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WISH gives out grant awards

ISSUED: 22 September 2023
MEDIA CONTACT: Cecelia Mason

SHEPHERDSTOWN, WV — WISH, a women’s giving circle sponsored by the Shepherd University Foundation, awarded four grants totaling $142,000 collectively to community nonprofits Girls on the Run Shenandoah Valley and Jefferson County Community Ministries, as well as Shepherd’s Department of Natural and Physical Sciences environmental sciences program and the Department of Social and Applied Behavioral Sciences social work program. The awards were presented on September 17 during an event sponsored by alumnae John Wolff, Wealthspire Advisors, LLC, and his wife, Lisa Wolff.

Community grants

Nonprofit winner Girls on the Run Shenandoah Valley is a physical activity-based youth development program designed to enhance the social, psychological, and physical skills and behaviors of third through eighth graders. The WISH grant of $35,500 will provide scholarships for students unable to pay registration fees, allowing the program to be accessible to any girl who wants to participate.

“Girls on the Run Shenandoah Valley is grateful and excited to have been selected as a 2023 grant recipient,” said Executive Director Annoica Ingram, who expressed her appreciation for WISH’s investment in Girls on the Run. “This grant will have a positive impact on the lives of girls in the Shenandoah Valley when they need it most.”

Jefferson County Community Ministries’ Neighbor Project is the first step in a long-term strategic response to meet the social service needs of Jefferson County residents. The $35,500 from WISH will primarily fund an ADA-compliant elevator installation in one of the organization’s buildings, which is necessary for continued construction and federal grant funding opportunities.

“Jefferson County Community Ministries is continuing to expand its services in order to utilize a holistic approach to client support,” said Executive Director Keith Lowry, who noted that the Neighbor Project will offer transitional housing to safely shelter families as they work toward stability and self-sufficiency. “We are extremely grateful for being an award recipient of the WISH grant that will allow us to install a lift so that anyone experiencing mobility issues will still have access to shelter.”

Group photo of WISH grant recipients and members. Pictured, (front row, l. to r) are Annoica Ingram,  Caitlin Walters,  Meg Patterson,  and Dr. Mary J.C. Hendricks. Second row, Kasey Perdue, Pattie Schiotis,  Lisa Wolff,  and John Wolff . Third row, Wendy Carlson, and Sherri Janelle. Fourth row, Jamie Schooley, Peachy Staley, Bev Hughes, Dr. Brenda Johnston,  Taylor Staubs, and Dr. Craig Cline. Fifth row, Liz Oates, Jennifer Verdugo, Carolyn Fleenor, Dr. Peter Vila, Dr. Sytil Murphy, Dr. Jeff Groff,  and Dr. Zach Musselman. (photo by Sam Levitan)  

Grants to Shepherd

Dr. Sytil Murphy of Shepherd’s Department of Natural and Physical Sciences, who received the first WISH Shepherd grant in 2015 for the Seeding Your Future Initiative, is overseeing a much-needed upgrade of the two physics and environmental science classroom and lab spaces. The WISH grant funding of $35,500 will allow for the purchase of four lab quest minis, a new Van de Graaf generator, eight teaching sets for studying electrostatic charge, water sensors, unmanned aerial vehicles, and 48 new lab chairs.

“The environmental science program strives to provide educational experiences filled with many opportunities to work with state-of-the-art instructional technology,” Murphy said. “This WISH grant brings up to date our ability to do so by purchasing lab equipment, including computer-interfaced sensors and probes, for teaching electricity and magnetism, aerial imaging, and water quality testing.”

Headed by Dr. Craig Cline, the establishment of a Child Advocacy Studies (CAST) Certificate program in the Department of Social and Applied Behavioral Science will enable students to prepare themselves for post-graduate work in child advocacy while earning a recognized credential. Through the second Shepherd learning project WISH grant of $35,500, the CAST program will be the first instituted in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia and surrounding areas. This award will fund CAST faculty training, implementation fees, promotion, a director stipend, and the cost of adjunct instruction for CAST courses in 2024 and 2025.

“The Social Work program is committed to enhancing the child welfare workforce in West Virginia through the development of CAST at Shepherd,” said Cline, who noted that the department will work with the Zero Abuse Project to establish the certification. “The department is thankful for being a WISH grant award recipient and is excited to offer evidence-based, child advocacy education to degree seeking and non-degree seeking students at Shepherd.”

More than 100 WISH members and honored guests were on hand to celebrate the grant awardees, including WISH member Dr. Mary J.C. Hendrix, Shepherd president.

“As a member of WISH and also as president of Shepherd University, I have a vested interest in our campus and our community,” Hendrix said. “I am truly looking forward to hearing from the recipients about the differences our funding will make, and I’m confident that each of the 2023 WISH recipients will use that funding to enact important change.”

WISH was created to inspire, educate, and develop the amazing potential of women’s philanthropy through high-impact grant-making. Members’ $500 annual contribution is 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. Membership for 2023 is being accepted until December 31.

To learn more about WISH and becoming a member, visit the WISH webpage or contact Meg Patterson by email or phone at 304-876-5021.

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