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The Fund for Women and Girls Hosts 16th Annual Making a Difference Luncheon Celebrating 25 Years of Impact

Monday, May 24, 2021

WEST CHESTER, PA (May 24, 2021) – The Fund for Women and Girls marked 25 years of serving local women and girls at the 16th Annual Making a Difference Luncheon on May 7th at the Desmond Hotel in Malvern. A hybrid event welcoming over 150 in-person and virtual attendees, The Fund’s annual Luncheon recognized the power of 25 years of impact, honored the philanthropy and contributions of Mary Lou Sterge, highlighted the wisdom of keynote speaker Uva Coles, and leaned into a bold future for women and girls. Watch a tribute to the 25th Anniversary here.

The event kicked off with an introduction from Judi Bell, The Fund’s current Board Chair. In a short opening, Judi reflected on her time as Board Chair, and highlighted the organization’s $3.5 million in donations given out to over 80 local charities and non-profit organizations throughout its 25-year history. She also reflected on The Fund’s critical impact in 2020, which included “$45,000 in Impact Grants for COVID-19 relief, voter education, census mobilization, and eviction help.”

(L-R) Keynote Speaker Uva Coles, Executive Director Michelle Legaspi Sanchez, Kitchen Table Award honoree Mary Lou Sterge and Board Chair Judi Bell pose for a photo. Photo courtesy of Revelations Video.

The Luncheon also featured remarks from inspiring keynote speaker Uva Coles. Uva is the founder and CEO of Inclusiva, a consulting firm aimed at developing and advising in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) solutions in workplaces. Uva remains an accomplished and inspiring woman and continues to positively impact her community through her work at Inclusiva and her role on the City of Philadelphia’s Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Board. Her remarks highlighted the importance of bold vision in making positive change; she noted many times how a woman’s “superpower is her bold vision.” Uva provided keen insights into the unique strengths of women in our community.

The Fund also presented Mary Lou Sterge with this year's Kitchen Table Award. The Kitchen Table Award was established in 2011 to honor a woman in Chester County for her leadership and philanthropic contributions to her community. In a heartwarming tribute, friends, family, and colleagues of Mary Lou recognized her incredible philanthropic work and inspiring character. In her remarks, Mary Lou noted her upbringing and her family’s emphasis on the importance of giving back through volunteerism. In Mary Lou’s words, volunteering helps propel an organization forward so that the “organization can do so much more, so that they could fulfill their mission, and that is what makes volunteering so important and so worth your time.”

(L-R) The Luncheon crowd connects over lunch at The Desmond in Malvern; Keynote Speaker Uva Coles delivers powerful remarks. Photos courtesy of Revelations Video.

Board Co-Chair Denise Wine concluded the Luncheon by highlighting the importance of supporting The Fund as she reflected on the past 25 years: “We’ve witnessed the transformative power of philanthropy, advocacy, and leadership in the women and girls whose lives we’ve touched. We have seen the investment in women and girls make a difference in our communities and make our communities stronger.” Learn more about ways to support The Fund’s mission at

The Luncheon was a proud day for The Fund. We brought together voices and experiences of amazing women while raising dollars to ensure a brighter, safer and healthier future for women and girls in Chester County. We are grateful to the many who made this event and our work possible,” said The Fund’s Executive Director Michelle Legaspi Sánchez.

Since 1996, The Fund has distributed over $3.5 million in grants to 80 regional non-profit agencies to support women and girls. Now, 25 years later, it remains a bold, strategic and creative leader in uniting community partners and individuals around a shared commitment to women, girls and their families. 

To watch the full Luncheon program, or the 25th Anniversary celebration video and Kitchen Table Award video tribute to Mary Lou Sterge, please visit our YouTube channel. Click here to view the Luncheon Program Book.

Generous support for this event was provided by: West Pharmaceutical Services; Barbara M. Jordan; Chester County Hospital – Penn Medicine; SEI; WSFS Bank; Denise Wine and Neil Kinch; First Resource Bank; Mill Creek Capital Advisors; Judi and Tim Bell; Pam and Jeff Bryer; Pattie and Mike Diggin; Lisa Passante and Mike Kaplan; Catherine and Tom Sennett; Roberta Torian; Land Services USA; Comcast NBC Universal; Jackson Cross Partners; MacElree Harvey; People 2.0; BBD; Brite Realty Services, Inc., Capacity for Change; Church Farm School; Countryside Consulting; DARE Auto; Essential Utilities; Hankin Group; The Haverford Trust Company; Haverford Systems Integration; Northwestern Mutual; Tolsdorf Oil Lube Express; Zukin Realty; Franny and Franny Abbott; Marguerite Adams; Carol Cunningham; Shiel Family Foundation; Barbara Jo Spellman; Lee Ann Sullivan; Carol Ware; Nora Alvarez; The Jurs Family; Celia Lang; Francesca Monastero; and Rosa and Chris Moore.


The Fund for Women and Girls leads and unites the community through philanthropy and advocacy to ensure that women and girls have resources and opportunities to thrive. Over the past 25 years, The Fund has awarded over $3.5 million to 80 local non-profit organizations.


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