Paula E. Hess Humanitarian Scholarship Award

Paula E. Hess at the 30th C.A.R.E. Ball

In 2018 the C.A.R.E. Board of Directors was delighted to honor one of C.A.R.E.’s founders by creating a scholarship fund in her name – the Paula E. Hess Humanitarian Scholarship Award.

The prestigious award was presented to her at our 30th Annual C.A.R.E. Ball. It was kept secret for months and came as a huge surprise for her.

The following is an article written by local paper Florida Weekly




The lives they led

Remembering loved ones we lost this year

By Staff | on January 03, 2019


Florida Weekly Correspondent


Paula E. Hess

May 15, 1926-April 6, 2018


PAULA EDMOND HESS WAS A FORMIDABLE LEADER, INSPIRING for her dedication to the nonprofit organization Center for Abuse and Rape Emergencies, whose mission is, “To help victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and other violent crimes in Charlotte County. C.A.R.E. works to create safety in our community by helping survivors and by promoting nonviolent and healthy relationships by education and example.”

Ms. Hess was a founding member of the C.A.R.E. board. Later she was named chairman emeritus, allowing her a permanent vote on the board.

“She was 91 when she passed, and she never missed a board meeting,” said Judith Harris, chair at C.A.R.E. “She was such a wonderful woman. She was a fundraiser, working hard to protect victims of abuse and rape. She had no idea how many lives she touched.

“She was my mentor; she gave me guidance. I could ask her any question. She was always so professional. C.A.R.E. was her baby. I wish she had been my mother.”

Ms. Hess was born in Hawthorne, New Jersey. She worked for the telecommunication company New Jersey Bell and Telegraph. In 1981, she and her husband, William, moved to Florida. He preceded Paula in death in 1988.

Ms. Hess’s list of civic accomplishments runs long and spans 30 years — among them, service on the League of Women Voters, chairwoman of the Charlotte County Planning and Zoning Board from 1987-2018 and trustee of Charlotte Regional Hospital (now Bayfront Health Punta Gorda) for two years. In 1997, she received the Charlotte County Chamber of Commerce’s Pacesetter Award for her service to the community.

In January, at the C.A.R.E. annual ball, the establishment of the Paula Hess Humanitarian Scholarship was announced. The funds are earmarked to help victims of violent crimes continue their education.

Linda Lusk, a member of C.A.R.E., met Ms. Hess in the ’90s. She also looked to Ms. Hess as a mentor.

“We had both worked in telecommunications, so we had that in common,” she said. “I wouldn’t call Paula a feminist, but I knew that, in my day, it was a tough world for women. I can guess how it was in hers. She was a good friend.

And while Ms. Hess might never have missed a C.A.R.E. board meeting, she always left promptly to go play cards with her lady friends at the Isles Yacht Club, Ms. Harris noted.

“I miss her so much,” she said. “Everybody does.”

There is a counter on the C.A.R.E. website — A “rape clock” that shows, “Every 97.8 minutes, an American woman is sexually assaulted.”


That counter is there thanks to Ms. Hess.

The scholarship is only available to those survivors and their children who have participated in our C.A.R.E. programs. It can be used toward tuition payments for college or technical/trade training. If you would like to apply for funds, please contact  C.A.R.E.

Administrative Office: 941-639-5499

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