Women’s Giving Circle of Missoula awards $10K to Food Bank in first-ever gift

The newly formed Women’s Giving Circle presented a $10,000 check to the Missoula Food Bank and Community Center last week, marking the first award the upstart organization has ever given to a local nonprofit.

Jessica Allred, director of development and advocacy at the Food Bank, said the funding was awarded to the Lived Experience Voices and Leaders program, or LEVL.

“This meaningful funding will support a program that lifts the voices of women who are the real experts on food insecurity, because they’ve lived it,” Allred said. “This money will change lives, not just for the leaders of LEVL, but for women and families who experience similar challenges.”

The $10,000 gift, which also saw $1,000 go to each of this year’s runners up, including the YWCA and the Missoula Urban Demonstration Project, marks the first financial award the Giving Circle has awarded.

The program is designed and led by mothers experiencing poverty, and it looks to break down any barriers to participating in the political and community process. The group is represented by 80 area women who have pooled their resources to support local nonprofits.

Terri Goldich of the Women’s Giving Circle steering committee, said 33 area nonprofits competed for this year’s award. She expects other awards to follow.

“We are proud to support a project that not only serves women in poverty, but also empowers them to become advocates for other women in need,” said Goldich. “There are so many Missoula nonprofits like the Missoula Food Bank and Community Center doing critical work to make our community strong. We plan on growing the Women’s Giving Circle so that eventually, we can support them all.”