Recently, I had the pleasure of visiting with three of our incredible Together Women Rise volunteers in Florida, shown in the photo (from left: Beth Palmer, Carol Buzilow, and Kay Yoder). Spending time with these women is pleasure enough, but this was extra special because it was one of my first in-person, member visits since COVID. Visiting chapters and getting to know our members has always been a favorite part of my job, and I have missed it! Details
I am very excited to share two announcements in regards to Together Women Rise’s grant making!
When the COVID pandemic negatively affected donations last spring, Together Women Rise took some precautionary measures to address the challenging and uncertain times that all nonprofits were facing. We wanted to ensure that we could continue to support our grantees while also keeping our organization sustainable throughout the crisis. Details
Most of us welcomed 2021 with high hopes and an eagerness to leave the uncertainty of last year behind us. COVID-19 has certainly changed the way Dining for Women works, at least for now, and we will continue to assess how the pandemic has changed the world around us. In 2020, we asked our grantees to patiently wait until this year to receive their full grants as we experienced uncertain cash flow; we asked our members to transition to meeting virtually; and we asked our staff to work remotely. Every week seemed to bring a new challenge! We heard the drumbeat that one-third of US nonprofits would close in 2020 and carefully made decisions to ensure DFW would still be standing here now. Details
This is a sobering statement. It was also one of the headlines in late 2019 when the World Economic Forum released its latest Global Gender Gap Report. According to the report, it will take 99.5 years — more than a lifetime — for women and men to reach parity across health, education, work, and politics.
That is why Dining for Women is more committed than ever to achieving global gender equality.Details
It’s now the second half of 2020 … a year that will surely go down in infamy. Around the world, people are grieving the loss of loved ones, experiencing illness and ongoing health issues, as well as unemployment due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of us started this year with plans that have since been derailed, postponed, or outright canceled. In my own family, both of my brothers’ weddings in North Carolina and Colorado were postponed. This was disappointing, but I’m fortunate to have my family healthy so far. I know that we all have stories about how our lives have been impacted. Details
Dining for Women is a little different than it was three months ago, isn’t it? We have had live conversations with over a dozen grantee representatives and hundreds of members on our weekly virtual meetings. We have grantees who have modified their projects or budgets when we made our funds flexible so they could meet their most urgent needs. Our Advocacy Chapter, which started just a month before the shutdown, has been growing its impact every month. We impacted a congressperson’s decision to sign onto important legislation and have had letters to editors published all over the country! We have more than 100 chapters meeting virtually now – a transition that took only TWO MONTHS! Details
Recently, UN Secretary-General António Guterres urged governments around the world to put women and girls at the center of their efforts to recover from COVID-19. He stated that COVID-19 could “reverse the limited progress that has been made on gender equality and women’s rights globally”. While we know that women and girls are disproportionately impacted in every crisis, these words were particularly sobering for me. Details
I wish I could check in with each of you personally to see how you are doing! I hope that you and your family are staying home and staying safe, but also staying connected during these isolating times. Details
Our hearts go out to the people who have been impacted by the coronavirus pandemic here in the U.S. and all around the world, especially those who have lost loved ones. We appreciate the healthcare workers, local communities, and governments who are on the frontlines of caring for people and containing this virus. I want to share with you some steps that Dining for Women is taking as a result of this unprecedented situation. Details
Dining for Women has been closely monitoring the coronavirus outbreak here in the U.S. and globally, and we are following the guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO). In everything we do, our top priority is the health and safety of you, our members, our staff, family members, and communities. Details
Dining for Women (DFW) is an organization that is fully committed to gender equality for all, and we carry out our programs understanding this great responsibility. I am happy to announce that DFW is also rising to the challenge of addressing diversity, equity, and inclusion in a formal and deliberate fashion. Details
2020 is a leap year, marks the start of a new decade, and promises big things in store for Dining for Women! I am thrilled to announce that we just reached 500 chapters across the US! To celebrate this achievement, we will plant 500 trees in Malawi in partnership with our grantee, Ripple Africa. This is a momentous milestone that sets us up to deepen our impact in 2020 and beyond. Thanks to your passion and generosity, this year we will be able to: Details
Dining for Women is still based in Greenville, South Carolina, but we have moved to an office that accommodates our needs and supports our staff much better, while also allowing for our future needs. Details
It is so exciting to welcome in 2019 after such a fabulous 2018.
We ended the year with about 450 chapters (and growing as we close out the year) with a goal to exceed 500 chapters in 2019! These new chapters and funds are allowing us to enhance our Sustained Grants program, provide extended education to our members, design an inspiring 2019 International Women’s Day event with national partners, and so much more. Details
It was fitting to start our first full day in Guatemala going back in time to the Iximche /ee-sheem-chay/ ruins between Antigua and Panajachel. Iximche was the capital of the Kaqkichel Mayan Kingdom from 1470-1524 prior to Spanish conquest. Over 100 structures have been found at Iximche which is composed of four large plazas strung out along a ridge and protected by a deep moat. Buildings include palaces, numerous pyramid temples and residences, and a couple of ball courts. Details
Although it is almost September, I am still elated about our Knowledge is Power National Conference in May and from all the energy that our grantees and members created for our mission and our future. At the closing of the conference, I told our audience that the conference felt like a launchpad. I think we all witnessed the transformative power of our organization and saw a vision for what our organization can be in the future. What a powerful way to propel us forward into setting the vision for the coming years. Details
When the temperatures recently dropped, I enjoyed an evening curling up by the fire to read to my family after filling our bellies with great food (happily, my husband does most of the cooking). Warmth, shelter, safety, food, family connection. These are simple pleasures in life that I know not to take for granted and I know that other Dining for Women members don’t either. Details
Chicuchas Wasi is a place defined by love. Love is the first and last consideration of everything they do, and it is so palpable that even a stranger like me, entering for the first time, could feel it. Upon entering this school for Quechua girls outside of Cusco, Peru, all the girls were in groups around the courtyard ready to perform, and all eyes were on me. This isn’t the usual way shy Peruvian girls might act – they were proud of their costumes and preparation for their performance, and they were confident and eager to show what they knew. Each of them wanted to talk with me, and I wished I could have duplicated myself to connect with every one of them! Details
Once a year, I have the distinct pleasure of doing site visits of some of our grantees. This year Dr. Khandke, our Director of Grants and Partnerships, recommended that I visit DB Peru and Chicuchas Wasi as we want to be visiting recent grantees. Both visits reaffirmed my commitment to Dining for Women, my appreciation of the work we do to select impactful grantees, and my love of our members who are dedicated to global citizenship. Let me tell you first about my visit to DB Peru, our featured grantee in October 2015. Details
Members have been telling me for over two years about the importance of our travel program, how it has transformed their lives, and how they feel more connected to the women and girls we support through our grantees. Announcing our new travel provider in May means that soon you will have that again!
We introduced Elevate Destinations to you in our May announcement, but I want to know who will be planning these trips. Katherine Redington is Elevate’s Director of Donor Travel and I asked her a few questions so we can all get to know her better. Details
One of the reasons I love living in South Carolina is the friendly people; they are so darn amiable and curious. If you are waiting in line at the grocery store, you’ll learn exactly what the lady in front of you is cooking for her family dinner, which child likes chicken, and which one doesn’t like chocolate. She’ll want to know where you are from and if you live nearby. You can just imagine what the conversation is like when you go to get a mammogram! Details
As Dining for Women grows, we see this as an opportunity to enhance the successful methods we have used to empower women and girls around the world. Growth inevitably brings change, and we are ensuring that we have relationships and access to research as we make decisions about the future. And this is not something we do without our members! We are always looking to improve, but 2017 is a more intense year of exploring and learning from other sources. Details
For the past two years, we have been building our infrastructure so that we could launch our commitment to growing Dining for Women with even more chapters across the U.S. You have joined hands with us and answered the call! Details
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
As the board and I worked to culminate the voices of members, leadership volunteers, and staff for the 2020 Vision, we had to look hard at the desires of the future. Most importantly, we had to understand what Dining for Women is trying to change. This instigated a very interesting discussion because, as we have been pointing out throughout this year, there are many points of change in our model. As we pursue our vision of change, we recognize that Dining for Women must create a number of transformations along the way: Details
In my very first week at Dining for Women, I sat around a table with our Board of Directors while Barb Collins, Board Chair and Co-Founder, asked each of us to share our “Dining for Women Story”. It was my first time meeting Anne Capestrain, but she told a story I will never forget. She shared how DFW had given her the opportunity to be a part of other women’s lives and, in doing so, she was inspired and her life had been transformed. I have visited about 50 chapters this year and have heard similar stories across the country.
It is devastating to see and read about the Syrian refugee families, and I find myself searching constantly for more information, more perspective. Dining for Women’s featured program in January was the Collateral Repair Project (CRP), which helps refugees living in Jordan. Our $37,000 grant is being used to provide psychosocial and wellness programs as well as leadership training for refugee women, many of whom have escaped from the conflict in Syria. I wanted to loop back with CRP to dig a little deeper into the perspective of the refugees and the future. Details
Recently, DFW co-founders Marsha Wallace and Barb Collins and I had the opportunity to visit the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP) in Washington, DC with Ambassador (Ret.) Steve Steiner. Ambassador Steiner is a fabulous supporter of DFW, along with his wife and DC-1 Chapter Leader Merle Steiner.
After coming off two three-day weekends with Dining for Women volunteers, I am more grateful than ever for what you do, how you think, and the impact you have on Dining for Women. DFW is extremely reliant on volunteers and the thought of all our volunteers going on vacation for a month at the same time is frightening. Fortunately, because I like to think positively, this will never, ever, ever happen. Then a tiny voice in the middle of the night says, “Beth Ellen, wake up. What IF DFW volunteers did NOT show up for a month? What would happen?”
Women in Nepal will bear the greatest burden of loss following the recent earthquakes. The loss of home and a sense of place is one, but women are also at risk and vulnerable to traffickers and abusers. Programs we have sponsored in Nepal are working hard to help each other to overcome this adversity. Details
Our 2015 slate is complete with programs addressing women’s health, mental health, support for victims or terrorism and conflict and more. Our executive director looks at the difference you are making in the world. Details
Dining for Women announces three programs have been the first to be awarded grants under our new Reserve Program. All three programs focusing on educating women and girls — the most direct path to positive health and economic change. Details
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