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
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
We 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
In 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 Anniversary, 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.