Big Brothers Big Sisters of Utah awarded Women’s Giving Fund grant | ParkRecord.com

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Utah awarded Women’s Giving Fund grant

Marisol White, left, and Lacey Cole-Rae of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Utah react to being awarded a $33,000 grant from the Women's Giving Fund during a reception at Deer Valley's Silver Lake Lodge Monday evening.

Lacey Cole-Rae was all smiles on Monday evening after the Women's Giving Fund awarded Big Brothers Big Sisters of Utah a $33,000 high-impact grant in front of a large crowd at Deer Valley's Silver Lake Lodge.

Cole-Rae, manager of the Summit and Wasatch counties' branch, shared hugs with board members and representatives of the Women's Giving Fund grant as she took it all in. She said the Women's Giving Fund did not notify her the organization would be receiving the award before the grant celebration.

"I've been so anxious all weekend," she said. "The reveal was really the reveal. It's very exciting and I am very humbled and proud that the Women's Giving Fund chose us to be their grant recipient."

Three organizations were selected as finalists for the Women's Giving Fund annual award. The other two finalists were Arts-Kids and Holy Cross Ministries. An anonymous donor gifted both of the runners up with a $5,000 contribution.

Park City Community Foundation's Women's Giving Fund is an endowment that more than 1,000 members established. Each woman gives a $1,000 gift to become a lifetime member. The endowment is used to provide grants to organizations that serve women and children in Summit County.

A grant committee reviews the applications to narrow the field down to three before selecting a final recipient. Katie Wright, executive director of the Women's Giving Fund, said between nine and 12 grant applications are received each year.

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Previous grants have been awarded to PC Tots, an affordable day care center; the Summit County Children's Justice Center, which provides child-focused programs in a safe setting for child abuse victims; and Peace House, a program dedicated to providing shelter and case management to victims of domestic abuse in Summit and Wasatch counties.

When evaluating the applications, Wright said, committee members consider first and foremost the impact the organization has on women and children. She said Big Brothers Big Sisters was likely chosen because the organization's influence can be measured.

"In this case they know they can make a lot more impact," she said. "But, what's amazing about this group of people is it is a grant of funding, which is always critical. But, we know by watching past recipients there is an outpouring of volunteer support following this evening.

"While the finalists may not receive the grant, they usually do receive donations from people who are inspired by their work," she added. "Even though we spend an entire year with these nonprofits, the benefits go far beyond this grant."

Big Brothers Big Sisters has been in Utah for 40 years, with a presence in Summit and Wasatch counties for the last 12. About 150 area children are annually served through the organization's two programs: school-based and community-based mentoring.

The Park City and St. George offices serve about 20 percent of those who are reached statewide, with the Salt Lake office representing the rest. Cole-Rae said the grant will allow her to turn a part-time position into a full-time role. The position will be responsible for matching volunteers with children.

"This grant will help us grow the number of kids we serve overall, especially in our community-based program," Cole-Rae said. "We always have more kids on our waitlist than we have volunteers clamoring to fill those spots."

For more information about volunteering as a mentor with Big Brother's Big Sisters of Utah, go to https://bbbsu.org/. To learn more about the Women's Giving Fund, visit https://parkcitycf.org/our-impact/womens-giving-fund/.