Learning is one of Together Women Rise’s key focus areas: we learn together to increase our understanding of global gender equality issues and to fuel our collective action. Our PA, Philadelphia-8 chapter has taken this one step further! About four years ago, the chapter – led by Maryanne Schiller, Cheryl Boyd, and Harriet Williams – created a study group for those members interested in learning more and having deeper discussions about global gender equality, outside of their regular chapter meetings. As one person describes it, this study group has led to more connection and community amongst members. The following blog has been written by Chapter Leader Maryanne Schiller. Details
Though the start of 2022 has brought with it continued global upheaval due to the pandemic and a devastating conflux of crises in Afghanistan, the first quarter of this new year is an important one for Together Women Rise, its grantee partners, and its members. For the first time, there is a deliberate focus on mental health and trauma recovery in this quarter. Details
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
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
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
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
Dear DFW Family,
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
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
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
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
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 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 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
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
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
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
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
Even during a year in which the United States suffered through 16 weather and climate disaster events with losses exceeding $1 billion each, you, our members, showed up each month to support Dining for Women. Thanks to your record-breaking donations, in 2017 we were able to fund grants and partnerships that directly impacted the lives of nearly 40,000 women and girls in 18 countries around the world. Details
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
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
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
We are thrilled to welcome two new Regional Leaders: Leslie Galup is joining Corinne Blakemore as Central Region Co-Leader, and Kathi Jaworski is joining Karen McCune as Northwest Region Co-Leader. Both of these ladies bring dedication, experience and exceptional skills to their positions. We are grateful for their commitment to helping women and girls around the world. 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
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 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
2015 was a big year for Dining for Women! Significant changes took place that have strengthened the vision, management, and operations of our organization. In her first full year at the helm, our Executive Director, Beth Ellen Holimon, realigned the duties and reporting structure of staff, led the Board of Directors through an extensive visioning process, and successfully created and executed DFW’s first, formalized fund development plan.
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 Wendy Frattolin, Communications & Membership Director
As you know, Dining for Women’s goal is to grow to 20,000 members by the year 2020. Some people have asked how we plan to accommodate 20,000 new members into our nearly 400 existing chapters! Clearly, this is not possible. We know that, in order to meet our membership target, we will need to significantly increase our number of chapters. Promoting new chapters throughout the U.S. will be the main focus of our growth strategy over the next five years. Details
We are very excited to announce our latest steps toward achieving DFW’s 2020 Vision. We are launching a new Operational Committee structure which will allow our members to engage more in the decision-making processes of DFW and influence the directions we will take in the future. Details
By 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
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
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.
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.
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 the work of our Program Selection Committee
By Janine Baumgartner and Susan Garrity
Members frequently ask how programs are selected for funding. We consider the selection of program grantees one of the most important decisions we make. As with every important decision, there is a designated person or body and there is a process.
A Special Message from DFW’s Board of Directors
Over the past year, our Board has been listening to and reflecting on many points of view from our members, our volunteer leaders, committee members, and our staff. From this, a dream has emerged for the future of our organization, and we want to share it with you.
As DFW members and supporters, we know that you share our passion for improving the lives of women and girls around the world through gender equity and empowerment. No matter how far apart we live, or what our life experiences are, we are all connected in deep and meaningful ways because of our shared vision for what we want DFW to accomplish, and what it brings to each of us in terms of heartfelt connection with each other and the broader world.
What happens after a program receives funds? How do we know how the program is using our funds and whether it is doing the work as promised?
We have three different kinds of reports, and the timing is based on whether the program is receiving a 1 year, 2 year or 3 year grant:
For Dining for Women, everyday is International Women’s Day so here’s a list of ideas to help you celebrate the accomplishments and achievements of women around the world throughout the month of March. 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
Dining for Women’s new executive director outlines the major focuses for the organization in 2015. 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
Dining for Women has approved some changes in its funding model that will enable us to put up to another $200K to work in the world each year. Details
Marsha Wallace hosted a conversation with “A Path Appears” co-author Nicholas Kristof about the new book, the gains made in reducing extreme poverty and women’s equality — and the distance yet to go. The authors mention Dining for Women in several spots throughout the book. “Sheryl and I are such big fans of what you guys do,” Kristof said during the Hangout. View the on-demand video of this insightful conversation. Details
Debbie Britt has been leading the Mid-Atlantic region since 2010. In November, she’ll step down after four very successful years. Details
Foundation Rwanda was our featured program in September 2013. This summer, chapter leader Reiko Johnson had an opportunity to visit Rwanda and meet some of the women during a peer support group session. 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
Dining for Women co-founder Marsha Wallace appeared on the California program WomenNow during a trip to several West Coast chapters 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 Mary Caroline Mitchell
Springfield, IL-3, Chapter Leader
Dr. Ha Ngo, Ph.D., is the director of a women’s empowerment program in Vietnam. Visiting the US as part of a program sponsored by the Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program, we were fortunate to have her join us for our February chapter meeting. The State Department program fosters citizen diplomacy and brought Dr. Ngo, the deputy director, Center for Education, Promotion and Empowerment of Women located in Hanoi, Vietnam, to Springfield. Details
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 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
By Laura Haight
DFW Communications Director
Technology has put incredibly high-end photography features into the hands of everyone with a smartphone, but it hasn’t done a great job of educating this new class of photographer.
This becomes a problem for us when media calls and wants a “high-resolution” photo for print publication. This primer may help you understand some basics of managing digital photos – whether it’s personal or professional.
The International Violence Against Women Act is one of several important pieces of legislation around the world needed to stop stoning, rape, assault and other forms of inhumane and degrading treatment of women around the world.
Editor’s Note: Jeanette is the daughter of DFW co-founder Barb Collins. We asked her to be our roving reporter during the 10th anniversary weekend and record her impressions, special moments and emotions from the event.
By Jeanette Collins
I was 13 when I first heard of Dining for Women.
Marsha Wallace and my mom, Barb Collins, have done an amazing thing: They took an idea and made it a reality. I feel honored to have grown up with what began as one small gathering and is now an international organization changing the lives of women and girls. Details
DFW Communications Director
The Women Peace and Security agenda’s goal is to empower women – representing half the world’s population – as equal partners in preventing conflict and building peace in countries threatened by war and violence. Details
Tara Abrahams delivers Decade of Dreams Keynote
By Laura Haight
DFW Communications Director
A group of journalists known as The Documentary Group were looking for ways to continue the work of a media icon – Peter Jennings – after his death in 2005. They wanted to do the work that he would have done – telling important stories that can effect change in the world.
Their focus became ending global poverty – a pervasive issue with many causes. But as they researched the topic, reaching out to experts in many different fields including international development, public health, peace and security, economic politics, one message came clear.
Educate girls. Details
By Marcie Christensen
DFW Education Coordinator
Cari Class started her DFW chapter in Santa Cruz, CA, nearly six years ago. “That same passion for what we’re doing as an organization, which just rocks my world and gives me a deep sense of purpose in my life, is no less vibrant today than the day I started,” says Class, whose energetic presentation drew cheers and applause from conference attendees. Details
By Laura Haight
DFW Communications Director
If you talked to your child’s teacher, questioned your doctor or sent a letter to the editor of your paper, then you have acted as an advocate.
“We are each advocating for a host of important community and personal issues every single day,” noted Nancy Delaney, manager of community engagement for Oxfam America. “As members of the Dining for Women community, you’ve each become advocates for the women and girls whose lives and dreams you support.” Details