$411,412 and growing: Pearls making a difference

Published 9:41 pm Tuesday, November 22, 2022

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Pearls of Empowerment, a women’s giving circle organized under the Davie Community Foundation, is enjoying their favorite time of year – grantmaking season.

Pearls hosted their annual luncheon last Thursday at Triple J Manor House in Mocksville.

“The beautifully decorated room was filled with ladies who chose to join together to impact the lives of women and children in Davie County,” said Jane Simpson, foundation president and CEO.

“We were so excited to have such a tremendous response to the luncheon,” said Amber Butler, Pearls events co-chair. “The room looked beautiful with the decorations, but filled with so many lovely ladies, it was gorgeous.”

A salad medley from Ketchie Creek Bakery and dessert from Maddie Cakes was served. Simpson shared an update on student successes through Ignite Davie. Many of the Pearls have supported this program.

After hearing from Kelly Funderburk, marketing co-chair, it was time to announce the 2022 grants. Three grants in Pearls’ three focus areas were awarded: Abuse of women and children, Housing for women and children, and Childcare and Transportation of women and children.

• The Advocacy Center of Davie County received a $7,400 award for Housing Stabilization for Davie County Women & Children.

The center serves residents facing a financial crisis that threaten their basic needs. The grant will help with rent/mortgages, utility bills and car repairs so mothers can maintain continuity and safety for their family. Executive Director Allie Fruits shared two stories of those helped by the center.

• The Dragonfly House Children’s Advocacy Center received a $10,000 award to ensure they can offer therapy to children affected by trauma regardless of ability to pay.

Childhood experiences, positive and negative, have a tremendous impact on future violence victimization and perpetration, and lifelong health and opportunity, said Brandi Reagan, Dragonfly House executive director.

The Dragonfly House offers therapy sessions from fully licensed, trauma-trained mental health clinicians to children in Davie who have experienced physical abuse, sexual abuse, neglect, have witnessed violence or have been exposed to a variety of other crimes. These mental health services build on the strengths of children, families, and community systems to increase hope, healing, and resilience. Reagan shared a story of a mother and daughter who were helped through a series of serious life challenges.

• Family Promise of Davie County received a $10,000 award to help fund the transitional housing program which allows families facing homelessness to remain together, continue to save money, and receive support from a case manager to create a sustainable future.

Family Promise ooperates the only homeless shelter and transitional housing program in Davie. Family Promise partnered with Hope Homes to provide two 2-bedroom houses for use in the program. This housing bridges the gap from homelessness to permanent housing by offering structure, supervision, support, life skills, education, and training.

Executive Director Lisa Reynolds shared a story about a family who found stable housing and whose child began to flourish in school thanks to the stability of having their own home. “Not knowing where you will sleep at night is very stressful for children and impacts them in ways you may not have thought,” said Lisa.

“It is exciting to hear personal stories about the impact our grants are making,” said Donna Powell, grants co-chair. “It makes me proud that my $365 is added to that of other women to award grants to agencies making a positive difference.”

After 13 years of grantmaking, $411,412 has been awarded by Pearls for projects in Davie County.

Not a Pearl? Consider joining. Membership may be individuals or groups and is $365 per year. Members can be as involved as they want to be. Some of the women serve on the leadership team, others choose to help with committees or events, and some just write checks.

“There’s a place for every woman in Pearls of Empowerment,” said Linda Dorsett, chair. “You just need $1 per day and the desire to improve the lives of women and children in Davie County.”