Thank you to all the chapter leaders who participated in our special Together Again Celebration on Sept 13. It was a great opportunity to connect with chapter leaders across the country! Our thanks to Dr. Veena Khandke, our Director of Grants and Partnerships, for a great presentation and “sneak peek” of our new, 2022 grantees. And thank you to the Regional Leaders and Mentors on our Chapter Health & Retention Subcommittee for planning another great chapter leader event. Details
CAPTION FOR ABOVE PHOTO: Over the past 12 years, our CA, San Jose-2 chapter has donated $139,552 to Together Women Rise. In addition to monthly donations, the chapter also sponsors the education of two girls (and sends birthday and Christmas presents), funded a fistula operation, built a fence around a school, purchased playground equipment for a preschool, and more! In June, the chapter celebrated its 12th anniversary with an outdoor meeting in chapter leader Polly Ferguson’s backyard. The chapter has had the same leadership team for the entire 12 years: Polly Ferguson, chapter leader; Mara Zlotoff, treasurer; Libby Rettner, secretary; and Sylvia Hew, invitations. Thank you to all for your hard work, generosity, and dedication! Details
Although we are not accepting any new international chapters at this time, we have a few dedicated international “giving circles” (our international groups are called giving circles vs chapters) that have supported our mission for many years, including one in Brussels, Belgium! Details
Our hearts go out to the people of Haiti following the August 14 earthquake, and to the people of Afghanistan whose country is in crisis. We have reached out to our grantees in both countries to find out how they are being affected and what members can do to help, and we have put together a summary of what we have learned. Pleases follow our social media for regular updates about our grantees and the situations in Haiti and Afghanistan. Details
By Jim Hennigan, Global Advocacy Group
Being an advocate seems daunting – and all the more so if we’re speaking up for others because there’s the added pressure of making sure we stick to their message.
What many people don’t realize is that we’ve all been lifelong advocates — for ourselves, our families, our schools, communities, and more. A lesson that most of us have learned over that long arc of advocacy experience is that we are most effective when we speak for ourselves and share the unique message that comes from our hearts. Details
By Kay Yoder, Florida Regional Leader and Director of US Operations for Ripple Africa
A country not instantly recognizable by its name or geographical location, Malawi is one of Africa’s best kept secrets and a travel destination not to be missed! It is a beautiful, sub-tropical country with a majestic lake lining much of the country’s eastern border and a diverse terrain of mountains, hills, and plateaus from north to south. In spite of Malawi’s lovely landscape, this tiny sliver of a nation is ranked as one of the most impoverished and least developed countries in the world. Details
The news reports out of India over the past few months have been heart-breaking as the country has experienced a disastrous, second COVID-19 outbreak, resulting in over 400,000 new cases daily at its peak. Now, Nepal is suffering a similar fate with a devastating second wave of COVID-19. Latest reports are that Nepal is considering declaring a health emergency as the virus rampages across its country. BlinkNow Foundation, a Together Women Rise grantee, recently posted on its Facebook page that the number of COVID-19 cases in Nepal has increased over 2000% in the past month. BlinkNow also states that nearly 65 per cent of COVID-19 tests in their region have been positive. Details
In April, the Together Women Rise Advocacy Chapter With RESULTS was busy making time-sensitive appropriations requests for FY22. Now we are asking our members of Congress (MOC’s) to sign on to letters in support of global education and nutrition within the foreign affairs budget. This year we are requesting large increases for global nutrition — $300 million, which is twice what was allocated last year; and $150 million for the Global Partnership for Education (GPE), which is an increase of $25 million over last year. Details
Pictured above: It was a joyous occasion when the CA, Thousand Oaks-1 chapter – fully vaccinated – met in person again after a long absence.
You had an active and thriving chapter … meeting regularly, fully engaged. And then COVID struck and social distancing began. You put your chapter meetings on hold, fully intending to restart when it was safe to do so again. What you thought would be a brief hiatus turned into months and months, and now here we are one year later. How do you get things going again? Details
By Jim Hennigan, member of Together Women Rise National Advocacy Committee and the Advocacy Chapter With RESULTS
If there’s one thought that haunts me, it’s the fact that for all of the greatest women we can name, there are hundreds – probably thousands – more of them of equal talent and courage and character who are unknown to the world because they never had an on-ramp to opportunity.
By:Barbara Chatzkel, Chair of DFW’s Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) National Committee and
Shaniece Criss, member of DFW’s Board of Directors and Chair of the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusive Culture (DEIC) Board Committee
Since 2017, an extraordinary group of Dining for Women members has been championing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) for our organization. They came from different chapters nationwide, all focused on learning and growing DFW’s understanding and knowledge of how to create a more inclusive community of members, grantees, staff, and volunteers. Details
Deb Grove, artist and generous member of Dining for Women’s CA, Orinda-1 chapter, has donated many pieces of art, each valued at $1,000, for DFW donors who give $5,000 or more in 2020! Donors will be contacted to select their piece of art after their gift is received. The 2020 Art Allure will run until art is unavailable. The full collection will be announced in an email to members soon. Details
Following the success of our Chapter Leader Town Hall in the spring, our Chapter Health and Retention Committee held a special, virtual End of Summer Celebration for Chapter Leaders, Mentors, and Regional Leaders on August 25. It was a fun event that gave Chapter Leaders across the country the opportunity to meet each other and share stories of their chapters. We had nearly 150 members in attendance. It was wonderful to see so many smiling faces, and there were lots of great ideas generated for managing your chapter. We have compiled them all to share with you! Details
By Ken Patterson, Director, Grassroots Impact for RESULTS, DFW’s Advocacy Partner
Congress left DC for the long August recess with no agreement on a Covid-19 supplemental spending bill. This has left millions of people in the U.S. and around the world in dangerous predicaments. Governments and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in low- and middle-income countries are struggling to mitigate the effects of Covid-19 on regular efforts to combat diseases, vaccinate children, provide basic maternal care, combat malnutrition, and provide basic education. (See graphic on COVID-19 impact on global health.) Some are projecting that progress on global health could be set back 10-20 years. And women and girls are impacted the most! Details
COMMENTARY: US SENATE MUST DELIVER A GLOBAL PANDEMIC RESPONSE by Beth Ellen Holimon and Jim Hennigan of Dining for Women
By Tonnie Cummings, member of WA, Vancouver-1
I have been a member of the Vancouver, WA chapter of Dining for Women (DFW) for 10 years. A couple of months ago, I decided I wanted to take a more active role in helping marginalized women and girls. I looked at the DFW Advocacy Chapter webpage, where I learned about DFW’s partnership with RESULTS. RESULTS is a grassroots organization that promotes policies to end global poverty. Their goals dovetail nicely with DFW’s. I participated in the June DFW Advocacy Chapter meeting and a RESULTS orientation call, and then I joined my local RESULTS chapter. My timing was perfect! Details
At Dining for Women, we come together as a community dedicated to equality and justice for women and girls around the world. While gender equality is our organization’s guiding star, we, as a community, know that this fight does not exist in a vacuum. We cannot separate gender inequality from other injustices we see in the world, no matter where they occur. As Martin Luther King Jr. stated,
“Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny. Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly.” Details
DFW’s grantees are on the frontlines of attempting to stem the tide of the COVID-19 pandemic in the countries where they operate. Many are supporting critical community response efforts such as providing soap and increasing access to water needed for simple handwashing, or creating safety awareness campaigns. Others are finding new and innovative ways to continue their important work. Details
Ferndale’s “Dining for Women” Group Fights for Others in Developing Countries, WhatcomTalk social network for Bellingham, Ferndale, and Lynden WA areas.
By Susan Tocher, co-leader of the CO, Boulder-1 chapter
What do you love about Dining for Women? The women who belong, our connection to the world, and the hope it gives me were responses from my chapter members recently. As we gather each month, we receive these gifts which touch our hearts. The connection we feel with each other and with DFW brings each of us back. The friends we have made here, and those across the globe, enrich our lives. The smiles and laughter on the videos show us the tangible difference our gifts make to our grantees, and bring hope to us. Our interconnection becomes obvious as our awareness expands. It is a reciprocal partnership. We give to them, and they give to us. We are lifting all our members and all our recipients up. Details
Meet the Local Leaders Behind Global Movement Dining for Women, Upstate Business Journal, Greenville SC.
By Ruth Bates and Leslye Heilig, Northeast Mentors
When you were planning your first chapter meeting, you probably gave little or no thought to how you would transition the chapter leadership in the future. However, leadership transition needs to be a consideration right from the start in order to ensure that your chapter stays healthy and vibrant long into the future. Details
By Linda Levine, Dining for Women Traveler and Member of the CA, Saratoga-1 chapter
Greetings from Thimphu! I’m having an amazingly colorful time on my Dining for Women trip to Bhutan. When Sandy (Baily) and I arrived in Paro along with three other DFW travelers, we received white welcome silk scarves. One of our guides, Rabten, warmly placed them around our necks much like welcome leis in Hawaii. We then took a minivan through the lovely countryside to Thimphu, the capital. It was our first glimpse at the incredible architecture of Bhutan and the adults and children wearing the national clothing called Kira’s and ghos, for women and men respectively. Details
By Regula Spottl, DFW Traveler and Member of the NC, Greensboro-5 chapter
Another sunny and warm day: unexpected but very welcome!
As usual, breakfast buffet at the hotel between 7 and 9 am. Beth Ellen, Dining for Women President, introduced the grant DFW gave READ Bhutan in 2017. Details
By Ellen Williams, DFW Traveler and Member of the WA, Spokane Valley-1 chapter
Guru Rinpoche, Precious Master, rode upon a flaming tigress to mediate for four months in a cave now located on the lower floor of the monastery. At this site, the iconic monastery is nicknamed Tiger’s Nest. Guru Rinpoche established Buddhism– the everyday fiber that holds Bhutanese national identity. He is said to have possessed supernatural powers to subdue demons and evil spirits. His birth was foretold by Sakyamuni, the historical Buddha. This legend has turned the man into a powerful Buddha who can take many forms and possess many powers. Details
By Betty Purkey-Huck, Rocky Mountain Regional Leader and Chair of the Chapter Health & Retention Committee
Want a fun way to raise money to support DFW? Have a chapter fundraiser. Fundraisers are not only a good way to raise money, they can also be a great way to build relationships and community within your chapter, spread the word about DFW locally, and possibly encourage new members to join. Details
Happy anniversary to Dr. Veena Khandke, our Director of Grants and Partnerships, for five years on staff with DFW. Dr. Khandke manages DFW’s Grants and Partnership Programs, working closely with our volunteer Grant Selection Committee and Education Team. The following are some reflections on her time with DFW. Details
In early June, Dining for Women co-founder Barb Collins, staff members Wendy Frattolin and Justine Allen, and volunteer Regional Leaders Karen McCune (Northwest Region), Pat Payne (West Region), and Colleen Kill (West Region) attended Women Deliver in Vancouver, Canada. Women Deliver is the world’s largest conference on gender equality and the health, rights, and well-being of girls and women; it is held only once every three years. Our Regional Leaders recently reflected on their experiences at this event. Details
Thank you to all our recurring donors and especially to those who signed up during our 2nd annual Big Give campaign. We added more than 100 new recurring donors during the campaign, which brings our total to 1,627 members who give automatically every month. Their contributions amount to more than $53,000 per month in predictable, sustainable income to support all of DFW’s programs.
By Anna Schoon, Dining for Women Regional Leader Committee Chair
Have you ever wondered why some people encounter a challenge and face it courageously and others give up without really even trying? The answer is their mindset. Some people have a fixed mindset, the belief that their potential for success is limited by qualities they possess, like intelligence or talent. In contrast, individuals who believe they can develop qualities by working diligently are said to have a growth mindset. Details
DFW staff members Wendy Frattolin and Justine Allen recently celebrated their fifth anniversaries with DFW. Wendy is our Communications & Membership Director, and Justine is Member Engagement Coordinator. Both reflected on their time with DFW and answered a few questions about what inspires them.
More than 16,000 Rohingya babies were born in refugee camps and informal settlements in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh from August 2017 – May 2018 after a spike in violence in Rakhine State, Myanmar forced thousands of families to flee their homes across the border. Details
This month, we will hold our 2nd annual drawing of recurring donors to see which five members will be able to designate $500 to their favorite DFW grantees!
How does it work? Anyone who is set up as a monthly recurring donor with DFW as of May 20 — either through bank draft or credit card — will be entered into a special drawing. Those who are in DFW’s recurring bank draft system will be entered TWICE because this is our preferred and most cost-effective giving method. Five recurring donors will be selected to designate $500 to their favorite DFW Featured Grantee! Our thanks to a generous and anonymous donor who is providing the $2,500 for this campaign.
Monthly recurring donations provide a predictable source of income we can count on to fund our Grants, Partnerships, Advocacy, and Member Education and Engagement Programs. They also increase our efficiency and reduce costs, allowing us to help more women and girls.
You GIVE, We GIVE, Women and Girls WIN BIG!
Please sign up to become a recurring donor. It’s easy to do – you can print off, complete, and mail in the form below. All forms postmarked by May 20 will eligible for the drawing. Or, you can set it up online with a credit card.
Students Press for Global Change through Dining for Women, Furman University
One of the greatest impacts of DFW, in addition to supporting women and girls in developing countries, are the communities which our chapters become. Within those communities come movements and relationships that impact our lives and those around us. For some chapters, their communities are enhanced and strengthened through activities outside of their monthly meetings. Here are two great examples of how we touch more than we ever imagined with the power of DFW: our DC, Washington-4 chapter and our DE, Wilmington-2 chapter. Details
Potluck Philanthropy, NYCityWoman
Amplifications: Q&A with Dining for Women’s Leslye Heilig – The Berkshire Edge
What’s Behind the Surge in Giving Circles? – Wall Street Journal
Dining for Women Presents “Half the Sky” – The Quadrangle, the student newspaper of Manhattan College
The Main Dish: Philanthropy – Baltimore Style magazine, February 2019 issue
May We All Feast Together: A Giving Circle That Aims to Empower Women Overseas – Inside Philanthropy
A Voice for Change
Beekeeping Empowers a Rural Woman to Transcend her Traditional Roles
The African People & Wildlife Fund (APW) builds the capacity of rural Africans in northern Tanzania’s Maasai community to engage in conservation and sustainable livelihood strategies that promote the dual objectives of biodiversity conservation and poverty alleviation. Dining for Women (DFW) awarded APW a Featured Grant of $47,500 in May 2016 to fund the Women’s Entrepreneurship and Empowerment Initiative. This project empowers women to protect their natural resources for themselves and for future generations through entrepreneurship and environmentally-friendly small business development such as bee-keeping. DFW recently selected APW to receive a Sustained Grant in 2019. Details
By Emmy Holt, Dining for Women member, SC, Greenville-7 chapter
After being served breakfast at the hotel, we walked down to the dock in Panajachel where we climbed into motor boats and crossed Lake Atlitlan (translation: “near the volcano”) to San Juan La Laguna. What a beautiful lake, formed from a crater after the 1853 volcanic eruption! The lake connects the villages, is 12 miles long, and over 1000 feet deep. From the lake we could see three cone-shaped volcanos- Atitlan, Toliman, and San Pedro. Details
By Judy Bacon, Chapter Leader, WA, Spokane Valley-1
In Dining for Women we hear the word “impact” all the time. That word came alive for me the day our tour group visited the Starfish School in Guatemala and saw what impact truly means. Details
By Suzanne Spitzer, Dining for Women member, SC, Greenville-7 chapter
Guatemala faces some of the highest levels of violence against women and girls in the world, has the third highest femicide rate globally, and ranks third lowest in the region on the Gender Inequality Index. Rural indigenous women and girls are disproportionately impacted due in part to their social isolation and limited access to resources. Details
Nepal Youth Foundation was a Dining for Women Featured Grantee in 2012 and a Sustained Grantee from 2016-2018. In total, we have invested more than $100,000 in the organization. These funds have been used to help eradicate the selling of young girls into bonded servitude and to promote gender equality and empower women in Nepal. Our Sustained Grant helped to increase the employability and end poverty of the girls freed from the Kamlari system of indentured servitude.
When Pushpa C. was only 10 years old, her desperately poor parents sent her into servitude as a “Kamlari” so the family could pay their debts. This type of domestic slavery was all too common in some regions in rural Nepal. Details
Caravan to Class was Dining for Women’s Featured Grantee in March 2017. Dining for Women’s $42,260 grant was used to train 200 women in 10 villages in classical literacy, teaching them basic reading, writing, and calculating in their local languages to both improve their livelihoods and empower this group of women to be important advocates for education in their villages. The following story was provided by Barry Hoffner of Caravan to Class.
In 2014, Caravan to Class built a French-based school for 120 children ages 6-12 years old. Before we agree to build a school in a village near the fabled Timbuktu in Mali, we do a detailed study on the village to be confident that it has the scale needed to create a successful school environment. We soon realized that the attendance of the Samdiar school was much beyond our expectation because many children from the nearby village of Kakondji were going to the Samdiar school by boat along the Niger river, Africa’s third longest. As a result, Caravan to Class decided to build a school in the village of Kakondji in 2015. Details
By Sonia Marsh, author, blogger, and member of Dining for Women’s CA, Fullerton-1 chapter
It’s funny how situations in life can eventually lead to finding your purpose. Had my 28-year marriage not fizzled in 2015, I would never have served in the Peace Corps, and probably never have discovered Dining for Women. Details
by Susan Prener, Northeast Regional Co-Leader and Member of DFW’s Chapter Health and Retention Committee
Once you read this blog, I bet you will want to visit these two unique chapters yourself! Take a peek at what makes these Dining for Women (DFW) chapters attract and keep members. Details
Dining for Women and Judy Bacon are highlighted in The Fig Tree.
Kenya Self-Help Project was Dining for Women’s Featured Grantee in July 2017. Our $44,990 grant provided an integrated, in-school program of Girls Club education, life skills training, and material support to improve health awareness, school retention, and class performance. The project included the distribution of over two thousand Dignity Kits, containing underwear, locally-made, reusable sanitary supplies, and emergency disposable pads.
My name is Sheba Melody. I am 14 yrs old and I go to Yala Primary School in Kendu Bay, Kenya. I am a total orphan. I lost my parents at a tender age. I live with my maternal grandmother’s sister. The rest of my siblings live with our other maternal aunts and uncles. Details
Looking to the past and encouraging growth for the future has helped the NC, Charlotte-2 chapter thrive for a decade.
Founded by Sheri Calandra, the chapter is now led by Julia Edelson and Tricia Malinowski. Sheri gathered neighborhood friends and founded the NC, Charlotte-1 chapter in 2003.
“Those were the days when there was no video and we only had information downloaded from the website to discuss the grantees,” Julia and Tricia said. “We met on a fairly regular basis for about five years. Sheri moved out of the neighborhood and continued the chapter with some of us for a while in the nearby South Park area of Charlotte.”
Soon, the neighborhood group decided to meet closer to home and split into NC, Charlotte-2, with Julia as chapter leader. Tricia joined as co-leader about two years ago.
“We decided a number of years back that we would meet every month even if we only had a handful of women able to attend,” Julia and Tricia said. “We have occasionally missed a month – July or August when everyone is on vacation, or a crazy busy month like May or November.”
Each December, the group invites husbands and partners to join in as well.
With more than 40 people on the roster, the typical meeting includes about a dozen members. They take turns hosting, with the hostess typically cooking a main dish and members bringing sides and desserts to share. The co-leaders also take turns handling the administrative duties needed to make the chapter work so well. Recently, the chapter had a high school student participate for several months. Her senior exit project about girls and education in developing countries required volunteer service that she accomplished by presenting at one of the meetings and leading the discussion.
“I think all of our chapter members would agree that we appreciate being a part of Dining for Women because it takes us out of our ‘typical American lives’ and helps us center and focus on more important issues in our larger world,” Julia and Tricia said. “We have had great discussions and look forward each month to broadening our horizons. About a year ago we began inviting a few younger women, one of whom is the adult daughter of one of our members. This addition has enhanced our discussions with the perspective of these millennials. We highly value their contributions.”
Dining for Women started with a meal. Even as the organization has grown, food has retained a special place at the center of the giving circle. Sharing a meal means sharing time, conversation, and a bit of ourselves. Linda McElroy has helped spur that connection by encouraging creativity in the kitchen and a fresh look at international cuisine during her time as DFW’s Recipe Curator.
McElroy is stepping down after five years of service in that position, but she remains committed to DFW and its programs. She first learned of DFW after a segment about it aired on NBC News.
“My husband and I were watching and he said, ‘You have to do that,’ and I said, ‘I know,’” McElroy said. “I applied for a chapter right after that.”
McElroy is now a Seattle-area Mentor, and she enjoys visiting a variety of chapters. She said the specificity of the help provided by DFW to its grantees has been meaningful to her.
“When you look at the materials and read about the people you’re helping, I find it fascinating that this money will help 250 girls,” she said. “It’s not vague. I am actually helping girls in a village in Kenya. It feels more personal.”
McElroy saw a DFW call for a Recipe Curator and knew it was a good fit. “I immediately got excited about it,” she said. “I was recently retired. My husband and I owned a restaurant for 25 years.”
The role has been an opportunity for McElroy to experiment and learn about new foods, while providing an enormous benefit to DFW.
“I love researching recipes,” she said. “There was this whole world of different foods that I was ready to explore. I had never done anything like this before. This group trusted me to go for it. That first year, I was finding my way. I’ve just loved doing it.”
By Betty Purkey Huck, Rocky Mountain Regional Leader and Chair of the Chapter Health and Retention Committee
Each month in this newsletter, we’ve been giving you ideas on how to make your chapter more active, vibrant, and sustainable — things like trying a new location for your meetings, changing the food, or making the meeting time more convenient for your members. Now we’re going to look at another aspect of making your chapter more sustainable: building community in your chapters. Details
By Chris King, Co-leader of DFW’s CA, San Francisco-1 chapter and member of DFW’s Advocacy Committee
Extreme poverty is an unrelenting churn of chaos and difficulty for families, yet they survive. There is a lot of pressure for people to leave the violence and poverty they face in a country like Guatemala. Details
Dining for Women started with a meal.
Even as the organization has grown, food has retained a special place at the center of our chapters. Sharing a meal means sharing time, conversation, and a bit of ourselves. DFW member Linda McElroy has helped spur that connection by encouraging creativity in the kitchen and a fresh look at international cuisine during her time as DFW’s Recipe Curator. Details
Every third Wednesday of the month finds a dozen or so members of the CT, Torrington-1 chapter enjoying a potluck dinner and fellowship as they support their sisters around the world. Details
By Betty Purkey-Huck, Rocky Mountain Regional Leader and Chair of the Chapter Health and Retention Committee
Are you looking to increase the size of your chapter, or replace members who have moved away? September is a great time to recruit new chapter members as many people are looking to join activities in the fall. Details
Food takes center stage at DFW’s Vienna/Fairfax chapter, led by Shelley Brosnan and Colleen McLain. The group is celebrating 10 years of wonderful dishes, passion for service, and dedication to each other.
The chapter was founded by Shelley, along with Tamara Drozd. The pair had been thinking about starting a cooking club when they learned about DFW. It was a natural fit, helping them to combine their passions of good food and helping women and children. Details
By Corinne Blakemore, Central Regional Leader and member of the Chapter Health and Retention Committee
When I first heard about Dining for Women in 2010, I was planning to join a local chapter and get involved in the organization straight away. Little did I know that there were no chapters in Indiana or even within a two-hour driving distance of South Bend, where I live. This stalled me for a bit, but just for a bit. Details
By Betsy Dunklin, Chair of Dining for Women’s Advocacy Committee
Experts on the well-received advocacy panel at our National Conference (see photo) emphasized that NOW is the perfect time to add your voice to your dollars to help impoverished women and girls in developing countries.
Action on the just-passed FY2018 and proposed FY2019 budgets is taking place in both the House and Senate over the next month or so. The Administration has proposed a more than 30% cut to the International Affairs (IA) budget for FY2019. The IA budget is historically just 1% of the total US budget. Details
The PA, Abington-1 chapter, started and still led by Debbie Britt and Mary Liz Jones, is celebrating 10 years of friendship, connection and learning – and it all started with a desire to help others.
Mary Liz saw a magazine story about DFW and kept it for quite a while, ultimately discussing it with Debbie. The pair contacted DFW co-founder Marsha Wallace and decided to start a chapter. They initially met with about a dozen people to tell them about DFW and collaborative giving before holding their first chapter meeting in May 2008. Details
Quilters create a different kind of art. It is one that is frugal, often relying on source material of leftover or repurposed fabric. It brings people together to focus time and effort on each delicate stitch. It creates warmth, both the physical kind that comes from a layered blanket and the emotional kind that accompanies a handmade heirloom. And for Margaret Guthrie, that art is a way to contribute to causes that touch her heart. Details
By Ruth Bates, Northeast Region Mentor and member of the Chapter Health and Retention Committee
Do you feel like your meetings sometimes get a little monotonous? Do you have a month when you can’t find someone willing to host your chapter meeting? My chapter had that happen early last summer. Historically, certain members have volunteered for specific months for many years running. Last year in June, we suddenly found ourselves without a host. Our perennial host and chapter leader found herself in the midst of a family relocation. We had to be creative to solve this change in plans. Details
The Villager featured two chapters in the St Paul, MN area.
By Betsy Dunklin, Advocacy Committee Chair
Support is growing internationally to put women and girls at the core of a country’s foreign aid to end extreme poverty. Will you add your voice to keep the U.S. moving in this direction? Now is a perfect time to tell your representatives in Congress how you feel. It is especially important to counter the administration’s renewed proposal to slash programs aimed at global poverty reduction. Details
We are grateful for the dedicated service that DFW member Stephanie Sawyer has provided as our Social Media Curator for the past five years. Stephanie is now stepping down from this role, moving on to a new opportunity, but one with the same mission to empower women and girls in developing countries. Details
Retiring Carolinas Regional Leader Kay Manley isn’t leaving DFW, but she will be missed as she returns to being an active member rather than shepherding chapter leaders. Details
By Betty Purkey-Huck, Rocky Mountain Regional Leader and Chair, Chapter Health and Retention Committee
Oh my gosh, there were only three members at my chapter meeting last night! What’s going on?
Has that ever happened to you? You may be used to 12 members attending your meetings and suddenly only three or four are showing up. You haven’t been paying attention and all at once you notice and realize that attendance at your meetings has been declining over the last six months. Maybe you need to look closer at what is happening. Details
“Women are Working Together to Support Girls Worldwide” – Forbes article on UNICEF’s partnership with women’s organizations, including DFW.
By Jackie Saber (Raleigh, NC)
Walking from my room along the beautiful Chez Lando’s fragrant paths, lined with neatly trimmed green hedges and what seemed like the aroma of honeysuckle, on my way to our morning gathering. Air shifting, not quite a breeze but enough to fill my ears with the sound of a certain humming of activity throughout the grounds, all a pleasant and soothing start to what would, in contrast, be one of the most emotionally intense days, for me, of our learning journey to this amazing small country in the middle of East Africa. We were off first to the deeply inspiring Nyamirambo Women’s Center, in one of the poorest traditional neighborhoods in Kigali, to learn how women have taken matters in their own hands, struggled to earn, to learn. In the afternoon, the Kigali Genocide Museum. After a delicious cup of coffee with hot milk and an omelette at our lovely hotel Chez Lando, I boarded our bus with incredible curiosity, excitement, along with a bit of jet lag. Soon, though, I was completely immersed in the incredible day that was to follow…..although a long-time advocate for women and children and a donor to women’s giving funds, I am entirely new to Dining for Women (DFW) and can’t wait to get out and see some of the projects that have been funded and learn what’s working, what’s not, and what information we might gather from the women in the community to take back to DFW. Details
By Wendy Wheeler (Newton, MA)
On Day 3 of our amazing Dining for Women Rwanda trip, the major focus was gender equity. Some background: women are remarkably well-represented in the Rwandan government. When Rwanda ratified its constitution in 2003, they outlawed discrimination to prevent the ethnic persecution that resulted in the 1994 genocide. But beyond ethnic equality the constitution also established gender equality, and many new laws were enacted. The constitution requires that 30% of government decision-making positions be held by women. In fact, that target has been exceeded across the government: 64% of the parliament representatives are women – the highest percentage worldwide! Details
By Vicki Meitus (Denver, CO)
It was day 4 and after breakfast, we were off to visit one of the DFW grantees, SHE (Sustainable Health Enterprises). As we boarded the bus for our venture into the countryside, we were pleasantly surprised to be joined by Connie Lewin, Director of Strategy for SHE (and a DFW Board member) and Danielle Raso, Business Development Associate. Both work in the New York office, and it was an amazing coincidence that their trip to Rwanda overlapped with ours. We were also joined by Flora Ufitinema, Field Operations Associate, and Daria, Business Development Manager, who both reside in Rwanda. Details
By Marie Vayo-Greenbaum (Wilmington, DE)
Another beautiful African morning dawns as we sip our strong coffee and prepare to visit the facilities of Gardens for Health, just outside of Kigali. We have a full day’s visit planned with lots of interesting interactions along the way. It feels great to get off the bus and have an opportunity to walk around the farm where so many things are happening all at once. We are greeted first by Bailey who offers us an overview of the goals and objectives of this energetic non-profit. Details
By Judy Bacon, Volunteer Mentor, Chapter Leader of WA, Spokane Valley-1, and member of DFW’s Chapter Health and Retention Committee
You are a fantastic and devoted Dining for Women chapter leader. In fact, you’re Wonder Woman! You do it all, and you do it well. You schedule the meeting, you plan the meeting, you invite everyone, you find a hostess and a presenter, you run the meeting, you deposit the checks– you’re amazing. But wait! You are beginning to feel exhausted, and no one else knows how to do what you do. Your chapter would fold without you. For your own sake and for the sake of your chapter, you need help. Details
Online magazine Comstock’s spotlights CA, Rancho Cordova-1, aka the American River chapter.
By Betty Purkey-Huck, Rocky Mountain Regional Leader and Chair of DFW’s Chapter Health and Retention Committee
You just found out that your spouse/partner is being transferred to another city and you are moving. Your first thought isn’t about your DFW chapter and it shouldn’t be, but what is going to happen to your chapter when you move? Details
By Betsy Dunklin, Dining for Women Advocacy Committee Chair
Last fall, I had the pleasure of speaking with Dining for Women’s volunteer Regional Leaders at their annual retreat. I was encouraged to hear that many chapters are not only excited about our new advocacy program, they are raring to go!
It all started around the dinner table. In 2003, Dining for Women Co-Founder Marsha Wallace celebrated her birthday with a simple fundraising dinner with friends. That meal would lead to DFW and its first chapter – SC, Greenville-1 – which recently celebrated its 15th anniversary.
“After 15 years of inviting DFW into our Greenville homes, we celebrate the power of an individual to shape the lives of others,” said Co-Founder Barb Collins. “Our fervent belief that investing in the futures of women and girls transforms the world is proving that collective giving is a powerful force for change.” Details
Lamorinda Weekly features our CA, Lafayette-2 chapter.
By Susan Prener, Co-Leader of our Northeast Region and member of our Chapter Health and Retention Committee
As we shared in last month’s issue, chapter health and retention is very important. We want all our chapters to stay healthy, active, and engaged long into the future. Our volunteer Chapter Health and Retention Committee is focusing on best practices for chapter longevity and sharing these practices with you through a series of monthly blogs. Our goal is to bolster existing chapters, even as we grow more chapters throughout the country. This month we are talking about the importance of holding regular chapter meetings and the challenge of winter weather! Details
NY, Rhinebeck -1 caught the attention of local media.
Many thanks to our West Regional Co-Leaders Patty Karabatsos and Linda Dougall for their years of faithful service to DFW. Both are completing their terms and stepping down from their positions at the end of February. We are currently seeking volunteers to serve as our West Regional Leaders. For more information, please contact Wendy at firstname.lastname@example.org. Details
Congratulations to the VA, Herndon-1 chapter, led by Sheila Hanz, on 10 years together! The group started when Sheila was told about DFW by a friend in Maryland.
“I loved the concept of making a difference in the lives of women and girls,” she said. “I had recently retired and wanted to get involved in giving to others.” Details
The winter edition of the National Peace Corps Association’s magazine, WorldView, includes an article by RPCV and Regional Leader Peggy Smith.
By Linda Baxter, Dining for Women Member
As part of Dining for Women’s Travel Program, a group of travelers will visit Rwanda February 18-25, 2018. DFW member Linda Baxter lived and worked in Rwanda and shares her experience in the country.
In 2014 and 2015, I was living in Rwanda and working for the Human Resources for Health (HRH) project. Our goal was to assist the staff of the University of Rwanda in their efforts to improve medical and nursing education and practice. I was assigned to a more rural school of nursing and midwifery in the town of Gicumbi (Byumba) where I worked with faculty, and students – in classrooms as well as the hospital and local health center. Details
The SC, Summerville-1 chapter was featured in an article in The Post and Courier on Nov 29, 2017.
By Mansi Mehta, Manager, Global Cause Partnerships
Prevent gender-based violence in South Sudan:
On February 20, 2017, famine was declared in South Sudan, deepening the already existing humanitarian crisis in the region. Today, more than 2 million people have been displaced by violence in South Sudan. Of those fleeing the conflict, 87 percent are women and children, meaning 1.3 million children need our help to protect their childhood.
Women and children are facing immediate risks of violence, displacement, life-threatening diseases and hunger. In addition to this, Details
Congratulations to the OH, Cincinnati-2 chapter, led by its founder, Karen Whitney, on 10 years together!
Karen began to recruit friends to start a chapter, but over time, the membership has changed as some women were unable to continue and others joined in their place. Now, Karen says all the members are new friends to her. Persistence was the key to getting the chapter started and having it continue to thrive a decade later. Details
HONORS, the international magazine of Beta Gamma Sigma, published an article on DFW in its Fall 2017 issue. Beta Gamma Sigma is an honors organization whose members have achieved academic excellence in business studies. The organization has more than 820,000 lifetime members in over 190 countries.
The TN, Loudon-1 chapter was featured in a local publication, The Connection, on Nov 1, 2017.
Dining for Women is collaborating with Oxfam America to elevate the importance of gender equality and women’s empowerment in U.S. foreign aid. Oxfam, a global social justice organization working to end extreme poverty, offers resources and a depth of experience in this field that is valuable to Dining for Women as we develop our Grassroots Advocacy Program. We, in turn, have an extensive network of members passionate about improving the lives of women and girls in developing nations. By combining forces, we can increase the emphasis on U.S. foreign aid focusing on gender equality.
Congratulations to the NY, Ithaca-1 chapter on 10 years of friendship and support for Dining for Women!
The chapter was founded by Miriam Bisk and Gail Sakai. It is currently led by Karin Suskin, Karen Baum, Judith Ashton, and Sue Rakow. The four co-leaders fill different roles: DFW liaison, bookkeeper, manager of host and presenter schedule, and manager of emails. They believe that having structure and sharing responsibilities are key parts of the group’s longevity, along with warmth – and, of course, great food. Details
Mith Samlanh, DFW’s January 2017 featured grantee, recently updated the project’s progress in its interim report. The organization requested and was granted permission to modify its budget, applying some savings realized from materials and food support to family reintegration, one of the most important aspects of the project. Details
DFW President Beth Ellen Holimon participated in a live webinar entitled “Supporting Women and Girls Around the World” on International Day of the Girl Child, Oct 11, 2017. The event was co-hosted by the National Peace Corps Association and the Women of Peace Corps Legacy.
On Oct 2, 2017, The Shawnee Mission Post featured our Prairie Village, KS chapter and a local information meeting held by the chapter.
By Nancy Jacobsen, member of DFW’s Advocacy Committee and the CA, Tiburon-1 chapter
Remember the pie chart from the Advocacy Committee blog in the September issue of The Dish? Many of you may have been surprised to learn that only 1% of the U.S. federal budget goes to international affairs. This month, we are going to dive more deeply into how that 1% is broken down and how the federal budget, including the amount designated for international affairs, is determined. It is important to know how this process works if we are to understand how we, as DFW members, can make an impact on behalf of women and girls. Details
We extend the warmest congratulations to the MD, Rockville-1 chapter, led by Merle Steiner and Peggy Fitzgerald Bare, which celebrated 10 years together in September.
Peggy founded the chapter with Gail Nachman after Gail learned about DFW from ABC’s “Good Morning America.” They each invited friends and work colleagues and the chapter was on its way. Details
In Tajikistan, Mahkfirat Saidrahmonova is showing other women in her community what it takes to successfully run subsistence farms thanks to a program called Feed the Future.
In Afghanistan, a challenging but rewarding internship program is providing Sayeda Korga with job skills that will give her independence and economic security as part of a program called Promote: Women in Government. Details
The NC, Greensboro-5 chapter is focused on three Fs: fun, food, and friendship. The chapter and its founder and leader, Shashi Khanna, are celebrating 10 years of supporting women and girls through Dining for Women.
Shashi started the chapter at a season in life when she was looking for a way to give back. “I was retired, an empty nester, and needed something to fulfill my desire to change the world,” she said. “Not knowing how or where to start, I came across a quote from Saint Theresa, ‘I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.’” Details
DFW is pleased to continue its partnership with the Peace Corps in 2017 in order to support girls’ education around the world. We have awarded our second partnership grant in the amount of $70,000 to the Peace Corps Partnership Program (PCPP). The funds will be used by Peace Corps Volunteers and local communities to implement projects that address barriers to girls’ education. Details
DFW Co-Founder Barb Collins was profiled as a SHEro on the website for SHE Greenville’s Upstate Women’s Show.
DFW was featured as the “Daily Impact” in A Plus, an online publication devoted to spreading the message of positive journalism, on Aug 14, 2017.
The Mountaineer reported on a special fundraiser by the NC, Waynesville chapter held on July 20, 2017.
DFW was featured in an article about giving circles that was published on May 31, 2017. As part of the article, the reporter and photographer visited our VA, Vienna-1 chapter .
By Betsy Dunklin, Dining for Women Advocacy Committee Chair
Did you see that ecstatic dance of joy at the end of the video on Mali Health, our May grantee? It epitomizes what Dining for Women members often note, that despite extreme poverty and oppression, these women find happiness from their new-found skills, their support of one another, and, perhaps most of all, a sense of power and control over their own lives. And they use this to change the power dynamics within their families, their communities, and their nations. Details
In April, DFW celebrated Chapter Leader Appreciation Month for the first time. It was a way to recognize and thank our chapter leaders for all their hard work and dedication to DFW. Chapter members honored their leaders in many different ways … from champagne and cake to cards and kind words. Here are just a few examples of the many tributes that took place across our chapters: Details
The CA, San Francisco-2 chapter, led by Bri Kapellas and Chris King, is both “high tech” and “high touch”. This group of women – mostly in their 20s and 30s – combine busy lives with the desire to meet together for a common cause.
“As San Francisco is a transient city, making good transitions and passing on the leadership has been crucial to our chapter’s longevity,” Chris King said. “Even more so, we hold participation loosely, if people can only come a couple of times a year. It keeps them engaged if they don’t feel like they have to be at every meeting.” Details
DFW is grateful for the service of Susan Garrity, who is retiring from our Grant Selection Committee (GSC). Susan has been in service to women and girls through her work with DFW since 2009, when she and three friends started the CA, San Jose-4 chapter, which they still lead.
Susan spent 29 years in Operations and Supply Chain management in the medical device manufacturing world, except for a two-year break during which she attended nursing school and became a Registered Nurse. She also holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Masters of Business Administration. Details
On March 31, 2017, the SC, Columbia-2 chapter was featured in The Columbia Star.
DFW President Beth Ellen Holimon was interviewed for the podcast “The Enthusiasm Enthusiast” on March 15, 2017.
KCRA News covered the CA, Rancho Cordova chapter meeting on International Women’s Day (March 8, 2017) and DFW’s Biggest Chapter Meeting Ever. Special guests at the meeting were members of the first Muslim Jr. Girl Scouts troop, who presented the featured grantee and conducted a community fundraiser on behalf of DFW.
By Abbie Sladick, Florida Regional Leader and Chair of the Growth Sub-Committee
Our 2020 Vision set out a bold goal – to grow from 8,000 to 20,000 members by 2020. You may wonder: why such a big goal? The answer is simple – because the need is great. We have yet to achieve gender equality around the world, and women and girls are still struggling and suffering. We want to grow so we can impact even more women and girls! Details
By Leslie Mason, DFW Accounting Specialist
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.
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
JOIN OUR GIVING TUESDAY PARTICIPATION CHALLENGE
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
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
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.Listen
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
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!Listen
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
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