Fund for Homeless Women – 5 Years Strong

Fund for Homeless Women – 5 Years Strong

Fund for Homeless Women – Shelter, Safety, Community

By The Rev. Michael Reid, Guest Blogger

In the Fall of 2011, while in my office at St. Mary’s By the Sea Episcopal Church, I received a letter from a woman asking for help. She said that she had been homeless and was surprised to find so many other women like her – unsheltered, vulnerable and afraid.

They felt invisible and needed support. Although at the time I wasn’t sure what to do, I felt moved to respond to her plea, and began a journey of discovery that would not only change my life, but would make a difference in the lives of women without shelter in our community for generations to come.

 

Traveling without a road map, I cobbled together a bridge – a community of people-who-care, and was taken from a myriad of questions about this human crisis to the understanding and vision we have of it today, now 5 years later.” – Rev. Michael Reid, Fund For Homeless Women Co-founder, Homeless Advocate

Sharing Homelessness – From Photos to Support

Kathy Whilden, Michael Reid, Marian Penn

(l to r) Kathy Whilden, Michael Reid, Marian Penn

With my co-organizers, Kathy Whilden and Marian Penn, we started by creating a photo exhibit that helped to make women living without shelter on the Monterey Peninsula a visible reality.

After a groundswell of support from the broader community, we partnered with the Community Foundation for Monterey County and created a field of interest fund – into which financial resources for this cause could be invested.

Fund for Homeless Women Endowment

Fund for Homeless Women Endowment BrochureWe have raised over $1 million dollars and established a growing endowment for the Fund For Homeless Women that will support services for homeless women in our community for perpetuity.

Financial contributions from communities here and across the country have assisted the fund to help start and sustain vital programs like Gathering for Women, IHelp for Women, One Starfish Safe Parking Program, Women in Transition, and Save our Seniors.

Our annual grantmaking to these and other programs have touched the lives of over 1,500 women and permanently housed over 100.”

Studying the Status of Homeless Women

Fund for Homeless Women Full ReportIn collaboration with the Community Foundation, the first-ever assessment of the status of homeless women on the Monterey Peninsula was completed in 2016 and was followed by a countywide review of this growing need. Both documents are now published and available on the Community Foundation website www.cfmco.org/fhw.

Commitment, Visibility, Impact

From a small gathering of friends, to a monthly meeting of up to 50 community leaders, we also remain committed to building public awareness and mobilizing a community of now over 500 volunteers – a virtual army of actively informed makers of change.

In celebration of our 5th Homeless Women art exhibitAnniversary, we are excited to launch a campaign for endowment, and announce our anniversary exhibition called, What We See: Photographs by Women Without Shelter, on view at the Monterey Museum of Art from March 16 through September 4, 2017.

While our community, the needs of women living without adequate shelter, and the programs established to serve them may change with time and circumstance; the Fund for Homeless Women Endowment will be here, providing support for as long as there is a need.

With the Community Foundation for Monterey County, the Fund for Homeless Women is “Here for Good.”

About The Rev. Michael Reid, Ed.D.

Originally from Brooklyn, New York, Michael moved to the Monterey Peninsula from Los Angeles where he completed research on the effects of prenatal drug exposure on infants and children. After receiving his doctorate degree and leading programs that served people with developmental and neurological disabilities for over 15 years, Michael completed a certificate program in nonprofit fundraising at UCLA to better enable organizations to achieve their strategic goals. He became the first Director of Development and Public Relations for AbilityFirst: formerly known as The Crippled Children’s Society of Southern California, and moved to the Monterey Peninsula in 2001 to serve as Director of Development and Public Relations at York School. After three years, Michael answered a call to ordained ministry. He completed seminary at the Church Divinity School of the Pacific in Berkeley and was ordained a priest in the Episcopal Diocese of El Camino Real at All Saints Episcopal Church, Carmel. It was while serving as the Associate Rector at St. Mary’s by the Sea Episcopal Church in Pacific Grove, that Michael became aware of and engaged in the plight of women who are homeless on the Monterey Peninsula. And after 6 years Michael felt moved to retire from parish ministry in order to focus attention on his new ministry – The Fund for Homeless Women, which he co-founded at the Community Foundation for Monterey County in 2012.