Women’s Legacy Fund grants $65,000 to two organizations to help women and girls

Ted Bunch, co-founder of A Call To Men, speaks at the 16th annual Women’s Legacy Fund luncheon on Thursday.
Ted Bunch, co-founder of A Call To Men, speaks at the 16th annual Women’s Legacy Fund luncheon on Thursday.

The Women’s Legacy Fund awarded $65,000 in grants to two local organizations on Thursday at its 16th annual luncheon.

The fund, an endowment held at The Community Foundation San Luis Obispo County, was established in 2003 to help address the needs of women and girls in San Luis Obispo County. The fund has about $1.4 million and has distributed more than $350,000 in grants to local nonprofit organizations over the years.

About 700 people attended Thursday’s luncheon, held at the Alex Madonna Expo Center, according to Mary Verdin, spokeswoman for the event. Of that number, 100 of the attendees were men — the largest number of men to attend the luncheon in its history.

RISE received $40,000 to provide no-cost therapy to survivors of sexual assault or abuse and intimate partner violence. The program will service 130 girls under 18, who will receive individual and small-group counseling services.

And Peoples’ Self-Help Housing received $25,000 for its CELEBRE (College Enrollment for Latinas Entering Bright Rewarding Educations) Program. The program, which focuses on college preparation and lasts for one year, will pair 25 volunteer community mentors with 25 low-income Latina girls, according to a news release.

Educator and activist Ted Bunch was the keynote speaker at the event. Bunch is the co-founder of A Call To Men, which works to educate men on “healthy, respectful manhood” and preventing violence against women and girls, according to the organization’s website. Bunch is “dedicated to strengthening community accountability to end all forms of violence against women,” according to the news release.

“As men, we need to stop laughing and stand up to comments said about women and girls,” Bunch said at the luncheon. “We need to go from intervention to prevention, where minimalizing and domestic violence doesn’t happen.

“The amount of men that commit violence against women is about 15 to 20 percent. The problem is exacerbated when the other 80 percent or so doesn’t do anything about it,” he said. “It starts by objectifying women, which my generation has contributed to. Most men wouldn’t harm a woman, but don’t realize that by not doing something when we hear these comments or see this behavior, we are in fact harming women.”

Local news matters: We rely on readers like you more than ever before, and we currently offer free access to five stories a month. Support us further with a digital subscription to help ensure we can provide strong local journalism for many years to come. #ReadLocal

Gabby Ferreira: 805-781-7858, @Its_GabbyF
Related stories from San Luis Obispo Tribune