Congratulations to our 2023-24 Grant Recipients! 

Building Friendships Through Philanthropy

Letter from our Board Chair

It is the end of a great year for Rancho Santa Fe Women’s Fund! We all feel such a sense of elation having given out $490,000 in grants to the 10 worthy organizations specially chosen for their integrity, innovation and influence in the community. I know you join me in thanking the two Grants Committees who cheerfully labored for 9 months to complete their task of selecting the most interesting, responsible, and forward-thinking recipients for our money. A Big Thanks to Nikki Carmody Ream and Mara Buchholz, our grant chairs, and their teams.

The Monday grants work group members focused on Children/Teen Services: including at-risk programming, education, job training and mental health. The group members were: Alchera Ayaad, Cynthia Hudson, Diane Pennock, Donna Vance, Janie Rohn, Joann Marks, Kate Williams, Kathy Sage, Mary Consalvi, Nikki Carmody Ream, Sara Bennett, and Vivian Hardage

The Tuesday grant work group members focused on Women’s Services including homelessness, social services and mental health. The group members were: Cathy Burch, Clarice Hokanson, Gillian Gillies, Katherine Chapin, Mara Buchholz, Mary Anne Gillespie, Muffy Walker, and Sabrina Applegate.

You are part of an amazing group of women who give their time and service to helping others. We should all feel proud of our generous support to the community.

The 2023 Grant focus areas, as decided by you our members are:

  • Military Support Programs
  • Women’s Services – including domestic violence, sex trafficking and social services catering to women.

Susan Hoehn,

WF Board Chair

Above & Beyond Campaign

Rancho Santa Fe Women’s Fund strives to give as much help to the community as possible. We give grants from our pooled giving of our dues. Of our $2,300 women’s Fund dues, $2000 goes toward Grants and the other makes up our administrative costs. We think we do excellent work in researching the organizations to whom we give grants. We should make our service available to the community, even those who are not in the Women’s Fund but who have heart to give. The Women’s Fund throughly vets the grant requests, delving into the programs the grants want to fund, the people who run the organization, and we analyze their financials. We scrub the grant requests so that our members can be sure that their $$$ will go toward truly worthy organizations. We believe that Women’s Fund handles request with such expertise and thoroughness that others in the community would be interested in using our services.

The Above and Beyond Campaign is designed to open up our Grant Process so that members of the community can trust us with their funds adding to our grant pool.  The Above and Beyond Campaign also suggests to individuals in our organization that they can do more by contributing more than just their dues.  They can trust that the Women’s Fund will do all the research for them. Those who are in the Women’s Fund might give to the Above and Beyond campaign by rounding up their yearly contribution to $2,500. or $5,000. or $10,000 or more. We hope to expand this program by inviting the community to entrust RSFWF with part of their community donations.

News on Dues!

We believe we will serve our community and our organization better by moving the timeline up for paying our dues. The Grants Work Groups have been hampered by not have a firm idea of how much money they had to work with when dues are paid later in the year. Some members have even had the habit of coming to meetings all Fall but not paying dues until the spring. This does not work for us any longer. The new policy is once a woman has come to two events (meetings, speakers, Meet and Mingles, etc., or socials) they will be invited to join. After attending two meetings, anyone who has not joined or renewed will not be able to attend event/ meetings or of course vote. We are now going to send out due’s notices in September with the hope everyone will pay immediately. We had the policy in the past to allow dues to be paid until January 31 of the next year. This is possible for those who need an exception. If someone is introduced to our organization in the spring, the same rule applies. She would join after her first or second exposure to Women’ Fund.

We hope you will see the wisdom of this move and cooperate with the shift. It will enhance our Grants process tremendously.


The Board has installed a policy that we will keep in reserves one times the expenses of one year administrative costs of the Women’s Fund. We believe this shows responsible stewardship to the future security of the Women’s Fund

Upcoming events:

Kick-Off Meeting for Women’s Fund 2022-23 year, Wednesday, September 21st at the home of Sheryl Lester.

Monday Grant Work Group kick off: September 19, 2022 Location TBA

Tuesday Grant Work Group kick off: September 20, 2022 Location TBA

2022-23 Grants Kick-off Meeting, early to mid-September, date, and location TBD

Grants Update

2022 Gayle Gillies-Mize Memorial Grant Recipient

Foundation for Women Warriors

Foundation for Women Warriors is a recent Rancho Santa Fe Women’s Fund grant recipient for their Women Veteran Emergency and transition services programs. FFWW is also this year’s Gayle Gillies Memorial Grant Recipient. The Gayle Gillies-Mize Memorial Grant Recipient is recognized as a “fan favorite”, highlighting the organization which received the most votes from membership each grant season.

Foundation for Women Warriors (FFWW), first established in 1920 as a housing association for widows, war nurses, and mothers of fallen service members, today continues honoring the service of women veterans by empowering their futures.

The organization prevents homelessness and enhances women veterans personal and economic well-being. By holistically addressing critical barriers to stability, FFWW’s programs provide a stable foundation for women veterans through:

  • Financial literacy education alongside emergency stipends for rent, utilities, and other basic needs costs,
  • Childcare payment assistance for daycare, after school care, and children’s camps,
  • Cost-reducing critical household and baby items,
  • Professional development,
  • Access suitable resources for mental health, legal assistance, and employment.

Over the past three years, FFWW has served 1,125 women veterans and children in throughout San Diego County, and 3,001 throughout Southern California. The organization is on track to serve over 1,200 women veterans and children this year.

“We are incredibly honored to receive not only the incredibly generous grant award that will allow us to reach even more women veterans in need of our services, but to have touched so many of your members with our mission. As an organization that continues to fight for recognition of this historically overshadowed and under-served community of women veterans, this special recognition and data point is both meaningful and an important metric in measuring the effectiveness of our messaging. With nearly 30,000 veteran organizations throughout the country, we are the only one solely focused on enhancing women veterans economic and family stability. We are truly honored to be this year’s Gayle Gillies Memorial Grant Recipient and hope that our mission continues to inspire others to honor and empower our Nation’s women veteran community.” ~ Jodie M. Grenier, FFWW’s CEO and Marine Corps veteran

Link to a CBS 8 News story about this program. 

Canine Companions 2022 Grantee

Team Training for Disabled North County Children – $50,000

Canine Companions is the largest non-profit of trained service dogs in the country, providing expertly trained service dogs to children, adults and veterans with disabilities, completely free of charge. Canine Companions is recognized worldwide for the excellence of its dogs, and quality and longevity of the matches it makes between dogs and people.

After a thorough application process, clients are invited to a two-week Team Training class where a client will live on campus and meet six days a week to learn canine behavior and care, dog handling skills and the commands their future four-legged partners already know. Team Training occurs four times a year, with up to 15 clients in each class. The Rancho Santa Fe Women’s fund will help support the cost of team training for five North County children with disabilities, helping them live a life with enhanced independence, with their furry partner by their side.

Caleb, shown in photos below, has Spina Bifida and uses a wheelchair to get around. Briella, his canine companion, helps Caleb in the following ways:

  • ‘Get’ command to pick up things Caleb can’t reach, then she holds the item until Caleb says ‘Give’
  • ‘Visit’ command to calm Caleb when he is frustrated or upset
  • ‘Push’ command to help open automatic doors

Briella also provides him comfort and support at the doctor’s office and the dentist office. She sits with Caleb during his many appointments and he remains calm by petting Briella.