The nonprofit group 100 Women in Finance, a global organization that serves more than 15,000 professionals in the financial industry, made a local splash late last month by naming the Special Needs Foundation Cayman as its 2018 Cayman beneficiary.

The Special Needs Foundation, which was established in 2008, has made a mission of supporting children with a wide range of special needs across the Cayman Islands. Globally, 100 Women in Finance has raised more than US$44 million for philanthropic causes in the service of women’s health, education and mentoring, and 100 Women in Finance Cayman aligns its yearly local goals with the organization’s global theme. This year, the theme is education.

The foundation has established “Our House” as a way to go beyond advocacy and services by providing a physical location to consolidate services. The Special Needs Foundation has partnered with the Haring Center from the University of Washington’s College of Education in the hope of finding additional attention and support, forming a pilot program with a three-year commitment that will bring direct support to classes and preschools in both the public and private school systems.

“On behalf of all the children and families of the Special Needs Foundation, I wish to express our sincere gratitude and excitement for being chosen as the 2018 Cayman Beneficiary for 100 Women in Finance,” said Susie Bodden, the executive leader of the Special Needs Foundation. “The Special Needs Foundation, aided by this generous support, intends to rapidly increase our impact in Cayman during 2018, most notably with regard to Inclusive Education. We believe this program will make a huge difference to the lives of our children.”

Leanne Golding, chair of 100 Women in Finance Cayman’s philanthropy Committee, also issued a statement: “100 Women in Finance is proud to support the Special Needs Foundation Cayman and, in particular, this groundbreaking program.

“It is our hope that this initiative will benefit the Cayman Islands community as a whole for many years to come. We look forward to many successful fundraising events and activities together in 2018.”

The local chapter of 100 Women in Finance has more than 600 members, and has raised more than US$64,000 for its 2017 beneficiary, the Breast Cancer Foundation, through a succession of events. Kim Lund, director of the Breast Cancer Foundation, was thrilled with the contribution the foundation received from Cayman.

“We were honored and thrilled that 100WF chose us as their beneficiary to support in 2017,” he said. “All of the monies raised throughout 2017 have been used to fund our Wellness Program, which helps people living here in Cayman to get through their breast cancer treatments and beyond. We could not do this work without organizations like 100WF and we are extremely grateful for their support.”

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