The newly founded Women's Giving Circle, working with the Jefferson County Community Foundation, hopes to distribute about $15,000 in grants in March 2013.

The goal of the organization, now at more than 170 members, is to assist women and children in the community. It has four fields of interest: education, physical and mental health, economic improvement and violence and crime against women and children.

The group was founded by 12 local women in March.

"Our idea is to make a significant difference in this community, not just a difference but a significance difference," said Bonnie Hare, chairwoman of the organization.

The Women's Giving Circle follows the same rules as the Community Foundation, and grants will be awarded to 501(c)3 organizations.

Hare hopes to reach 200 members by the end of the year.

A membership in the Women's Giving Circle is $100. Seventy-five percent goes into the annual grant program, while the remaining $25 goes into a permanent endowment fund through the Community Foundation.

Each member of the Women's Giving Circle gets a vote on how the money will be doled out. The deadline for applications is 4 p.m. Dec. 28. The grant or grants will be awarded in mid-March.

Those interested in an applying can find an application on the Community Foundation website at www.cfmjc.org.

"Once people in the community can see the results, we anticipate that our membership will grow," Hare said.