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WISH awards $102K to four community and Shepherd projects

ISSUED: 22 August 2017
MEDIA CONTACT: Valerie Owens

SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV — The Shepherd University Foundation’s Women Investing in Shepherd (WISH) awarded four grants totaling $102,500 to community nonprofits Community Alternatives to Violence and Boys & Girls Club of the Eastern Panhandle and Shepherd’s learning programs Model United Nations and Student Veterans Transition and Support Initiative on Sunday, August 20, at Erma Ora Byrd Hall. The event was sponsored by alumnus John Wolff, Bronfman Rothschild Wealth Advisors.

Nonprofit winner Community Alternatives to Violence (CAV), which provides psychoeducational classes for men and women involved in family violence cases throughout the Eastern Panhandle, is the only licensed and independent Batterers Intervention Program in West Virginia. The $25,625 WISH grant will enable the program to quadruple the adult client enrollment from 50 to 200 and double the intensity of community awareness efforts through speakers, focus groups, and more involvement of local educational institutions.

“The WISH funds will allow CAV to increase client enrollment by 180 individuals,” said Carolyn Zdziera, executive director of Community Alternatives to Violence. “This means that 1,200 victims and children are protected from abuse and violence. Client fees will also increase enough annually so that sustainability will be assured.”

The Boys & Girls Club of the Eastern Panhandle received the second nonprofit grant award of $25,625. Through their Triple M—mentoring matters most initiative, the program will be able to provide a $250 stipend to Shepherd and other local college students who participate in the one-on-one weekly mentoring program. In addition, the WISH grants will help fund a contract with a local social work instructor to provide professional guidance and oversight to the hundreds of clients served throughout the Eastern Panhandle.

Headed by former United Nations human rights lawyer and Shepherd University associate professor of political science Dr. Arend Holtslag, the Model United Nations program at Shepherd provides Shepherd students with the opportunity to learn about diplomacy and global issues. Through the WISH funding, the program will continue to compete on a national and international level against colleges such as Harvard and expand into area high schools by hosting an annual Model UN conference at Shepherd over the next three years.

The last WISH grant recipient is Shepherd’s student veteran transition and support initiative. With this $25,625 grant, Shepherd will be able to meet the critical needs of student veterans through programming and resources.

“This grant award will enable us to reach out to every student veteran,” said Dr. Ann Wendle, dean of students and current head of the student veterans program. “We are now able to bring programs to campus that will facilitate support and understanding.”

More than 100 WISH members and honored guests celebrated the grant recipients, including WISH member and Shepherd University President Mary J.C. Hendrix.

“Like most of you, I was fascinated to review the ballot and read through the summaries of each outstanding program,” said Hendrix, who praised the finalists for addressing important issues and needs and providing creative and effective solutions. “WISH is providing new opportunities for positive changes through informed philanthropy.”

WISH is a women’s giving circle created by Women for Shepherd University and sponsored by the Shepherd University Foundation. WISH inspires, educates, and develops the potential of women’s philanthropy through high-impact grant-making. Members combine their $500 annual contribution, which is then divided into two grant pools—one for Shepherd learning programs and one for community nonprofits. A one-woman, one-vote process determines the grant recipients in each category. Memberships for 2017 are being accepted until December 31.

To learn more about becoming a member of WISH or about the organization, visit, or contact Meg Peterson at 304-876-5021 or email

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