Executive Women of the Palm Beaches (EWPB) awarded a $20,000 grant to Vita Nova Inc. at an awards luncheon held Oct. 12 at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts in West Palm Beach.
The grant, called the Lois Kwasman Program for Community Impact, was created by Executive Women Outreach (EWO) the charitable foundation arm of Executive Women of the Palm Beaches.
The $20,000 grant, payable over two years, was established to provide funding to nonprofit organizations that assist girls and young women, ages 11-21, in Palm Beach County. The Kwasman Program is named in memory of Lois Kwasman, who was an EWPB board member and community leader.
Irvine Nugent, Ph.D., president of Vita Nova Inc., accepted the first $10,000 check on behalf of the organization. The grant will be funding a new pilot program called Fostering College Achievement, which will address the issues of poor college enrollment and graduation. The program will partner with Palm Beach State College (PBSC) and focus primarily on the educational achievement of young women who have aged out of foster care. The program will focus on the provision of services to female students presently enrolled at PBSC and promote college to female foster youth ages l6 to 18.
“Only 2 percent of young women who enter the foster care system graduate from college,” Nugent said. “This grant will impact the lives of these young women by giving them the support and services they need to be successful in a college environment.”
At the awards luncheon, EWPB also introduced the recipients of its 2012 college scholarships, which are awarded annually to outstanding women pursuing their advanced education.
Nine recipients were present and recognized, including Maria Aitken and Alana Edward from Florida Atlantic University; Cynthia Lynch from the Palm Beach State College Crossroads Program; Jeni Chavez and Kayla Viaud from Palm Beach Atlantic University; Tasha Rodriquez from Northwood University; and Samantha Axtell, Emily Pain and Alyssa Luching, all from Palm Beach Atlantic University. Previous scholarship recipient Alex Chapman gave a presentation about her life at college and what the scholarship meant to her.
Last year’s Kwasman recipient, Families First of Palm Beach County, received their second $10,000 check for their Targeted Outreach for Pregnant Women Act program that serves young women, ages 13 to 19, who may be pregnant and/or at risk for HIV and substance abuse. Accepting the check was Julie Swindler, CEO of Families First.
To date, EWO has awarded $238,900 in scholarships to more than 106 recipients and $120,000 in Kwasman grants. Committee chair for the Lois Kwasman Program for Community Impact is Harreen Bertisch. The luncheon was sponsored by Palm Beach Atlantic University.
For more information about Executive Women of the Palm Beaches, call (561) 684-9117 or visit www.ewpb.org.
Above: EWPB President Ellen Block, EWO Chair Virginia Spencer and Event Chair Harreen Bertisch present Vita Nova President Irvine Nugent and CEO Jeff DeMario with the $20,000 grant.