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
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
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
Dear DFW Friend:
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
Dear DFW Friend:
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.
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
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 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
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
Dining for Women and Judy Bacon are highlighted in The Fig Tree.
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.”
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
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
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
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
The Villager featured two chapters in the St Paul, MN area.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
With over 40 chapters and hundreds of individual members participating, our March 8th webcast was definitely the biggest DFW chapter meeting ever! Thank you to all who joined us and provided valuable feedback on our first attempt at live streaming. What a great way to celebrate International Women’s Day and to launch our growth strategy and 8,000 Ambassadors Campaign. Details
By Janine Baumgartner, DFW Member, NC, Asheville-1 chapter
Sue Fernbach and her sister loved to cook. Their passion led them to a series of cooking class fundraisers embracing the food of one country at a time. A friend noted a similarity to Dining for Women, and an idea was planted in Sue’s head. She phoned co-founder Marsha Wallace for information and decided to start a chapter. It would take six years to gestate. Family illness, hurricanes, and a move from classroom teaching in Florida to retirement in North Carolina got in the way. Details
By Betsy Dunklin, DFW Advocacy Committee Chair
When our board of directors adopted advocacy as one of DFW’s four programs, it put into place something that many members have been requesting for years. In fact, at DFW’s national conference in 2013, members called for a plan to add our voices to our dollars. They wanted DFW to have a larger role, through advocacy, in setting U.S. public policy related to poverty and inequality for women and girls in developing nations. Making advocacy part of DFW’s 2020 Vision is exciting because it means we can make an even bigger impact — by combining our collective donations, our collective knowledge, and our collective voices! Details
By Beth Ellen Holimon, Dining for Women President
“Dining for Women changed my life.”
I hear this so many times. And not from women in Nepal or Bolivia. I hear it from women in Toledo, Sarasota, Bethesda. Dining for Women is changing the lives of women all over the world. Details
By Corinne Blakemore, Central Regional Leader
I’ve been involved with Dining for Women for a little over 5 years and I, as well as many of you, have seen so many changes. We’ve grown, we’ve organized, we’ve partnered, and the excitement builds as we think about what’s next.
With many different organizations helping women and girls fight poverty while attaining gender equity, I often ask myself what it is about Dining for Women that makes us different? Where does our power and effectiveness come from?
By Linda Dougall, West Regional Leader and member of CA, Oakland-2 chapter
DFW’s CA, Oakland-2 chapter celebrated its fifth anniversary in September 2016. It is led by three sisters, Mary, Rachel and Becca McQueen, and their mom, Chris McQueen. They have created a robust, multi-generational, collaborative chapter with the ongoing support of extended family members and long-time friends from church, the neighborhood, and all over the Oakland and Berkeley areas. Meetings are great fun – and loud, too – and members are always welcome whether or not they attend every month. It is this open-door policy that has helped this chapter be a resounding and abiding success. Details
DFW members are a creative and committed bunch! Thank you to the many chapters that held fundraisers in 2016 – together, you raised a record-breaking $46,000 for our 13th Month Annual Appeal. For everything you do throughout the year, we are grateful. Here are just some of the highlights. Our apologies if we missed your chapter’s fundraiser – we would love to hear about it! Details
By Beth Ellen Holimon, Dining for Women President
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
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
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
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
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
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
I’ve been writing and rewriting this message for over a decade. The heart of it is always the same: collective action drives social transformation. When individuals believe they have found a way to change the world, it’s a powerful force for good. Dining for Women is a way to change the world. And in this world of unprecedented division, Dining for Women is a movement where individual differences are inconsequential and unity and solidarity prevail. Details
By Peggy Smith, Regional Leader for the Mid-Atlantic Region
Let’s hear it for our DFW Mentors. These are our foot soldiers, they walk the talk.
So what does it take to be a mentor? It takes a commitment to DFW and its mission, and an interest in sharing that passion to inspire and motivate others.
Mentors play an important role at the grassroots level of DFW by answering inquiries from people who want to join an existing chapter or start a chapter of their own. They have to know their territory well so they can match up potential new members with the most appropriate chapter within their geographic area. They also help launch new chapters, which includes educating potential Chapter Leaders about how to start and manage a DFW chapter, helping them organize their first meetings, attending the new chapter’s first meeting where possible, and answering any questions that arise.
Monthly recurring donations are the easiest and most convenient way for you to give to DFW and ensure that ALL our programs receive your support – even if you cannot attend your chapter meeting that month.
Recurring donations provide a predictable source of income we can count on to fund our grants program and our member services. They also help us increase our efficiency and reduce costs, allowing us to help even more women and girls.
So what does it mean to be a recurring donor? It means that your credit card or bank account will be charged on a certain date every month according to your specific instructions. You can set up a recurring donation for our funded programs, support DFW’s 13th Month Campaign all year long, or both. You can change or cancel your automatic withdrawal at any time.
There are several ways to set up an automatic recurring donation:
- Complete our Monthly Giving by Automatic Withdrawal Form and mail it to DFW’s home office. You can set up either a bank or credit card withdrawal by using this form. For bank withdrawals, you must send in a voided check with the form.
(PLEASE NOTE: An automatic bank withdrawal that is set up by completing this form is the least expensive payment method for DFW, costing only about 11 cents per transaction.)
- Go online to DFW’s donation page and choose the “repeat payment option”. Online recurring donations can be set up via E-Check (electronic bank draft) or credit card. If you set up a recurring donation online, you do NOT need to fill out the Monthly Giving by Automatic Withdrawal Form, nor do you need to send in a voided check for an electronic bank draft.
- Call DFW’s home office at 864-335-8401. DFW staff will be happy to help you set up your recurring donation.
Donating online to Dining for Women is now easier than ever with our new Click & Pledge processing system. Members can conveniently make one-time, recurring or in memory/in honor donations all in one place – whether they are on their computer, tablet or mobile phone.
Click & Pledge is a simple, user-friendly, and highly secure system that is designed specifically for non-profits and is widely used throughout our industry.
This month, Merle Steiner, Co-Leader for the MD, Rockville-1 chapter shares what the 13th Month Campaign means to her chapter.
Our Rockville, MD Chapter is about to celebrate its 8th Anniversary. We are very proud to have been one of the early chapters joining the Dining for Women family. We have watched DFW grow from a group of creative, intelligent women working from their kitchen table to the amazing organization it has become.
A look at some recent events held by DFW chapters and attended by DFW leaders. A busy couple of months marked by fun, camaraderie and purpose. Details
Chapter Leader and Board of Directors member Anne Capestrain kicks off our “My DFW Story” campaign with her story of empowerment. Watch now. Details
The Daily Star in Oneonta, NY, wrote a lengthy piece on giving circles in the area, profiling Dining for Women’s local chapter among them.Read Article
By Wendy Frattolin
DFW Member and Volunteer Director
Many of our chapters hold special events or activities to raise funds for the 13th Month Campaign. In addition to raising money to support DFW’s operations, local fundraising events can also be a great way to build relationships within your chapter members, spread the word about your local chapter, or encourage new members to join. Details
Fifteen US-based DFW members embarked on a journey to Peru. Their first stop was an very special opportunity to break bread and join with DFW sisters in the Lima, Peru, chapter for a meeting, to share and learn about each other and about our featured program for October – Bumi Sehat. Chapter Leader Eli Bagnarol sends this post on the experience. Details
Leaders, members and friends of Dining for Women met the weekend of Oct 10-12, 2014 in the Central Region to get to know each other better, to learn more about Dining for Women and to share experiences and information. Details
There are a lot of reasons to check out Dining for Women virtually. You might be out of town on business and miss your regular chapter meeting. You might not have a local chapter but still want to be part of the organization. Or you may just want to see what we’re all about. Find out more about how to get connected with DFW virtually. Details
Debbie Britt has been leading the Mid-Atlantic region since 2010. In November, she’ll step down after four very successful years. Details
Two leadership changes have been announced by Dining for Women. Dr. Veena Khandke will take over as interim Program Director and Helen Borland will step into the co-leader’s role in the Southeast Region, replacing Alison Lively who is stepping down. Details
Certain keywords help define ourselves and our values. DFW has four that we think describe the essence of who we are, what we value and how we work toward achieving our goals. Tell us if you agree and how you see those words in action. Details
By Laura Haight
DFW Communications Director
There are some amazing things happening in dining rooms, kitchens, living rooms and great rooms across the country. Some of them are newsworthy – perhaps to a DFW audience or sometimes for a more general interest audience.
The most common content is photos – from anniversaries, fundraisers or meetings with special speakers. Social media gives us ways to share a lot of photos that don’t find a home on our website with a large audience every day. While photos tell a story, they do need a little help in the form of captions and descriptions. It’s important for us to know who’s in the photo, what they’re doing, where they are from and why it’s significant. Large group photos of your chapter do not need to identify each person; but photos of five or fewer should include IDs with first and last name, location, title and affiliation, from left to right.
By Laura Haight
DFW Communications Director
With 8000 members spread out from Bangor to Santa Cruz, DFW uses email as the most efficient way to communicate. These messages include monthly newsletters, donation acknowledgements, tax receipts and other messages.
Dining for Women is very aware of the flood of emails all of us receive on a daily basis. To that end, in 2013 we significantly reduced our communications. Most months, the average member receives one email from us – The Dish; chapter leaders get two with the CL Newsletter. We have consolidated what used to be separate emails for new programs, trips or products into these monthly communications.
By Marcie Christensen
DFW Education Coordinator
The Education Team has developed a slide show template we will use to offer each month’s program in a brief and consistent format, rather than requiring each grantee to develop a PowerPoint presentation. Beginning with our January Featured Program, presenters will have clearer options for sharing the month’s featured program in ways that work best for each chapter.
By Patricia Andersson
Chapter leader, Portland
Annie Johnston could never have predicted that getting involved with our Portland Southeast chapter of DFW would allow her to once again visit the home where all her childhood family gatherings took place.
And Karen Faunt, long-time chapter member who’s also on DFW’s Program Selection Committee – as well as being the home’s new owner — would never have guessed that by hosting a DFW potluck, she’d be able to provide a new friend with a cherished walk down memory lane.
By Laura Haight
Operational retreats are a fairly common practice among big business and this fall two DFW regions employed the practice to bring leaders together to discuss a variety of topics.
Chapter leaders in the Mid-Atlantic and West had regional retreats in October.
Debbie Britt and Cindy Ariel, co-leaders in the Mid-Atlantic, brought in two facilitators – both are professional leadership coaches as well as DFW members – to run the program, which included a discussion of what is working at the chapter level and what could be improved, an idea-sharing discussion that “harvested” ideas from each member. Details
Editor’s Note: Foundation Rwanda, this month’s featured program, addresses horrific situations that are the result and the legacy of the 1994 civil war. Rape, brutalization, genocide are not pretty and many of our members have been disturbed by some of the images. We provide an array of tools that can be used to learn about our programs – the video is only one. Due diligence – on all of our parts – to make sure we make members aware of sensitive content is important. But equally as important is understanding that there are horrible and ugly things in the world. We can’t help to change them, if we won’t open our eyes to them.
This post looks at the sensitive balancing act we must try to walk.