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Originally published: 2014-06-12 10:28:25
Last modified: 2014-06-12 10:31:11

First Annual Luncheon of New Organization

What happens when two strong non-profits merge? Members of the new Women's Fund of the Blue Ridge think the result is that everything comes up roses.   

The High Country was fortunate to have two women's philanthropic funds, each with overlapping missions to support services that help women and girls in the mountains. After unanimous votes from the boards of the Appalachian Women's Fund and the High Country Women's Fund, the organizations combined their missions, efforts and membership, resulting in a new, larger and stronger philanthropic group.  

The Women's Fund of the Blue Ridge is surrounded by the excitement of a brand-new organization, while retaining the strength and experience of each former women's fund. The board members hope to make an even greater impact of the welfare of area residents through their new, combined efforts. 

"The blending of these groups means nothing but good news for members, the nonprofits we fund and, most importantly, the women and girls in need," said Kay McCloskey, co-chair of the transitional board of the Women's Fund of the Blue Ridge.  

The mission statement of the new group includes creating positive change and economic justice for local women and girls and for the organization to be a philanthropic catalyst that enables women and girls to reach their full potential.  

The Women's Fund of the Blue Ridge will continue to sponsor and participate in events, such as the Power of the Purse Mother's Day Shoppe and the Back-To-School Festival, but its largest event of the year will remain the annual luncheon.  

Previously, each fund hosted a summertime luncheon, and the new fund will continue the tradition with the largest luncheon to date. The Women's Fund of the Blue Ridge welcomes women and men to its first annual luncheon, which will be both a fundraising event and a celebration of the merger.  

The first annual luncheon for the Women's Fund of the Blue Ridge will be held on Thursday, June 26, at the Linville Ridge County Club. The event will include a catered lunch, silent and live auction, speakers and a special performance by area singer Maureen Renihan. The theme for the luncheon is "Everything's Coming up Roses." 

"This luncheon will be a wonderful celebration of unity," said Karen Sabo, executive director of the new fund. "The community support we've been receiving through sponsorships and donations for the auction shows what a strong, philanthropic culture of support we have here.  And our response to invitations has been very enthusiastic!"

Women's Fund of the Blue Ridge member Jenny Miller will act as the auctioneer for the live auction segment. Among the items donated are a diamond cuff, a week at a villa in Italy, a week at a Montana ranch and a stay at a cabin in the Smokies.  

Proceeds from this luncheon will support the fund's fall grant cycle. The two former funds have supported nonprofits, such as the Western Youth Network, Mountain Alliance, OASIS and the New Opportunity School for Women at Lees-McRae College. 

Major sponsors of the luncheon are Westglow Spa, the Ethel and W. George Kennedy Family Foundation, Mast General Store and the Albert Jay Martin Foundation. Business and personal sponsorships of any amount are welcome.

Luncheon tickets are $75, and seating is limited.

For more information about sponsorship, purchasing a ticket or about membership, contact Sabo at (828) 264-4002, or email info@womensfundoftheblueridge.org. Tickets may also be purchased through the Women's Fund of the Blue Ridge website, http://www.womensfundoftheblueridge.org.