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.
On March 8th – International Women’s Day – Dining for Women announced its first Strategic Partnership with a $100,000 commitment to the Peace Corps’ Let Girls Learn Fund in support of girls’ education. On that day, we were honored to participate in a special event with First Lady Michelle Obama in Washington DC to support the Let Girls Learn Initiative. (See White House Fact Sheet) 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
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
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.
Equipping women in rural Mexico to farm a highly nutritious local grain crop; helping marginalized girls in Mumbai, India to complete their schooling; empowering Maasai women in Tanzania to protect their natural resources for themselves and future generations; and helping victims of human trafficking achieve justice and prosecute their traffickers. These are some of the objectives of the six featured programs that you – our DFW members – will support in the first half of 2016 through grants totaling more than $275,000. See the Program Flyer for a complete list of the newly-selected grantees.
by Beth Ellen Holimon, DFW Executive Director
Philanthropic reports tell the story that Americans are among the most generous in the world. Private giving exceeded $358 billion in 2014 with individuals giving 72%, foundations giving 14%, bequests 8% and corporations at 5%. The only category of giving to decline in 2014 was international giving, making it the third year in a row that giving has dropped in this category.
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:
First event for Marsha Wallace as a Sister on the Planet
Marsha Wallace leads DFW group to Oxfam conference for International Womens’ Day. It’s her first event as a Sister on the Planet Ambassador. Details
CeCe Comacho, chief operating officer of Sustainable Health Enterprises (SHE), joined us to talk about how the organization is tackling taboos, training teachers and developing innovative solutions to keep girls in school no matter what time of the month it is. Period. Details
Dining for Women’s new executive director outlines the major focuses for the organization in 2015. Details
New content will be coming to our blog in 2015 with a fresh look at Food for Thought and issues we will be talking about. 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
In 2012, DFW supported Starfish One by One by funding an education and internship program to empower girls in Guatemala. The class graduated in November 2014 and are moving on to start businesses or continue their educations. Read more. Details
Nonprofits are trapped in a “starvation cycle” – a concept identified by some of the largest oversight and watchdog organizations in the nonprofit world like Charity Navigator and Guidestar. It’s destabilizing good organizations that do important work and can eventually threaten their sustainability. Details
Jessie Cronan, executive director of Gardens for Health, joined Dr. Veena Khandke, interim program director of DFW, for a conversation about how her program is fighing malnutrition in Rwanda with education and farming techniques. Details
Dining for Women is pleased to announce its grant program for the first six months of 2015, which will provide more than $331,000 to grassroots program from Jordan to Haiti. The programs will directly benefit more than 13,500 women and girls, and countless more indirectly.
The programs work toward improved health, increased educational opportunities, training of healthcare workers to return to rural villages and medical care.
“This group of grantees all offer something new to Dining for Women,” notes Dr. Veena Khandke, interim program director. “These programs are innovative and collaborative,” she says, noting that they represent a strong cross-section of need from aiding Middle Eastern refugees to inventing a completely new and renewable process to make affordable sanitary pads for girls in Rwanda.
The featured programs are:
- The Collateral Repair Project in Amman, Jordan, which focuses on providing support for women and families who have been displaced by war and unrest in the region. The program will provide therapy and wellness programs, health and nutrition support, leadership training to rebuild lost self-esteem and exposure to women-led organizations in Jordan.
- Sustainable Health Enterprises (SHE) based in Rwanda will provide critical health education to young girls, along with manufacturing and distributing affordable go! Pads, made from a renewable source – banana fibers – and offering education and menstrual hygiene. Due to cultural norms and misinformation, girls are often excluded from school and social activities during menstruation. This program aims to break the silence around menstrual taboos in schools.
- In Senegal, the Grandmother Project develops training and education programs to encourage grandmothers to be agents of change in their communities. The leaders program will include the development of reusable training materials and workshops as well as a series of “Under the tree” pilot training programs.
- Cervical cancer is a major women’s health issue in Haiti where the Mama Baby Haiti program is launch a well woman project. The project will include screenings and treatment for cervical cancer as well as education on sexual health, risky behavior and sexually transmitted diseases.
- Open fire cooking, which is the norm in Malawi, is a dangerous practice. Improper venting of fumes can cause serious respiratory illness for women and their families. Well-vented open cook stoves, such as a Changu Changu Moto stove provided by Ripple Africa can save lives as well as preserve the critical forests.
- Women artisans in Rwanda have been benefitting from the entrepreneurial programs of Indego Africa. But a new program – the Leadership Academy — will offer women advanced business training and the opportunity to apply classroom learning in actual situations by managing cooperative programs.
In addition to these six programs, Dining for Women has also granted $75,000 to five programs we have selected for multi-year funding. They are: The BOMA Project, a program supporting micro-enterprises in Kenya; Matrichaya, which offers vocational training, health education, medical aid and literacy programs in Ranchi, India; Friendship Bridgeis a microloan program that works with women in Guatemala to assist them in starting, expanding or diversifying their business; Village Enterprises in Uganda works in partnership with the Jane Goodall Center to provide women entrepreneurs with business and conservation and work toward the goal of sustainable livelihoods and environmental awareness; and PINCC, a medical treatment and training program in India that treats cervical cancer, trains and educates professional staff and women on prevention and treatment.
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
Spend an evening with the Liz Qua and her chapter in Zionsville, OH. That is the feel you get in this piece that takes the reader through the meeting from welcome to farewell.Read Article
An article in The Coloradan gives a reporter’s personal perspective of a DFW dinner. The video clip shows the group reading the dinner affirmation – a nice moment. And the article is written first person by the reporter.Read Article
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
Ever wondered how to read about some of the trips the Travel Program has taken? This post will show you the easiest way to access the travel blogs, plus give you a taste of our recent trip to India. Details
How does Dining for Women select its featured programs? It’s a strenuous and stringent process that requires a remarkable commitment by the volunteers who take it on. Take a walk through the process with Dr. Maggie Aziz, program director. Details
Marsha Wallace visited Louisville to meet with local chapters, to present at a University of Louisville-sponsored conference and stopped by WHAS11’s Great Day program. Joined by Louisville member Christy Haas, Marsha talked about the important role women play in the world and the power they have to change their communities when they are given a hand up. Take a listen. 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
Marsha Wallace, co-founder of DFW, talks about the organization, its impact and what sets us apart from other organizations in a podcast with Greenville speaker and coach, Deb Sofield. Details
By Jamye Cooper
DFW Executive Director
Our education team works hard each month to provide key information to enrich our members’ understanding of our featured program. But occasionally members or leaders have questions that aren’t addressed in our materials.
When that occurs, people may be contacting the program director or staff directly. Some of our funded programs report that they may be answering the same question from more than one DFW member or chapter. These can be time consuming calls for the program. But beyond that, if one program has a question, there’s a good chance others might as well.
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 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.
By Laura Haight
Communications Director, Dining for Women
On the wall in my office there’s a map showing newspapers and periodicals in a portion of the country based on data from the 1880 Census. It is actually one of the first infographics with red triangles showing dailies, blue dots showing weeklies, squares showing periodicals and different colors denoting the number of each in the area. There is hardly a town not covered with dots, triangles and circles.
Today, there are many fewer formal publications and yet probably even more communication channels when one considers blogs, websites, tweeters and more. Nonetheless, when a group, business or non-profit wants to get information out they turn to the established media: newspapers, television stations, magazines and, perhaps, established mainstream blogs.
Often, they find they don’t get the response they expected. So here are five tips to get your press release or information noticed.