“Women will come into the new space and they will comment on all of the pictures of my mother. ‘Oh, she was so beautiful’ or ‘the story of your mother is so wonderful.’ And then they’ll start to relate their own family stories and experiences,” says Lisa Peyton-Caire, founder of the Foundation for Black Women’s Wellness. “My mother becomes the unifying factor that all of us share and prompts women to open up and share their stories. From sharing those stories and experiences we connect in a powerful way around the work.
“I’m so proud that my mother, a born and bred Virginia girl, is impacting the work we’re doing here in Wisconsin,” she adds. “It’s beautiful.”
Lisa Peyton-Caire’s dream to honor her late mother has now become a reality. An outpouring of community support has just pushed the Foundation for Black Women’s Wellness over it’s $100,000 fundraising goal and they will be proceeding with the grand opening for the Black Women’s Health and Wellness Center on Madison’s west side.
“I didn’t know what to expect, honestly. We never attempted to host a campaign of this size,” Peyton-Caire tells Madison365. “I just took a chance because we knew it was time to take this next step in the evolution of our organization and to really realize that vision I had years ago that we would be really planted in a center.”
“When we crossed the finish line to $100,000 it was just an amazing feeling to reflect on our how the community showed up and showed out in support of our center,” she says.
Peyton-Caire first announced the plans for the Women’s Health and Wellness Center, 6601 Grand Teton Plaza, on May 22nd, the 13th anniversary of the passing of her mom.
“Folks who know about this organization know that this was the starting point for me in this work,” Peyton-Caire says. “The outgrowth of everything we’ve done started with that catalytic moment in my life.”
With the fundraiser now in the books, they are now able to fully concentrate on doing the exciting work of getting the Center open and operating.
“We have been fielding recommendations on designers locally and statewide,” Peyton-Caire says. “We’ve interviewed a couple and are looking to interview a couple more. Early August, we’ll begin the process of design with the hope of being open by late September. That’s really ambitious.”
The Foundation for Black Women’s Wellness is a Madison-based non-profit organization committed to empowering Black women and girls to build and sustain healthy, thriving, wellness-centered lives. The center will be an outgrowth in the empowering work that the Foundation for Black Women’s Health has already done.
Currently, Peyton-Caire and FBWW are also busy preparing for their huge signature event Black Women’s Wellness Day happening on Sept. 21. That could affect the date of the opening of the center.
“If the center gets pushed to October, we’re fine with that, too,” she says. “The most important thing is that we can now begin to pull the center together and create the space that we want for the women in this community. It’s very exciting.
“On a side note, if I had a second career, it would be in interior design,” Peyton-Caire adds, laughing. “It’s really fun to think about being able to be able to create a space that is going to beautiful and warm and welcoming and creative and functional.”
They recently signed a two-year lease for the space.
“We do have a vision that one day we’ll be in an even larger space,” Peyton-Caire says. “But, for now, this space will be a beautiful offering and we know that women will really love it once we open the doors.
“Oftentimes, we’re preoccupied with the tough things like solving everyday challenges and advocating around very difficult issues of disparities and trying to close gaps. So, it’s nice to be able to pause and to create a beautiful space that is life-bearing and what we feel is a critical part of the solution in advancing our work in a beautiful, healing way,” she adds. “It’s been exciting.”
Through everything Peyton-Caire does with the Foundation for Black Women’s Wellness, she always keeps mom in mind and in her heart.
“My mom is always on my mind. My mother’s life, my mother’s career at the hair salon, was all about being a part of a community and helping each other out,” she says. “The nature of how I grew up amongst black women in my community as a girl … it’s been my life experience in how black women surround each other and advance each other. That’s just central to who we are as an organization and it continues to propel everything we do.
“It’s really what makes our work so special and resilient and impactful,” she adds. “It all started with my mom.”
Peyton-Caire is confident that the new Black Women’s Health and Wellness Center will put a dent in health disparities and other barriers impacting the lives of Black women and girls.
“I am so grateful for the community support,” she says. “It’s so encouraging and so validating to know that we are on the right path.”