The Women’s Legacy Fund, established in 2003 to help address the needs of women and girls in San Luis Obispo County, awarded $45,000 in grants to four local organizations Thursday.
The fund, an endowment held at The Community Foundation San Luis Obispo County, has about $1.3 million and has distributed more than $250,000 to various groups over the years.
A record 762 people attended the fund’s 15th annual luncheon Thursday, held at the Alex Madonna Expo Center.
Here’s a closer look at the grants awarded:
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▪ The Boys & Girls Club of South San Luis Obispo County will receive $15,500 to provide a year-long mentorship program with Cal Poly students targeting 40 girls aged 8 through 16 in the Lucia Mar School District.
▪ French Hospital Medical Center Foundation will receive $15,500 over two years to support 16 workshops to build body confidence and self-esteem for 192 girls aged 8 through 12 from low-income families at two elementary schools in San Luis Obispo.
▪ Big Brothers Big Sisters of San Luis Obispo County will receive $10,000 to support a science, technology, engineering and math program for girls at Nipomo Elementary. High school and college students will help mentor them.
▪ Paso Robles Housing Authority will receive $4,000 to support the Oak Park Coding Club, an after-school program that teaches 4th through 10th grade girls from low-income households about coding and building applications. College engineering students will mentor them.
Filmmaker and activist Kamala Lopez was the keynote speaker at the event. Lopez recently produced “Equal Means Equal,” an award-winning documentary film that explored the lack of equality for women under federal law; it was shown at the 2017 SLO International Film Festival. Lopez urges ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment.
“Women in the U.S. still do not have equal rights under the law,” Lopez told the audience. “And while 96 percent of Americans think that women should have equal rights, 80 percent of us think they already do.”
But, she added, “the shocking reality is that not only are the laws failing to protect women or provide them with substantive equality on the ground, but the entire interlocking puzzle of our system supports, reinforces and normalizes gender-based discrimination while simultaneously hiding the massive profits being made off the backs of those same women who are being discriminated against.”