President’s Update

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!

I am a firm believer that adversity brings opportunity, and our community has shown up in ways that we never dreamed possible.  We had 140 Chapter Leaders on a special virtual Town Hall meeting last week — they LOVED it and can’t wait to do it again. They loved seeing others from across the country and wanted to get to know each other. Three months ago I would guess that many of these leaders had never used Zoom before, and now they are running their own virtual meetings!

We are also grateful to those who are giving a little extra – we have members who have made “love” donations (you know, a little something extra when you need it), and members who have increased their monthly donations. We also have members who have signed up for automatic recurring donations or joined the Founders’ Circle (with gifts of $1,000 or more) for the first time.

It would have been easy to just shut down a chapter and ignore that we are facing the biggest gender equality crisis our global community has ever seen.  But that’s not who you are and that’s not what you are doing.

And it’s not too late either.  If you’ve been standing on the sidelines wondering if you could really make a difference, let me tell you – YOU CAN!  We are all needed in the efforts to:

  • Put a gender lens on COVID-related responses
  • Help us engage women through partnerships with our grantees
  • Prioritize gender equality in health systems (see this month’s grantee!)
  • Ensure that gender-based violence response and prevention services are working and robust
  • Protect the gains women have made economically

We need every chapter leader and every chapter member on this train right now. We halted our chapter growth activities in March and knew that we had to rely on our current members remaining active through this crisis.  We need everyone, and there is no time to lose.

We don’t know when it will be safe to gather in large groups and share food again. We urge you to use extreme caution as you decide when to resume in-person meetings, and be sure to follow all guidelines set by your local health authorities. In the meantime, please join this new iteration of Dining for Women – our new virtual reality – and help us hold the line on gender equality.