04/08/2013 12:35 pm ET | Updated Feb 02, 2016

Aqua Foundation, Building Community and Leadership With LBT Women

Aqua Foundation for Women uniquely focuses on the needs of LBT women in South Florida because we want to see a new generation of strong women leading our community. We believe in a multi-pronged approach to advancing the equality and leadership capacity of LBT women, and so our Foundation created a grants program, to aid community organizations working with LBT women and girls, and a scholarship program, to directly work with LBT women in college.

Through these programs we have done tremendous work. One of our most proud accomplishments has been funding the first LBT women's health directory for women in South Florida. Access to health-care without discrimination is a huge issue for LBT women, and this directory allows them to check out health professionals beforehand and go to ones who have been vetted as LBT friendly. Currently we are providing funding to several different organizations for many vital projects such as a cancer support group for LBT women and their partners and family and intimate partner violence support groups and education focused on LBT women. You can read more about the projects we are funding here and take a look at some of the work we've funded in the past.

Our scholarship program is one of our favorite things to talk about. We don't only provide funding to young women, we also match them with mentors! Mentoring makes a huge difference in the lives of LBT women. For some it's the first time they've seen a positive role model of a happy, healthy adult same sex relationship. Many times when women come out to their families they are told that they won't be able to have families of their own, that they won't be able to find professional success. The mentoring program is a powerful antidote to such negativity.

In addition to providing positive role models, one of our other goals has been to nurture leaders in our community, a goal we are currently expanding on by folding leadership development directly into the program with dedicated programming and continued leadership development. Our past and current scholars are already showing their leadership skills. Former recipient Enbar Cohen ran for and won a commissioner seat in the city of Aventura last fall and current recipients Bridget Pelaez and Vanessa Hernandez were inducted into the prestigious honor society Golden Key last year.

To learn more about the Foundation and to support our work check out our webpage,