Lost Coin Women's
Fund, Inc. (LCWF) supports academic opportunities for low-income
Massachusetts women by providing Grants for undergraduate studies
or vocational training programs. It is well recognized that higher
education leads to an improved quality of life for women.
Since the inception of
LCWF, hundreds of women have received LCWF Grants totaling $400,000. These women have
entered various fields of work, including teaching, nursing, social
service, computer/ medical technology, home health care, and other
meaningful service fields.
Coin Women's Fund, Inc. was founded in 1992 by a group of Massachusetts
Catholic women who recognized 1) the increasing feminization of
poverty; and 2) the poor, overwhelmingly, are women and children.
Because the founding women shared a common vision of a world where
women's gifts would be recognized and valued, they determined to
search out a way to help women in Massachusetts become employable
and therefore self-reliant.
'Lost Coin Women's Fund,' symbolically recalls the biblical
passage from Luke 15:8
which recognizes the treasure inherent within all women. These words
reflect the LCWF concern for helping women of low-income to more
fully express their unique gifts.
members review applications monthly and, based on established criteria
in the LCWF By-Laws, award Grants to deserving women.
Make A Donation to the Lost Coin Women's Fund.
Evelyn Murphy, Ph.D. Former Lt. Governor of Massachusetts
- Resident Scholar, Brandeis University Women's Studies Program
- Author, "Getting Even: Why Women Don’t Get Paid Like Men –And What To Do About It"
- Regarding Lost Coin Women’s Fund, Inc. "I have been involved with hundreds of groups over many years in Massachusetts and none has the organization, commitment and integrity of The Lost Coin Women’s Fund."
Kara Conceison McMahon
Mary E. McNamara
Mary Ann Mendes
Nancy Conceison Riley
Dorothy Conceison (1931 - 2008)
Marie Sheehan (1926 - 2012)
Dorothy M. (Mullen) Conceison – Born February 17, 1931
Early in Dottie’s life she got involved. In high school she was a class officer, cheerleader, a member of the field hockey team as well as a member of a singing group “The Gibson Girls.” As time went on, she was a tutor in the special education program in the Easton Public Schools, a member of the Easton Recreation Commission and a poll worker (and Deputy Warden) of Precinct Two. Dottie was also a member of the first Board of Directors for South Shore Habitat for Humanity and was on the Board of Directors for the Southeastern Chapter of the March of Dimes. She did all this as she stayed home and took care of her husband, children and their home.
Once her family grew older, Dottie took a job working at Stonehill College in the Counseling Office. There, she was also involved in the Campus Ministry Executive Council. She worked at Stonehill for 18 years before she retired.
Dottie was a co-founder and active member in Mass. Woman Church, a group that believed that women should have a voice in the church. She wasn’t involved because she wanted to create turmoil. She truly believed that this would have been Christ’s wishes. Dottie became identified as a person who wasn’t afraid to speak out for what she believed. Her courage in her convictions and her determination were monumental.
Dottie was also co-founder of the Lost Coin Woman’s Fund. This is a charity that assists low-income women gain education to become self-reliant and self-supporting. Dottie felt strongly that this could make a difference in someone’s life.
Dottie was a doting grandmother and great grandmother. All of her grandchildren knew that Gram would do almost anything for them. She loved children. Even in her retirement years she liked having the sounds of kids around the house.
Dottie loved music and dancing. She could be recognized for her smile and upbeat greeting. She liked to have fun. She kept herself well informed and read constantly. Knitting sweaters for the entire family was also a part of her everyday activities.
Dottie died on January 15, 2008, from pancreatic cancer.
Barbara T. Mahar
Barbara T. Mahar was a strong athlete while a student at Bridgewater State University, excelling in tennis, field hockey, synchronized swimming and softball. She won many awards for her college athletic endeavors, and, in 1992, Barbara was inducted into the BSU Athletic Hall of Fame. Barbara brought this dedication and drive to her life as a physical education teacher, a tennis coach and the mother of two children.
Barbara met Marie Sheehan and Dorothy Conceison when they served as members of the core committee of MA Women-Church, a group seeking to improve women’s status in the Catholic Church. The trio created Lost Coin Women’s Fund (LCWF), the charitable arms of the MA Women-Church.
LCWF began as a small welfare provider, delivering modest emergency financial assistance to poor women who needed to pay rent or buy family groceries. Inspired by Marie’s altruism and Dotty’s dynamism, the trio quickly meshed into an inspiring vortex of energy, seeking new ways to address the needs of low-income and poor women in the southeastern region of Massachusetts.
As LCWF grew, it became formally organized as a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization. Barbara became the financial organizer, acting as the Treasurer of the organization for many years. A compelling LCWF board member, Barbara always faced the challenges of non-profit administration with determination and humor.
The mission of the organization became focused on providing grant money to low-income Massachusetts women who were paying bills for higher education or vocational skills training. Barbara spearheaded the process for the LCWF grant applicants, initiating contact with applicants, reviewing applications and pursuing necessary documentation from each applicant.
In the last few years, Barbara has been retired, living on Cape Cod with her husband, Robert, enjoying a serene life with her children and grandchildren. Her leadership as a LCWF Board member and her dedication to the mission of LCWF continue to inspire those of us who serve on the LCWF Board today.
Marie Sheehan (1926 - 2012)
Marie raised seven children on her own. Always attentive and responsive to her children’s needs, Marie still forged an incredible life of service to others. In the process she also managed to earn a Master’s Degree in Educational and Pastoral Ministry at Emmanuel College.
For 18 years in the late 1970’s and 1980’s, Marie was the Director of Community Services at Catholic Charities in Brockton. In this position she was responsible for overseeing services to the men, women and children of the South Shore in need of assistance. Concerned about the number of homeless families and individuals in the greater Brockton area, Marie brought together fifty community leaders and founded the MainSpring House and Shelter. After her retirement from Catholic Charities, the MainSpring Coalition honored the work Marie had done by establishing the “The Marie Sheehan Heart of the Homeless Award” which is given annually to a worthy person or organization.
Marie saw a need to directly provide women of limited financial means with the opportunity to improve their life through education and training. Dorothy Conceison and Barbara Mahar joined Marie in the work of establishing the Lost Coin Women’s Fund, Inc.
Since 1992 hundreds of Massachusetts women have received grants totaling more than $400,000.
For Marie, the Lost Coin Women’s Fund, Inc. held a special place in her heart. Her desire was to see that this organization remained viable for years to come. With the financial support of many people, Marie’s hope is being fulfilled.
Marie died on July 19, 2012. Indeed, Marie Sheehan was a remarkable woman and the LCWF Board of Directors is committed to continuing Marie’s outstanding work.
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Current And Past Board Members October 2012
Former Board Members
The Founders’ Scholarship was established to honor the visionary women who established LCWF in 1992: Dorothy Conceison, Barbara Maher, and Marie Sheehan. These three women shared a common vision of a world where women’s gifts are recognized and valued. The founders of LCWF were determined to help Massachusetts women become employable and self-reliant through achieving post-secondary educational and vocational training.
The Founders’ Scholarship is given in recognition of a distinguished supporter of the LCWF mission. In honoring a supporter, LCWF acknowledges the supporter’s own accomplishments within his/her profession, community or family.
The annual Founders’ Scholarship is available to any qualified LCWF applicant who has already received a LCWF grant in the prior twelve months and who continues to have tuition and other educations expenses due to on-going enrollment in her post-secondary program or school.
The Awards Committee reviews all recipients during the past twelve months and presents their recommendations for the Founders’ Scholarship to the Board of Directors. The Board of Directors will vote for both the distinguished supporter and the grantee. They will also vote on the award amount.
Refer to the LCWF Newsletters below to learn more about the Distinguished Supporters honored and the Grantees.
December 2012 Newsletter
June 2014 Newsletter
The 2013 LCWF Annual Founders' Scholarship was given in honor of Sr. Claire O'Rourke, SSC. Sr. Claire was a long time LCWF Board Member and herself had many accomplishments within her profession and community. Below is an article, written by Sr. Claire, which is a continuation of the article that appeared in the June 2014 Newsletter, but written "In Her Own Words".
SR. CLAIRE O'ROURKE..."IN HER OWN WORDS"
Sister Claire's Own Words (PDF)