View this email in your browser

Dear Women’s Fund of the Blue Ridge Supporter,

The beginning of the 2021 Lunar New Year (Chinese New Year), was February 12 and this is the Year of the Ox.  The ox denotes hard work, positivity, and honesty that will be manifested in all of us this year. After a tumultuous 2020, this is a great way to start 2021.  

My Chinese animal sign is the Rat. For those born under the Rat sign, our ideas and personal connections will be very important this year, and the year 2021 comes with a special energy for us Rats, as our optimism is at its peak. This is encouraging news for what's to come for the Women’s Fund of the Blue Ridge in 2021.

This is the first e-newsletter of the year and we are excited to feature three of the 2021 grantees and two new board members.  Our programs and events may continue to look different for a while, but with your patience, understanding, support, and generosity,  we will continue to make a difference in the lives of women and girls living in Ashe, Avery and Watauga counties. One way to make a difference is to join with other women and become a member of the Women’s Fund of the Blue Ridge.  See the membership information below.

Karen Marinelli
Executive Director

Grantee Spotlight

The Women's Fund of the Blue Ridge was able to provide over $125,000 in grants to 20 organizations.  We are going to spotlight organizations in each newsletter so supporters like you can see how your money is making a difference in our area.
Pisgah Legal Services appreciates the support from the Women’s Fund of the Blue Ridge. With the funding, we are providing free civil legal services to low-income women in Avery County. Poverty has a disproportionate impact on women, with 46% of single mothers with young children in North Carolina living in poverty. Seventy-five percent of Pisgah Legal Services’ clients are women. And, women have been hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic, from job and income loss to bearing a bulk of the childcare responsibilities during school closures.

Pisgah Legal Services will help women and their families:
  • escape domestic violence by securing and enforcing protection orders and resolving legal issues related to custody, division of property, and more so they can live independent from abuse.
  • avoid homelessness by stopping or delaying evictions and foreclosures, improving housing conditions, and helping them secure and maintain housing benefits and vouchers.
  • support themselves and meet basic needs by securing public benefits, managing limited resources, accessing affordable health care, and securing work authorization for immigrants.
Pisgah Legal Services began providing holistic legal services in Avery County in late-2019. We are reaching out to other service providers such as OASIS, Crossnore School, and Hospitality House to identify clients and work together to address their legal and non-legal needs.
Watauga Habitat for Humanity partners with low-to-moderate income families and helps them build and buy their own home.  Part of a global, nonprofit housing organization, Watauga Habitat for Humanity works to eliminate barriers to a better, healthier, and more financially stable life by offering future homeowners a safe and affordable place to call home. Homebuyers partner with Habitat, helping build their own homes alongside volunteers. Habitat offers zero interest mortgages to the homeowners. Since 1987, Watauga Habitat for Humanity has built 30 homes and supported families facing challenges. Now in these exceedingly difficult times, along with committed community partnerships, Watauga Habitat stands ready to offer a hand-up to families needing safe and affordable homes.
This year, Watauga Habitat is thrilled to partner with single-grandmother, Sheila Potter.  We are building this home in partnership with staff and students from Appalachian State University. This is our second App Builds a Home project and this home is being built on Sheila’s family land. 

We are ready to begin construction in March and Sheila will work alongside volunteers building her own home.  She and her grandson will move into their new home this summer!  Thank you, Women’s Fund of the Blue Ridge!

Leadership Initiative for Female Teens (LIFT) is a program within Mountain Alliance that empowers young women to push their boundaries in a welcoming, girl-supportive, ridicule-free environment. This atmosphere is designed to encourage girls to try new activities, bond with female peers, develop confidence and inner strength, and engage in community service. 

The WFBR grant allows us to provide a large variety of programs for teenage girls including multi-day retreats focused on self-care and care for others, confidence building adventure programs like caving and rock climbing, and programs like “Galentine’s Day” focused on supporting fellow females, self positivity, and creating community. It has also allowed us to provide both tutoring and mentoring to female teens in our School’s Out after-school program, including opportunities for college access programs such as ACT/SAT prep, college essay writing, and virtual college tours. 

One student that was deeply impacted by this program was “Sarah”. Sarah made some bad choices that landed her in trouble in school and with the Department of Juvenile Justice. Her challenges included stealing, negative social media interactions, trouble with boys, and being highly disobedient towards parents. Mountain Alliance and LIFT programs were part of Sarah’s deferment plan to keep her out of court. She went well above and beyond her requirements and ended up participating in 90 programs (many of those LIFT specific programs) and completing 200 hours of service in just two years of being involved in Mountain Alliance and LIFT. Her mom told us that Sarah’s attitude and behavior improved drastically. She has stated several times that she attributes this highly to girls-only programs through the LIFT program and MA trips in general. Sarah is now a strong role model for other female students. She has displayed tremendous resolve to do the right thing and make the right choice in several situations that we have witnessed. Her peer community has changed, her relationship with her parents has changed, she is confident, kind and helpful.

Thanks to funding from the WFBR, LIFT is empowering, supporting, and mentoring girls in Avery and Watauga Counties. Because of this grant, we are able to provide both formal and informal mentoring and much needed support to young girls during a challenging time in their lives. 
Membership 2021
In 2020, 79 women answered the call to become a member of WFBR raising almost $36,000 for our grant program.  You too can be a part of a passionate community of women with diverse perspectives. 

We believe our collective spirit thrives when we hear all voices.  When we join together, combine our resources and work as a team, we can accomplish what none of us can do on our own.

When you become a member in 2021, you are supporting our grants program as 92% of funds raised through the WFBR membership program goes to our granting program. Membership is an important part of our success in making a difference in the lives of women and girls in the High Country.

Thank you to all of those who have joined already! Please consider joining as a member this year. Membership levels are as follows:

Legacy                            $2,400/yr. - $200/mo.
Visionary                        $1,200/yr. - $100/mo.
Champion                       $600/yr. - $50/mo.
Change Maker                $300/yr. - $25/mo.
Friend of the Fund         $120/yr.

Join us at our website:

Meet Our Board Members
WFBR is fortunate to have 13 dedicated Board members who meet monthly and make decisions regarding the direction of the Women's Fund of the Blue Ridge.  Each newsletter, we are going to highlight a couple of these extraordinary Board members.  
Caroline Poteat was born and raised in Drexel, North Carolina. After earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science from American University in Washington, DC, she moved to Boone in 2006 to pursue her graduate studies at Appalachian State University. She holds Master’s Degrees in Appalachian Studies and Geography, and serves as Director of Development for the Blue Ridge Conservancy. Caroline is passionate about philanthropy and community service, particularly related to the environment and women’s issues. In the winter months you’ll find her curled up with a good book or cross-stitching. Through the beautiful High Country summers she spends her time hiking and fishing.
Dr. Kathy Boyd grew up in Salisbury, NC.  She graduated from UNC Chapel with a BS ‘89, a DDS ‘91, an MS’ 94 and an endodontic certificate ’94.  Kathy practiced endodontics in solo practice in Salisbury NC for 26 years.  While in Salisbury she was an active member of Sacred Heart Catholic Church.  She served on the Salisbury Community Foundation Board for nine years including two years as chairman.  Kathy moved to Blowing Rock in 2018.  Since moving to Blowing Rock she has joined St Elizabeth Catholic Church and the Blowing Rock Women’s Club.  She is married to Thad Throneburg.  Together they have five adult children.  Kathy enjoys running, hiking, gardening and family time.
Basic Totes Wish List
WFBR distributes Basic Totes that are filled with necessary toiletries and/or cleaning supplies to various non-profits throughout the High Country to pass on to women and girls who are in transition.  In support of this effort, the following items are requested:
  • Toothbrushes and toothpaste
  • Feminine Products
  • Razors and shaving cream
  • Hair brushes, combs, and elastics
  • Shampoo, conditioner, and bodywash
  • Hand soap
  • Deodorant
  • House cleaning supplies (all purpose wipes, pine sol, laundry detergent)
Did you know that the 2020 Cares Act allows you to deduct $300 for charitable contributions made in 2020 even if you don't itemize?

Contribution statements were emailed to all donors in February who made a contribution in 2020.  If we do not have your email, and you would like to receive a statement, please contact us at or 828-264-4002.
Shop Amazon through our link and Amazonsmile will donate to
the Women's Fund of the Blue Ridge.
The Women's Fund of the Blue Ridge has earned the 2021 Platinum GuideStar Seal of Transparency

Want to keep up with the Women's Fund more often? Follow us on Social Media!
Copyright © 2021 WFBR, All rights reserved.

Our mailing address is:
895 State Farm Rd., Suite 403 - 8, Boone, NC  28607
Our website address is:
Our phone number is:

Want to change how you receive these emails?
You can update your preferences or unsubscribe from this list.


This email was sent to <<Email Address>>
why did I get this?    unsubscribe from this list    update subscription preferences
Women's Fund of the Blue Ridge · 895 State Farm Rd., Suite 403-8 · Boone, NC 28607 · USA

Email Marketing Powered by Mailchimp