$52,000 given to Gwinnett nonprofits

DULUTH - While eating lunch Wednesday, a number of Gwinnett women heard heartbreaking stories of women affected by homelessness. But the United Way Women's Legacy is on a mission to decrease the number of these unfortunate stories.

Women from organizations throughout Gwinnett County filled a room of the 1818 Club Wednesday to watch as representatives from eight nonprofit organizations received award grants from the Legacy which totaled nearly $52,000.

The Women's Legacy held the luncheon to honor and award $15,000, $5,000 and $3,000 grants to agencies dedicated to helping the homeless, focusing on women and children throughout the county.

"These agencies awarded are agencies that could make a real difference with these funds," said United Way Gwinnett Associate Area Director, Debbie McMinn.

The funds awarded were raised by the Women's Legacy at a Gala March 9.

Family Promise of Gwinnett Inc. was a recipient of one of the two $15,000 High Impact awards.

Brent Bohanan, Family Promise network director, said the agency focuses on helping homeless families get back on track, many of them children.

"We focus a lot on children, who are often innocent bystanders," Bohanan said. "Last year there were 3,000 homeless students in Gwinnett County."

Bohanan said the organization will be using the grant to further their efforts.

Partnership Against Domestic Violence, an organization providing help to battered women, also received a $15,000 grant, which CEO Cathy Willis Spraetz said will be used to expand their therapeutic intervention program to include children.

"We're very excited to receive the award," Spraetz said. "We appreciate the Women's Legacy."

The Impact Group, an organization helping the homeless move to home ownership, and Rainbow Village homeless shelter received the two $5,000 grants while the Lawrenceville Cooperative Ministry, Foster Children's Foundation, Norcross Cooperative Ministry and North Gwinnett Cooperative Ministry were each recipients of $3,000 Impact Community Awards.

"This is an example, today, how we are giving back and helping these agencies," said United Way in Gwinnett Area Director Demetrius Jordan.

McMinn said all of the recipients were chosen by a group of Women Legacy volunteers who reviewed applications and performed on-site visits to the agencies.

"It's not, 'this is my favorite charity,'" said McMinn. "A group of volunteers actually review these applications, go to these agencies and see what type of impact they are having on the community."

Approximately 20 applicants submitted requests for the grants, and eight were chosen to receive the awards.

"Hopefully next year we will have more funds and more awards to give out," said Becky Munteanu, advisory board chair for United Way in Gwinnett.