Grantee LiveGirl aims to mentor the next generation of female leaders

The Women’s Giving Circle at Connecticut Community Foundation—65 women of all ages eager to make an impact for women and girls in Greater Waterbury and the Litchfield Hills—awarded grants totaling $29,500 to five organizations serving the region.

The Circle formed in 2017 so members could pool their dollars, study local concerns, and award grants together to nonprofit organizations tackling issues affecting women and girls in Greater Waterbury and the Litchfield Hills. This is their second year of grant awards.

LiveGirl, a New Canaan-based nonprofit aiming to build self-esteem and social and emotional intelligence—“the building blocks of competent leaders,” according to Sheri West, its founder and CEO—received a $4,000 grant from the Circle.

The grant will fund two 10-week “Confidence Clubs” for middle school-aged girls attending the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Waterbury. Each Club will be comprised of 15 girls and will be matched with a professional mentor, and as the group meets they will delve into issues of interest or concern, receive positive support from peers and mentors, and learn how to navigate the minefields of their middle school years. According to West, this evidence-based program is “a proven path to build self-esteem and social-emotional intelligence.”

The Giving Circle’s grant will also cover the transportation costs for four girls to attend a LiveGirl summer camp and for all girls from the Waterbury Confidence Clubs to attend a statewide Boys & Girls Club leadership summit in November.

West walked away from a 16-year career at a large, multinational company to found LiveGirl.

She said, “I saw firsthand the shortage of women in leadership positions… and I saw the impact that role models and mentors played in women’s careers. That motivated me to do more for the next generation.” 

She said that middle school girls are more stressed and lonelier than any generation before. “But at the same time,” she says, “only 4% of teen girls in Connecticut reported that they would talk to a parent, teacher or counselor when they’re feeling sad, anxious or depressed. So, it really underscores the importance of programs like LiveGirl that provide safe spaces to connect with a mentor and role model.”

She continued, “We’re so grateful to the Women’s Giving Circle for their support. They should feel proud that they’re giving back to the next generation of female leaders.”

The Women’s Giving Circle’s five new grantees:

  • Madre Latina in Waterbury was awarded a $10,000 grant to launch “Young Representatives of Waterbury,” a program geared toward Latina high school students in the city. Participants will learn leadership and civic engagement skills to make change in their communities.
  • Waterbury Youth Services received a $10,000 grant to support a second year of the “Girls Who Code” program for 14 Waterbury high school girls. Girls learn computer coding skills in a fun and supportive after school program.
  • Greenwoods Counseling and Referrals in Litchfield was awarded a $4,000 grant to subsidize women’s counseling sessions, providing the psychological support necessary for promoting and protecting mental health and developing resilience to stress and adversity.
  • LiveGirl was given a $4,000 grant to provide programs at the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Waterbury, including: Four scholarships to Camp LiveGirl, 20 weeks of LiveGirl Talk afterschool programming, and transportation to a leadership summit in Bridgeport.
  • Seabury Society for the Preservation of the Glebe House in Woodbury was awarded $1,500 to create a six part, historical hands-on workshop that will present colonial women’s activities.

Learn about getting involved in the Women’s Giving Circle.

Top photo (L to R): Kimolee Eryn (mentor who runs the LiveGirl Confidence Club at the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Waterbury) and Sheri West founder and CEO, LiveGirl.

View more photos! Women’s Giving Circle award grants