Twenty-five nonprofits benefit from the generosity of the Lakewood Ranch women's group.
Sisterhood for Good might have turned to a guy for a motto.
In accepting a $2,000 grant for his The Brotherhood of Men Mentor Group, Dr. Dwight Fitch left the packed room at Gold Coast Eagle Distributing in Lakewood Ranch Thursday night by saying, "If each one of us gave a little, there would be plenty for everyone."
Founder Angela Massaro-Fain had that idea in 2011 when she joined with nine founding members to form Sisterhood for Good in Lakewood Ranch.
In that first year, Sisterhood for Good presented two $500 grants.
How things have changed.
On Thursday, Sisterhood for Good, now with 208 members, handed out $76,850 to 25 recipients.
Massaro-Fain noted it costs just $225 a year to be a member of Sisterhood for Good.
"It's affordable philanthropy," she said.
While it was a joyous celebration, with Sisterhood for Good members passing out huge imitation checks so that each nonprofit awarded a grant could have a photo opportunity, tears streamed down many of the faces in the crowd.
That's because many of those in attendance have had personal experience in knowing what those nonprofits do for the community.
Sisterhood for Good member Allison Imre, whose image is that of the strong, calm leader of Grapevine Communications, started the grant presentations by losing her composure for a moment before presenting the evening's first grant, $2,500 to the Safe Place and Rape Crisis Center.
"It is near and dear to my heart," Imre said through tears.
SPARCC's Tim Foley accepted the check.
"We have so many heartbreaking stories," he said. "So many people show up at our shelter with just the clothes on their back."
Emotions ran high all evening.
Douglas Staley of the Child Protection Center, said the $2,000 grant he received would help children go from survivors to those who thrive.
"You guys are my heroes," he said to the women of Sisterhood for Good for helping that effort.
Bill Wilson of Resurrection House said the nonprofit couldn't exist without help from people like the Sisters.
"We never have accepted a penny from a city, county, state or federal government," Wilson said. "This is so important to our operation."
Resurrection House received $3,000.
Sisterhood for Good member Maureen Chesson had tears in her eyes as she talked about the death of her sister to cancer. She then presented a check for $2,500 to the Team Tony Cancer Foundation's Kelly Deam and Tony McEachern.
"These people mean the world to me," Chesson said. "They make sure no one faces cancer alone."
The evening started with Sisterhood for Good founding member Kathy Collums telling the crowd that all of the money raised by the organization goes to charity.
"We pay no one," Collums said. "And we are not just a bunch of crazy women who like to have fun."
Besides a commitment from its members, Sisterhood for Good also raises funds through several fun events its hosts each year for its members and the public.
Lorri Kidder, the grants committee chair for the nonprofit, explained that 80 nonprofits had applied for grants this year.
"It shows that there still is a great need," she said.
She noted that the membership as a whole determines the grant recipients by a vote. She said Sisterhood for Good has presented $208,441 since 2011.
Maribeth Phillips of Meals on Wheels Plus-Manatee is glad Sisterhood for Good has thrived because its demand for food continues to increase following the pandemic and during this inflationary period.
She said the $5,000 grant will go to the Meals on Wheels' Food for Families program and will buy 5,000 meals for those in need.
Before Phillips joined Sisterhood for Good about four years ago, she had been applying for grants. This year's grant was the sixth for Meals on Wheels.
"We started to get grants and I met these amazing ladies," she said.
Fitch said the grants allow his nonprofit to show young boys in the Newtown area to see "there are options, and there are choices."
He said his nonprofit is committed to teaching boys about the importance of integrity, education and respect.
Stillpoint Mission's Karen Allen and Jim Keiner thanked the Sisters and noted the incredible need of those they serve. Keiner said they gave out 266,000 diapers last year.
Sisterhood for Good's effort will help sustain that effort.
"We've come so far," Massaro-Fain said. "We are able to help so many more people. Our goal next year is $100,000."
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