Congratulations to Women’s Giving Circle of Cumberland County (WGCCC), one of the winners of the Spotlight Awards for transformational grantmaking given out at WCGN’s national conference in Charlotte, NC in October.  WGCCC was honored for their work for not only identifying and addressing a need in their community, but also developing the solution.  WGCCC’s focus is on women and children.  Each year, they take a deep dive into issues relating to their focus area using an annual scorecard they developed that measures the current status of women and children in their county.  In 2010, the scorecard revealed a significant increase in the number of homeless women and children as well as a significant increase in the number of homeless children enrolled in their schools.  As a result, several members of the WGCCC developed a research committee to further identify service gaps for this vulnerable population of women and children.

The research committee “connected” over 100 community leaders to participate in a think tank regarding this issue, which led to more research on a national level as well as discussion with service providers.  In 2012, based on their efforts and research, a non profit day resource center —“Connections of Cumberland County” was developed to address identified gaps in service for homeless women and children in Fayetteville and Cumberland County.  Sixteen community partners including Cumberland Country Schools, Fayetteville Urban Ministry, the Fayetteville Police Department, Cumberland County Department of Social Services and the Salvation Army partnered with the day resource center—“a one stop shop” providing case management and referral resources specifically for women and children.

In 2014 the doors opened providing rapid re-housing, goal-based mentoring and a learning lab. In the first 12 months, the organization had 105 active client cases, 89 of which are now in stable housing.