As I walk through my personal and professional travels each day, women who don’t know us ask me what the WGC is. My answer is simply our mission: the Women’s Giving Circle is building a community of philanthropists and creating a permanent legacy to address the needs of women and girls in Howard County.
And then, they naturally ask how we are doing this, and I love to highlight our goals.
For 15 years, together, we have worked to:
- Expand philanthropy and increase giving by local women
- Build a permanent endowment fund
- Increase the life skills of women and girls
- Encourage the healthy development and personal authority of young girls
- Raise the awareness of gender disparities in our community, and
- Sustain the WGC for future generations
These questions are exciting to me, and I believe the answers are to those I speak with, especially when I get into more specifics about how over 1,000 women have raised over $1 million and leveraged our dollars to have more of an impact on women and girls than we might otherwise have alone … or how we’ve given hundreds of grants focused on women and girls in Howard County, including grants for programs like Girls on the Run of Central Maryland and Girl Power! STEM Event … or how we’ve called upon our network of women in Howard County and raised over $50,000 through the years as part of our WGC Emergency Response Network to assist over 70 women in need … or how we started and now fund Journey Camp for Girls, that has provided leadership and empowerment skills for hundreds of rising 8th and 9th grade girls … and how we’ve funded a women’s scholarship program, providing financial aid to women seeking job-related courses, in partnership with Howard Community College … or how we gave a $100,000 multi-year grant to start JA Rising Women, a 13 week after-school entrepreneurship program for girls grades 9-12, in partnership with Junior Achievement of Central Maryland … or how we started one of the first Young Women’s Giving Circles in the country … honestly, the list goes on and on, and I love to talk about the great work the WGC has done and is doing.
What is perhaps the most important question that often follows is why … why are women partnering to support programs that benefit women and girls? And my answer is this. Because:
- We believe women’s philanthropy shapes the future for women and girls through the power of collective giving.
- Philanthropy and social change needs to continue to more fully recognize and include women’s voices, and to spark greater investment in issues affecting women and girls in our community.
- Programs for women and girls have historically been underfunded,
- All Howard County women and girls have a right to an adequate and sustainable quality of life and an opportunity to develop their full potential.
- Healthy development for girls is achieved through education, life skill training, and a sense of personal authority and safety.
- The needs and concerns of all women and girls in Howard County must be fully understood, acknowledged, and addressed.
- Available resources should be directed to achieving systemic change in the political, social, and economic institutions that influence the lives of women and girls.
- Philanthropy is not measured by the amount of the gift but by the intent of the giver.
- Women’s philanthropy has the power to improve the lives of women and girls in Howard County now.
- A permanent endowment provides a legacy of giving to the generations of women and girls who will follow.
- Education is the cornerstone of understanding and giving.
- Women of concern, compassion, and generosity can make the greatest difference by working together for change.
When I’m done answering these great questions, I always have one of my own … “so, do you want to get involved?”
As I always say, it’s easy – here’s 5 ways you can participate in the good work of the WGC:
- Make a Gift. Make a gift to the WGC today in honor of the amazing women in your life! Donate Here – no amount is too small!
- Attend an Event. From happy hours to educational events, we host a number of events that bring our donors together to network, socialize, and learn more about the good work of the WGC. Please join us!
- Engage With Us! Help us spread the word about the WGC through social media – like, comment on, and share our Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter posts.
- Spread the Word. Forward our latest eNewsletter to your friends, family and networks and invite them to review our work and get involved.
- Host a Coffee or Happy Hour! If you like what you see, help us connect with your friends, family and networks. Invite a few friends or neighbors over for coffee or happy hour where they can learn a bit more about the WGC. Let us know and we’ll be there to help you plan a great gathering!
Contact me anytime with questions … I’ll be happy to provide all the answers that I can, and will always end with that question of my own – “so, do you want to get involved?” Hope so!
– Alison Canning, WGC Chair, firstname.lastname@example.org