It was such an honor to receive the baton of leadership from Barb Collins in November. As Dining for Women’s new board chair, I follow in the footsteps of Barb and Marsha Wallace, who dreamed of making a difference for marginalized women and girls around the world. What a difference they, and this organization they co-founded, have made in the past 14 years. Details
As Dining for Women grows and we raise more money, what will we do with these funds? At this time, here is what we know:
The monthly Featured Grants Program will continue.
Impact partnerships, such as the one with the Peace Corps’ Let Girls Learn Program, are a way for us to proactively invest in issues in order to make a substantial impact on equality for women and girls. These strategic partnerships will be an integral part of our overall Grants Program going forward.
Sustained Funding Grantees have been selected through May 2018. Beyond May 2018, we would like to research different funding options.
We know that there are many different ways of granting funds to make substantial impact on the world.
As I enter my third year with Dining for Women, I have learned a great deal about this wonderful organization. I’ve learned from members, staff, and the board, but I have to say that my principal education has come from DFW co-founders Marsha Wallace and Barb Collins. DFW owes its strength, its grace, and its future to these two outstanding women!
As Barb transitions from her Chair role on the board, I am grateful for her tenacity and her leadership. She leaves a legacy of great governance and a forward-thinking board. She has painstakingly placed the groundwork for DFW’s future – one that we can all be proud of! I look forward to continuing to work with her as she remains on the board and will chair the Resource Development Committee. Details
Monthly recurring donations are the easiest and most convenient way for you to give to DFW, even if you cannot attend your chapter meeting that month. They also provide a predictable source of income that we can count on to fulfill our mission.
So what does it mean to be a recurring donor? It means that your credit card or bank account will be set up by DFW to be charged on a certain date every month according to your specific instructions. You can change or cancel your automatic withdrawal at any time.
Did you know?….
DFW currently has 172 donors that make monthly recurring bank drafts.
All DFW staff members donate by bank draft.
Bank drafts are the most cost-effective and time-efficient donation processing method DFW offers.
This month we’ll be paying a visit to Cambodia and cooking up some breakfast. Breakfast for dinner, you ask? What is Linda thinking? Well, I’m thinking that Bai Sach Chrouk (grilled pork served with pickled vegetables and rice) sounds like a mighty fine dinner to me. Although, in Cambodia, this is a very popular breakfast, served up on the streets of the capital, and it’s hard to find this dish past 9 o’clock in the morning. Details
We appreciate every donation and every chapter fundraiser that is organized for the 13th Month Annual Appeal. Here are just a few examples of how our members and chapters have been supporting our annual appeal: Details
Giving Tuesday, a global day dedicated to charitable giving, is Nov. 29. Since its founding in 2012, Giving Tuesday has inspired giving around the world, resulting in greater donations, volunteer hours, and activities that bring about real change in communities.
As part of our 13th Month Annual Appeal, Dining for Women is issuing a special challenge tied to Giving Tuesday. We want to receive 1,000 donations to our annual appeal during a 10-day period starting on Giving Tuesday. All donations received online or by mail between Tuesday, Nov. 29 and Thursday, Dec. 8 (inclusive) will be counted in this special Giving Tuesday Participation Challenge. Details
I am thrilled to share the newest projects that have been awarded over the past few months through Dining for Women’s partnership with the Peace Corps’ Let Girls Learn program. From Madagascar to Kyrgz Republic, DFW members have supported girls in locations we’ve never reached before!
To refresh your memory, DFW entered into a partnership with the Peace Corps’ Let Girls Learn Program earlier this year for the purpose of reducing the barriers that girls have in obtaining an education. We invested $100,000 to implement projects all over the world at “the last mile” where women and girls face the most extreme obstacles to education. When funds are provided to an approved Let Girls Learn project, the community must raise 25 percent of the cost, ensuring that these projects have the support of the community. Details
Dining for Women became a way of life for me after the first chapter meeting at Marsha’s home in January 2003. Her simple idea turned traditional philanthropy upside down, forever changing my expectations for the impact of my charitable donations.
Our collective giving and educational model is proving that small contributions and individual actions, when aggregated together, make a deep and transformational impact in the lives of both the giver and receiver. One person can change the way the world works.
Dining for Women belongs to all of us. It’s never been more important for each of us to nurture the organization, to listen and unify our actions, even when our 400 plus chapters are spread throughout our country, and the women and girls we touch are spread throughout the world. Details
By Cynthia Sawtell, Mentor in our West Region, and Chapter Leader of CA, San Anselmo-1
On Oct. 9, the three chapters of Marin County, CA (San Francisco area) hosted a public event in honor of the International Day of the Girl Child. The concept was to share with a broader circle of women the work that DFW has done for girls. We had three goals in mind: 1) to spread the word that investing in girls is critically important for spreading peace and prosperity in the developing world; 2) to do this outreach in hopes of gaining new members; and 3) to raise a little money for DFW. We called the event “Celebrate The Girl”. Details
The Republic of Chad, located in northern Central Africa, is the subject of our focus and our dining destination this month.
Okra is one of the most commonly consumed vegetables there. It is used both to thicken sauces and as a vegetable used in preparation of soups and stews. I suppose you either love okra or hate it, but as it happens, I love it! And since I’ve yet to post a recipe calling for okra, I think okra’s time in the spotlight has come. Details
Dining for Women Co-Founder Marsha Wallace shares the story behind Dining for Women and how we are connecting people in creative, powerful ways to promote gender equality around the world on the BetterWorldians Foundation weekly podcast.
In looking at what DFW has achieved towards our 2020 Vision, the pieces that stand out the most over this year are our partnership with the Peace Corps’ Let Girls Learn Program, welcoming the voices of our members into more areas of decision making than ever before through committees and volunteering, and continuing to present life-changing and inspiring projects and issue education for our members. I’m excited to share a more in-depth look at our achievements. Details
Thank you to all our members who voted to get Dining for Women rated on Charity Navigator! For the first time, DFW is on the list of rated charities with Charity Navigator, which is the world’s largest and most utilized evaluator of charities. There are 1.57 million nonprofits registered in the U. S. and Charity Navigator does not rate all of them, even those eligible to be rated under their criteria. It took our members voting for us to be rated to get on their radar. Details
I’ve got lots of good recipes coming your way this month. I thought I’d share with you a tradition that we have started with my group. Every year in either November or December, depending on what month we are meeting, we plan what we call our “holiday appetizer party.” Initially the idea was to bring a favorite appetizer, or bring an appetizer that you were thinking of trying out for the holidays. There is no better audience for feedback than our enthusiastic DFW members!
It has proved to be really successful and fun. There’s less emphasis on planning a meal and the meeting is a little more casual. We pretty much snack and talk and discuss the whole evening.
Of course, you can bring any type of appetizer you like. But I thought it would be fun, and in keeping with our world mission to plan an “Around the World Appetizer Party!” Details
Since 1990, extreme poverty has been reduced by 50 percent. Take that in for a moment. Dining for Women has been here for 13 of those years – you are part of something big! If you ever doubted that you are changing the world, doubt no more.
With the UN ambition to end extreme poverty by 2030, the UN Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon has been stressing the importance of funding the implementation plans to achieve these goals. “Implementing the 2030 Agenda will strengthen our collective ability to address short-term risks and build long-term resilience,” he recently stated.
At DFW, we are 100 percent behind the UN Sustainable Development Goals and we, as members of DFW, are part of the larger movement to MOVE THAT NEEDLE on extreme poverty! Details
Recently, Dining for Women’s Board reaffirmed our commitment to the UN-mandated Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In the next nine months, a number of DFW featured grantees are from the Sub-Saharan Region of Africa. This offers DFW members the opportunity to learn about individual challenges faced by individual countries and communities in the vast region. This blog provides an overview of Sub-Saharan Africa in the context of the UN’s SDGs.
Sub-Saharan Africa is comprised of the 48 countries geographically located below the Sahara Desert and distinguished from the Northern African countries that are part of the Arab World. This beautiful region that makes up the bulk of the African continent consists of deserts, Sahel, savanna, swamps, rainforests, plateaus, mountains, rivers and lakes and enormous diversity in flora and fauna that has shaped human evolution in our geological past. Details
We are off to Mali this month, located in West Africa, in support of the Tandana Foundation. Their Women LEAP program provides literacy and numeracy training, as well as democratic governance and leadership skills.
Often, the program we are supporting will send us recipes that are rooted in their culture. This month we received a very detailed recipe called “Recipe for Toh, (Oro Dja), Traditional Food of the Dogon People,” by Jemima Tembiné. She started learning to cook when she was about 10 years old and has been preparing Toh since she was 15 years old. Near as I can tell, Toh is a dish of millet dough that has been pounded, and served along with different sauces made out of various leaves, dried fish and dried vegetables. Details
Donors and volunteers can find many sources of information on nonprofit organizations. Two of the most well-known resources are GuideStar and Charity Navigator, both of which are 501(c)3 organizations. Since I have been with Dining for Women, many members have asked me about DFW’s status on GuideStar and Charity Navigator, and I want to give you an update.
We are so excited that, after two years of working on foundational aspects of Dining for Women, we have achieved Platinum Status at GuideStar! Details
DFW’s $100,000 grant to the Peace Corps’ Let Girls Learn Fund in support of girls’ education will fund four anchor activities – all of which help girls by removing social and structural barriers that prevent access to education. Over the last few months, we have discussed two of them: GLOW (Girls Leading Our World) Camps and Clubs and Men as Partners (MAP) projects. This month, our focus is on two additional activities: STEM Projects for Girls as well as Business and Entrepreneurial Training for Girls. Details
It’s almost time for our 13th Month Annual Appeal, and many chapters are already getting geared up and pumped up! There are many ways that you can bring your chapter members together to support DFW while having some fun along the way.
Last year, we raised close to $38,000 from more than 50 chapter fundraisers. If your chapter is considering a fundraiser for the 13th Month Annual Appeal, be sure to check out our Chapter Fundraising Guidelines and complete the online Fundraiser Approval Form before you get started. Details
This month we get to travel somewhere new, Cochabamba, Bolivia. And we are making one of Bolivia’s most beloved dishes, “Pique Macho.”
Bolivians consider Pique Macho the world’s greatest expression of meat and potatoes!
The dish is a sultry combination of perfectly seasoned beef cubes and sliced hotdogs. It is served over a bed of crispy potato fries and finished with julienned vegetables and multiple garnishes. Hot sauce is an integral part of this dish. Bolivians use a fiery hot sauce that they make from their local locoto peppers, but you can use your own favorite hot sauce. Details
DFW Co-Founders Marsha Wallace and Barb Collins recently recorded a half-hour interview for an audio podcast called “Sandi Klein’s Conversations with Creative Women.” Take the time to listen – you will be inspired about DFW and our mission all over again!
By Denise Woods, Chair of the DFW Diversity Committee and Beth Ellen Holimon, President
Dining for Women was founded on a culture of inclusion and the belief that all women and girls matter. With racial justice in the headlines of American newspapers on a daily basis, we want to take this opportunity to engage our members in a conversation about diversity and unity at DFW.
DFW stands for equity, justice and compassion for all women and girls living in extreme poverty in developing countries. The women and girls we serve represent diverse races and ethnicities from around our world. We recognize that DFW’s board, staff, volunteers and members overwhelmingly do not look like the women and girls we champion. While this does not describe every DFW member, it is safe to say that we are largely a homogenous group of white women of a certain age, education, and income level. We need to determine the reason for this and, more importantly, what we can do about it (see below). Details
Last month, we updated you about DFW’s $100,000 commitment to the Peace Corps’ Let Girls Learn Fund in support of girls’ education. The Peace Corps Let Girls Learn Program helps adolescent girls around the world complete their education by removing the social and structural barriers that many girls face in accessing an education. We also provided information on GLOW (Girls Leading Our World) Camps and Clubs, one of the approved projects that will be funded through the DFW grant.
Our grant will also fund Men as Partners (MAP) projects, STEM Projects for Girls, and Business and Entrepreneurial Training for Girls. This month we discuss MAP projects. Details
Welcome to India. We’ve traveled there before. Flavors from exotic spices perfume every dish. Garlic, ginger and chiles add heat. If you love Indian food but are intimidated by long lists of ingredients and techniques, well, I’ve got your back. I’ve taken my inspiration for our recipes this month from “Madhur Jaffrey’s Quick & Easy Indian Cooking” and “Madhur Jaffrey’s Indian Cooking.” Both of these books are devoted to recipes in the under 30 minutes or less category. You’ll need to purchase some spices (the bulk spice aisle is your friend here), but other than that most of the ingredients are commonly found. Details
In March, Dining for Women announced its $100,000 commitment to the Peace Corps’ Let Girls Learn Fund in support of girls’ education and empowerment. This grant will be used by Peace Corps Volunteers in developing countries around the world to fund grassroots, community-led projects that address barriers to girls’ education and improve the quality of that education. There are four types of projects that are eligible for DFW funds: the first is GLOW (Girls Leading Our World) Camps and Clubs – a proven model for inspiring girls to change their world.
Peace Corps Volunteers organize and lead GLOW Camps and Clubs to promote gender equality and empower young women. Camps range from day-long sessions to week-long overnight programs. They create a safe and supportive environment for learning, cultural exchange, individuality, creativity, leadership development and fun. Peace Corps Volunteers work with community leaders to design GLOW camps that reflect the unique characteristics and diversity of the local area. Details
In March, DFW announced its first impact partnership grant – a $100,000 commitment to the Peace Corps’ Let Girls Learn Fund in support of girls’ education. The Peace Corps’ Let Girls Learn Program helps adolescent girls around the world complete their education by removing the social and structural barriers that many girls face in accessing an education.
So what has been happening since this partnership grant was announced earlier this year?
DFW’s grant funds have been awarded to the Peace Corps and are already being put into action by Peace Corps Volunteers around the world! Details
The gravitation to Dining for Women’s philanthropic model is evidence of the power of collective action. In the last decade, giving circles have emerged as a driving force for social impact. Dining for Women is a powerhouse, blending traditional nonprofit values with those of a grassroots movement. We are the largest giving circle globally — with 400 chapters — focused on women and girls.
In 2005, the New Ventures in Philanthropy Initiative first studied 70 giving circles in this highly-engaged and flexible form of philanthropy. Dining for Women was one of those circles. Since then, several studies have been published, including New Ventures follow-up studies in 2007 and 2009, all validating the increasing popularity of collective, engaged giving. According to leading expert, Dr. Angela Eikenberry, a new study is under way which will be looking closely at long-term implications, and has identified up to 1,000 circles in the U.S. Details
I am delighted to announce that Dining for Women has established its Panel of Experts with our first two extraordinary individuals. The Panel is a collection of individuals who bring unique skills and expertise, and provide advice and recommendations to the Board of Directors and staff.
Ambassador Steven Steiner, our first Expert, serves as a Gender Advisor at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP). USIP is an independent, nonpartisan organization that works to prevent, mitigate, and resolve violent conflict around the world. Ambassador Steiner leads the global effort to educate men about the importance of gender equality and the benefits of empowering women in all parts of the peace process. In May, he was quoted as saying, “You can’t succeed on women, peace and security if you don’t have, in each country, a concerted, organized effort to engage men to understand and to support the rights of women.” Details
We are going to Uganda this month in support of DIG, Development in Gardening. DIG provides experiential training in sustainable agriculture, nutrition and improved cooking practices, along with developing 400 women-led home gardens.
It is July, it’s hot, and I’m hoping that you’ll be able to do some grilling. I’ve got Beef Skewers in Green Masala on the menu, although you could certainly use chicken or pork if you prefer. A Cabbage Salad with Pineapple presents a fresh new take on coleslaw with an African twist. And for dessert, we have a stunning Mango Coulis with Tapioca. Details
It is with great pleasure that Dining for Women releases its 2015 Annual Report. I would like to take this opportunity to walk through our financial performance in 2015 so that you will fully understand how our organization was funded and how we expended the funds that you so generously contributed. Details
I didn’t have to think too hard this month to decide which recipes that I wanted to share with you. Although I owned an Italian restaurant in Seattle for 25 years, my entire kitchen staff is from the state of Michoacán, Mexico, and the food of their country is the one that we have made over and over again for restaurant family meals and celebrations. As you may have guessed from the photo accompanying this post, what you are looking at is our end-of-the-shift family meal. These tried-and-true dishes are at the heart and soul of my repertoire. I hereby bring you “McElroy Family Favorites!” Details
2015 was a big year for Dining for Women! Significant changes took place that have strengthened the vision, management, and operations of our organization. In her first full year at the helm, our Executive Director, Beth Ellen Holimon, realigned the duties and reporting structure of staff, led the Board of Directors through an extensive visioning process, and successfully created and executed DFW’s first, formalized fund development plan.
We Are Afghan Women: Voices of Hope is the title of the book released just last month from the George W. Bush Institute. I had an opportunity to attend an event announcing the book’s publication in Washington, DC, hosted by the United States Institute of Peace which featured a discussion by Laura Bush, former U.S. First Lady, and Mina Sherzoy, a Council member of the U.S.-Afghan Women’s Council. Details
We’re off to Tanzania this month. “Prawns in Coconut Sauce” and “Pilau Masala” are headlining the menu. These recipes have been graciously shared with us by Miriam Kinunda, the author of the blog “Taste of Tanzania.” I’ve tested both recipes and I give them the thumbs up. You’ll find many other recipes to choose from on her site, as well as some very good ones on our own Dining for Women recipe site.
What a month we have had at Dining for Women! Less than a year ago we were hammering out the details of our 2020 Vision and on March 8th we met the First Lady of the United States to celebrate our partnership with the Peace Corps’ Let Girls Learn program.
DFW’s Partnership Program is now initiated with this proactive, issue-based funding for girls education. This partnership allows us to coordinate our work with other organizations to make a global impact. It is the necessary balance to our Featured Grants in which we are able to respond to needs identified by in-country organizations. Now, in the company of organizations like Proctor and Gamble, Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls, J. Crew, and Salesforce Foundation, we are part of a bigger movement to eliminate the barriers to education for girls all over the world. Details
Yes, being in the same room with change-maker champions and meeting First Lady Michelle Obama was a big moment for Dining for Women. Announcing a cross-sector strategic partnership through a $100,000 grant to the Peace Corps’ Let Girls Learn Fund is a defining moment. But at the end of the day, it’s all about impact. It’s all about the girls. And it’s personal. Details
By Peggy Smith, Mid-Atlantic Regional Leader and Returned Peace Corps Volunteer
Ask any Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (RPCV) about their experience and they will tell you, “It changed my life”. Yes, we come home after working as a volunteer in a Third World country to clean water, hot showers, comfortable beds, nice dwellings and clean sanitation, but with a passion that does not dissipate. We have to get involved, to do something, to continue to serve a need. So, we volunteer in soup kitchens, teach English to the newly-arrived from developing countries, work with the Junior League, help with outreach at our church — and for many, we join Dining for Women. Details
On March 8th – International Women’s Day – Dining for Women announced its first Strategic Partnership with a $100,000 commitment to the Peace Corps’ Let Girls Learn Fund in support of girls’ education. On that day, we were honored to participate in a special event with First Lady Michelle Obama in Washington DC to support the Let Girls Learn Initiative. (See White House Fact Sheet) Details
By Wendy Frattolin, Communications & Membership Director
As you know, Dining for Women’s goal is to grow to 20,000 members by the year 2020. Some people have asked how we plan to accommodate 20,000 new members into our nearly 400 existing chapters! Clearly, this is not possible. We know that, in order to meet our membership target, we will need to significantly increase our number of chapters. Promoting new chapters throughout the U.S. will be the main focus of our growth strategy over the next five years. Details
We are off to Kathmandu this month. I’ve always wanted to go there. Since I’m stuck in Seattle in front of my computer though, I will have to find another way to experience Nepal. That’s one of the great benefits about being a Dining for Women member: armchair travel, through our monthly grantees and exploring the cuisine of different countries feels like I’m there – almost. So let’s go! Details
When I received a call from Susan Anderson, a board member with The Grandmother Project (GMP), inviting me to travel with her to Senegal to see their work in action, I jumped at the chance. Patricia Andersson, inveterate traveler and trip leader, was up for the adventure too! CREATE!, another DFW grantee, was headquartered within several hours drive of the GMP office, so we were fortunate to be able to visit both organizations to see the projects we’ve supported with our DFW grants. Details
We are very excited to announce our latest steps toward achieving DFW’s 2020 Vision. We are launching a new Operational Committee structure which will allow our members to engage more in the decision-making processes of DFW and influence the directions we will take in the future. Details
By Beth Ellen Holimon, Dining for Women Executive Director
International Women’s Day is March 8th and this year’s theme – “Pledge for Parity” – brings up the issue of equality. According to the World Economic Forum, the gender gap won’t close entirely until 2133. We know the benefits of closing the gender gap – Dining for Women Co-Founder Marsha Wallace addressed it in her blog and I addressed it in a blog as well. We know the importance of equality, but we also need to recognize the importance of equity. Details
By Leslye Heilig, Co-Leader, Northeast Region and Chapter Leader of MA, Great Barrington-1 and 2
For the past four years, I have been the Chapter Leader of a large, successful potluck dinner-based chapter, with approximately 25 to 50 members attending each month. This past spring, at the request of some members who did not feel comfortable driving in rural areas at night and who were looking for a more intimate and in-depth discussion, I started a daytime chapter. I continue to lead both chapters, and thoroughly enjoy each of them for their very different yet equally wonderful aspects. Details
Let’s try something new this month! Yuca (pronounced YOO-ka) is also known as manioc or cassava. Although you will often see this plant referred to in the US as “yucca,” that is incorrect. Yucca is a totally unrelated desert plant in the agave family. Details
During the fall of 2015, I traveled extensively in South Asia co-directing Furman University’s India/Sri Lanka Study Away Program, which included 15 students and two faculty members. I made the most of being in South Asia by conducting site visits and interviews with five Dining for Women grantees: Emerge Global, The Unforgotten, Anchal, Matrichaya, and Vacha Charitable Trust, our featured grantee this month. Details
The first time I talked with Jessica Posner, co-founder of Shining Hope for Communities (SHOFCO), was June 2011. Shining Hope for Communities was Dining for Women’s featured grantee, and I had asked her to Skype with my chapter. It was about 2:00 a.m. in Kenya! We were riveted as she described the school and the vision that she and Kennedy, her life partner and SHOFCO co-founder, have for their organization. We were hooked by the vision but also by the story of Jessica and Kennedy, drawn together in life and in work. Jessica is from Denver, Colorado. Kennedy was born and raised in the slums of Kibera, in Nairobi, Kenya. Together they’ve established a thriving nonprofit that is changing the lives of precious girl students and also their community in Kibera. Details
Last year, Dining for Women announced its 2020 Vision, with plans to grow our organization to 20,000 members by the year 2020. This is indeed a bold goal, and one that we believe is achievable over the five-year period. Our focus this year is on laying the foundations for our future growth, and we are off to a great start! I want to tell you about an important initiative that has recently been under way. Details
Thanks to the generous support of our members and donors in 2015, DFW has awarded three reserve grants. These grants are awarded when excess funds are accumulated in our grant reserve fund. Reserve grantees are named alternates in previous grant cycles which means they were thoroughly vetted and met all of our rigorous criteria. These organizations were also required to submit updated information and budgets for evaluation prior to being awarded a reserve grant. The three reserve grantees for 2015 are:
Dining for Women relies heavily on our committed and passionate volunteers, especially the 600+ chapter leaders and co-leaders like you. We simply could not achieve all that we do without our volunteers, and we want every volunteer to know that their contributions are recognized, valued and appreciated. Details
This month our culinary journey takes us to India, specifically the Maharashtra state in Western India. I got a little ambitious this month though, and rather than present you with one “proven platter” dish, I constructed an entire thali platter just for you! I had a lot of fun working on this project, and even more fun eating the leftovers for days!