A shared happiness fueled by a commitment to a unified goal. Co-founder Marsha Wallace writes about the DFW effect.
By Marsha Wallace
I have been thinking about the connections that we make within DFW and the benefits that come to us as members as a result of those connections. In their recently published book, A Path Appears: Transforming Lives, Creating Opportunity, Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn describe DFW this way: “like a religious service, it provides fellowship and spiritual returns and leaves members uplifted.”
This description was fascinating to me partly because I’ve never heard a DFW meeting or event described as a similar to a “religious service that provides spiritual returns,” and partly because while I do see the connections and benefits as spiritual, I’ve never articulated them in that way publicly. It hit me as profoundly true. The connections that we make with each other and our program partners are fulfilling and uplifting — and spiritual. I have heard from many of you who share this sentiment.
This was the case in Cincinnati, OH, at the recent Central Region Conference. Central region chapters came together and heard from founders of Anchal, Bead for Life, and Bond Street Theatre. I call these events love-fests, because the joy and connection we feel is palpable!
In 2010, speaking at Emory University’s Interfaith Summit on Happiness Rabbi Jonathan Sachs said that there are two words for happiness in Hebrew. One of them refers to a happiness we feel, Asher, and one of them, Simchah, refers to the happiness that we make. He referred to Simchah as social happiness – something shared, something we invite others to share. It is characterized by exuberance and joy; we only feel it when we leave behind our separateness and become a part of a community. It is geared to a shared sense of gratitude. I realized that this too, accurately describes the DFW experience; happiness we make, something we share and invite others to share. We leave behind our sense of separateness and become part of a community.
I recently attended an exciting conference called Opportunity Collaboration that brought together 350 people from all over the world, including numerous DFW grantee organizations. All attendees were involved in alleviating global poverty in some way and we gathered to collaborate and share our work. Throughout the assembly, from journalists to social-impact investors and donors, from NGOs to corporations the sense of being part of a larger community was profound.
I envision our DFW membership similarly: a large group of people from various disciplines and walks of life, dedicated to global poverty alleviation, through the inspirational platform of DFW!
I am deeply grateful to share the meaningful, transformative work of DFW with you.
Together, we shed our separateness and become part of a larger community – a global community, connected to the women and girls we serve as well as to each other. It’s an honor to share this journey of connection and transformation with you.
About the author
Marsha Wallace is the co-founder of Dining for Women. She is currently a member of the Board of Directors, a speaker and passionate advocate for the rights of women and girls around the world.