GRACES Women's Council

The United Way established GRACES Women’s Leadership Council to provide opportunities for women to become engaged in our work and strengthen families in our community. GRACES gives area women the opportunity to join a global network  of 60,000 women in 155 communities across six countries, all dedicated to improving lives and creating stronger communities through United Way Worldwide.



The mission of GRACES Women's Council is to unite women and their passion for service. 

Membership is open to all women in the community who wish to participate in a philanthropic networking organization. The $100 annual membership donation is used to benefit local causes and programs as determined by the GRACES members. Women choosing to invest $500 annually join the decision-making body governing the organization; a corporate membership is also available.


Our first GRACES Grants were a huge success! We just invested $8,650 into our community through 12 organizations. We are helping youth by supporting summer camps, healthy eating, mentoring, positive behavior in schools, and more. Through the grants, GRACES members reviewed more than 20 applications and determined exactly where and how they wanted their membership dues to make a difference.  

 Additional programs GRACES supports include: 


SEMO Food Bank Backpacks For Fridays (BFF):

Providing backpacks full of healthy meals and snacks once a week during the school year to elementary students whose families struggle to maintain food resources. 


Read to Succeed:

Literacy is the foundation of education. We're positively impacting the reading skills of our youngest students by ensuring they are all reading well by the end of 3rd grade. There is no greater indicator of educational success than 3rd grade reading level.


Attendance Awareness: Promoting school attendance, especially in the early years.


  • Provided food for 35 families every weekend for 40 weeks per year since 2009
  • Helped over 40 kindergartners, struggling with reading, become proficient readers
  • Established Read to Succeed reading intervention program in four public libraries
  • Provided over 2,500 books to area schools and organizations that serve low-income families
  • Engaged over 100 members, donating 1,000 hours to help strengthen families in our community
  • Delivered more than 800 diapers to needy families. 
  •  Why it Matters:

    • Over 4,000 students are served free or reduced lunches
    • 64% of 4th-grade public school students in Missouri scored below proficient reading level in 2009

    If you are interested in becoming a GRACES member, please email Elizabeth Shelton or call 573.334.9634. If you'd like to make a donation to GRACES please click here. When donating please check the box for GRACES Women's Council.