Meredith Dropkin

Wendy Hermann Steele to speak at Lakewood Ranch and Northern Trusts Godiva into Chocolate EventThe Lakewood Ranch Community Fund and Northern Trust will be holding its fourth annual ladies-only celebration honoring the philanthropic members of local women’s giving circles. The event, “Godiva Into Chocolate,” takes place on Tuesday, February 9, 2016, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at The Grande Clubhouse in The Lake Club, where the group will present a donation to a local non-profit. Special guest speaker Wendy Hermann Steele, founder of Impact 100, will address those in attendance.

“We’re excited to welcome Wendy Hermann Steele to join us in motivating and celebrating the women of our giving circles,” said Suzi Atherton, Director of Legacy Planning and Development of the Lakewood Ranch Community Fund. “As a successful entrepreneur and renowned philanthropist, Ms. Steele is living proof of the significant difference one woman can make when driven by the desire to give back.”

In addition to achieving success in the both banking and entrepreneurial ventures, Steele’s work has been recognized in a number of local, regional and national media outlets, including Fortune Small Business Magazine, People Magazine, USA Today, the CBS Evening News, Women’s Enterprise and others. Her philanthropic efforts are also noted in the 2006 book entitled The Transformative Power of Women’s Philanthropy; Margaret May Damen’s 2009 book, Women, Wealth and Giving, and in the 2009 release of Sondra Shaw Hardy’s book on Women’s Giving Circles. She is also featured in a book by Julia Rhodes entitled, The Right Sisters – Modern Women Inventors.

In 2001 Steele launched Impact 100, which brings transformational grants to the communities it serves across five broad focus areas: Culture, Education, Environment, Family and Health & Wellness. Today, her concept has been replicated in many cities around the globe and continues to expand. Since its inception, Impact 100 organizations in the US alone have provided more than $29 million to worthy non-profits.

Lakewood Ranch Women’s Giving Circles are a dynamic group of women bonded by friendship, shared interests and values in supporting organizations and programs in need. Each circle must have at least 10 members and commit to establishing a $10,000 minimum endowed fund to be a part of the Founders’ 50 of the Lakewood Ranch Community Fund. Membership ranges from 10 to more than 40 women for each group.

Nearly 80 guests gathered for the 2015 Lakewood Ranch Community Fund and Northern Trust GALentine’s Day event. Last year the group presented a donation of $900 to Turning Points, a non-profit organization that provides, coordinates and facilitates services to the homeless and those at risk of becoming homeless in Manatee County.

About the Lakewood Ranch Community Fund
The Lakewood Ranch Community Fund was created as a charitable fund under the larger umbrella of the Manatee Community Foundation. Its mission is to enhance the quality of life in and near Lakewood Ranch by promoting philanthropy, connecting the charitable interests of donors with the ongoing needs of the community, and granting funds. For more information, visit or call 941.556.5448.

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