2nd annual Women United luncheon to be held Oct. 7

Funds raised will benefit women and children’s wellness and financial assistance programs


The 2nd annual Women United fundraising luncheon featuring Cathy Parker, a former St. Johns County resident who is the inspiration for an upcoming major motion picture, “Touchdown on the Tundra,” will take place Oct. 7 at the Casa Monica Hotel.

Organized by the United Way of St. Johns County, Women United brings together a diverse group of women for a significant collective-effort annually, according to Melissa Nelson, United Way’s executive director.

“Women United has the goal to unite influential women, from the beaches to boardrooms, from academia to the arts, to embrace the opportunity to come alongside women, supporting further education needs of both women and children, allowing this generation and the next to successfully reach their full potential,” she said. “Sharing the vision of Women United, that individually we each have the power to be a catalyst of dynamic change, Cathy Parker is a perfect fit as the keynote speaker for the Women United luncheon.”

Parker’s story is compelling, Nelson said, explaining that it is about a couple of “powerful women” who put together their heads and their hearts to work to build a football field for the Barrow Whalers, a team of Alaskan Eskimos. The school became the first high school above the Arctic Circle to have a football program.

“It is a story of the impossible, made possible, all because of an unlikely Florida football mom, a former St. Johns County resident,” Nelson said.

Parker was featured on ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” and was named NBC Nightly News’ “Difference Maker of the Week” and ABC Nightline’s “Person of the Week.” She is vice president for development for the Boys and Girls Club of Valdosta, Georgia and founder of Athletes to Champions, Inc, a non-profit organization that minsters to youth through athletics.

Grant recipients

All funds raised by Women United are given to programs focusing specifically on women and children who meet the definition of ALICE, an acronym for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed.

In St. Johns County, one in three households falls within the parameters of ALICE.

Good Samaritan Health Centers, Inc., Wildflower Clinic, will use its grant for women’s health screenings, women's dental hygiene supplies, and women's health education.

Healthy Families St. Johns, Children’s Home Society Buckner Division, will use its grant for the Women United for Success Fund, financial assistance to mothers for costs associated with gaining employment, returning to school, or attaining certification in a specialized field for purposes of employment and help them overcome financial hurdles.

The luncheon and a post-event VIP reception will be held at the Casa Monica Hotel, 95 Cordova St., St. Augustine. The luncheon will begin at 12:30 p.m. Luncheon tickets are $65 per person; VIP reception tickets are $35 apiece. Advance reservations and payments are required. For more information or to purchase tickets, call Jenny Harvey at (904) 829-9721 or email jenny.harvey@unitedway-sjc.org.