A full year and many meetings have passed at the Women’s Resource Center (WRC) since the merger of WRC Manatee and Sarasota County organizations became official January 1, 2017. Through the year, WRC has embarked on the exciting task of creating a unified brand, including this new magazine, our new website at MyWRC.org, our beautiful lotus logo, expanded social media presence and combined staff. Through market research with heavy influence from an Intergenerational Focus Group, WRC found our footing as a regional organization.

From the start, with help from AAUW, Sarasota engaged displaced homemakers to help them become self-sufficient. Through the ‘80s and ‘90s, a shared dream to empower women became reality. Altrusa led the way for the inception of the Manatee WRC, with additional assistance from AAUW and Junior League of Manatee County. With Sarasota focusing on vocational training and peer resource advising and Manatee County focusing on mental health counseling, career coaching and encouraging Latinas to get involved, WRC was growing and responding to women’s needs after Y2K. The first merger occurred when WRC Sarasota merged with Venice based Women’s Enrichment and Support Center. Last year’s two county merger––collectively with program expansion––WRC is now reaching more than 4,000 unduplicated clients in more than 9,000 hours of programming annually. WRC now serves clients from Parrish to North Port.

The Patterson Foundation was instrumental in this unprecedented merger. With additional support from Gulf Coast Community Foundation’s I3 program and nonprofit consultant, Christie Nolan, WRC evaluated their programs and partners and continues to build a consolidated culture ensuring client and community needs are met.

Today, a combined WRC Board oversees ongoing efforts and welcomes the next part––creating an integrated organization with unified messaging.

After a successful response from a multi­media survey and Board/Staff participation in a unique brand survey, an intergenerational focus group was created with direction from WRC supporter, Dr. Willa Bernhard. This focus group jump-started discussions about how to serve all generations in a collective voice. The brand survey, called Brand Reflections, was instrumental in defining who WRC was. The objective was to understand how WRC, as a brand, shares, learns and connects. The process is ongoing, but the goal is steadfast–to better communicate messaging and ensure that the women of our region know we are here. The most important aspect of our research and efforts is to leverage the very best of our programming throughout the entire region to make the most impact. Stay posted on our programs and progress by following us on your preferred social networks or online at MyWRC.org.