The Women’s Fund of greater La Crosse

Photo+taken+during+the+Women%27s+Fund+Fall+Luncheon+event+at+UWL.+Retrieved+from+Kaycie+Green
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The Women’s Fund of greater La Crosse

Photo taken during the Women's Fund Fall Luncheon event at UWL. Retrieved from Kaycie Green

Photo taken during the Women's Fund Fall Luncheon event at UWL. Retrieved from Kaycie Green

Photo taken during the Women's Fund Fall Luncheon event at UWL. Retrieved from Kaycie Green

Photo taken during the Women's Fund Fall Luncheon event at UWL. Retrieved from Kaycie Green

Liv Swanson, Sports Reporter

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Founded in 1998, the Women’s Fund of Greater La Crosse works to impact actions and attitudes that advance women and girls, promote opportunity, health and self-sufficiency, and encourage women and girls to develop as philanthropists. “We work to enrich the lives of women and girls so they can do the same for others,” said Executive Director of the Women’s Fund Kaycie Green. Green became involved with the Women’s Fund after moving to the La Crosse area. 

“I have only lived here for two years and this organization has been an amazing way to learn about all the great programs that are here, and do work that I really care about,” said Green. “My background is in state-level politics and I worked on women’s issues, largely around economic security for women. When I moved here, I was looking for an opportunity that would fill that need for me, and I found the Women’s Fund.” 

The Women’s Fund provides grants and scholarships to women in the La Crosse area. Last year alone the Fund provided $61,000 in grants to different recipients including: The Boys and Girls Club, Habitat for Humanity, The Parenting Place and The Salvation Army. The money these recipients received was used for different projects that helped women and girls locally.  

“Each year we have an annual grant cycle in the greater La Crosse area, which is a super broad definition. It’s not just La Crosse County but really anyone in relation to this area,” said Green. “This year we had 26 grant partners and the grants we tended to make ranged from $500 to $5,000.” The Fund hosts two different events each year that include award distribution and keynote speakers.  

“We have two annual events. One is the Spring Fling, and it’s been more of a light-hearted event. Then our fall event has a little bit more of a serious tone. We try to bring in a keynote speaker that can shine a light on something that women face and if there is a way for us to tie it to what is happening locally, that is really what we strive for,” said Green.

Joe Gow and others at the Women’s Fund Fall Luncheon. Retrieved from Kaycie Green.

The Fall event gave the Women’s Fund momentum and has happened every year throughout the Women’s Fund history. Each year they bring in different speakers to discuss new topics.  In the most recent event, the speaker they brought in focused on women in trade-skilled occupations. She was a local plumber who discussed the barriers she faced and how to support women and girls exploring trade-skilled careers.  

“The reason we found that to be a really interesting topic is those are really good jobs,” said Green. “I think there is a lot of interest amongst employers and the technical college to really expand the opportunities by making them seem possible. Of course, they are out there, but women don’t really feel like they can or should be doing those types of things.”  

The Women’s Fund annual Spring Fling is Mar. 28, 2020 at the Radisson Hotel in downtown La Crosse. The event will be focused on celebrating women over brunch. Food, beverages, and shopping from local vendors will be included. 

Throughout its history, the Women’s Fund was primarily volunteer lead. Only in recent years has there been an addition of staff personnel. The Women’s Fund offers many opportunities for community members to volunteer and get involved through different committees. 

“Most of our volunteers act through our committees. We have committees that related to the events we have each year, others that work with our grant partners to make sure they have what they need to be successful with the programs they are running, one that helps with marketing and just getting the word out there, and then one that helps with fundraising,” said Green.

There are different things volunteers can do to help the Women’s Fund directly, but the Fund can also connect volunteers to different organizations in need of help. “If there is an interest in volunteering, we can often connect people who want to volunteer to direct service programs,” said Green. “We have a lot of volunteer opportunities that are not glamorous like stuffing envelopes, or making calls, but those sort of actions are really important and a huge cost saver for us as a tiny little organization. They help us maximize the impact of our grants.”  

The organization appreciates any donations or help that is given. “I think that people sometimes feel like they can’t do enough to make an impact, but most of the donations that the Women’s Fund receive are relatively small but when they all come together it is really impactful,” said Green. “Even if you don’t have a ton of means, there is definitely a way for you to share the good work that is happening here.” 

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