Dining for Women is collaborating with Oxfam to elevate the importance of gender equality and women’s empowerment in U.S. foreign aid. Oxfam, a global social justice organization working to end extreme poverty, offers resources and a depth of experience in this field that is valuable to Dining for Women as we develop our Grassroots Advocacy Program. We, in turn, have an extensive network of members passionate about improving the lives of women and girls in developing nations. By combining forces, we can increase the emphasis on U.S. foreign aid focusing on gender equality.
Congratulations to the NY, Ithaca-1 chapter on 10 years of friendship and support for Dining for Women!
The chapter was founded by Miriam Bisk and Gail Sakai. It is currently led by Karin Suskin, Karen Baum, Judith Ashton, and Sue Rakow. The four co-leaders fill different roles: DFW liaison, bookkeeper, manager of host and presenter schedule, and manager of emails. They believe that having structure and sharing responsibilities are key parts of the group’s longevity, along with warmth – and, of course, great food. Details
Mith Samlanh, DFW’s January 2017 featured grantee, recently updated the project’s progress in its interim report. The organization requested and was granted permission to modify its budget, applying some savings realized from materials and food support to family reintegration, one of the most important aspects of the project. Details
By Nancy Jacobsen, member of DFW’s Advocacy Committee and the CA, Tiburon-1 chapter
Remember the pie chart from the Advocacy Committee blog in the September issue of The Dish? Many of you may have been surprised to learn that only 1% of the U.S. federal budget goes to international affairs. This month, we are going to dive more deeply into how that 1% is broken down and how the federal budget, including the amount designated for international affairs, is determined. It is important to know how this process works if we are to understand how we, as DFW members, can make an impact on behalf of women and girls. Details
We extend the warmest congratulations to the MD, Rockville-1 chapter, led by Merle Steiner and Peggy Fitzgerald Bare, which celebrated 10 years together in September.
Peggy founded the chapter with Gail Nachman after Gail learned about DFW from ABC’s “Good Morning America.” They each invited friends and work colleagues and the chapter was on its way. Details
In Tajikistan, Mahkfirat Saidrahmonova is showing other women in her community what it takes to successfully run subsistence farms thanks to a program called Feed the Future.
In Afghanistan, a challenging but rewarding internship program is providing Sayeda Korga with job skills that will give her independence and economic security as part of a program called Promote: Women in Government.
In more than 80 countries around the world, a network of projects on behalf of women and girls is promoting policies to ensure greater gender equality and empowerment.
Do these projects sound familiar? They should, as they are similar to the work that Dining for Women and its members support every month. But these are not programs supported by nonprofits like DFW and its grantees; rather, they are supported through a variety of government agencies and are part of what is commonly called foreign aid or foreign assistance.
What is U.S. foreign aid?
Foreign aid is a broad term that covers the many types of assistance that the U.S. gives to other countries. For example, foreign aid is used to fight terrorism and the illicit drug trade, provide disaster relief, vaccines, education and clean water, and stimulate economic development.
Why does the U.S. give aid to countries?
The purpose of U.S. foreign aid has changed over the decades since the modern-day concept of development assistance took shape with the Marshall Plan after World War II. The Marshall Plan provided financial and technical assistance to Europe to rebuild its infrastructure and economy and stabilize the region following the war.
In the sixties, our priority was creating markets for our products and fighting communism by reducing poverty. This time period became known as the “decade of development” with the creation of the U.S. Agency for International Development and the Peace Corps. In the seventies, our aid focused on basic human needs, and in the eighties, it turned to improving free markets.
Today, the U.S. gives aid to countries for many reasons, including:
- National Security – Aid can support efforts to reduce poverty and injustice, which fuel social tensions and destabilize countries.
- Economic Interests – Aid can generate demand for U.S. goods and services and help build stable trading partners.
- Goodwill – Providing aid can help advance human rights and democracy and demonstrate the goodwill of the American people.
How much does the U.S. spend on foreign aid?
What do you think? If you are like the majority of Americans, you probably overestimate how much money the U.S. government spends on foreign aid. One of the greatest myths is that the U.S. spends as much as 30 percent of the federal budget on foreign aid to poor countries. This is absolutely untrue.
The entire international affairs budget,
which includes both diplomacy and development,
is only about 1 percent of the total federal budget.
And only half of that is poverty-reducing foreign aid.
In terms of absolute dollars, the U.S. is the largest development aid donor in the world, investing $33.59 billion in official development assistance in 2016. (Source: Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, or OECD) However, when you look at this contribution as a percentage of gross national income, the U.S. is in 20th place, behind Canada, the United Kingdom, and the top contributor, Sweden. Click here to see the full country list.
The U.S. currently spends nearly 50% less on foreign assistance today as a percentage of GDP than during the Reagan years from 1981-1989. (Source: U.S. Global Leadership Coalition)
Has U.S. foreign aid been effective?
According to the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition, U.S. development and humanitarian programs save lives. Millions of people are alive today thanks to U.S. assistance to fight HIV/AIDs, malaria, and hunger. Here are a few impressive results:
- Over the last 25 years, U.S. aid has helped cut extreme poverty in half around the world.
- The President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) alone has saved more than 11 million lives and prevented nearly 2 million babies from being born with HIV.
- The world has seen a 99% reduction in polio cases, thanks to U.S. supported global vaccination programs.
Why should DFW members care about U.S. foreign aid?
The needs of the world’s poorest women and girls are too great for any one government or nonprofit to address. We at DFW are doing our part. Thanks to our generous and committed members, DFW will contribute more than $1 million to grassroots organizations this year. We have invested nearly $6 million since our inception – something that should make us all very proud.
DFW believes that the U.S. government must continue to do its part to end illiteracy, poor health care, violence, gender inequality, and lack of opportunity for women and girls. To eradicate poverty and achieve gender equity worldwide, we need to have a multi-pronged effort that includes both private charitable donations, like those given generously by our DFW members, and foreign assistance provided by the U.S. government.
The future of U.S. foreign aid, however, is uncertain as our elected representatives in Washington, D.C. grapple with a budget for the next fiscal year. In the coming months, we will talk about the U.S. international affairs budget, how it benefits women and girls around the world, and the potential impact of budget cuts.
The NC, Greensboro-5 chapter is focused on three Fs: fun, food, and friendship. The chapter and its founder and leader, Shashi Khanna, are celebrating 10 years of supporting women and girls through Dining for Women.
Shashi started the chapter at a season in life when she was looking for a way to give back. “I was retired, an empty nester, and needed something to fulfill my desire to change the world,” she said. “Not knowing how or where to start, I came across a quote from Saint Theresa, ‘I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.’” Details
DFW is pleased to continue its partnership with the Peace Corps in 2017 in order to support girls’ education around the world. We have awarded our second partnership grant in the amount of $70,000 to the Peace Corps Partnership Program (PCPP). The funds will be used by Peace Corps Volunteers and local communities to implement projects that address barriers to girls’ education. Details
By Betsy Dunklin, Dining for Women Advocacy Committee Chair
Did you see that ecstatic dance of joy at the end of the video on Mali Health, our May grantee? It epitomizes what Dining for Women members often note, that despite extreme poverty and oppression, these women find happiness from their new-found skills, their support of one another, and, perhaps most of all, a sense of power and control over their own lives. And they use this to change the power dynamics within their families, their communities, and their nations. Details
In April, DFW celebrated Chapter Leader Appreciation Month for the first time. It was a way to recognize and thank our chapter leaders for all their hard work and dedication to DFW. Chapter members honored their leaders in many different ways … from champagne and cake to cards and kind words. Here are just a few examples of the many tributes that took place across our chapters: Details
The CA, San Francisco-2 chapter, led by Bri Kapellas and Chris King, is both “high tech” and “high touch”. This group of women – mostly in their 20s and 30s – combine busy lives with the desire to meet together for a common cause.
“As San Francisco is a transient city, making good transitions and passing on the leadership has been crucial to our chapter’s longevity,” Chris King said. “Even more so, we hold participation loosely, if people can only come a couple of times a year. It keeps them engaged if they don’t feel like they have to be at every meeting.” Details
DFW is grateful for the service of Susan Garrity, who is retiring from our Grant Selection Committee (GSC). Susan has been in service to women and girls through her work with DFW since 2009, when she and three friends started the CA, San Jose-4 chapter, which they still lead.
Susan spent 29 years in Operations and Supply Chain management in the medical device manufacturing world, except for a two-year break during which she attended nursing school and became a Registered Nurse. She also holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and a Masters of Business Administration. Details
By Abbie Sladick, Florida Regional Leader and Chair of the Growth Sub-Committee
Our 2020 Vision set out a bold goal – to grow from 8,000 to 20,000 members by 2020. You may wonder: why such a big goal? The answer is simple – because the need is great. We have yet to achieve gender equality around the world, and women and girls are still struggling and suffering. We want to grow so we can impact even more women and girls! Details
By Leslie Mason, DFW Accounting Specialist
Monthly recurring donations are the easiest and most convenient way for you to give to DFW, even if you cannot attend your chapter meeting that month. They also provide a predictable source of income that we can count on to fulfill our mission.
So what does it mean to be a recurring donor? It means that your credit card or bank account will be set up by DFW to be charged on a certain date every month according to your specific instructions. You can change or cancel your automatic withdrawal at any time.
Did you know?….
- DFW currently has 172 donors that make monthly recurring bank drafts.
- All DFW staff members donate by bank draft.
- Bank drafts are the most cost-effective and time-efficient donation processing method DFW offers.
We appreciate every donation and every chapter fundraiser that is organized for the 13th Month Annual Appeal. Here are just a few examples of how our members and chapters have been supporting our annual appeal: Details
JOIN OUR GIVING TUESDAY PARTICIPATION CHALLENGE
Giving Tuesday, a global day dedicated to charitable giving, is Nov. 29. Since its founding in 2012, Giving Tuesday has inspired giving around the world, resulting in greater donations, volunteer hours, and activities that bring about real change in communities.
As part of our 13th Month Annual Appeal, Dining for Women is issuing a special challenge tied to Giving Tuesday. We want to receive 1,000 donations to our annual appeal during a 10-day period starting on Giving Tuesday. All donations received online or by mail between Tuesday, Nov. 29 and Thursday, Dec. 8 (inclusive) will be counted in this special Giving Tuesday Participation Challenge. Details
By Cynthia Sawtell, Mentor in our West Region, and Chapter Leader of CA, San Anselmo-1
On Oct. 9, the three chapters of Marin County, CA (San Francisco area) hosted a public event in honor of the International Day of the Girl Child. The concept was to share with a broader circle of women the work that DFW has done for girls. We had three goals in mind: 1) to spread the word that investing in girls is critically important for spreading peace and prosperity in the developing world; 2) to do this outreach in hopes of gaining new members; and 3) to raise a little money for DFW. We called the event “Celebrate The Girl”. Details
Dining for Women Co-Founder Marsha Wallace shares the story behind Dining for Women and how we are connecting people in creative, powerful ways to promote gender equality around the world on the BetterWorldians Foundation weekly podcast.Listen
DFW’s $100,000 grant to the Peace Corps’ Let Girls Learn Fund in support of girls’ education will fund four anchor activities – all of which help girls by removing social and structural barriers that prevent access to education. Over the last few months, we have discussed two of them: GLOW (Girls Leading Our World) Camps and Clubs and Men as Partners (MAP) projects. This month, our focus is on two additional activities: STEM Projects for Girls as well as Business and Entrepreneurial Training for Girls. Details
It’s almost time for our 13th Month Annual Appeal, and many chapters are already getting geared up and pumped up! There are many ways that you can bring your chapter members together to support DFW while having some fun along the way.
Last year, we raised close to $38,000 from more than 50 chapter fundraisers. If your chapter is considering a fundraiser for the 13th Month Annual Appeal, be sure to check out our Chapter Fundraising Guidelines and complete the online Fundraiser Approval Form before you get started. Details
DFW Co-Founders Marsha Wallace and Barb Collins recently recorded a half-hour interview for an audio podcast called “Sandi Klein’s Conversations with Creative Women.” Take the time to listen – you will be inspired about DFW and our mission all over again!Listen
Last month, we updated you about DFW’s $100,000 commitment to the Peace Corps’ Let Girls Learn Fund in support of girls’ education. The Peace Corps Let Girls Learn Program helps adolescent girls around the world complete their education by removing the social and structural barriers that many girls face in accessing an education. We also provided information on GLOW (Girls Leading Our World) Camps and Clubs, one of the approved projects that will be funded through the DFW grant.
Our grant will also fund Men as Partners (MAP) projects, STEM Projects for Girls, and Business and Entrepreneurial Training for Girls. This month we discuss MAP projects. Details
In March, Dining for Women announced its $100,000 commitment to the Peace Corps’ Let Girls Learn Fund in support of girls’ education and empowerment. This grant will be used by Peace Corps Volunteers in developing countries around the world to fund grassroots, community-led projects that address barriers to girls’ education and improve the quality of that education. There are four types of projects that are eligible for DFW funds: the first is GLOW (Girls Leading Our World) Camps and Clubs – a proven model for inspiring girls to change their world.
Peace Corps Volunteers organize and lead GLOW Camps and Clubs to promote gender equality and empower young women. Camps range from day-long sessions to week-long overnight programs. They create a safe and supportive environment for learning, cultural exchange, individuality, creativity, leadership development and fun. Peace Corps Volunteers work with community leaders to design GLOW camps that reflect the unique characteristics and diversity of the local area. Details
In March, DFW announced its first impact partnership grant – a $100,000 commitment to the Peace Corps’ Let Girls Learn Fund in support of girls’ education. The Peace Corps’ Let Girls Learn Program helps adolescent girls around the world complete their education by removing the social and structural barriers that many girls face in accessing an education.
So what has been happening since this partnership grant was announced earlier this year?
DFW’s grant funds have been awarded to the Peace Corps and are already being put into action by Peace Corps Volunteers around the world! Details