Women United in Philanthropy Supports the Virginia Festival of the Book

Smart Women Got it Done: Code Girls was the catchy title given to the session partially sponsored by Women United in2018 VA Festival of Book Code Girls Philanthropy at the 2018 Virginia Festival of the Book. The session, held at the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center on Thursday, March 22nd, featured author Liz Mundy and WWII cryptographer Dorothy Braden Bruce. The book, Code Girls, The Untold Story of the American Women Code Breakers of WWII, reveals the story of thousands of American women recruited by the Army and Navy to serve as code breakers. The women faced sexism and misogyny while keeping their service secret.

Opioid Abuse in Our Community

2018OpioidPanelGroupPhotoCommunity experts in the prevention and treatment of opioid abuse advocated for proactive and compassionate support of patients needing pain management at a panel discussion hosted by Women United in Philanthropy (WUP) on Tuesday, February 27.

Patients should look for alternatives to opioids for managing pain, such as yoga, acupuncture, and mindfulness meditation, before taking an opioid, according to Paul V. Targonski, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Medicine and Public Health Services at the University of Virginia. “Ask yourself if you really need it,” advised Denise Bonds, MD, MPH, Director of the Thomas Jefferson Health District. “Or are you taking the minimal number of pills that you need?”

In 2014, more Virginians died of opioid overdoses than in traffic fatalities. In Central Virginia, opioid overdoses have not reached the high levels that they have in the southwestern part of the state, and multiple sources of prevention and treatment are available to patients coping with pain and addiction. These include Region Ten outpatient and residential treatment centers, which were described by Mary Jackson, MSW, Director of Women’s Residential Recovery for Region Ten.

Robert Tracci, JD, Commonwealth’s Attorney for Albemarle County, also advocated for compassion for opioid addicts who may commit low-level criminal offenses. “We can’t incarcerate our way out of this problem,” he said, and described the success of a local drug court that helps addicted individuals commit to be drug-free and employed to avoid incarceration.

Nearly 100 members of the community gathered at the Omni Charlottesville to learn from the WUP panel, part of a series of annual educational events hosted by WUP. The panel was moderated by Dorrie K. Fontaine, RN, PhD, Dean of the University of Virginia School of Nursing.

Membership Open House & 2016 Grant Recipients Presentations

2018OpenHouseLadiesThe Women United Membership Open House on November 1st was, yet again, a great opportunity for members and guests to mix and mingle while celebrating the successes of the past year. Even more importantly, however, was the chance to hear from previous grant award recipients as they describe how the Women United Human Services Grant Awards have impacted their work serving women and children in our community. Jennifer Jacobs, Executive Director, AHIP (Albemarle Housing Improvement Program) shared how the $20,000 grant they received went toward providing and improving basic shelter needs for community members in dire need. Karen Reifenberger, COO, Piedmont Housing Alliance described how they used the $20,000 award to provide basic food needs to children and family members at Friendship Court in Charlottesville.

This year, eight new members joined at the event and several prospective members indicated they will also join. 

Women United Participates in Day of Caring

The surprising heat during this year’s United Way Day of Caring on September 20, 2017, did not diminish the spirits of eight Women United volunteers. 

WomenUnitedDayofCaring2017 webThrough United Way –Thomas Jefferson Area, we volunteered at The Salvation Army on Ridge Road. Our task was to transition the chapel back to its original function after the previous night’s Fifth Annual Telethon. Diane, the site janitor, and our host, Antonio Rice, Director of Development, quickly put us to work. With sleeves rolled up and muscles flexed, we hauled heavy stage backdrops into storage, re-positioned the band equipment back on stage, disassembled banners, dusted the pews and vacuumed.  

Opened in 1912, The Salvation Army welcomes all who are in need.  Rice put it best when he said, “We are the safety net for anyone who has lost their way.”   

The Salvation Army serves hot meals 365 days a year and served 60,000 meals last year. They can also house up to 56 clients overnight.  Food, shelter, clothes, and respect are what The Salvation Army offers to help those in need get back on their feet.

A big shout out to those who gave their time: Jennifer McCune, Karen Boyette, Kelly Downer, Kristin Cummings Streed, Maribeth Haynes, Mary Pat Hanson, Tracy Meade and Shannon Holland, who did a fabulous job coordinating.  

 --Maribeth Haynes, Member, Communications Committee

2017 Grant Finalists Presentation


WU 2017 Grant Finalists Presentation 4

Sixty-seven Women United members, guests, and presenters attended the 2017 Grant Finalists Presentation on Tuesday, August 29 at the CAAR Conference Center. This is the largest audience at this event.

Representatives from the five grant finalist organizations each spoke for five minutes and were allowed time to answer questions from the audience. 

All current Women United members have been sent an email with a link for voting for the award recipients. Voting closes on September 11, 2017. Awards will be announced on October 5th at the 2017 Grant Award Luncheon at Farmington Country Club.  

Thanks to all committee members who helped make this event a success! And, thanks most of all to finalist organizations for their time with our group, as well as for the important work they do in our community.  

Immigration in Charlottesville

Thanks to everyone who came out on May 3rd for our Immigration in Charlottesville event. It was a lively panel discussion, and just one example of the kind of community programming Women United hopes to continue.

A very special thanks to our panelists for making it so engaging and educational. Please click through to their organizations' websites to learn more about what they do and how they serve our community:

If you enjoyed this event, please consider volunteering on our Events & Programming Committee. We need creative, passionate people to continue our mission! 

2017 Open House

On January 18, 2017, more than 80 women gathered in Downtown Charlottesville to learn more about Women United and the non-profits we support.

Our 2015 grant recipients were there and told us more about the impact a Women United grant has made. Those non-profits include Charlottesville Works Initiative, City of Promise, and Foothills Child Advocacy Center. Just in the last year, Women United has helped local women train for and find jobs, provided academic coaching for youth in one of Charlottesville's struggling neighborhoods, and helped our community battle human trafficking.

In addition to hearing from our non-profits, we learn more about the 2017 Grant Cycle, which begins right away. We also enjoyed terrific food from Feast! and had the opportunity to engage with many kile-minded women.

Thanks to everyone who helped make this event so wonderful!

CLICK HERE to visit our Facebook page and see more photos from the night.

2016 Human Services Grant Award Luncheon

IMG 2727At our November 3 Luncheon, Women United announced our 2016 Human Services Grant Award recipients: Albemarle Housing Improvement Program for Children Safe at Home and Piedmont Housing Alliance for Nutrition and Community at Friendship Court. We awarded $20,000 to each organization.

Our keynote speaker was Kristin van Ogtrop, a columnist for TIME magazine and former editor of Real Simple, Time Inc.’s award-winning lifestyle brand. Under her leadership, Real Simple achieved popular and critical acclaim and received nine National Magazine Award nominations in the category of General Excellence. In addition to leading the magazine, van Ogtrop oversaw realsimple.com and all Real Simple brand extensions, including social media; tablet editions; books; licensed products; live events; and mobile apps.


KVO Jen Maia CCVan Ogtrop is the author of Just Let Me Lie Down: Necessary Terms for the Half-Insane Working Mom, which was published by Little, Brown in 2010. She has appeared on shows including NBC’s Today, ABC’s Good Morning America, Live! with Kelly, and CNN. In 2014, van Ogtrop was named by Fortune as one of the 55 most influential women on Twitter.  


Before joining Real Simple, van Ogtrop was Executive Editor of Glamour. Previously she held positions at Vogue, Travel + Leisure and Premiere. She has served as an instructor at Columbia University’s Publishing Course and New York University’s Summer Publishing Institute. Her essays and articles have appeared in a variety of publications, and in The New York Times bestseller, The Bitch in the House.


Van Ogtrop received a B.A. from the University of Virginia and an M.A. from Columbia University. She lives with her husband and three sons in Westchester County, NY.


Find Kristin on Twitter and Instagram @kvanogtrop.


Hit the Pause Button: Why Mindfulness?

Dorrie Fontaine, Dean, UVA School of NursingDean Dorrie Fontaine

On Tuesday, March 29, 2016, over 100 Women United members and guests gathered at the Omni hotel for Dorrie Fontaine's exceptional presentation on mindfulness.  Dorrie Fontaine, RN, PhD, FAAN, is the dean and Sadie Health Cabaniss professor at the University of Virginia (UVA) School of Nursing and Associate Chief Nursing Officer at the UVA Medical Center.

Founder of UVA’s Compassionate Care Initiative, Dorrie has more than 40 years’ experience as a critical care and trauma nurse and a distinguished record of leadership at the nation’s top nursing schools including University of Maryland, Georgetown University, and the University of California, San Francisco. She is a tireless champion of healthy work environments, training nurses and physicians together and creating resilient nurses and healthcare leaders through compassionate care.

Dorrie believes that nurturing resilience, teaching compassion, and augmenting wisdom through mindful leadership will truly transform cultures in clinical and academic settings.

Dorrie is a past-president of the American Association of Critical Care Nurses and current president of the Virginia Association of Colleges of Nursing. She earned a BSN from Villanova, an MS from the University of Maryland, and a PhD from the Catholic University of America. Inducted as a Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing in 1995, she received the Presidential Citation from the Society of Critical Care Medicine and Villanova honored her with a Medallion for Contributions to the Profession. In 2012, she received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Maryland. She received the Martin Luther King award for championing diversity and inclusion at the Health System at the University of Virginia in 2015.

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