Coastal Community Foundation works with a group of savvy women who band together to increase their giving power and provide grants to local organizations that seek to enhance the quality of life for women and children. This giving circle is called Women Making a Difference and its first grants meeting of the year was today. Whenever this group of women comes into our offices, I wonder what really is a woman making a difference.
A recent article in the Georgetown Times talked about how to recognize a woman who makes a difference in her community. This woman not only takes on the historical role of shaping home and family, but she also extends her nurturing role through activism and nonprofit work that has a significant impact on individuals and society as a whole. This woman helps us all reach the common goal of building a better world.
One woman making a difference in Charleston is Cynthia Coker, Vice Chairperson of the Disabilities Foundation of Charleston County. I met Mrs. Coker on a site visit to the Webb Center, one of the many arms of the Disabilities Board of Charleston County. Mrs. Coker was there to fight for a grant to help keep the Webb Center open. She spoke from the experience of raising a child with disabilities of the importance of parents of children with disabilities having a safe nurturing environment to leave their children during the day while they were out earning a living. Mrs. Coker said that without the Webb Center many children would have nowhere to go and many parents would have no alternative but to quit their jobs to stay home with their children. But the Webb Center is only one arm of the Disabilities Board and only one agency Mrs. Coker believes in fighting for.
Mrs. Coker believes that all people with disabilities should live an exceptional life while navigating a world that is often ill equipped to receive them. She has spent endless volunteer hours finding support for underfunded programs, building bridges between the public and private sectors, encouraging people without disabilities to embrace their fellow community members with disabilities, and maintaining a positive outlook in the face of red tape, growing needs, diminishing government funding, and inadequate public awareness.
In the last few years, Mrs. Coker has focused her efforts on creating a viable Disabilities Foundation of Charleston County to generate a source of permanent revenue for the Disabilities Board of Charleston County which serves over 2,500 people with disabilities in our community. Mrs. Coker constantly encourages the Foundation and the Disabilities Board to start every decision making process with one thought in mind: the people with disabilities who are being served.
Mrs. Coker has committed her life to improving the lives of people with disabilities, starting in her own home and then impacting the whole Charleston community. That is a woman making a difference.
Do you know a woman making a difference?