During the 1990’s, Muriel Templeton, Jim Gordon, Jodie O’Quist-Burrows, and Sharon Rhodes served as members of the Women’s Resource Center Advisory Board at Columbia Basin College. Frustrated by the gaps in available community resources for women and children, these visionaries formed a committee, and eventually, the non-profit agency, Grass Roots Organization for Women (GROW).

The GROW board researched agencies throughout the nation, looking for ideas and inspiration after which to model their new organization. The board’s focus from the very beginning: address the unmet needs of women and children in the Columbia Basin. Another Pacific Northwest organization, the Women Helping Women Fund, caught the board’s attention. Based in Spokane, WA, this group encouraged philanthropy among women and raised funds through an annual luncheon. Women Helping Women Fund distributed all funds raised at the luncheon to programs benefiting women and children in the Spokane community. The GROW board knew a model designed to return 100% of funds raised to the local community was the right fit.

The GROW Board contacted the Spokane group about franchising this concept, and the Women Helping Women Fund Tri-Cities was born.

Our first luncheon was held in 2001 and featured then Washington State First Lady, Mona Locke. The luncheon raised funds for two innovative programs benefiting local women and children. Because of the generosity of our wonderful Tri-Cities community, we’ve funded 138 grants to date, totaling over $2.6 million dollars and impacting numerous lives throughout Benton and Franklin counties.

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