LiGHT encourages ladies to fund programs for women, children

June 21, 2013

By BARBARA BARBIERI

LiGHT (Ladies initiating Giving—an Honored Tradition), under the wing of the Wells County Foundation, is entering its second year with nearly 200 members working to improve the quality of life for women and children in Wells County.
The group, which meets twice a year, is made up of donors who have contributed a minimum of $25 annually, although gifts of any amount are welcome at any time. Those who have contributed $25 have the opportunity to cast an individual vote for a grant to an agency in the fall. Up to $2,500 may be requested. The next grant voting meeting will be held at 7 p.m. Monday, Oct. 28, at the Wells County Public Library meeting room.
A fellowship meeting is held in the spring and this year the featured speaker on April 26 at the 4-H Community building was Jennifer Fisher, culture and retention manager for Group Dekko. She spoke about the differences between generations and how they get things done as they interact with each other.
As the group gathered last fall, 13 grants were considered and  three groups were voted to be given grants totaling $4,020.
• First We Care, administered by the First United Methodist Church, received $2,500 to continue providing assistance to Wells County children whose families need help with back-to-school supplies or miscellaneous expenses that arise throughout the school year.
• The Wells County 4-H Association received $1,000 for the “Feeding Tomorrow’s Future Today” weekend food pack program. The program provides food packs to Wells County elementary and middle school students who have been identified as at-risk for hunger over the weekends.
• Family Centered Services received $520 for The Closet. This program provides free clothing and necessities for infants and preschool-aged children to allow struggling families to use the economic resources they have on housing, medical care and other necessities.
Guidelines for requesting grants that will benefit women or children are online through the  Wells County Foundation’s website: www.wellscountyfound.org Deadline for submitting an application is Sept. 27, 2013.
A steering committee is responsible for organizing and overseeing the solicitation of contributions to the fund, membership activities, annul meetings, grant making and fellowship opportunities.
Those members currently include Stefanie Kipfer and Kim Gentis, co-chairs; Bette Erxleben, vice-chair; Tammy Slater. treasurer; Barbara Elliott, secretary; Carol Baker, Barbara Barbieri,  Stephanie Davis, Katie Hacker, Molly Hoag, Kelly Kober, Joan Furey, Heather Morgan and Pat Trant (advisor). Members of the first steering committee also included Julie Cassiday, Nikki Surbaugh, Glennis Dick and Caroline Seese.
Membership to LiGHT may be completed at any time during the year with a $25 minimum check sent to the Wells County Foundation, Inc. and designated for LiGHT. The office is located at 360 N. Main St., Suite C, Bluffton, IN 46714. There is an Aug. 15, 2013  deadline for becoming a voting member this year.
In the works for the coming year will be a service project where members may participate in a hands-on event to benefit a women or children’s group. Plans are also underway to participate in the Bluffton Street Fair opening night parade.
The foundation covers basic expenses for LiGHT so that all funds collected may be used for grants or for the endowment fund.
Members of the LiGHT steering committee believe they are well on their way to serving the mission they set out to present to Wells County— “Believing all women have time, talents, and/or resources to give, LiGHT strives to honor the tradition that women strengthen and grow our community.”  u

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