The Women’s Fund of East Tennessee recently awarded $72,000 in grants to five regional organizations working to improve the lives of women and girls in East Tennessee at the organization’s 5th Annual Women’s Luncheon held at Cherokee Country Club. The mission of the Women’s Fund is to be a catalyst to transform the lives of low-income women and girls in a 25-county area of East Tennessee.
Organizations receiving 2016 grants were the Boys and Girls Club of Elizabethton/Carter County, Branches of Monroe County, Inc., The Core: Pearls of Grace/Lincoln Memorial University, Red Legacy Recovery, Inc., and Tusculum College.
The Haslam Family Foundation was presenting sponsors of the event. Platinum sponsors were Sandy and Hank Bertelkamp, Chair’s Platinum Tables and Gold Sponsors included Steve and Ann Bailey, Randy and Jenny Boyd, Clayton Homes, Cornerstone Foundation of Knoxville, Home Federal Bank, TIS, DeRoyal and Stowers Equipment.
Robin Wilhoit with WBIR served as Mistress of Ceremonies at the event attended by 310 people. Sarah Thebarge, author of The Invisible Girls was the guest speaker. The book tells the story of Ms. Thebarge’s life and five Somali girls she befriended. All of the proceeds from the book go into a college fund for the Somali girls. Additionally, Ms. Thebarge’s blog was featured by MSNBC.com and her book was chosen as the First Year Experience book for incoming freshman at Mississippi State University, where she delivered the convocation in August 2014. She is also a spokesperson for Vanity Fair Lingerie’s Women Who Do campaign,
The luncheon was chaired by Emily Cox and Melissa Chiles, MD. Committee members included Kay Clayton, Kirby Bell, Mary Pom Claiborne, Ruthann Henry, Cindi DeBusk, Natalie Hall, Sherry Shepherd, Anna Toon, Brenda Wood and Terry Morgan, Executive Director of the Women’s Fund.
A beautiful tribute in memory of Board member and friend, Henrietta Grant was given by Avice Evans Reid, the Women’s Fund award, crafted by world-renowned glass artist Tommie Rush was presented to the grantees, unique centerpieces created by Natalie Hall of Cachepot adorned each table and Laura Barroso designed the fabulous programs.