It was 2004 when eight local women came together to form what is now Aqua Foundation for Women (AFW), an organization dedicated to promoting the wellness and equality of lesbian, bisexual and transgender women in South Florida.
Alicia Apfel, Alison Burgos, Alyse Mcgowen, Cindy Brown, Elizabeth Schwartz, Martha Sternberg, Robin Schwartz and Vivian Lamadrid created the foundation in response to the need to have an organization run by women for women. In 2004 and even a decade later, there are still not enough women leaders in the LGBTQ community. AFW was created in part to serve as the beacon for LBT women to be more involved.
“I am so very proud of all Aqua has accomplished in ten years,” says Aqua Foundation for Women Executive Director Robin Schwartz. “Since its inception, Aqua has awarded hundreds of thousands of dollars in scholarships and grants. We have fostered collaboration with others to increase impact including partnering with The Miami Foundation and Our Fund to raise $100,000 to support LGBTQ youth who are homeless,” Schwartz adds.
In addition to providing scholarships to twelve deserving LBT women each year, Aqua Foundation links them with an accomplished female mentor for the duration of that year. Both the scholar and the mentor are given projects and checked up on periodically.
“While the financial support is vital, it is the mentor relationship that is incredibly meaningful and often life changing,” says Programs Director Kat Campbell.
“Aqua Foundation has given me the opportunity to succeed in college, which will, in turn, prepare me to become an activist for the LGBTQ community,” says former Aqua Foundation Scholar Mageda Abdulhad.
Ten years after it was founded, Aqua shows no signs of slowing down. Later this month, Aqua will launch its very first Emerging Leaders Conference, a series of workshops developed to motivate and teach LBT women leadership skills. Additionally, it continues to host TransCon, a conference for the transgender community as well as an LGBTQ Family BBQ… (Read More)