North County women’s fund celebrates $30,000 in grants to nonprofits

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Hand to Hand Grants Committee members with Operation Hope staff (as identified): Isobel Shapiro, Christine Bruso, Nicole Ketcher, Operation Hope director of development, Charity Singleton, Operation Hope executive director, Cindy Dankberg, Lynne Calkins

Hand to Hand, a giving circle and women’s fund of the Coastal Community Foundation, recently celebrated and awarded grants totaling $30,000 to organizations serving some of the region’s most vulnerable women and girls. Of the 27 applications received, four nonprofits were selected, including: Boys & Girls Club of Vista, Girls Rising, Operation HOPE, and Reading Legacies.

Two of the grants target at-risk girls. A grant to the Boys & Girls Club of Vista will support SMART Girls, a weekly program offered to enhance participants’ physical and emotional health. Girls Rising matches “Little Sisters” who are living in poverty, in single care-giver homes or foster care with a mentor or “Big Sister” who becomes a consistent and positive force in the girl’s life.

Operation Hope—North County invests in families with children and single women who are experiencing homelessness. A grant to the Steps of Independence program will provide counseling, mentoring and coaching to support women in breaking out of their current situation and finding a place to call home.

A grant to Reading Legacies’ Family Connections Program, will encourage literacy and help connect incarcerated mothers with their children. Volunteers facilitate age-appropriate book selection and film the women reading the books aloud as they would in person. The videos are sent to the children to enjoy.

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Hand to Hand Grants Committee members with Boys & Girls Club of Vista staff (as identified): Heather Davis, Naomi Wade, social development coordinator, Ellen Clark, director of development, Cathy Bourdon

Hand to Hand was established in 2008 by 19 women. Today, approximately 50 women participate in the Fund. Their goal is to make an impact on the lives of women and girls in San Diego County by directing resources to programs that empower change and self-sufficiency.

For more information about Hand to Hand or to become a member, visit or email

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