Helping uplift women in need in Charlotte County was the vision Mrs. Miriam Raines had when entrusting her legacy to Gulf Coast Community Foundation. More than 20 grants have been awarded through the Miriam P. Raines Charitable Fund at Gulf Coast. The generous spirit of Mrs. Raines continues to impact the Charlotte County community in meaningful ways. Today we will highlight two of those grants.
Gulf Coast Community Foundation’s Board of Directors approved two grants to Drug Free Charlotte County totaling $88,720 from the Miriam P. Raines Charitable Fund, an endowment created to help women in Charlotte County assist themselves by furthering their life skills. One of the grants supported a navigator to empower mothers to improve their own health, as well as the healthy development of their children. The second grant expanded the “Kids Thrive! Collaborative,” helping mothers in substance abuse recovery build parenting skills and resiliency and access community resources.
The Miriam P. Raines Charitable Fund
Through a bequest in her will, Miriam Raines established the Miriam P. Raines Charitable Fund at Gulf Coast Community Foundation as a field-of-interest fund focused on assisting women in Charlotte County through access to education and improvement of their life skills. Mrs. Raines wanted to uplift women and help them keep their families together by giving them the tools to remain independent. Gulf Coast staff works with nonprofit and government leaders in Charlotte County to ensure that meaningful grants are awarded in support of the purpose she identified for her fund. Legacy gifts, endowed funds that donors like Mrs. Raines entrusted to Gulf Coast, are supported in perpetuity.
Transforming through inspiration and support
Since 2003, Drug Free Charlotte has been helping to improve the health and wellness of Charlotte County through their expertise in substance use prevention and their ability to build and sustain strong partnerships. In 2018, they became the lead agency in the United Way–funded “Kids Thrive! Collaborative,” which includes the Charlotte County Healthy Start Coalition, Early Learning Coalition of Florida’s Heartland, and Healthy Families of Charlotte County. The collaboration formed in response to the alarming rate of children in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) due to complications from substance exposure – 43% of Charlotte NICU admissions in 2017.
Substance Exposed Newborn Navigator-Advocate Sue Sorenson with Drug Free Charlotte County has been in the navigator role for about three years now. Gulf Coast recently had a phone call with Sue to learn more about the meaningful impacts of the grants. She shared that a common thread the moms shared was a lack of peer connection and friendship, and that connection is one of the biggest keys to sobriety. Through peer groups led by Sue, moms were able to connect with one another, building relationships and important support systems.
One woman, whom Gulf Coast will refer to as Joyce (which is not her real name), shared that while her baby brought her much joy and hope, her situation at home was not healthy. She felt isolated as she dealt with depression, anxiety, and emotional abuse. Not unlike most new parents, she worried she was not doing a good job in this role. While she always dreamed of going to school to work in health care, she had no support at home, and she was told no one else should be caring for the baby.
Joyce joined the group for a meeting at the park. She was silent as she watched the group meet, but as soon as she was alone with Sue afterwards, she shared how significant the meeting was to her. She wasn’t judged, she was invited back, a fellow mom offered to call and text her, and then after the meeting a mom actually did call her like a real friend. As Joyce built strong relationships and a positive social network with other women in the group, she no longer felt trapped and left the relationship she was in. Joyce wanted to build a better life for her child and break the negative cycles for her child’s future. She now has her own home, employment, and wants to start school, all while watching after her sweet baby.
It is incredible to see the impact of legacy giving at work. Mrs. Raines wanted to uplift women and help them keep their families together by giving them the tools to remain independent. Through these two grants, Gulf Coast Community Foundation and Mrs. Raines did just that. Thank you, Mrs. Raines, for your vision to help women in need. We hope the Miriam P. Raines Charitable Fund inspires you to explore legacy giving today.