In 2004 a small group of women created history in Miami. They saw a need for an organization that would specifically address the needs of lesbian, bisexual and transgender women in South Florida. Their vision became reality. While the idea for a non profit organization for and by women was conceived by Alicia Apfel; Alison Burgos, Robin Schwartz, Cindy Brown, Elizabeth Schwartz, Vivian La Madrid, and Martha Sternberg joined Alicia on the original board and Aqua Foundation for Women was created!
The foundation was started with a loan from some of the board members. Soon thereafter, the revenue from Aqua Girl [a fundraising event created and produced by Alison Burgos] provided the funding for the philanthropic work of Aqua Foundation for Women to be carried out. And with time, corporate support, grants and individual donations diversified the types of fundraising.
Aqua gave out grants in the first forming years. Then in 2007 the scholarship/mentor program was added. Since then, the foundation has given hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants and scholarships to support the wellness and equality of members of the LBT community.
Presently, aside from awarding grants and scholarships, programming such as TransCon, the LGBTQ Family BBQ and Aqua’s LBT Emerging Leadership Conference takes place each year. Aqua partners with other non-profits on a variety of initiatives such as get out the vote, and builds community through events and by providing a space for people to participate in our philanthropic work, by volunteering on a committee or at an event, or by mentoring a scholar or by donating to the foundation.