A local bird rescue and rehabilitation program will expand its scope and facilities, thanks to a major gift from the Women’s Impact Network of New Hanover County. The women’s philanthropic organization presented the SkyWatch Bird Rescue Center with a check for $35,000 at its 2016 award luncheon Friday, attended by about 150 people.

The luncheon, held at the Country Club of Landfall, also marked WIN’s fifth anniversary. The organization was founded in 2011.

SkyWatch can substantially increase its impact with the grant, said founder and director Amelia Mason.

WIN member and grant committee chair, Susan Henley (on the left) presents the WIN grant check to SkyWatch Bird Rescue Center executive director and founder, Amelia Mason.“This grant will enable us to continue to rescue and rehabilitate wild birds and to upgrade and expand our program including the hospital and facilities. Additionally, our area school children and the general public will soon have access to an outdoor classroom to learn more about the conservation and preservation of our fragile environment,” said Mason, who is also a licensed wildlife rehabilitator. “We are beyond thrilled and honored to receive this mission critical grant from WIN.”

WIN Leadership Chair Linda Brown noted that the organization has now contributed $142,500 to the New Hanover County community as they celebrate their fifth year of giving. Previous grants have gone to Cape Fear Guardian Ad Litem Association, DREAMS of Wilmington, The Carousel Center and Wilmington Health Access for Teens (WHAT).

WIN members at the recent luncheon (from left to right), Anne Murray, Anne Sorhagen and Pat Hatcher.“We are a group of women philanthropists from all walks of life from across the county. Each of our members contributes $600 annually and $500 of that is used in the local grant making program. Our focus this year, for the first time, was the environment. It was a rich learning experience for all of us as WIN members researched and voted for the 2016 grant winner. We are excited to see the impact this grant will have on wildlife preservation in New Hanover County. We were very impressed with the mission and work of the SkyWatch group,” Brown said.

WIN currently has over 80 members and is always seeking additional women interested in collaborative philanthropy, Brown explained, adding, “With every new member we will have incremental financial resources to enhance impact across the county.”

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