Past Gift Recipients.
Giving Cycle 2015-2016
In our tenth giving cycle, members voted to support our local nonprofits through Capacity Building grants. We learned that capacity building is necessary for all nonprofits to thrive. At its basic level, capacity building is any activity that improves an organization's effectiveness. An organization that is effective will deliver enhanced performance, community impact and fulfillment of its mission. We raised over $68,000 in support of the following nonprofits in our community! We believe that our support of these grant winners will strengthen these organizations so they can continue their inspiring and important work!
The Chase Home for Children - $ 15,000
Our grant came at a critical time, as the Chase Home found itself in the throws of a narcotic epidemic that directly affects Seacoast teens and their parents. Our funding will help implement a strategic plan designed to improve operations and exponentially improve care for the adolescents and families they serve.
The New Hampshire Food Bank (NHFB) - $15,000
Our grant will improve the health of low-income Seacoast citizens by providing local hunger relief agencies with commercial grade refrigerators and freezers that will enable them to accept donated perishable items such as meat, dairy, eggs, fruit and vegetables from local food suppliers. Many of the Seacoast's most vulnerable and hungry will now have access to high nutrient food each year.
Krempels Center - $5,000
Our gift will fund strategic and visionary development for this organization, which strives to improve the lives of people living with traumatic brain injuries. Strategic insight will help with succession planning and the development of ways to strengthen the sustainability of this critical organization.
New Hampshire Theatre Project (NHTP) - $5,000
NHTP is a Portsmouth-based arts organization. Our timely gift will help NHTP face future challenges through investment in board development and governance, leadership training, and planning for long-term financial sustainability at this critical juncture in their history.
Seacoast Eat Local (SEL) - $5,000
The mission of Seacoast Eat Local is to connect people with sources of locally grown foods and to advocate for eating locally for the health of our environment, community, culture, and economy. Rapid expansion and an increase in demand for the services that SEL provides have created positive growth challenges. Our gift will fund the creation of an effective communications and marketing plan to ensure the sustained growth of this organization.
Womenaid of Greater Portsmouth (WGP) - $5,000
Founded in 2005, WGP is an all-volunteer, woman-run organization that provides critical short-term financial assistance to those in need with nowhere else to turn. Our gift will fund much needed technology upgrades directly impacting the number of people in need that are helped and the amount of funds raised. We are excited to partner with WGP as both organizations celebrate ten years of providing women-driven philanthropic support to our community!
Healthy Child Development
Giving Cycle 2014-2015
In our ninth giving cycle, members voted to focus on healthy child development. We learned about the importance of early intervention to set young children on the critical path to success. We learned growing up in poverty is one of the single greatest threats to healthy child development and a child's future success. We discovered two particularly vulnerable populations: children birth to age 3 and teens.
In May of 2015, the Giving Circle selected Child and Family Services to be the recipient of our grant to support Healthy Child Development on the Seacoast! We raised a record breaking $62,130. It is clear that this incredible organization, that touches so many children and their families, also touched the hearts of every one our members. Our grant funded Child and Family Services (CFS) and their Early Support Services program, which provides individual services, family supports, and access to community-based resources for families living with developmentally delayed or disabled infants and toddlers, from birth to age 3. We granted $10,000 to Families First, the other finalist, allowing them to pilot a nationally recognized program never before provided in the New Hampshire, called the Parent Project, helping the area most-at-risk teens.
Giving Cycle 2013-2014
In our eigth giving cycle, members voted to focus on mental health. We learned that suicide is the leading cause of death in NH for people ages 15-24 and the second leading cause of death for people ages 10-34. In the 1990's NH created community based systems of care that ranked #1 in the country. Since then, significant funding cuts lead to decreased inpatient beds as well as limited community resources. Mental health centers saw homelessness and in-patient wait times rise. Mental illness is a medical condition but is not treated as such. It disrupts thinking, feeling, mood, relationships, the ability to work and all aspects of daily function. Mental illness does not discriminate and knows no boundaries of age, gender or socioeconomics. The amount of research dollars going towards mental illness pales in comparison with money spent researching other medical conditions. Sixty percent of people with mental illness don't seek treatment, due at least in part, to stigma.
To help reduce that stigma, Giving Circle members chose to fund the National Alliance for Mental Illness, NH (NAMI) and their campaign to raise awareness of mental illness and recovery, reduce stigma and help the community prepare a strategy for advocating for improvements to the mental health system. The Giving Circle raised over $50,000 for this initiative. The other 2014 finalists, Families First Health and Support Center and Crossroads House, each received $2,500 to help reduce the burden of mental illness.
Hunger and Food Insecurity
Giving Cycle 2012-2013
In our seventh giving cycle our members decided to study hunger and food insecurity and its impact on the Seacoast. We learned that 10 to 13% of the people living in NH are food insecure. Many people who do qualify for food assistance (or SNAP) do not take advantage of the programs and funding available to them. Yet, chronic food insecurity is linked to problems with weight, poor physical and cognitive development, and reduced performance in the school and workplace. Although the unemployment rate in this state has remained relatively stable, many have experienced a decrease in pay and benefits as their jobs have shifted from manufacturing to the service industry. Finally, as the infrastructure for processing food harvested from local farms has been eliminated, there is food that goes to waste in our state because of insufficient storage and processing facilities.
The members of the Giving Circle raised over $58,000 to help tackle the issue of hunger and food insecurity on the Seacoast. The Seacoast Family Food Pantry, our 2013 primary recipient, received over $53,000 and the NH Food Bank, our 2013 finalist, received $5,000. The Seacoast Family Food Pantry has utilized these funds to assist those struggling with hunger and food insecurity on the Seacoast through their summer bag lunch program, some much needed infrastructure upgrades, and the purchase of healthy food for some of their most vulnerable clients, seniors and working families with children. The funds gifted to NH Food Bank have been used to help stock shelves that have been left bare following recent supermarket closures that led to a significant drop in food donations.
Giving Cycle 2011-2012
In our sixth giving cycle, Giving Circle members elected to concentrate on substance abuse and addiction. We learned that 10% of New Hampshire's citizens have a diagnosable substance abuse disorder, placing our state among the highest per capita in the nation for substance abuse. While there is clear evidence that prevention-based strategies work to reduce drug and alcohol abuse, particularly among youth, very few such programs exist in our state. Thus, our members decided to focus on organizations aimed at reducing the harmful effects of substance abuse on the Seacoast through prevention, intervention, treatment, recovery, and advocacy.
In the spring of 2012, the Giving Circle selected Seacoast Youth Services (SYS) to be our grant winner. SYS offers education, prevention, and timely intervention programs and services regarding alcohol and other drug abuse, along with positive youth development opportunities, for adolescents and their families on the Seacoast. With the Giving Circle’s award, SYS created additional after-school programming for middle and high school-aged youth that focuses on developing social skills, managing anxiety, and making healthy and safe choices. The organization also upgraded their physical space so that it would be inviting and more professional, and purchased a van to provide much-needed transportation for participating youth to access the after-school programs.
Giving Cycle 2010-2011
In our fifth giving cycle, the group focused on our region’s senior population, and studied nonprofits providing non-medical support to help at-risk seniors age with dignity in their homes. Throughout this cycle, our members repeatedly heard about the rapidly growing senior population in New Hampshire, the lack of coordinated care for the frail elderly, and the need to "change the face of aging" in our Seacoast community. In May of 2011, members selected Rockingham Community Action's Seniors Count Program as the Giving Circle’s nonprofit grant recipient. The Giving Circle's members were inspired by the specific type of services offered by Seniors Count, as well as the model of integrated care provided as it is the highest standard of care for seniors. Our gift helped to fund the vital Community Liaison staff position for Seniors Count.
Women and Economic Security
Giving Cycle 2009-2010
In our fourth giving cycle, the Giving Circle focused on women's issues, specifically women's economic security, Members learned that many obstacles come between women and their financial stability, such as the decline in higher wage jobs, the increase in housing and health care costs, and the lack of access to transportation and affordable childcare. Through our giving, we aimed to help single mothers and/or working mothers overcome one or more of these obstacles.
In June of 2010, the Giving Circle selected More Than Wheels as our grant winner. Members were struck by the key role that transportation plays in a woman's ability to gain financial stability. More Than Wheels provides individuals with access to reliable, affordable transportation through one-on-one intensive coaching and financial fitness training. The organization helps low-income clients, 70% of whom are women, improve their personal financial skills and credit ratings before purchasing an affordable, reliable and fuel-efficient car. Our group's gift supported outreach to prospective female clients in our community and a Matching Savings Program for low-income women on the Seacoast.
Giving Cycle 2008-2009
In 2009, the Giving Circle selected children-at-risk to be the focus of its third giving cycle. After learning about the many challenges facing young people in our community, our group grew passionate about the opportunity to invest in programs that prevent risky behavior amongst youth ages 11 - 18 years. Research shows that between the hours of 3 pm - 6 pm, there are not only higher rates of teen suicide, drug /alcohol use and sexual activity, but also an increase in the number of 911 calls made regarding adolescents. In June, we selected New Heights to be our 2009 gift recipient. Founded by Seacoast Mental Health Center in 1987, New Heights is an after-school and vacation program that annually serves over 500 middle and high school students, providing risk-prevention and confidence-building activities designed to help them make a successful transition to adulthood. To date, gifts to New Heights from our members and supporters total over $42,000. These funds will offer much-needed general operating support in addition to targeting New Heights' Junior Staff Program, a component that places older adolescents in leadership positions to facilitate daily activities and to serve as accessible and positive role models to the younger participants.
On November 5, 2009, the Seacoast Women's Giving Circle hosted a reception to raise awareness and financial support for New Heights. Dubbed "Celebrate. Learn. Give.," the evening's format reflected the Giving Circle's emphasis on learning about community needs and effective organizations. Guests met the New Heights staff and explored the agency's programs by touring a series of stations that described activities offered to New Heights's 500 annual participants. The event showcased New Heights' programs, which help teens make a successful transition to adulthood by developing their competence, character, confidence, and resiliency.
Housing and Homelessness
Giving Cycle 2007-2008
In 2008, the Giving Circle focused its second giving cycle on affordable housing and homelessness. In our community, thousands of local families, many with young children, have transitioned into periods of homelessness. In fact, the average age of a homeless person in New Hampshire is 9 years old. Through our study of this issue we learned that substance abuse, mental health disorders and lack of access to basic primary health care often compound the challenge of finding affordable housing. To help combat this problem, the Giving Circle selected Families First's Health Care for the Homeless Program to receive its 2008 gift. This program tends to our community's most vulnerable people, offering them immediate relief from medical problems and helping them to rebuild their lives. With our member's gifts and those of friends, we provided over $21,000 to enable Families First to hire a part-time care coordinator for the Health Care for the Homeless Program. For more information, visit www.familiesfirstseacoast.org.
Giving Cycle 2006-2007
In January 2007, we selected the environment as the focus of our first cycle of giving, a choice that surprised us because of the many other shared concerns on our original list of community issues. The decision reflected our new awareness that environmental stewardship can be a human justice issue, and that issues such as climate change, land conservation, and water quality are both urgent and local. We selected the Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) to receive our first gift. With the generosity of friends and neighbors, our gift grew to nearly $10,000. These funds have helped CLF pursue strategic ways to protect the Great Bay Estuary, a critically important natural treasure that is at risk of collapse. For more information, visit www.clf.org.