Category Archives: What We Do

Paint for Paws raises $3,000 for family pet sheltering at CASA

by ZontaDoris

Feedback on our Paint for Paws fundraiser is ALL positive!

In case you missed our fabulous fundraiser,our purpose was to help CASA, the domestic violence shelter in St. Petersburg, start its family pet sheltering program onsite to keep loving family members–including canines and felines–FULLY together and safe from abuse.

Friday night, two Paint for Paws artists told me, again, more than four weeks after the event, how much they enjoyed the evening. The friends of other Zonta Club members are giving similar praise for the event on October 5 at Painting with a Twist

Here is what we are cheering about: 

  • We sold out Painting with a Twist. The capacity is 55 guests. We actually had more than 55 people there because some of us organizers gave our easels to guests to use.
  • The crew at Painting with a Twist–owner Marvin Gay, manager Joshua French, and art instructor Adrianna Auriemma are wonderful hosts and partners for this kind of event. They kept us informed of our growing reservations list. They helped us plan pre-event how we would set up our food and auction tables. They gave us early access to set up our 25+ auction baskets and food and they adjusted quickly to keep things moving well during the event. Joshua and Adrianna, equipped with different instructional styles, each came across well to the guests.
  • Kathy Scott from CASA spoke to the crowd. She explained that the pet sheltering had been a dream of Linda Osmundson, the former ED who passed away in January 2016 as the new CASA state-of-the-art domestic violence shelter came into being. Room had been set aside for a kennel to be built on the site. The catch was that new money had to be raised apart from the funds for sheltering human survivors of domestic violence.
  • So many businesses and individuals helped underwrite the event with donations of items and services for auction baskets. (See our slider on the home page for the logos of sponsors, supporters, and pals.) We also had plenty of tasty food and wine. Cicis delivered pizza–savory and cinnamon-sweet–and Subway donated sandwiches. We even had a special chocolate cake baked by cake artist Jazmin Demerjian to raise even more money and eat by the end of the evening.
  • We raised over $3,000 for the Zonta Foundation through our raffle sales, silent auction, and donations on our website with our new donations button. Now we are talking with John Biesinger at CASA (Community Action Stops Abuse) to find a good time to present a $3,000 check to CASA to keep domestic violence survivors’ families intact while they are living in the CASA shelter. CASA will become only the 8th DV shelter in Florida to house pets onsite with their families.  
  • We are thrilled with the outcomes we achieved. Thank you to everyone who contributed their time, energy, and money to make it successful. We could not have done it without you!

Picture of brushes from Pixabay

Views expressed in this blog post are mine and may not reflect the stance of the Zonta Club of Pinellas County or Zonta International. — Doris Reeves-Lipscomb

 

A Story of Women in Florida

by ZontaDoris

We recently published a post on Hidden Figures, the book and movie about the African-American women who worked for NASA and its predecessor agencies in the 1940’s and 1950’s. The surprise we club members had was magnified many times over by millions of Americans learning that brilliant minority women had contributed mightily as mathematicians and computer scientists to our country’s aeronautical and space explorations.

These unsung women from impoverished and socially restricted circumstances, reminded us of this quote from the Homegoing book by Y’aa Gyasi on 300 years of history of two families originating in Ghana.

“We believe the one who has the power. He is the one who gets to write the story. So, when you study history, you must always ask yourself, whose story am I missing? Whose voice was suppressed so that this voice could come forth?”

FWFA_2017-07-17_1459The idea of finding and capturing missing voices in this quote emerged for me recently as I learned about the Florida Philanthropic Network (FPN) and its affinity group–Florida Women’s Funding Alliance. The purpose of the FWFA–funders banded together under the FPN–is to “convene, connect, educate, leverage and elevate Florida women’s funders in order to elevate and empower leadership, expertise and investments in women’s issues.”

The end result is to help women and girls thrive in Florida. 

In order to improve our strengths and reduce our vulnerabilities as a gender, we need to know more about the status of women in our state.

FWFA is helping us understand the story behind women’s well-being in Florida.

The FWFA commissioned studies on the status of women in Florida, looking at four measures of women’s economic security:

  • health care coverage
  • poverty and gender wage gap
  • college attainment and
  • business creation.

 

FWFA enlisted the Institute for Women’s Policy Research, featured in this blog in September 2016, to do the research.

A full report and one-page infographs on the four topics were released only a few months ago. I am lifting sections of a one-page infograph available under Key Findings on the Women’s Foundation of Florida’s website and from the one- page infographs for this post.

Best news first on Business Creation

Women in Florida own more businesses and are growing more businesses than women do in most other states. In fact, Florida is 5th in the country on this measure. We are clearly entrepreneurial!

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Poverty and the Wage Gap 

We are in the bottom third of states for women 18 and older living in poverty. Five Florida counties have abysmal rates of poverty for women. If the gender wage gap were corrected, the poverty rate would be reduced by more than 50% for all working women and especially so for working single mothers. Wage gaps matter for one’s current standard of living and in retirement as Social Security benefits and savings stream from one’s earnings history.

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Attaining College Degrees

With regard to educational attainment, women in Florida trail women in other states.

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Women’s Health Care Coverage in Florida 

The worst measure is how women in this state are supported, or not, to maintain or regain their health.

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This situation makes me SCREAM in frustration! We are last in the country–50th!–on the percentage of uninsured women under age 65. In fact, 1/5 of all uninsured adults in the country reside in Florida. We also have big disparities in women’s accessing health care coverage depending on their race and ethnicity.

This gap exists because our Governor and Legislature choose repeatedly not to expand Medicaid eligibility. They wish to go the other way to reduce access to Medicaid benefits. The working poor don’t earn enough to get subsidies to purchase their health insurance and earn too much to qualify for Medicaid.

The outcome: these folks delay health care until they have to go to the hospital emergency room for care. They have no one negotiating lower rates for them with the hospital so they pay top dollar for the most expensive medical care.

Consequences of not having health care coverage: women (and men) suffer from undiagnosed illness and injuries. Their functioning is eroded or slashed dramatically. Women (and men) die prematurely. Women (and men) teeter on the edge of bankruptcy. Many have to file for medical debt protection because they have no other way of digging out of the financial hole they have fallen into.

We enable our elected officials to ignore the scope and depth of the problem when we don’t speak up loudly and consistently to expand health care access.

TAKE THREE STEPS TO ACT!

1. Learn from work sponsored by organizations such as the Florida Women’s Funding Alliance in the Florida Philanthropy Network. Follow their Facebook page to learn from new studies and reports. 

2. Stay informed on consumer health issues in Florida by subscribing to the Florida CHAIN (Community Health Action Information Network) and following its Facebook page

3. Use your voice to say we can, and should, do better as a state. Our state representatives and senators are only an office visit, phone call, or email away. We elect them to help Floridians thrive. Call or visit them today, tomorrow, next week, next month, and next year.  Access our representatives in the U.S. Congress here.  

It’s on all of us to make Florida a better home for women and girls, and their families. 

* * * * *

Scrapbook picture from Victorian Lady at Pixabay

Views expressed in this blog post are mine and may not reflect the stance of the Zonta Club of Pinellas County or Zonta International. — Doris Reeves-Lipscomb

Zontafest was a blast!

by ZontaDoris

Undoubtedly, the craft beer inspired some to come but it was far from the only, or even main, reason. Many guests also said they wanted to learn more about the Zonta Club, advocate for women and girls, expand their knowledge of gender equality issues, and network with people who share their interests and passion for change.

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We also have a few pictures of the evening to share with you. 

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Views expressed in this blog post are mine and may not reflect the stance of the Zonta Club of Pinellas County or Zonta International. — Doris Reeves-Lipscomb