FAQs

You have questions, we have answers

Maa with kids

What is Dining For Women?

DFW is a national giving circle dedicated to:

  • Empowering women living in the developing world to become economically self-sufficient, and
  • Promoting gender equality by funding programs that empower women and girls

What is Dining for Women's Mission?
Through collective giving, Dining for Women inspires, educates and engages people to invest in programs that make a meaningful difference for women and girls living in extreme poverty.

What is Dining for Women's Vision?
We envision a world where millions of people’s lives have been transformed and extreme poverty has been reduced because Dining for Women connected people in creative, powerful ways that assure gender equality.

How did Dining for Women Get Started?
In the fall of 2002, Marsha Wallace, a former nurse and mother of four from Greenville, SC,  read an article about a group of friends who got together for potluck dinners and made donations to needy families by using the money that they would have otherwise spent in restaurants. Marsha was struck by the thought of using dining out dollars to support women and girls in developing countries. And she and her friends pooled their donations to support Women for Women International.

The first official Dining for Women gathering was in 2003. DFW attained nonprofit status in 2004. For us, tremendous growth occurred after being included in a 2005 New Ventures In Philanthropy study on giving circles. Since then, DFW has received unsolicited national media attention, having been featured in the New York Times, Woman’s Day Magazine, Real Simple, MORE, Quick & Simple, Guide Post, the Delta Sky magazine and on Good Morning America and the Today Show.

Why Does DFW Give Only to Women and Girls Internationally?

Since 75 percent of the world’s 1.3 billion people living in extreme poverty are women and children who live in developing nations, it makes sense that if we are to change the level of poverty worldwide we do it through the empowerment of these women.

Also, 85 percent of money Americans donate to charitable purposes stays in the United States. Of the 15 percent that is donated internationally, private foundations rather than individuals give the majority of funds donated. Here are some startling statistics:

  • 70 percent of the world’s 1.3 billion poor are women living on less than $1 a day.
  • Women do 60 percent of the world’s work and earn 10 percent of the world’s income.
  • Women spend 50-70 percent of time men do on paid work and still do 200 percent of unpaid work in comparison to men.
  • Women produce 70-75 percent of the world’s food crops.
  • One year of schooling for the mother reduces child mortality by about 10 percent.
  • Women cultivate, plow, and harvest more than half of all the food in the world.

As Nicholas Kristof, NY Times Pulitzer Prize winning journalist and co-author of Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide states,

“The oppression of women worldwide is the human rights cause of our time. And their liberation could help solve many of the world’s problems, from poverty to child mortality to terrorism.”

How Are Programs Selected?

DFW selects non-governmental organizations with programs fostering economic independence and self-sufficiency. Selected programs focus on various issues, including health, education, economic sustainability, environmental sustainability, agriculture, safety and security, and hunger.

Through the Program Selection Committee and careful investigation, organizations are vetted and selected. Learn more. 

Where are the programs we work with located?

We have worked with programs in more than 39 countries from Morocco to Mexico. The programs we support work with the neediest women in the poorest populations where our donations can have the biggest effect, so we have supported programs in India, Kenya, Guatemala, Nepal, and Rwanda most often.

What issue areas do you support most frequently?

Our three top focus areas are economic sustainability (supporting programs that help women to learn skills, start businesses and better support their families and – very importantly – their daughters’ educations), education and health.

How much money has DFW raised?

From 2003 through 2013, we raised $3.28 million.

What is Collective Giving?

Our fundraising model is based on educated collective giving, in which chapters gather monthly to share a meal, some conversation and learn about the featured program, the challenges it is trying to address, the country it works in. Members donate what they can. All chapter donations are pooled every month, allowing our individual gifts to have the greatest possible impact upon the programs we fund.

How do I join Dining for Women?

Dining for Women considers you a member-donor if you have made a donation of any amount in the past 12 months. Your participation with DFW can take many forms, from learning about and supporting our featured programs on your own, to joining a chapter or even starting a chapter. Our chapters take many forms. You can join an existing chapter, pull a group of your friends together and start your own chapter, or join a virtual chapter and participate through an online meeting each month. It begins with reaching out to us; then a chapter or regional leader will contact you to connect you and DFW in the way that suits you best. Get Started. 

Do Members Need to Donate a Specific Amount?

Contributions are voluntary, and no designated amount is expected of the members. Many members donate what they might have spent dining out at a restaurant. Donations can be made by credit card, check, automated payments, or on-line donations.  See our Donate web page for more information.

How much of my donation goes to programs?

Dining for Women prides itself on being a good steward of your donations. Eighty-five percent of program donations go directly to the program. The remainder supports our operations and management.

How are donations disbursed?

DFW combines all chapters’ monthly donations to provide one Featured Program grant each month. By keeping our maximum grant size to $45,000 for our Featured Programs we can fund small grassroots programs, yet still make a substantial impact. Some Featured Program grantees receive their grant funds distributed over a two-year period versus a lump sum distribution. In this case, all of the grantee funds are raised during one month and 50 percent of funds are distributed in year one, with the remainder distributed one year later, pending receipt of satisfactory interim progress reports to DFW.

We also offer Sustained Program Funding  for programs DFW has featured in the past. Each month (except for June, July, and August when donation receipts are lower) DFW provides a three-year grant for $15,000 each year (total of $45,000) to a former DFW Featured Program. Grantees must submit a regular grant application.

If net donations in any month exceed the Featured and Sustained Program grants, they fund a reserve to ensure we are able to meet future grant obligations in the event of a shortfall. The DFW board determines the minimum reserve that must be carried.

How Will You Know How the Programs Spent the Donations?
As part of DFW’s program acceptance process, the organizations commit to providing Dining for Women with multiple follow-up reports, detailing how donations were spent, number of women and girls impacted, success stories and challenges faced while implementing the program.  Follow-up reports are posted on our website.

Is Dining for Women affiliated with Any Specific Religion or Political Party?
Dining for Women  does not affiliate or align itself with any religious or political organization, and no programs that are funded by Dining for Women are sponsored by or are a part of a religious or political organization. We welcome anyone, from all religious and political beliefs, to join together in our mission of improving the lives of women through the power of collective giving.

Do You Have Any Employees?
Yes.  We have a relatively small staff of both part time and full time employees and relationships with some independent contractors for special services.

Who Is On Your Board of Directors?
Visit the Board of Directors page to see their biographies.

Are Donations to Dining for Women Tax Deductible?
Yes, DFW is a 501(c) 3 organization and all donations are tax deductible.

How Do I Contact Dining for Women?

Please go to the Contact Us web page for more information

Web Site www.diningforwomen.org
Email info@diningforwomen.org
Telephone 864-335-8401
Mailing Address P.O. Box 25633 Greenville, SC 29616
Physical Address 415 West Washington Street, Greenville, SC 29601