Along with cooler temperatures, colorful leaves and pumpkin spice everything, fall brings the countdown to the “giving season.”
It’s unfortunate that giving is perceived as seasonal, but we get it. Between the fall and winter holidays and year-end tax deductions, if there’s going to be a giving season, it’s the period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s.
In the coming weeks, we’ll be telling you about some of the worthy organizations ADG supports during the “giving season” and all year round. As a Woman-Owned Business Enterprise (WBE), we decided to celebrate our 25th anniversary by focusing this year’s efforts on organizations that serve female or majority-female populations.
Here is an overview of the groups you’ll be hearing more about.
The Capital District Women’s Employment & Resource Center (WERC) is a not-for-profit organization that works to advance women's success in the workplace by building their economic and personal independence. Since 1988, WERC has provided quality workforce development services to more than 9,000 women from New York’s Capital Region who have lost their source of support due to divorce, separation, or their spouse's job loss, disability or death. Single mothers or women who are facing the loss of public assistance benefits also qualify for WERC's training programs.
WERC staff and volunteers assist women with career exploration, preparing and posting resumes, computer literacy, communication, interview skills and other essential aspects of the job search process in one-on-one and group settings. Job placement assistance is provided to all participants during and after their training.
WERC is a participant in the New York State Displaced Homemaker Program (DHP), which has been providing workforce development training, resource assistance and job placement services to women in transition since 1978. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the DHP recently began Project PIVOT (Providing Interactive Virtual Office Training), in which women learn how to use Zoom, take part in a virtual interview and take advantage of home-based alternatives to Microsoft Office.
In 2020, The Women’s Fund of the Capital Region became a program of WERC. The Women’s Fund provides resources and support to financially insecure and nontraditional female students in the greater Capital Region by awarding scholarships and emergency funds and partnering with local organizations. This new relationship benefits both organizations. WERC women may now apply for Women’s Fund scholarships, and scholarship recipients can access WERC job-seeking resources.
WERC serves about 300 women annually and proudly boasts that 90 percent of those employed through the organization keep their jobs. They also note that every dollar invested with them puts $14 back into the local economy.
Want to help? WERC offers multiple options for cash donations, with 100 percent of the funds donated directly benefiting the women it serves. You can also donate supplies, volunteer for a committee, or donate gently used business apparel to the GreatFinds Women’s Thrift Boutique, which partners with WERC and other nonprofits to provide women in need with affordable work wardrobes.
Veterans & Community Housing Coalition (VCHC) assists military veterans and their families in seven upstate New York counties who are homeless or in danger of becoming homeless. Services include transitional housing, permanent housing, support services and temporary financial assistance.
“But wait!” you’re probably thinking. “Didn’t you just say you were supporting organizations that serve mostly women? Aren’t most veterans men?”
Yes, but … We support VCHC because it’s one of the few veteran-centered charities offering services specifically for female veterans and their families.
Guardian House, a transitional residence for women, is the only supportive housing program for homeless female veterans in New York state, and one of just seven in the entire United States that is funded by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
“Homeless women veterans face the same issues as the male veterans. In addition, a large percentage is living with the pain of military sexual trauma,” VCHC notes on its website. “With staff support (residents) work on their issues and when ready transition to a productive, independent life in our community.”
It gets better! VCHC’s latest initiative is a housing program for female veterans with children that will allow the mothers and kids to stay together while Mom gets the help she needs in transitioning to civilian life.
“There currently is not a single facility to house a Veteran Mom and her children together while she receives the services she has earned and deserves,” they write in a letter to potential supporters. “These moms are often separated from their children, or simply given a housing voucher and sent off to fend for themselves without the support they need if suffering from an addiction, recovering from PTSD, or in many cases, been victims of sexual trauma.”
Want to help? VCHC accepts donations of cash, goods and gift cards; learn more here. If you’re in New York's Capital Region, consider attending the 2021 Veterans Ball, scheduled for November 7 in Saratoga Springs. The evening includes dinner, dancing to live music, a silent auction and an honor ceremony, and an opportunity to learn more about VCHC and its work.
LifePath is the new name of Senior Services of Albany, which has been helping older adults remain independent and living in their communities since 1952. While not specifically a women’s organization, the majority of financially insecure seniors it serves are women, as are the majority of caregivers.
Nutrition plays a large role in LifePath’s mission; it offers community dining at locations around Albany County and a Meals on Wheels program that delivers more than 600 meals daily to homebound seniors. In addition, the PASST (Providing Assistance & Support to Seniors in Transition) assists those returning home from a hospital or rehabilitation center with meals, wellness checks and additional support services where needed. These services have been shown to improve healing time and reduce hospital readmissions.
It’s not all about food, though. Activities ranging from book clubs and bingo to crafts and swing dancing lessons are offered in person at senior centers around the county and, since COVID, via Zoom.
Seniors and their loved ones can also access educational programming and counseling on health insurance options, health and wellness, grieving, and other topics.
For 25 years, LifePath has presented the Third Age Achievement Awards, which celebrate those who have made significant contributions to the community after turning 60. For 30 years, it has produced the Capital Region Senior Expo, the largest gathering of aging service professionals under one roof in the area.
Supporting seniors means supporting those who care for them as well, and LifePath has a variety of programs for caregivers, including one-on-one counseling, seminars (in person and via telephone) and respite care.
Want to help? You can donate online to support LifePath’s overall mission, or make a dedicated donation to the Senior Hunger Relief Fund, which provides meals for seniors in crisis who do not meet the criteria for Meals on Wheels eligibility.
Need catering? Support Meals on Wheels by hiring the team to prepare and deliver food to your home or office. Proceeds go back to the program.
LifePath also has multiple volunteer opportunities available, whatever your skill set or schedule.
Those are the three organizations ADG has made a special commitment to this year, but they are not the only ones on our “giving list.” Here are a few more that we have been proud to support over the years:
- Albany County Department for Children, Youth and Families Adopt-a-Family Program (ADG has adopted a family every holiday season for 23 of its 25 years.)
- John Dau Foundation (medical care and nutrition services in South Sudan)
- St. Francis Xavier Haitian Orphanage Foundation
- Engeye Scholars Program (education in Uganda)
- New York Association on Independent Living
- New York State Independent Living Council
- Patriot Hills of New York (Transition, reintegration and therapeutic healing for veterans)
In addition to supporting charitable endeavors with our dollars, ADG provides management services to several nonprofit charitable organizations, such as:
- Academy of General Dentistry Foundation (supports oral cancer awareness and screenings)
- F.E.A.S.T. (Families Empowered and Supporting Treatment for Eating Disorders)
- North American Neuroendocrine Tumor Society (medical society supporting NET medical community serving patients with this rare disease)
- School Facilities Management Institute (educational charitable organization)
There’s strength in numbers, and that includes financial strength. Whether donating directly to a worthy cause, encouraging their members to support it, spreading the word about it or all of the above, professional trade associations are uniquely positioned to give back.
Women in Insurance & Financial Services, for example, has held several events in 2021 to benefit Twisted Pink, which raises funds for research into metastatic breast cancer. At its 2021 National Conference alone, WIFS hosted a trunk show and jewelry pull in partnership with Kendra Scott, and a silent auction of goods donated by members, sponsors and exhibitors, with proceeds donated to Twisted Pink.
Members and friends of WIFS could also use a checkout code when making purchases online from Kendra Scott during the four days of Conference, even if they didn't attend, with a portion of their purchases donated to Twisted Pink.
Nearly $5,000 was raised for this great cause, and that's just from the jewelry pull and silent auction. We could see more once Kendra's contributions from the trunk show and online sales are factored in.
This post is not a boast. We wanted to tell you about the great work these organizations are doing and encourage you to support them if you can. If your association is interested in becoming more involved with charitable work but you aren’t sure how to start, don’t hesitate to ask us for some pointers.