Ask Jennifer: Get to Know BWCF (P. 1)

Ask Jennifer: Get to Know BWCF (P. 1)

How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world. — Anne Frank
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Executive Director Jennifer Bate speaks at the Fall 2017 Leadership Council held at Boca West Country Club

How did Boca West Children Foundation come into being? How long has it been around?

Boca West Children’s Foundation came into being in November of 2010. It was started by a group of passionate Boca West Country Club members who wanted to give back to the community together. We can always do more when working with others so this was the perfect way for some very philanthropic individuals to get together and make a difference. It took only a week to decide what the mission would be: children at-risk. The board members were so overwhelmed by the need to help children in Palm Beach County that they knew this had to be our focus.

How do people needing help come to you?

The Foundation accepts applications from organizations in Palm Beach County whose needs match that of Boca West Children’s Foundation. Applications must include a specific, identifiable, and measurable project that can be funded. The Foundation does not provide grants to general funds and conducts audits and reviews with its granted charities each year to be sure that funds were used appropriately.

What is the most recurring issue your organization encounters in its line of work?

The most challenging aspect of serving children’s charities is that there will always be a need. This year, with such great funding cutbacks at the state and federal level, organizations are left with an even greater need to fill. It’s also very tough to see those organizations who fundraise successfully having their funding cut as a result of their ability to successfully raise money, leaving them to work even harder.

What specific programs or assistance do you offer? How do these differ from those in other organizations?

What is unique about Boca West Children’s Foundation is that we do not give to general funds. We like to think of ourselves as “the United Way of children’s charities in South Florida”. What we do is grant money to specific projects assisting children. Working with non-profits to identify and create special projects is a very time consuming task, so many individuals will donate to general funds. However, donating to a general fund does not often provide the level of confidence that donors would like to see. By donating through Boca West Children’s Foundation, donors can leave the research and auditing up to our professional staff and know that their money is being used effectively. Donors can leave the identification of suitable projects up to the foundation, or choose to give directly toward a particular area- for instance, education, healthcare, foster programs, or human trafficking prevention.

What would you say is your most significant contribution to the community?

Awareness is one of the most significant things that any charitable organization can hope to achieve. It is our goal, to not only fund projects to assist at-risk children, but also to educate those in our affluent community that there is a very real need right here in our backyard. Poverty does not discriminate. It affects the lives of even some of the most educated and hardworking individuals, it affects all religions and ethnicities, and it is most certainly not the fault of a child. Together with our granted charities, we can help to break the cycle of poverty. But first, we must acknowledge its existence.