Nonprofit Dedicated to Ending Homelessness – One Family at a Time – Hosted Third Annual Microgrant Award Ceremony at Duluth Festival Center in Time for the Holidays
Duluth, Ga., December 13, 2022 – In 2017, Rainbow Village established its Women’s Giving Circle as a means for women with a passion for philanthropy and volunteerism to connect while increasing awareness about family homelessness and promoting the concept of “giving” of one’s time, talent and treasure. In 2020, the group established its “Be the Change” Microgrants Initiative to benefit members of the nonprofit’s Aspire Residential and Thrive Alumni Programs. Over the last two years, the group has raised and awarded $16,800 to help current residents and alumni overcome obstacles on the path to achieving their goals. On Wednesday, December 7, Women’s Giving Circle members, community guests, Rainbow Village staff, and microgrant applicants gathered at the Duluth Festival Center to celebrate the holidays, the organization’s many victories over the course of the last year and bestow a series of small grants to deserving recipients at its largest Grand Total to date – $23,650.
“This has become one of my favorite nights of the year,” said Rainbow Village CEO Melanie Conner. “Our first year was virtual, due to COVID-19, but this year and last, we were able to see the excitement and gratitude of each microgrant recipient firsthand and that’s a powerful thing. As I looked around that room, I thought to myself ‘THIS is what the holidays are all about – coming together to bestow gifts and bring joy.’ Only these microgrants bring more than joy. They bring meaningful change. The finish line is in sight for many of our resident applicants. They’re nearing the end of our program, but they have a hurdle to clear before they can get there. These microgrants help them pay off medical bills, student loans, business license application fees and so much more that may have been weighing them down or keeping them from saving what they need to pursue self-sufficiency. For our graduates, they still have their success coaching goals in mind and need a little help with car or home repairs. I love that our Women’s Giving Circle is there to help them with that.”
Marking the top honor for the night, the Barbara Howard High Achiever Award was bestowed upon a very deserving Adrian K., who has been a resident of Rainbow Village for a little over a year. Named in honor of the late Barbara Howard, this award reflects Howard’s energy, enthusiasm, and inspiration. In addition to being the owner of Georgia-based food processing company, Susanna’s Kitchen, for 55 years, Howard and her husband were prolific philanthropists. She supported Rainbow Village in various ways, including serving as the capital campaign chair to aid in building the Duluth campus. Her hard work and dedication helped the organization raise over $6 million to provide housing for families experiencing homelessness. Recipients of the Barbara Howard High Achiever Award have demonstrated outstanding leadership during their time at Rainbow Village. They must have also exhibited high regard for the goals and mission of the organization while making significant contributions to the improvement of resident engagement. Adrian represents all these qualities, and Conner and her team are certain that Barbara would have been honored to know her.
In addition to the High Achiever Award, 2022 “Be the Change” Microgrants were awarded to 27 residents to accomplish the following goals:
- Improved well-being by accessing dental care
- Achieving financial stability by eliminating or reducing debt
- Achieving family stability with assistance in obtaining a vehicle
- Building credit with the gift of a secured credit card
- Bonus for achieving a 700+ credit score
One resident’s request for funding to cover the expense of real estate classes and materials as she works toward her dream of becoming a real estate agent was denied. However, what she received in return was far better than her original request. Hilda Abbott, Founder of Rudhil Companies, not only offered to pay for the resident’s real estate training but also committed to providing a mentor and assistance for the resident’s first five listings!
The Rainbow Village Women’s Giving Circle is a diverse, dynamic, and generous group of women engaged in an exciting venture of strategic philanthropy. It leverages the resources of individuals for greater impact by pooling members’ dollars and using the money to award microgrants to families of Rainbow Village. Members also seek to engage and educate the public about families experiencing homelessness. Gatherings are held quarterly and often involve a speaker, food, beverages, games, prizes, and fun. The kickoff meeting for 2023 will be held in March. Women who’d like to join the Women’s Giving Circle in 2023 can learn more and register at https://rainbowvillage.org/womens-giving-circle/. For those who would like to explore other ways to make an impact on the families who call Rainbow Village “home”, Conner and her team invite them to visit www.RainbowVillage.org.
About Rainbow Village: Established in 1991, Rainbow Village is a transformative 501(c)3 nonprofit program located in Duluth, GA that serves families that are currently experiencing homelessness. Our model provides safe housing, education, and community support systems that allow families to confidently embark on the journey to self-sufficiency and thrive beyond our village. To learn more about the mission at the heart of Rainbow Village, make a tax-deductible donation or register as a volunteer, visit www.RainbowVillage.org. To stay up-to-date on the latest Rainbow Village news and events, the nonprofit invites you to connect with them on social media, including Facebook @RainbowVillageInc, Instagram @rainbowvillageinc, Twitter @rainbowvillage1, and LinkedIn @rainbow-village-inc.