The Women’s Gift Exchange in Sherman is back at its annual mission of supporting Grayson County nonprofits. The nonprofit shop located in the back of Kelly Square donated $12,000 to 14 area organizations on Jan. 17.

The local chapter of the national women’s federation was able to provide funds to the most organizations it has ever reached this year.

“We feel like it is important to help those that depend on donations,” Women’s Gift Exchange board member Carolyn Nicholson said. “We also like to help organizations that depend on grants to help them pay for items that just cannot be budgeted. We try to focus on organizations that do not have the backing of a national organization as well.”

WGE in Sherman was started in 2010 and each year sells high-end collectible items to raise money to put back into the community. WGE items include serving utensils and decor, greeting cards, Bridge tally sheets, items made by local artists, and more. Items being considered for WGE are taken before the WGE board for approval.

“We try to find local artisans that make unique items like jewelry, bags and magnets,” Nicholson said. “There is not another shop like ours in Sherman. We want to provide a great shopping experience, promote local artisans and give back to the community.”

Through an application, area nonprofits were vetted by the exchange in order to receive this year’s funds.

“The first year that we were here, we were only able to give to one organization,” Nicholson said. “It’s not about the number of organizations that we give to. We just want to raise more money so we can give more. The guidelines for the application include that the organization has to be a nonprofit, they have to be in Grayson County, and then we have guidelines for what the money can be used for.”

The WGE shop is operated by volunteer staff which includes a board, a few regular volunteers, and about 15 other volunteers who fill in around them.

“All of us think this area is great,” Nicholson said. “We also believe that everyone can make a difference. It’s just up to you to decide how. But no matter whether it is time or money or anything else, we can all give back.”

The Women’s Gift Exchange is a member of the National Federation of Women’s Exchanges which began in 1932 in Philadelphia with the mission of helping women sell their items and help generate funds for women to support themselves.

The 14 organizations that received money raised in 2017 from WGE are Grand Central Station-The Dining Car, The Green House, Divine Equine Therapeutic Riding Center, Habitat for Humanity of Grayson County, Grayson County Juvenile Alternatives, Grayson County Child Welfare Board, Children’s Express, The Child and Family Guidance Center of Texoma, Sherman Community Players and Theatricks, Family Promise of Grayson County, Kids Pantry, MasterKey Ministries, Visions of Sugarplums and Home Hospice of Grayson County.