakerville Library with a $1,650 grant to support the day-long conference Be All You Can Be.

Co-hosted by the Pleasant Meadow Girl Scouts, the conference is designed to encourage girls to think about their plans for the future and to have a better understanding of the opportunities available to them after middle school and high school through speakers who have contributed to the advancement of women in a variety of careers including in the science, technology, math and engineering (STEM). Break out groups and the closing session focus on identifying strengths and interests as well as goal setting so the girls will feel empowered and confident enough to follow any career path they are interested in.

Girls will leave with ideas and plans for their future education and career. - Kathy Kinane, Bakerville Library

Learning New Skills Together
Mother/Daughter ESL

In 2017, The Women and Girls Fund supported the Winsted branch of the Northwest Connecticut YMCA with a $750 grant to support the purchase of educational software and textbooks for a mother/daughter English-as a-second-language program

The program, open to mothers and daughters in Litchfield County whose primary language is not English, will assist mothers and daughters to support each other in acquiring the listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills necessary to attain further education, learning, or employment. Staffed by literacy volunteers, the center provides one on one and small group tutoring services to mothers and daughters without charge. With the incorporation of technology into the literacy program, the students will not only gain literacy skills, but also learn basic computer skills while using the laptop computers. Through this literacy program, mothers and daughters learn to communicate and learn in different ways, and improve a range of skills from social to critical thinking and analysis, affording them greater economic opportunities in their futures.

Through the Mother/Daughter ESL program, we are empowering women to connect to their communities and better meet the challenges of the broader world. - Greg Brisco, Northwest Connecticut YMCA

Identifying Goals

In 2016, The Women & Girls Fund supported New Opportunities Inc. with a $2,500 grant to support a full-day workshop for the Latina Women’s Association. Women and girls from the Association attended the workshop, which focused on identifying personal interests and goals, and exploring the education, financial planning, and employment needed to accomplish them.

Building Life Skills
Moxie for Teens

In 2014, The Women and Girls Fund supported Moxie for Teens! at Explorations Charter School in Winsted with two grants, a $1500 grant to support the program and a $361 grant for program supplies.

Through the program, life coaches work with teenage girls for several weeks to help them develop improved self-esteem and develop leadership skills as well as examine how girls make choices, communicate, define their value and develop their presence.

"Moxie for Teens" will work with girls to help them build the life skills and responsibility qualities that lead to success –  Ginnie Block, Explorations Charter School

Healing Mothers and Daughters
Art Therapy for Mothers and Daughters

In 2014, The Women and Girls Fund supported the Art Therapy for Mothers and Daughters program at the McCall Foundation with a $1,500 grant.

The ten week program focuses on restoring healthy relationships among mothers and daughters, defining roles within the family, strengthening bonds, promoting leadership qualities, and modeling positive and healthy female roles and relationships for women and girls who have experienced neglect and abuse. 

"Mother-daughter dyads build communications skills, strengthen bonds, and decrease incidents of abuse and neglect, " Jessica Wright, The McCall Foundation Inc.  


Contact your Community Foundation staff at: (860) 626-1245 to discuss your charitable giving options and goals.