By Sonia Marsh, author, blogger, and member of Dining for Women’s CA, Fullerton-1 chapter
It’s funny how situations in life can eventually lead to finding your purpose. Had my 28-year marriage not fizzled in 2015, I would never have served in the Peace Corps, and probably never have discovered Dining for Women. Details
Kenya Self-Help Project was Dining for Women’s Featured Grantee in July 2017. Our $44,990 grant provided an integrated, in-school program of Girls Club education, life skills training, and material support to improve health awareness, school retention, and class performance. The project included the distribution of over two thousand Dignity Kits, containing underwear, locally-made, reusable sanitary supplies, and emergency disposable pads.
My name is Sheba Melody. I am 14 yrs old and I go to Yala Primary School in Kendu Bay, Kenya. I am a total orphan. I lost my parents at a tender age. I live with my maternal grandmother’s sister. The rest of my siblings live with our other maternal aunts and uncles. Details
Kenya calls us to come for a visit this month! And since it’s November, it’s definitely time to think about a warming beef stew, epic comfort food at this time of year. Kenyan Beef Stew is not all that different from our American version. It contains meat, potatoes, and carrots. I find that the difference is in the spices used and the inclusion of tomatoes and plantains. Details
Looking to the past and encouraging growth for the future has helped the NC, Charlotte-2 chapter thrive for a decade.
Founded by Sheri Calandra, the chapter is now led by Julia Edelson and Tricia Malinowski. Sheri gathered neighborhood friends and founded the NC, Charlotte-1 chapter in 2003.
“Those were the days when there was no video and we only had information downloaded from the website to discuss the grantees,” Julia and Tricia said. “We met on a fairly regular basis for about five years. Sheri moved out of the neighborhood and continued the chapter with some of us for a while in the nearby South Park area of Charlotte.”
Soon, the neighborhood group decided to meet closer to home and split into NC, Charlotte-2, with Julia as chapter leader. Tricia joined as co-leader about two years ago.
“We decided a number of years back that we would meet every month even if we only had a handful of women able to attend,” Julia and Tricia said. “We have occasionally missed a month – July or August when everyone is on vacation, or a crazy busy month like May or November.”
Each December, the group invites husbands and partners to join in as well.
With more than 40 people on the roster, the typical meeting includes about a dozen members. They take turns hosting, with the hostess typically cooking a main dish and members bringing sides and desserts to share. The co-leaders also take turns handling the administrative duties needed to make the chapter work so well. Recently, the chapter had a high school student participate for several months. Her senior exit project about girls and education in developing countries required volunteer service that she accomplished by presenting at one of the meetings and leading the discussion.
“I think all of our chapter members would agree that we appreciate being a part of Dining for Women because it takes us out of our ‘typical American lives’ and helps us center and focus on more important issues in our larger world,” Julia and Tricia said. “We have had great discussions and look forward each month to broadening our horizons. About a year ago we began inviting a few younger women, one of whom is the adult daughter of one of our members. This addition has enhanced our discussions with the perspective of these millennials. We highly value their contributions.”
Dining for Women started with a meal. Even as the organization has grown, food has retained a special place at the center of the giving circle. Sharing a meal means sharing time, conversation, and a bit of ourselves. Linda McElroy has helped spur that connection by encouraging creativity in the kitchen and a fresh look at international cuisine during her time as DFW’s Recipe Curator.
McElroy is stepping down after five years of service in that position, but she remains committed to DFW and its programs. She first learned of DFW after a segment about it aired on NBC News.
“My husband and I were watching and he said, ‘You have to do that,’ and I said, ‘I know,’” McElroy said. “I applied for a chapter right after that.”
McElroy is now a Seattle-area Mentor, and she enjoys visiting a variety of chapters. She said the specificity of the help provided by DFW to its grantees has been meaningful to her.
“When you look at the materials and read about the people you’re helping, I find it fascinating that this money will help 250 girls,” she said. “It’s not vague. I am actually helping girls in a village in Kenya. It feels more personal.”
McElroy saw a DFW call for a Recipe Curator and knew it was a good fit. “I immediately got excited about it,” she said. “I was recently retired. My husband and I owned a restaurant for 25 years.”
The role has been an opportunity for McElroy to experiment and learn about new foods, while providing an enormous benefit to DFW.
“I love researching recipes,” she said. “There was this whole world of different foods that I was ready to explore. I had never done anything like this before. This group trusted me to go for it. That first year, I was finding my way. I’ve just loved doing it.”
By Betty Purkey Huck, Rocky Mountain Regional Leader and Chair of the Chapter Health and Retention Committee
Each month in this newsletter, we’ve been giving you ideas on how to make your chapter more active, vibrant, and sustainable — things like trying a new location for your meetings, changing the food, or making the meeting time more convenient for your members. Now we’re going to look at another aspect of making your chapter more sustainable: building community in your chapters. Details
This month we are traveling to Afghanistan. Naan, a type of flatbread, is the most widely consumed bread in Afghanistan. But for something more interesting I discovered the Afghan “bolani,” or filled turnover. The most common filling includes mashed potatoes and lots and lots of green onions. For a very earthy flavor, try a Swiss chard filling. Fried or baked, cut into wedges, they make a delicious appetizer. Details
By Chris King, Co-leader of DFW’s CA, San Francisco-1 chapter and member of DFW’s Advocacy Committee
Extreme poverty is an unrelenting churn of chaos and difficulty for families, yet they survive. There is a lot of pressure for people to leave the violence and poverty they face in a country like Guatemala. Details
Although it is almost September, I am still elated about our Knowledge is Power National Conference in May and from all the energy that our grantees and members created for our mission and our future. At the closing of the conference, I told our audience that the conference felt like a launchpad. I think we all witnessed the transformative power of our organization and saw a vision for what our organization can be in the future. What a powerful way to propel us forward into setting the vision for the coming years. Details
Even as the organization has grown, food has retained a special place at the center of our chapters. Sharing a meal means sharing time, conversation, and a bit of ourselves. DFW member Linda McElroy has helped spur that connection by encouraging creativity in the kitchen and a fresh look at international cuisine during her time as DFW’s Recipe Curator. Details
By Betty Purkey-Huck, Rocky Mountain Regional Leader and Chair of the Chapter Health and Retention Committee
Are you looking to increase the size of your chapter, or replace members who have moved away? September is a great time to recruit new chapter members as many people are looking to join activities in the fall. Details
This month our good works take us to Malawi. I think we’ve been there a few times before! I picked up one of my go-to African cookbooks, “Zainabu’s African Cookbook,” for inspiration this month. I found a recipe for Beef with Butternut Squash that sounded promising. When I read the recipe, I realized it is very similar to something I’ve made in the past that I’ve really enjoyed. Details
Food takes center stage at DFW’s Vienna/Fairfax chapter, led by Shelley Brosnan and Colleen McLain. The group is celebrating 10 years of wonderful dishes, passion for service, and dedication to each other.
The chapter was founded by Shelley, along with Tamara Drozd. The pair had been thinking about starting a cooking club when they learned about DFW. It was a natural fit, helping them to combine their passions of good food and helping women and children. Details
By Corinne Blakemore, Central Regional Leader and member of the Chapter Health and Retention Committee
When I first heard about Dining for Women in 2010, I was planning to join a local chapter and get involved in the organization straight away. Little did I know that there were no chapters in Indiana or even within a two-hour driving distance of South Bend, where I live. This stalled me for a bit, but just for a bit. Details
This month we are arm chair traveling to El Salvador. Right off the bat I knew what I wanted to make—Pupusas! I’ve had them many times from the local pupuseria, but I’ve never made them myself. I got busy doing some research on how to make them and also found a great tutorial on YouTube to share with you. Details
It’s July, and we’re visiting Kenya this month! Usually when I think of Kenyan food, it’s some kind of stew, but it is summertime and I wanted something to serve that is light and refreshing. I came up with a twist on a traditional Kenyan corn and bean stew called “Githeri” by turning it into a salad. Details
By Betsy Dunklin, Chair of Dining for Women’s Advocacy Committee
Experts on the well-received advocacy panel at our National Conference (see photo) emphasized that NOW is the perfect time to add your voice to your dollars to help impoverished women and girls in developing countries.
Action on the just-passed FY2018 and proposed FY2019 budgets is taking place in both the House and Senate over the next month or so. The Administration has proposed a more than 30% cut to the International Affairs (IA) budget for FY2019. The IA budget is historically just 1% of the total US budget.Details
The PA, Abington-1 chapter, started and still led by Debbie Britt and Mary Liz Jones, is celebrating 10 years of friendship, connection and learning – and it all started with a desire to help others.
Mary Liz saw a magazine story about DFW and kept it for quite a while, ultimately discussing it with Debbie. The pair contacted DFW co-founder Marsha Wallace and decided to start a chapter. They initially met with about a dozen people to tell them about DFW and collaborative giving before holding their first chapter meeting in May 2008. Details
Quilters create a different kind of art. It is one that is frugal, often relying on source material of leftover or repurposed fabric. It brings people together to focus time and effort on each delicate stitch. It creates warmth, both the physical kind that comes from a layered blanket and the emotional kind that accompanies a handmade heirloom. And for Margaret Guthrie, that art is a way to contribute to causes that touch her heart. Details
By Ruth Bates, Northeast Region Mentor and member of the Chapter Health and Retention Committee
Do you feel like your meetings sometimes get a little monotonous? Do you have a month when you can’t find someone willing to host your chapter meeting? My chapter had that happen early last summer. Historically, certain members have volunteered for specific months for many years running. Last year in June, we suddenly found ourselves without a host. Our perennial host and chapter leader found herself in the midst of a family relocation. We had to be creative to solve this change in plans. Details
We’re going to Haiti this month. Can you say “pork griot” (gree-oh)? It is one of the most popular dishes you will find there. Chunks of pork are marinated, then simmered until tender and succulent, then fried until caramelized and crispy. You’ll always find it accompanied by “pikliz” (pik-lees), a spicy, vinegared cabbage and carrot relish. The spicy relish makes the perfect complement to the rich and fatty pork. Details
Support is growing internationally to put women and girls at the core of a country’s foreign aid to end extreme poverty. Will you add your voice to keep the U.S. moving in this direction? Now is a perfect time to tell your representatives in Congress how you feel. It is especially important to counter the administration’s renewed proposal to slash programs aimed at global poverty reduction. Details
We are grateful for the dedicated service that DFW member Stephanie Sawyer has provided as our Social Media Curator for the past five years. Stephanie is now stepping down from this role, moving on to a new opportunity, but one with the same mission to empower women and girls in developing countries. Details
By Betty Purkey-Huck, Rocky Mountain Regional Leader and Chair, Chapter Health and Retention Committee
Oh my gosh, there were only three members at my chapter meeting last night! What’s going on?
Has that ever happened to you? You may be used to 12 members attending your meetings and suddenly only three or four are showing up. You haven’t been paying attention and all at once you notice and realize that attendance at your meetings has been declining over the last six months. Maybe you need to look closer at what is happening. Details
This month we are traveling to Benin (Beh-NEEN). It is just a tiny slip of a country in West Africa. It runs the long way south to north, and it is surrounded by Togo, Burkina Faso, Niger and Nigeria. The official language is French; however, many indigenous languages are still spoken.
Peanut- and tomato-based sauces are commonly prepared and served over couscous, rice and beans. Yams are a main staple in the north; meats such as beef and pork are used sparingly. In the south, the most common ingredient used is corn, with fish and chicken being the most commonly consumed meats. Details
In 2017, Dining For Women’s Grants and Partnerships Oversight Committee (GPOC) launched a “year of education” in order to ensure that we are informed about the current research and best practices in grantmaking and in promoting equality for women and girls. In addition to the GPOC, we engaged a “member discussion forum” to share in the readings and discussions. The research we reviewed highlighted several aspects of effective grantmaking, solutions to poverty and inequality that are critical to understanding how our grants can make the biggest and best impact. The goal of this undertaking was to reaffirm the effectiveness of DFW’s Featured Grants while exploring new ideas and research for our Sustained Grants program. The Grants Selection Committee is selecting a new slate of three-year Sustained Grantees for the beginning of 2019. Details
Walking from my room along the beautiful Chez Lando’s fragrant paths, lined with neatly trimmed green hedges and what seemed like the aroma of honeysuckle, on my way to our morning gathering. Air shifting, not quite a breeze but enough to fill my ears with the sound of a certain humming of activity throughout the grounds, all a pleasant and soothing start to what would, in contrast, be one of the most emotionally intense days, for me, of our learning journey to this amazing small country in the middle of East Africa. We were off first to the deeply inspiring Nyamirambo Women’s Center, in one of the poorest traditional neighborhoods in Kigali, to learn how women have taken matters in their own hands, struggled to earn, to learn. In the afternoon, the Kigali Genocide Museum. After a delicious cup of coffee with hot milk and an omelette at our lovely hotel Chez Lando, I boarded our bus with incredible curiosity, excitement, along with a bit of jet lag. Soon, though, I was completely immersed in the incredible day that was to follow…..although a long-time advocate for women and children and a donor to women’s giving funds, I am entirely new to Dining for Women (DFW) and can’t wait to get out and see some of the projects that have been funded and learn what’s working, what’s not, and what information we might gather from the women in the community to take back to DFW. Details
On Day 3 of our amazing Dining for Women Rwanda trip, the major focus was gender equity. Some background: women are remarkably well-represented in the Rwandan government. When Rwanda ratified its constitution in 2003, they outlawed discrimination to prevent the ethnic persecution that resulted in the 1994 genocide. But beyond ethnic equality the constitution also established gender equality, and many new laws were enacted. The constitution requires that 30% of government decision-making positions be held by women. In fact, that target has been exceeded across the government: 64% of the parliament representatives are women – the highest percentage worldwide! Details
It was day 4 and after breakfast, we were off to visit one of the DFW grantees, SHE (Sustainable Health Enterprises). As we boarded the bus for our venture into the countryside, we were pleasantly surprised to be joined by Connie Lewin, Director of Strategy for SHE (and a DFW Board member) and Danielle Raso, Business Development Associate. Both work in the New York office, and it was an amazing coincidence that their trip to Rwanda overlapped with ours. We were also joined by Flora Ufitinema, Field Operations Associate, and Daria, Business Development Manager, who both reside in Rwanda. Details
Another beautiful African morning dawns as we sip our strong coffee and prepare to visit the facilities of Gardens for Health, just outside of Kigali. We have a full day’s visit planned with lots of interesting interactions along the way. It feels great to get off the bus and have an opportunity to walk around the farm where so many things are happening all at once. We are greeted first by Bailey who offers us an overview of the goals and objectives of this energetic non-profit. Details
By Judy Bacon, Volunteer Mentor, Chapter Leader of WA, Spokane Valley-1, and member of DFW’s Chapter Health and Retention Committee
You are a fantastic and devoted Dining for Women chapter leader. In fact, you’re Wonder Woman! You do it all, and you do it well. You schedule the meeting, you plan the meeting, you invite everyone, you find a hostess and a presenter, you run the meeting, you deposit the checks– you’re amazing. But wait! You are beginning to feel exhausted, and no one else knows how to do what you do. Your chapter would fold without you. For your own sake and for the sake of your chapter, you need help. Details
My choice for the Proven Platter recipe this month has a very fancy name: Rolex – but it’s not what you think. Although it’s called a “rolex” we know we wouldn’t eat a watch. Of course not! In Uganda, a rolex refers to a rolled breakfast omelet. Details
New York and Northeast chapters are invited to attend a panel presentation about gender-based violence during CSW62, the 62nd session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), to be held March 14 in New York. Dr. Veena Khandke, DFW’s Director of Grants and Partnerships, will represent DFW as the primary sponsor of this session, which is co-sponsored by UNICEF USA. Details
By Betty Purkey-Huck, Rocky Mountain Regional Leader and Chair of DFW’s Chapter Health and Retention Committee
You just found out that your spouse/partner is being transferred to another city and you are moving. Your first thought isn’t about your DFW chapter and it shouldn’t be, but what is going to happen to your chapter when you move? Details
I am pretty excited about what I’ve got planned for you this month. The country of Guatemala is on the docket. We’ll start out with some guacamole and chips, Guatemalan style, just to whet our appetites. Then it’s on to the main course, Fiambre Rojo. Think of an enormous Italian antipasto platter and you’ll get the idea of what fiambre is all about. And for dessert, how about some dark chocolate crepes filled with a dreamy dulce de leche filling? Yes, please! Details
By Betsy Dunklin, Dining for Women Advocacy Committee Chair
Last fall, I had the pleasure of speaking with Dining for Women’s volunteer Regional Leaders at their annual retreat. I was encouraged to hear that many chapters are not only excited about our new advocacy program, they are raring to go!
It all started around the dinner table. In 2003, Dining for Women Co-Founder Marsha Wallace celebrated her birthday with a simple fundraising dinner with friends. That meal would lead to DFW and its first chapter – SC, Greenville-1 – which recently celebrated its 15th anniversary.
“After 15 years of inviting DFW into our Greenville homes, we celebrate the power of an individual to shape the lives of others,” said Co-Founder Barb Collins. “Our fervent belief that investing in the futures of women and girls transforms the world is proving that collective giving is a powerful force for change.” Details
Even during a year in which the United States suffered through 16 weather and climate disaster events with losses exceeding $1 billion each, you, our members, showed up each month to support Dining for Women. Thanks to your record-breaking donations, in 2017 we were able to fund grants and partnerships that directly impacted the lives of nearly 40,000 women and girls in 18 countries around the world. Details
By Susan Prener, Co-Leader of our Northeast Region and member of our Chapter Health and Retention Committee
As we shared in last month’s issue, chapter health and retention is very important. We want all our chapters to stay healthy, active, and engaged long into the future. Our volunteer Chapter Health and Retention Committee is focusing on best practices for chapter longevity and sharing these practices with you through a series of monthly blogs. Our goal is to bolster existing chapters, even as we grow more chapters throughout the country. This month we are talking about the importance of holding regular chapter meetings and the challenge of winter weather! Details
Peruvian-style pollo a la brasa, or rotisserie chicken, is perhaps one of the most well-known Peruvian dishes here in the U.S. due to the many take-out joints around the country (depending on where you live!). It is also one of the most consumed dishes in Peru. A whole chicken is marinated overnight in a combination of garlic, herbs, soy and vinegar, and then roasted whole on a spit, often over a charcoal fire. The chicken is always served with creamy, mayonnaise-type sauces, typically bright with aji amarillo chile pepper. Very often it is accompanied by French fries and salad with ranch dressing. My kind of yum! Details
Many thanks to our West Regional Co-Leaders Patty Karabatsos and Linda Dougall for their years of faithful service to DFW. Both are completing their terms and stepping down from their positions at the end of February. We are currently seeking volunteers to serve as our West Regional Leaders. For more information, please contact Wendy at email@example.com. Details
We’re visiting India this month. We’ve been there many times and sampled the cuisine of many different areas of India. This time we’ll be focused on Uttar Pradesh in the northern part of India. Details
As part of Dining for Women’s Travel Program, a group of travelers will visit Rwanda February 18-25, 2018. DFW member Linda Baxter lived and worked in Rwanda and shares her experience in the country.
In 2014 and 2015, I was living in Rwanda and working for the Human Resources for Health (HRH) project. Our goal was to assist the staff of the University of Rwanda in their efforts to improve medical and nursing education and practice. I was assigned to a more rural school of nursing and midwifery in the town of Gicumbi (Byumba) where I worked with faculty, and students – in classrooms as well as the hospital and local health center. Details
By Mansi Mehta, Manager, Global Cause Partnerships
Prevent gender-based violence in South Sudan:
On February 20, 2017, famine was declared in South Sudan, deepening the already existing humanitarian crisis in the region. Today, more than 2 million people have been displaced by violence in South Sudan. Of those fleeing the conflict, 87 percent are women and children, meaning 1.3 million children need our help to protect their childhood.
Women and children are facing immediate risks of violence, displacement, life-threatening diseases and hunger. In addition to this, Details
Congratulations to the OH, Cincinnati-2 chapter, led by its founder, Karen Whitney, on 10 years together!
Karen began to recruit friends to start a chapter, but over time, the membership has changed as some women were unable to continue and others joined in their place. Now, Karen says all the members are new friends to her. Persistence was the key to getting the chapter started and having it continue to thrive a decade later. Details
When the temperatures recently dropped, I enjoyed an evening curling up by the fire to read to my family after filling our bellies with great food (happily, my husband does most of the cooking). Warmth, shelter, safety, food, family connection. These are simple pleasures in life that I know not to take for granted and I know that other Dining for Women members don’t either. Details
It’s that time of year again. Everyone is busy with the holidays, and hoping they’ll be able to fit everything in that needs to be accomplished and stay sane. Let’s hope you will find the time to attend your chapter meeting of Dining for Women this month! Details
HONORS, the international magazine of Beta Gamma Sigma, published an article on DFW in its Fall 2017 issue. Beta Gamma Sigma is an honors organization whose members have achieved academic excellence in business studies. The organization has more than 820,000 lifetime members in over 190 countries.
Dining for Women is collaborating with Oxfam America 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
DFW President Beth Ellen Holimon participated in a live webinar entitled “Supporting Women and Girls Around the World” on International Day of the Girl Child, Oct 11, 2017. The event was co-hosted by the National Peace Corps Association and the Women of Peace Corps Legacy.
This month we are traveling to a place we haven’t visited yet, The Gambia. You might wonder, why I’ve referred to it as The Gambia, instead of just Gambia. Well, the official name is the Republic of The Gambia, and it is referred to as The Gambia for short. It is just a tiny slip of a country, completely surrounded by Senegal, except for the coastline on the Atlantic Ocean at the western end. Details
Chicuchas Wasi is a place defined by love. Love is the first and last consideration of everything they do, and it is so palpable that even a stranger like me, entering for the first time, could feel it. Upon entering this school for Quechua girls outside of Cusco, Peru, all the girls were in groups around the courtyard ready to perform, and all eyes were on me. This isn’t the usual way shy Peruvian girls might act – they were proud of their costumes and preparation for their performance, and they were confident and eager to show what they knew. Each of them wanted to talk with me, and I wished I could have duplicated myself to connect with every one of them! 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
Afghanistan is the faraway land calling to us to come visit this month!
I’m really excited about the menu I’ve prepared and tested for you. We’ll start with Afghan “Nachos,” for a quick and easy appetizer, followed by the most delicious lamb dish ever, Lamb Kebab with Cinnamon, accompanied by Afghan Flat Bread. Ridiculously easy Afghan Butter Cookies round out the meal. 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. Details
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
Once a year, I have the distinct pleasure of doing site visits of some of our grantees. This year Dr. Khandke, our Director of Grants and Partnerships, recommended that I visit DB Peru and Chicuchas Wasi as we want to be visiting recent grantees. Both visits reaffirmed my commitment to Dining for Women, my appreciation of the work we do to select impactful grantees, and my love of our members who are dedicated to global citizenship. Let me tell you first about my visit to DB Peru, our featured grantee in October 2015. 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
Members have been telling me for over two years about the importance of our travel program, how it has transformed their lives, and how they feel more connected to the women and girls we support through our grantees. Announcing our new travel provider in May means that soon you will have that again!
We introduced Elevate Destinations to you in our May announcement, but I want to know who will be planning these trips. Katherine Redington is Elevate’s Director of Donor Travel and I asked her a few questions so we can all get to know her better. Details
Wow, we are visiting a totally new country this month: Bhutan. Did you know that Bhutan was recently named the happiest country on earth? Their government actually measures the happiness quotient of their people using a metric called the Gross National Happiness (GNH). I’d love to know what the questions are! Details
Our armchair travels take us to Kenya this month! If you stopped in unexpectedly to visit your Kenyan neighbor just as they were sitting down to lunch, they would insist that you stay and partake of the meal with them. This is a fine example of an everyday Kenyan dish that they might be serving.
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
Our dining destination this month is the country of Guatemala. I always get pretty excited when we are visiting Latin American countries, as their cuisine is one of my favorites, a close second to Italian! 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
One of the reasons I love living in South Carolina is the friendly people; they are so darn amiable and curious. If you are waiting in line at the grocery store, you’ll learn exactly what the lady in front of you is cooking for her family dinner, which child likes chicken, and which one doesn’t like chocolate. She’ll want to know where you are from and if you live nearby. You can just imagine what the conversation is like when you go to get a mammogram! Details
We are traveling to Mali this month. I think we were just there! For this month’s Proven Platter recipe, I decided to see what was already on the site, and choose a recipe to put through my testing process. The result is that I’ve revamped and replaced the recipe for West African Peanut Soup (Tigua Dege Ne). Details
With over 40 chapters and hundreds of individual members participating, our March 8th webcast was definitely the biggest DFW chapter meeting ever! Thank you to all who joined us and provided valuable feedback on our first attempt at live streaming. What a great way to celebrate International Women’s Day and to launch our growth strategy and 8,000 Ambassadors Campaign. Details
By Janine Baumgartner, DFW Member, NC, Asheville-1 chapter
Sue Fernbach and her sister loved to cook. Their passion led them to a series of cooking class fundraisers embracing the food of one country at a time. A friend noted a similarity to Dining for Women, and an idea was planted in Sue’s head. She phoned co-founder Marsha Wallace for information and decided to start a chapter. It would take six years to gestate. Family illness, hurricanes, and a move from classroom teaching in Florida to retirement in North Carolina got in the way. Details
When our board of directors adopted advocacy as one of DFW’s four programs, it put into place something that many members have been requesting for years. In fact, at DFW’s national conference in 2013, members called for a plan to add our voices to our dollars. They wanted DFW to have a larger role, through advocacy, in setting U.S. public policy related to poverty and inequality for women and girls in developing nations. Making advocacy part of DFW’s 2020 Vision is exciting because it means we can make an even bigger impact — by combining our collective donations, our collective knowledge, and our collective voices! Details
As Dining for Women grows, we see this as an opportunity to enhance the successful methods we have used to empower women and girls around the world. Growth inevitably brings change, and we are ensuring that we have relationships and access to research as we make decisions about the future. And this is not something we do without our members! We are always looking to improve, but 2017 is a more intense year of exploring and learning from other sources. Details
We’re going to Peru this month! I really enjoyed our last excursion there, the lovely Causa Relleno really made an impression on me. You could make that again. And of course, you will want to have some Ceviche to start, basically the national dish of Peru. Details
KCRA News covered the CA, Rancho Cordova chapter meeting on International Women’s Day (March 8, 2017) and DFW’s Biggest Chapter Meeting Ever. Special guests at the meeting were members of the first Muslim Jr. Girl Scouts troop, who presented the featured grantee and conducted a community fundraiser on behalf of DFW.
When DFW member Eileen Rogers celebrated a big birthday, she used it to impact the world.
In 2009, Eileen, along with friend and fellow activist Debbie Hill, launched “The Big Wish”, their fundraising initiative to build and outfit a school in Mali. The pair wanted to turn their “big birthdays” into something significant beyond themselves. They had the support of friends and colleagues who spread the word about the goal. The project was a resounding success, raising nearly $80,000, almost twice the original estimate. Details
For most charities, particularly small to medium-sized ones, donation revenue fluctuates dramatically from month to month, and year to year. Automatic monthly giving, however, offers a steady and predictable source of funding, and also allows us to benefit from other advantages: Details
By Mary Crawley, Member of Dining for Women’s Recognition Committee
When Chapter Leader Emilu Bailes and Co-Leader Laura Rose began the GA, Tucker-1 chapter in 2011, they probably did not realize how important it would be to rely on each other.
In May of 2013, Emilu endured surgery for a non-malignant brain tumor and suffered severe post-operative trauma. Despite Emilu’s temporary disability, the chapter continued to thrive because Laura assumed sole leadership. Details
I’ve been involved with Dining for Women for a little over 5 years and I, as well as many of you, have seen so many changes. We’ve grown, we’ve organized, we’ve partnered, and the excitement builds as we think about what’s next.
With many different organizations helping women and girls fight poverty while attaining gender equity, I often ask myself what it is about Dining for Women that makes us different? Where does our power and effectiveness come from?
We may not be physically traveling to Mali this month, but we are still able to taste and participate in the local cuisine right here at our own dining tables.
Here is a wonderful recipe that is representative of a typical meal. My husband stood at the stove, eating right out of the pot, and was already telling me that I had to make this again! This dish should please anyone with dietary requirements, as it is vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free. Details
We are thrilled to welcome two new Regional Leaders: Leslie Galup is joining Corinne Blakemore as Central Region Co-Leader, and Kathi Jaworski is joining Karen McCune as Northwest Region Co-Leader. Both of these ladies bring dedication, experience and exceptional skills to their positions. We are grateful for their commitment to helping women and girls around the world. Details
We extend our thanks to retiring Northeast Regional Co-Leader Leslye Heilig for her tireless efforts on behalf of DFW. She is retiring effective Jan. 31 and will take a well-deserved break before stepping back into service as a mentor later this year. Details
By Linda Dougall, West Regional Leader and member of CA, Oakland-2 chapter
DFW’s CA, Oakland-2 chapter celebrated its fifth anniversary in September 2016. It is led by three sisters, Mary, Rachel and Becca McQueen, and their mom, Chris McQueen. They have created a robust, multi-generational, collaborative chapter with the ongoing support of extended family members and long-time friends from church, the neighborhood, and all over the Oakland and Berkeley areas. Meetings are great fun – and loud, too – and members are always welcome whether or not they attend every month. It is this open-door policy that has helped this chapter be a resounding and abiding success. Details
DFW members are a creative and committed bunch! Thank you to the many chapters that held fundraisers in 2016 – together, you raised a record-breaking $46,000 for our 13th Month Annual Appeal. For everything you do throughout the year, we are grateful. Here are just some of the highlights. Our apologies if we missed your chapter’s fundraiser – we would love to hear about it! Details
For the past two years, we have been building our infrastructure so that we could launch our commitment to growing Dining for Women with even more chapters across the U.S. You have joined hands with us and answered the call! Details
We’re off to Bolivia this month, seems like we were just there, enjoying massive platters of Pique Macho! Well, I guess that was last year (September of 2016), but I’m happy to go back, because there were a few recipes that I didn’t get to try out the first time around. 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
It was such an honor to receive the baton of leadership from Barb Collins in November. As Dining for Women’s new board chair, I follow in the footsteps of Barb and Marsha Wallace, who dreamed of making a difference for marginalized women and girls around the world. What a difference they, and this organization they co-founded, have made in the past 14 years. Details
As Dining for Women grows and we raise more money, what will we do with these funds? At this time, here is what we know:
The monthly Featured Grants Program will continue.
Impact partnerships, such as the one with the Peace Corps’ Let Girls Learn Program, are a way for us to proactively invest in issues in order to make a substantial impact on equality for women and girls. These strategic partnerships will be an integral part of our overall Grants Program going forward.
Sustained Funding Grantees have been selected through May 2018. Beyond May 2018, we would like to research different funding options.
We know that there are many different ways of granting funds to make substantial impact on the world.
As I enter my third year with Dining for Women, I have learned a great deal about this wonderful organization. I’ve learned from members, staff, and the board, but I have to say that my principal education has come from DFW co-founders Marsha Wallace and Barb Collins. DFW owes its strength, its grace, and its future to these two outstanding women!
As Barb transitions from her Chair role on the board, I am grateful for her tenacity and her leadership. She leaves a legacy of great governance and a forward-thinking board. She has painstakingly placed the groundwork for DFW’s future – one that we can all be proud of! I look forward to continuing to work with her as she remains on the board and will chair the Resource Development Committee. Details
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.
This month we’ll be paying a visit to Cambodia and cooking up some breakfast. Breakfast for dinner, you ask? What is Linda thinking? Well, I’m thinking that Bai Sach Chrouk (grilled pork served with pickled vegetables and rice) sounds like a mighty fine dinner to me. Although, in Cambodia, this is a very popular breakfast, served up on the streets of the capital, and it’s hard to find this dish past 9 o’clock in the morning. Details
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
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
I am thrilled to share the newest projects that have been awarded over the past few months through Dining for Women’s partnership with the Peace Corps’ Let Girls Learn program. From Madagascar to Kyrgz Republic, DFW members have supported girls in locations we’ve never reached before!
To refresh your memory, DFW entered into a partnership with the Peace Corps’ Let Girls Learn Program earlier this year for the purpose of reducing the barriers that girls have in obtaining an education. We invested $100,000 to implement projects all over the world at “the last mile” where women and girls face the most extreme obstacles to education. When funds are provided to an approved Let Girls Learn project, the community must raise 25 percent of the cost, ensuring that these projects have the support of the community. Details
Dining for Women became a way of life for me after the first chapter meeting at Marsha’s home in January 2003. Her simple idea turned traditional philanthropy upside down, forever changing my expectations for the impact of my charitable donations.
Our collective giving and educational model is proving that small contributions and individual actions, when aggregated together, make a deep and transformational impact in the lives of both the giver and receiver. One person can change the way the world works.
Dining for Women belongs to all of us. It’s never been more important for each of us to nurture the organization, to listen and unify our actions, even when our 400 plus chapters are spread throughout our country, and the women and girls we touch are spread throughout the world. 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
The Republic of Chad, located in northern Central Africa, is the subject of our focus and our dining destination this month.
Okra is one of the most commonly consumed vegetables there. It is used both to thicken sauces and as a vegetable used in preparation of soups and stews. I suppose you either love okra or hate it, but as it happens, I love it! And since I’ve yet to post a recipe calling for okra, I think okra’s time in the spotlight has come. 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.
In looking at what DFW has achieved towards our 2020 Vision, the pieces that stand out the most over this year are our partnership with the Peace Corps’ Let Girls Learn Program, welcoming the voices of our members into more areas of decision making than ever before through committees and volunteering, and continuing to present life-changing and inspiring projects and issue education for our members. I’m excited to share a more in-depth look at our achievements. Details
Thank you to all our members who voted to get Dining for Women rated on Charity Navigator! For the first time, DFW is on the list of rated charities with Charity Navigator, which is the world’s largest and most utilized evaluator of charities. There are 1.57 million nonprofits registered in the U. S. and Charity Navigator does not rate all of them, even those eligible to be rated under their criteria. It took our members voting for us to be rated to get on their radar. Details
I’ve got lots of good recipes coming your way this month. I thought I’d share with you a tradition that we have started with my group. Every year in either November or December, depending on what month we are meeting, we plan what we call our “holiday appetizer party.” Initially the idea was to bring a favorite appetizer, or bring an appetizer that you were thinking of trying out for the holidays. There is no better audience for feedback than our enthusiastic DFW members!
It has proved to be really successful and fun. There’s less emphasis on planning a meal and the meeting is a little more casual. We pretty much snack and talk and discuss the whole evening.
Of course, you can bring any type of appetizer you like. But I thought it would be fun, and in keeping with our world mission to plan an “Around the World Appetizer Party!” Details
Since 1990, extreme poverty has been reduced by 50 percent. Take that in for a moment. Dining for Women has been here for 13 of those years – you are part of something big! If you ever doubted that you are changing the world, doubt no more.
With the UN ambition to end extreme poverty by 2030, the UN Secretary- General Ban Ki-moon has been stressing the importance of funding the implementation plans to achieve these goals. “Implementing the 2030 Agenda will strengthen our collective ability to address short-term risks and build long-term resilience,” he recently stated.
At DFW, we are 100 percent behind the UN Sustainable Development Goals and we, as members of DFW, are part of the larger movement to MOVE THAT NEEDLE on extreme poverty! Details
Recently, Dining for Women’s Board reaffirmed our commitment to the UN-mandated Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In the next nine months, a number of DFW featured grantees are from the Sub-Saharan Region of Africa. This offers DFW members the opportunity to learn about individual challenges faced by individual countries and communities in the vast region. This blog provides an overview of Sub-Saharan Africa in the context of the UN’s SDGs.
Sub-Saharan Africa is comprised of the 48 countries geographically located below the Sahara Desert and distinguished from the Northern African countries that are part of the Arab World. This beautiful region that makes up the bulk of the African continent consists of deserts, Sahel, savanna, swamps, rainforests, plateaus, mountains, rivers and lakes and enormous diversity in flora and fauna that has shaped human evolution in our geological past. Details
We are off to Mali this month, located in West Africa, in support of the Tandana Foundation. Their Women LEAP program provides literacy and numeracy training, as well as democratic governance and leadership skills.
Often, the program we are supporting will send us recipes that are rooted in their culture. This month we received a very detailed recipe called “Recipe for Toh, (Oro Dja), Traditional Food of the Dogon People,” by Jemima Tembiné. She started learning to cook when she was about 10 years old and has been preparing Toh since she was 15 years old. Near as I can tell, Toh is a dish of millet dough that has been pounded, and served along with different sauces made out of various leaves, dried fish and dried vegetables. Details
Donors and volunteers can find many sources of information on nonprofit organizations. Two of the most well-known resources are GuideStar and Charity Navigator, both of which are 501(c)3 organizations. Since I have been with Dining for Women, many members have asked me about DFW’s status on GuideStar and Charity Navigator, and I want to give you an update.
We are so excited that, after two years of working on foundational aspects of Dining for Women, we have achieved Platinum Status at GuideStar! Details
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
This month we get to travel somewhere new, Cochabamba, Bolivia. And we are making one of Bolivia’s most beloved dishes, “Pique Macho.”
Bolivians consider Pique Macho the world’s greatest expression of meat and potatoes!
The dish is a sultry combination of perfectly seasoned beef cubes and sliced hotdogs. It is served over a bed of crispy potato fries and finished with julienned vegetables and multiple garnishes. Hot sauce is an integral part of this dish. Bolivians use a fiery hot sauce that they make from their local locoto peppers, but you can use your own favorite hot sauce. 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!
By Denise Woods, Chair of the DFW Diversity Committee and Beth Ellen Holimon, President
Dining for Women was founded on a culture of inclusion and the belief that all women and girls matter. With racial justice in the headlines of American newspapers on a daily basis, we want to take this opportunity to engage our members in a conversation about diversity and unity at DFW.
DFW stands for equity, justice and compassion for all women and girls living in extreme poverty in developing countries. The women and girls we serve represent diverse races and ethnicities from around our world. We recognize that DFW’s board, staff, volunteers and members overwhelmingly do not look like the women and girls we champion. While this does not describe every DFW member, it is safe to say that we are largely a homogenous group of white women of a certain age, education, and income level. We need to determine the reason for this and, more importantly, what we can do about it (see below). Details
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
Welcome to India. We’ve traveled there before. Flavors from exotic spices perfume every dish. Garlic, ginger and chiles add heat. If you love Indian food but are intimidated by long lists of ingredients and techniques, well, I’ve got your back. I’ve taken my inspiration for our recipes this month from “Madhur Jaffrey’s Quick & Easy Indian Cooking” and “Madhur Jaffrey’s Indian Cooking.” Both of these books are devoted to recipes in the under 30 minutes or less category. You’ll need to purchase some spices (the bulk spice aisle is your friend here), but other than that most of the ingredients are commonly found. 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
The gravitation to Dining for Women’s philanthropic model is evidence of the power of collective action. In the last decade, giving circles have emerged as a driving force for social impact. Dining for Women is a powerhouse, blending traditional nonprofit values with those of a grassroots movement. We are the largest giving circle globally — with 400 chapters — focused on women and girls.
In 2005, the New Ventures in Philanthropy Initiative first studied 70 giving circles in this highly-engaged and flexible form of philanthropy. Dining for Women was one of those circles. Since then, several studies have been published, including New Ventures follow-up studies in 2007 and 2009, all validating the increasing popularity of collective, engaged giving. According to leading expert, Dr. Angela Eikenberry, a new study is under way which will be looking closely at long-term implications, and has identified up to 1,000 circles in the U.S. Details
I am delighted to announce that Dining for Women has established its Panel of Experts with our first two extraordinary individuals. The Panel is a collection of individuals who bring unique skills and expertise, and provide advice and recommendations to the Board of Directors and staff.
Ambassador Steven Steiner, our first Expert, serves as a Gender Advisor at the United States Institute of Peace (USIP). USIP is an independent, nonpartisan organization that works to prevent, mitigate, and resolve violent conflict around the world. Ambassador Steiner leads the global effort to educate men about the importance of gender equality and the benefits of empowering women in all parts of the peace process. In May, he was quoted as saying, “You can’t succeed on women, peace and security if you don’t have, in each country, a concerted, organized effort to engage men to understand and to support the rights of women.” Details
We are going to Uganda this month in support of DIG, Development in Gardening. DIG provides experiential training in sustainable agriculture, nutrition and improved cooking practices, along with developing 400 women-led home gardens.
It is July, it’s hot, and I’m hoping that you’ll be able to do some grilling. I’ve got Beef Skewers in Green Masala on the menu, although you could certainly use chicken or pork if you prefer. A Cabbage Salad with Pineapple presents a fresh new take on coleslaw with an African twist. And for dessert, we have a stunning Mango Coulis with Tapioca. Details
It is with great pleasure that Dining for Women releases its 2015 Annual Report. I would like to take this opportunity to walk through our financial performance in 2015 so that you will fully understand how our organization was funded and how we expended the funds that you so generously contributed. Details
I didn’t have to think too hard this month to decide which recipes that I wanted to share with you. Although I owned an Italian restaurant in Seattle for 25 years, my entire kitchen staff is from the state of Michoacán, Mexico, and the food of their country is the one that we have made over and over again for restaurant family meals and celebrations. As you may have guessed from the photo accompanying this post, what you are looking at is our end-of-the-shift family meal. These tried-and-true dishes are at the heart and soul of my repertoire. I hereby bring you “McElroy Family Favorites!” Details
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.
We Are Afghan Women: Voices of Hope is the title of the book released just last month from the George W. Bush Institute. I had an opportunity to attend an event announcing the book’s publication in Washington, DC, hosted by the United States Institute of Peace which featured a discussion by Laura Bush, former U.S. First Lady, and Mina Sherzoy, a Council member of the U.S.-Afghan Women’s Council. Details
We’re off to Tanzania this month. “Prawns in Coconut Sauce” and “Pilau Masala” are headlining the menu. These recipes have been graciously shared with us by Miriam Kinunda, the author of the blog “Taste of Tanzania.” I’ve tested both recipes and I give them the thumbs up. You’ll find many other recipes to choose from on her site, as well as some very good ones on our own Dining for Women recipe site.
What a month we have had at Dining for Women! Less than a year ago we were hammering out the details of our 2020 Vision and on March 8th we met the First Lady of the United States to celebrate our partnership with the Peace Corps’ Let Girls Learn program.
DFW’s Partnership Program is now initiated with this proactive, issue-based funding for girls education. This partnership allows us to coordinate our work with other organizations to make a global impact. It is the necessary balance to our Featured Grants in which we are able to respond to needs identified by in-country organizations. Now, in the company of organizations like Proctor and Gamble, Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls, J. Crew, and Salesforce Foundation, we are part of a bigger movement to eliminate the barriers to education for girls all over the world. Details
Yes, being in the same room with change-maker champions and meeting First Lady Michelle Obama was a big moment for Dining for Women. Announcing a cross-sector strategic partnership through a $100,000 grant to the Peace Corps’ Let Girls Learn Fund is a defining moment. But at the end of the day, it’s all about impact. It’s all about the girls. And it’s personal. Details
By Peggy Smith, Mid-Atlantic Regional Leader and Returned Peace Corps Volunteer
Ask any Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (RPCV) about their experience and they will tell you, “It changed my life”. Yes, we come home after working as a volunteer in a Third World country to clean water, hot showers, comfortable beds, nice dwellings and clean sanitation, but with a passion that does not dissipate. We have to get involved, to do something, to continue to serve a need. So, we volunteer in soup kitchens, teach English to the newly-arrived from developing countries, work with the Junior League, help with outreach at our church — and for many, we join Dining for Women. Details
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
By Wendy Frattolin, Communications & Membership Director
As you know, Dining for Women’s goal is to grow to 20,000 members by the year 2020. Some people have asked how we plan to accommodate 20,000 new members into our nearly 400 existing chapters! Clearly, this is not possible. We know that, in order to meet our membership target, we will need to significantly increase our number of chapters. Promoting new chapters throughout the U.S. will be the main focus of our growth strategy over the next five years. Details
We are off to Kathmandu this month. I’ve always wanted to go there. Since I’m stuck in Seattle in front of my computer though, I will have to find another way to experience Nepal. That’s one of the great benefits about being a Dining for Women member: armchair travel, through our monthly grantees and exploring the cuisine of different countries feels like I’m there – almost. So let’s go! Details
When I received a call from Susan Anderson, a board member with The Grandmother Project (GMP), inviting me to travel with her to Senegal to see their work in action, I jumped at the chance. Patricia Andersson, inveterate traveler and trip leader, was up for the adventure too! CREATE!, another DFW grantee, was headquartered within several hours drive of the GMP office, so we were fortunate to be able to visit both organizations to see the projects we’ve supported with our DFW grants. 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
By Beth Ellen Holimon, Dining for Women Executive Director
International Women’s Day is March 8th and this year’s theme – “Pledge for Parity” – brings up the issue of equality. According to the World Economic Forum, the gender gap won’t close entirely until 2133. We know the benefits of closing the gender gap – Dining for Women Co-Founder Marsha Wallace addressed it in her blog and I addressed it in a blog as well. We know the importance of equality, but we also need to recognize the importance of equity. Details
By Leslye Heilig, Co-Leader, Northeast Region and Chapter Leader of MA, Great Barrington-1 and 2
For the past four years, I have been the Chapter Leader of a large, successful potluck dinner-based chapter, with approximately 25 to 50 members attending each month. This past spring, at the request of some members who did not feel comfortable driving in rural areas at night and who were looking for a more intimate and in-depth discussion, I started a daytime chapter. I continue to lead both chapters, and thoroughly enjoy each of them for their very different yet equally wonderful aspects. Details
Let’s try something new this month! Yuca (pronounced YOO-ka) is also known as manioc or cassava. Although you will often see this plant referred to in the US as “yucca,” that is incorrect. Yucca is a totally unrelated desert plant in the agave family. Details
During the fall of 2015, I traveled extensively in South Asia co-directing Furman University’s India/Sri Lanka Study Away Program, which included 15 students and two faculty members. I made the most of being in South Asia by conducting site visits and interviews with five Dining for Women grantees: Emerge Global, The Unforgotten, Anchal, Matrichaya, and Vacha Charitable Trust, our featured grantee this month. Details
The first time I talked with Jessica Posner, co-founder of Shining Hope for Communities (SHOFCO), was June 2011. Shining Hope for Communities was Dining for Women’s featured grantee, and I had asked her to Skype with my chapter. It was about 2:00 a.m. in Kenya! We were riveted as she described the school and the vision that she and Kennedy, her life partner and SHOFCO co-founder, have for their organization. We were hooked by the vision but also by the story of Jessica and Kennedy, drawn together in life and in work. Jessica is from Denver, Colorado. Kennedy was born and raised in the slums of Kibera, in Nairobi, Kenya. Together they’ve established a thriving nonprofit that is changing the lives of precious girl students and also their community in Kibera. Details
Last year, Dining for Women announced its 2020 Vision, with plans to grow our organization to 20,000 members by the year 2020. This is indeed a bold goal, and one that we believe is achievable over the five-year period. Our focus this year is on laying the foundations for our future growth, and we are off to a great start! I want to tell you about an important initiative that has recently been under way. Details
Thanks to the generous support of our members and donors in 2015, DFW has awarded three reserve grants. These grants are awarded when excess funds are accumulated in our grant reserve fund. Reserve grantees are named alternates in previous grant cycles which means they were thoroughly vetted and met all of our rigorous criteria. These organizations were also required to submit updated information and budgets for evaluation prior to being awarded a reserve grant. The three reserve grantees for 2015 are:
Dining for Women relies heavily on our committed and passionate volunteers, especially the 600+ chapter leaders and co-leaders like you. We simply could not achieve all that we do without our volunteers, and we want every volunteer to know that their contributions are recognized, valued and appreciated. Details
This month our culinary journey takes us to India, specifically the Maharashtra state in Western India. I got a little ambitious this month though, and rather than present you with one “proven platter” dish, I constructed an entire thali platter just for you! I had a lot of fun working on this project, and even more fun eating the leftovers for days!
As the board and I worked to culminate the voices of members, leadership volunteers, and staff for the 2020 Vision, we had to look hard at the desires of the future. Most importantly, we had to understand what Dining for Women is trying to change. This instigated a very interesting discussion because, as we have been pointing out throughout this year, there are many points of change in our model. As we pursue our vision of change, we recognize that Dining for Women must create a number of transformations along the way: 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
The mission of Anchal – our sustained funding grantee for January — is to address the exploitation of women around the world by using design thinking to create employment opportunities, services and products that support empowerment. This mission statement truly comes to life when you hear the stories of Nita and Nasine:
Nita is a senior artisan and project assistant with Anchal Project. She was married at a young age and left her husband after years of abuse. Because of her limited education and lack of transferable skills, Nita joined the commercial sex trade. Nita has now been with Anchal Project for four years where she has excelled in design training and created beautiful, marketable pieces. She has taken advantage of Anchal’s workshops in financial planning and saved enough money to move out of the slum and purchase a home in a new neighborhood where she is no longer stigmatized for her previous life as a sex worker. Details
By Peggy Smith, Regional Leader for the Mid-Atlantic Region
Let’s hear it for our DFW Mentors. These are our foot soldiers, they walk the talk.
So what does it take to be a mentor? It takes a commitment to DFW and its mission, and an interest in sharing that passion to inspire and motivate others.
Mentors play an important role at the grassroots level of DFW by answering inquiries from people who want to join an existing chapter or start a chapter of their own. They have to know their territory well so they can match up potential new members with the most appropriate chapter within their geographic area. They also help launch new chapters, which includes educating potential Chapter Leaders about how to start and manage a DFW chapter, helping them organize their first meetings, attending the new chapter’s first meeting where possible, and answering any questions that arise.
Are you familiar with amaranth? We’re going to go all amaranth this month! Perhaps you’ve used it in breakfast porridge, or granola, maybe even a smoothie. Puente a la Salud Comunitaria is a grass-roots organization working primarily in the indigenous state of Oaxaca in southern Mexico. Its focus is on farming, consumption and commercialization of amaranth.
Recent terrorist attacks in Paris have resulted in shock and sadness among millions, making some question what, if anything, can be done to make a positive impact on the state of affairs that contributed to the violence. In others, it has generated a sense of urgency to do something, to make a difference.
This quote comes from a friend who posted her thoughts on Facebook: “So many things swirling in my mind this afternoon. Things about how enormous the problems and injustices in the world are, and how insignificant any one person’s efforts seem in the face of such immense wrong.” Another friend was so moved to take action that she decided to write a letter to a nonprofit she’s involved with, suggesting the creation of a program to bring women of the U.S. together with women in developing countries as a way to foster deeper knowledge of others, to break down barriers that keep us from seeing one another’s common humanity.
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.
During this time of year, we hear a lot about Black Friday, Small Business Saturday, and Cyber Monday. Did you know that there is also Giving Tuesday, a global day dedicated to giving? 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. This year, Giving Tuesday takes place on December 1st.
Our culinary travel this month of December finds us in the Himalayas, specifically Nepal.
Originally, I had it in mind to come up with an interesting twist on the “momo”, a Nepalese steamed dumpling with a meat or vegetable filling, wildly popular and sold on the streets. What about a sweet dumpling filling and call it dessert? My first attempt at this idea was a complete failure, but I still liked the idea and decided I’d work on this for the next time we visit Nepal in April 2016. So I’ve got time to get this right!
It is devastating to see and read about the Syrian refugee families, and I find myself searching constantly for more information, more perspective. Dining for Women’s featured program in January was the Collateral Repair Project (CRP), which helps refugees living in Jordan. Our $37,000 grant is being used to provide psychosocial and wellness programs as well as leadership training for refugee women, many of whom have escaped from the conflict in Syria. I wanted to loop back with CRP to dig a little deeper into the perspective of the refugees and the future. Details
Monthly recurring donations are the easiest and most convenient way for you to give to DFW and ensure that ALL our programs receive your support – even if you cannot attend your chapter meeting that month.
Recurring donations provide a predictable source of income we can count on to fund our grants program and our member services. They also help us increase our efficiency and reduce costs, allowing us to help even more women and girls.
So what does it mean to be a recurring donor? It means that your credit card or bank account will be charged on a certain date every month according to your specific instructions. You can set up a recurring donation for our funded programs, support DFW’s 13th Month Campaign all year long, or both. You can change or cancel your automatic withdrawal at any time.
There are several ways to set up an automatic recurring donation:
Complete our Monthly Giving by Automatic Withdrawal Form and mail it to DFW’s home office. You can set up either a bank or credit card withdrawal by using this form. For bank withdrawals, you must send in a voided check with the form.
(PLEASE NOTE: An automatic bank withdrawal that is set up by completing this form is the least expensive payment method for DFW, costing only about 11 cents per transaction.)
Go online to DFW’s donation page and choose the “repeat payment option”. Online recurring donations can be set up via E-Check (electronic bank draft) or credit card. If you set up a recurring donation online, you do NOT need to fill out the Monthly Giving by Automatic Withdrawal Form, nor do you need to send in a voided check for an electronic bank draft.
Call DFW’s home office at 864-335-8401. DFW staff will be happy to help you set up your recurring donation.
This month we visit the small West African country of Togo. Sandwiched between Ghana on the west and Benin on the east, the southern end of Togo sits at the Gulf of Guinea, where plenty of access to fresh fish helps to round out the cuisine. While fish is an important source of protein, bush meat is also often consumed. The most well-liked bush meat is the giant rat. I think we’ll skip that and make a delicious beef stew instead!
On September 25th, the United Nations made a historic and bold move by adopting the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). These new SDGs follow and expand on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) which were set in 2001 and are due to expire at the end of this year. Each goal has specific targets to be achieved over the next 15 years.
The Millennium Development Goals were a good framework for governments and international aid that have resulted in many global improvements, but they were too narrow to create comprehensive change. For the past two years, thousands of stakeholders have been developing a new approach. The 17 SDGs, which include 169 individual targets, are collaborative and transformational; they are inextricably linked to each other and reliant on each other for total success.
This month, Co-Founder Marsha Wallace discusses the importance of investing in Dining for Women through our 13th Month Campaign.
Imagine…. A world that works for women…..
Imagine every woman and girl worldwide having access to education, healthcare, economic opportunity, legal and political participation in their communities and nations, living lives free from discrimination, oppression, violence and poverty. Imagine hundreds of thousands of Dining for Women members united by a common goal – to ensure equity and opportunity for women and girls living in poverty globally. What an exciting and BOLD vision!
Donating online to Dining for Women is now easier than ever with our new Click & Pledge processing system. Members can conveniently make one-time, recurring or in memory/in honor donations all in one place – whether they are on their computer, tablet or mobile phone.
Click & Pledge is a simple, user-friendly, and highly secure system that is designed specifically for non-profits and is widely used throughout our industry.
This month, Merle Steiner, Co-Leader for the MD, Rockville-1 chapter shares what the 13th Month Campaign means to her chapter.
Our Rockville, MD Chapter is about to celebrate its 8th Anniversary. We are very proud to have been one of the early chapters joining the Dining for Women family. We have watched DFW grow from a group of creative, intelligent women working from their kitchen table to the amazing organization it has become.
We get to explore a new cuisine this month, Peruvian food! My sister-in-law, Maria Chisholm, grew up in Lima, Peru, and she was only too happy to share with me her food memories and the things she still likes to cook. I’m really excited to share them with you. Here’s what she had to say.
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.
One Heart World-Wide was Dining for Women’s featured program in July 2013. At that time, it was awarded a $50,000 grant to help expand the “Network of Safety” program that improves the lives of women and newborns during pregnancy and childbirth in two remote rural areas of Western Nepal. The Network of Safety includes health provider training, health facility improvements, and community outreach programs to ensure that pregnant women and their newborns have access to necessary care.
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.
A look at the work of our Program Selection Committee
By Janine Baumgartner and Susan Garrity
Members frequently ask how programs are selected for funding. We consider the selection of program grantees one of the most important decisions we make. As with every important decision, there is a designated person or body and there is a process.
Over the past year, our Board has been listening to and reflecting on many points of view from our members, our volunteer leaders, committee members, and our staff. From this, a dream has emerged for the future of our organization, and we want to share it with you.
As DFW members and supporters, we know that you share our passion for improving the lives of women and girls around the world through gender equity and empowerment. No matter how far apart we live, or what our life experiences are, we are all connected in deep and meaningful ways because of our shared vision for what we want DFW to accomplish, and what it brings to each of us in terms of heartfelt connection with each other and the broader world.
We are visiting Uganda this month and I have a fresh new take on a Cucumber and Mango Salad for you.
Persian traders introduced mangoes to Uganda way back in the 10th century! The spices in this dish are reflective of that cuisine as well. This would be a refreshing side dish to go along with any braised meat dish.
Recently, DFW co-founders Marsha Wallace and Barb Collins and I had the opportunity to visit the U.S. Institute of Peace (USIP) in Washington, DC with Ambassador (Ret.) Steve Steiner. Ambassador Steiner is a fabulous supporter of DFW, along with his wife and DC-1 Chapter Leader Merle Steiner.
This month we travel to Guatemala. Oh how I love the food of Central America! While Guatemala does not seem to have a national dish, tamales are very popular. I hesitate to share a recipe with you because they’re pretty labor intensive. Instead, how about something simple, refreshing and different, like a Cabbage and Beet Tostada?
We spoke with Tricia Karpfen and Amy Hartenstine from the Muditar Foundation about how Dining For Women’s sponsorship will help provide maternal and infant care for the women in the Pa-O tribal villages in Southern Shan State, Myanmar. Muditar has worked hard to create a Maternal and Infant Health program that empowers women to make healthy reproductive choices reducing maternal and infant mortality and raise healthy children. Details
After coming off two three-day weekends with Dining for Women volunteers, I am more grateful than ever for what you do, how you think, and the impact you have on Dining for Women. DFW is extremely reliant on volunteers and the thought of all our volunteers going on vacation for a month at the same time is frightening. Fortunately, because I like to think positively, this will never, ever, ever happen. Then a tiny voice in the middle of the night says, “Beth Ellen, wake up. What IF DFW volunteers did NOT show up for a month? What would happen?”
Dining for Women’s grantees are located around the world, but many work in Africa, specifically West Africa. For
the past year, the burdens of recovery from war – inadequate infrastructure and the struggle for education, health care and in many cases, survival – have been increased by the fight against Ebola.
In a three-part series, Dining for Women takes a closer look at this disease. In part one, we looked at the basics of the disease and the 2014 – 2015 outbreak. Our second feature looked at how a past Dining for Women grantee played a critical role in containing the outbreak. Finally, we look at the current state of this outbreak.
We spoke with Karen Yelick, CEO of Indego Africa, about the program’s history and plans for expansion. Indego Africa partners with cooperatives of female artisans to support them through economic empowerment and education. Listen with us as Karen shares success stories and displays the artisan’s beautifully handcrafted products.
Dr. Leslee Jaeger, an OB/GYN in Minneapolis and a DFW chapter leader, recently returned from a medical training trip to MamaBaby Haiti. There she taught clinic staff how to screen for cervical cancer. She wrote this article about her concerns of the growing risks of cervical cancer for women in the developing world. Details
Indego Africa’s Leadership Program will find and develop 100 emerging leaders to achieve their potential in the organization’s Rwandan artisan cooperatives. Indego Africa is our June 2015 featured program.Details
Women in Nepal will bear the greatest burden of loss following the recent earthquakes. The loss of home and a sense of place is one, but women are also at risk and vulnerable to traffickers and abusers. Programs we have sponsored in Nepal are working hard to help each other to overcome this adversity. Details
In December 2013, through the Smiles on Wings program, we invested in the futures of five young women. They are daughters of the Karen tribe in Thailand. The Karen people are outcasts in Thailand and often have little or no access to health care or education. These five girls are studying either nursing or childhood education and will return to work in their villages and improve the lives and health of their community. Here’s a look at the students we are supporting. Details
In August 2009, Dining for Women granted $18,437 to a small non profit providing support to farmers in Rwanda. Today, that program has grown from serving 25,000 farmers in two countries to a projected 305,000 farmers by the end of this year in four countries. We had a conversation with Briehan Lynch of the One Acre Fund to find out how they did it and to talk about the impact of our investment in them. This is the first in a series of Impact Hangouts to re-connect with past programs. Details
With our featured program in Rwanda this month, recipe maven Linda McElroy decided to go old school and pull some different entries from our own Dining for Women Cookbook. The Better-Than-Sex Cake is actually the only one of the collection that Linda didn’t make. So you could call this an un-Proven Platter. You tell us how it works out!Details
Our first Impact Hangout takes us to the One Acre Fund. We’ll reconnect with this program and find out how they’ve grown from serving 25,000 families to more than 300,000 families in Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania and Burundi in just six years. This is the first of a series of Impact Hangouts for 2015. Details
Eighteen DFW members recently spent a week getting to know the students and staff at the Mariposa DR Foundation. The program brought us all closer to the work this program does to empower girls who are living up to the legacy of their namesakes. Details
We talked with Kay Yoder, director of US Operations for RIPPLE Africa, about the Changu Changu Moto stove program that DFW is funding this month (May 2015). This is a low-tech sustainable solution that addresses multiple issues from health to environmental sustainability. Take a listen. Details
Dining for Women’s grantees are located around the world, but many work in Africa, specifically West Africa. For the past year, the burdens of recovery from war, inadequate infrastructure and the struggle for education, health care and in many cases, survival have been increased by the fight against Ebola. In a three-part series, Dining for Women takes a closer look at this disease. In April, we looked at the basics of the disease and the 2014 – 2015 outbreak. In May, we take a look at how a past Dining for Women grantee played a critical role in containing the outbreak. Finally, in June, we look at the current state of this outbreak. Details
Who taught you to stand up for yourself and for others? Who showed you that being kind didn’t mean being weak? Who helped you become the woman you are today? For most of us it was our mom, or an aunt, or a sister, teacher or friend. In honor of Mother’s Day, we invited our programs to share stories of strong mothers and confident daughters among the women and girls we’ve supported. These are their stories. Details
Our 2014 Annual Report is out and we’re excited to present it to our members, donors and readers.
We hope that as you review it, you’ll feel the energy and pride that comes from knowing you were a big part of this.
Our story is told through the incredible photos of women and girls around the world, through the stories of how your investment in programs has changed the lives of one woman, one young girl, one family, and through the impressive commitment of our annual appeal donors to keep our organization strong and sustainable.
Throughout the report, you’ll find links to interactive graphics, web pages and videos. We hope you’ll take the time to explore the depth and breadth of what you accomplished last year.
We’re also introducing the first stage of our new donor recognition and fund development plan.
Dining for Women is making donor recognition a bigger priority with a more formalized program that began at the end of 2014. As an organization, we need to recruit, solicit and obtain the higher level gifts that will support the growth and sustainability of the organization for years to come. To help define this, we’ve established a Founders’ Circle where we can recognize and reward those donors who support the organization at higher levels.
As this report clearly illustrates, our strength comes from everyone working together. And we’ll be working on developing a plan for chapter and volunteer recognition as well.
The 2014 Annual Report is an interactive PDF that is designed to be read on a computer or tablet. It is best viewed and printed, if desired, in landscape mode. The report was designed by Jennifer Land.
Our 2015 slate is complete with programs addressing women’s health, mental health, support for victims or terrorism and conflict and more. Our executive director looks at the difference you are making in the world. Details
Dining for Women is moving to be a part of the broader conversation about gender equality and women’s global empowerment. We have connected with Oxfam America on some projects and recently Marsha Wallace was invited to become an Oxfam Sister on the Planet Ambassador. Through that lens, we are having our eyes opened to some issues in the world of international rights, compensation and environmental impact. Details
We’ve selected the featured programs to round out the 2nd half of 2015. They focus predominantly on maternal and child health but there are also programs on environmental sustainability and girls’ education. Check out this interactive graphic. Details
Cooking should be one of those activities that makes us feel safe and secure. What’s more comforting than home fires? But in much of the developing world, indoor cooking over open flames results in dangerous household air pollution. The World Health Organization estimates that 4.3 million die each year from its complications.
RIPPLE Africa has developed a low-tech, sustainable and efficient stone cookstove that burns significantly less wood and uses bricks that retain heat as the cooking surface. This is safer than open flames, reduces the indoor air pollution and saves women significant time spent gathering wood for cooking fires. That time can now be used on educational or economic activities in the home.
RIPPLE Africa is our featured program for May 2015. Our $45,000 grant — distributed over two years — will directly effect 3,000 families in the Nkhotakota district of Malawi. The Changu Changu Moto project will build a cookstove in each of 3,000 homes, provide instruction for the families on safe use and include follow up visits for more training and education as well as data collection.
Our 2014 programs represent a strong focus on educating women and girls and building foundations of better health and economic sustainability. Take a look back at the work that you made possible in 2014.Details
The Mariposa DR Foundation takes its name from the Mirabal sisters, revolutionaries knows as “Las Mariposas” (The Butterflies) whose tragic end but courageous fight is a source of enormous pride in the country. Details
Dining for Women’s grantees are located around the world, but many work in West Africa. For the past year, the burdens of recovery from war, inadequate infrastructure and the struggle for education, health care and, in many cases, survival have been overshadowed by the fight against Ebola. In a three-part series, Dining for Women takes a closer look at this disease. In April, we focus on the basics. In May, we take a look at how a past Dining for Women grantee played a critical role in containing the outbreak. Finally, in June, we look at the current state of this outbreak.Details
Leah Rashidyan, program director of MBH’s Well Women in Northern Haiti program, joined us for a conversation about the mission, the challenges and the great opportunities. “Health women build healthy families,” Leah says. Take a listen. Details
No one effort or approach can change the world. Abiding change comes when the governance at the top meets the advocacy and grassroots efforts at the bottom. Marsha Wallace explores three examples of new efforts driving change.Details
Those who travel with Dining for Women are personally seeing the similarities in girls’ struggles around the world, and how two of our supported programs are helping those facing the biggest biases and lack of opportunities.Details
Mobile credit card payments, marked by the ubiquitous plug-in credit card reader, are growing in popularity. There’s growing interest in using services like Square and others among DFW chapters. But security concerns and administrative support must play into our decisions as well. Here’s an FAQ. Details
Two little words can mean a lot. Just for fun, we took a look back through our hangouts and online presentations in 2014 and found a lot of moments worth noting — thank yous to DFW, recognition of our members’ commitment and support and some calls to action from our programs. We mashed it up in this brief video. Details
Haiti has the highest infant and maternal mortality rate in the Western Hemisphere, and the highest reported rate of cervical cancer in the world. Poverty and lack of education about their health and medical options, as well as a lack of providers, exacerbates the problems. Details
Social media makes it easy to stay in touch with our programs — with stories, activities and ideas. Follow along — and join the conversation — by bookmarking this page with the live Twitter feed from programs DFW has supported. Details
For Dining for Women, everyday is International Women’s Day so here’s a list of ideas to help you celebrate the accomplishments and achievements of women around the world throughout the month of March. 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 announces three programs have been the first to be awarded grants under our new Reserve Program. All three programs focusing on educating women and girls — the most direct path to positive health and economic change. Details
Puberty education and access to affordable menstrual hygiene supplies can change the lives of women and girls, preventing lost time at school and work that can translate directly to a better quality of life. Details
This infographic packs a lot of facts about menstrual hygiene in developing countries. Menstrual Hygiene Day began in 2014 as a way to generate awareness about menstruation and water, sanitation and hygiene development initiatives.Details
Although our programs may have more than one impact area, there is always one overarching focus. A look at information on DFW featured programs from 2006 through the first half of 2015 reveals that to be education. Here’s an infographic with a few other key stats about our programs. Details
When ordinary people are suddenly and inexplicably surrounded by war, life as they know it can cease to exist. They become the collateral damage. They are teachers, cab drivers, lawyers, bakers, mothers, fathers, children – all running away from devastation and toward the unknown. Details
Robyn Neitert, founder and president of Women’s Microfinance Initiative joined us for a Google Hangout to talk about why WMI succeeds where other programs may not. WMI is our featured program for December 2014. Details
We invited some of our programs that deal directly with violence against women to share some stories. The stories show the impact these programs are having fighting violence against women, addressing their root causes, and providing support and a way back for its victims. This is the story of a young Cambodian teen-ager, whose name has been changed, who was helped through this tragic experience by Lotus Outreach’s aftercare and reintegration program — a Dining for Women sustained program.
We invited some of our programs that deal directly with violence against women to share some stories. The stories show the impact these programs are having fighting violence against women, addressing their root causes, and providing support and a way back for its victims. This is the story of a young Kenyan girl who was spared the traditional female genital mutilation and sent instead to study at the Kakenya Center for Excellence. Details
We invited some of our programs that deal directly with violence against women to share some stories. The stories show the impact these programs are having fighting violence against women, addressing their root causes, and providing support and a way back for its victims. This is the story of a young Kenyan girl who knew the horrors of domestic violence at an extremely early age. Her mother was murdered by her father, who then abandoned Naanyu and her five siblings. Taken in by family, she is studying at the Kakenya Center for Excellence where she has learned that her life will not be the same as for others in her village. FGM will not be performed on her. Details
Gender inequality and violence against women walk hand in hand through the world. Dining for Women has supported more than a dozen programs that specifically work to stop violence against women, to help its victims re-enter society and reclaim their lives or to empower girls to have the confidence and the skills to say NO to violent practices like FGM and indentured servitude. Details
The 16 days between the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (Nov. 25) and Human Rights Day (Dec. 10) represents a coordinated effort to promote activism and awareness. Violence against women exists in every country and at every income level. So there are many voices talking about the issue this week.
Dining for Women has put together a digital magazine that is curating and aggregating these voices. On Twitter, #16days and #violenceagainstwomen are being used to coordinate the conversation, but there are others. On Facebook, these tags and DFWs #DFW16days are being used as a way to bring all your comments together.
And there are news articles, scholarly articles and posts from the UNWomen, programs and nonprofits.
You can read this magazine on the web just by following this link or by downloading the free Flipboard app for whatever flavor of mobile device you use. If you see a page that just has a hashtag on it, like #16days, that’s a custom search that will bring up a current list of all tweets using that tag.
The magazine will be updated automatically with new content from across the web. You can Follow the magazine to have it added to your Flipboard bookshelf and share it with others. Share your insights, observations and thoughts for increasing awareness: post on Facebook or Twitter with the #DFW16days.
Photo: The Empire State Building in New York City lights up orange to support the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. The United Nations was also lit up in orange.
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
By Jessie Cronan
Executive Director, Gardens for Health
More than 500 people gathered at the Gardens for Health farm in Rwanda on Friday, Nov. 7, 2014, for a very unique Thanksgiving celebration. Families enrolled in our program joined local officials, neighbors, and visitors, for a day of dancing, singing, and – of course – eating. Details
By Wendy Frattolin DFW Member and Volunteer Director
Many of our chapters hold special events or activities to raise funds for the 13th Month Campaign. In addition to raising money to support DFW’s operations, local fundraising events can also be a great way to build relationships within your chapter members, spread the word about your local chapter, or encourage new members to join. 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
Those of us who arrived in Lima before the official first day of the DFW 2014 Peru trip, were invited to join the Lima chapter for their October meeting, We had no idea what to expect. We were overwhelmed by the joyous welcome of our hostess Elle Bagnarol and the chapter members. Details
We departed Puno on the morning of October 28 to drive through the mesmerizing Altiplano to Cuzco. A visit to Sillustani revealed pre-Incan mysteries and culture as we learned about this burial ground of the nobility of the Colla culture. Details
First off, I really enjoyed the very short but sweet stay we had at Llachon. The food was delicious (especially the fried cheese for lunch) and the families were very hospitable. I would definitely recommend a homestay at Calixtos hospedaje. Our mamacitas gave us little bouqets of geranium flowers and munyo. Details
Was there great curiosity as we arrived in Llachon for our first homestay? Absolutely yes! The people in Llachon speak Quechua as their first language with Spanish as the second. But the real language was that of human kindness which needs no translation. Details
Our loads considerably lightened after distributing baby clothes and supplies, maternity gowns and medical supplies, we spent some time in the town of Pucallpa. We took a boat ride in the lake and saw many vultures, tuki tuki birds and had a wonderful lunch at a floating restaurant with our friends that are beginning to feel like old friends – not strangers that we met five days ago!
We motored by the bathing spot for the vultures. After cleaning in the lake, they stand on the bank and spread their wings to dry. Very impressive! (some of us thought menacing would be a more appropriate adjective!)
There are many small green plants floating on the lake. They were so thick that the tuki tuki bird appeared to walk on water. When the tuki tuki found a promising plant, he would flip it over and eat the insects off the bottom.
We learned an interesting old tale. It was feared that dolphins stole women by impregnating them. No women were allowed to swim in the lake during the time they were fertile!
Tonight we head back to Lima and a few hours later we head to Puno and our home stays.
As we finish off the first part of our trip, I’d like to extend a sincere thanks to everyone who donated and helped us collect supplies. They were very gratefully received!
November 25 is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. It’s a day selected to coincide with a date very important to the founders of the Maiposa DR Foundation. Read why.Details
Fifteen US-based DFW members embarked on a journey to Peru. Their first stop was an very special opportunity to break bread and join with DFW sisters in the Lima, Peru, chapter for a meeting, to share and learn about each other and about our featured program for October – Bumi Sehat. Chapter Leader Eli Bagnarol sends this post on the experience. Details