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
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
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. 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
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.
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
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
By Cynthia Sawtell, Mentor in our West Region, and Chapter Leader of CA, San Anselmo-1
On Oct. 9, the three chapters of Marin County, CA (San Francisco area) hosted a public event in honor of the International Day of the Girl Child. The concept was to share with a broader circle of women the work that DFW has done for girls. We had three goals in mind: 1) to spread the word that investing in girls is critically important for spreading peace and prosperity in the developing world; 2) to do this outreach in hopes of gaining new members; and 3) to raise a little money for DFW. We called the event “Celebrate The Girl”. Details
Dining for Women Co-Founder Marsha Wallace shares the story behind Dining for Women and how we are connecting people in creative, powerful ways to promote gender equality around the world on the BetterWorldians Foundation weekly podcast.
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!
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.
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
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 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 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
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?”
Marsha Wallace hosted a conversation with “A Path Appears” co-author Nicholas Kristof about the new book, the gains made in reducing extreme poverty and women’s equality — and the distance yet to go. The authors mention Dining for Women in several spots throughout the book. “Sheryl and I are such big fans of what you guys do,” Kristof said during the Hangout. View the on-demand video of this insightful conversation.Details
Two leadership changes have been announced by Dining for Women. Dr. Veena Khandke will take over as interim Program Director and Helen Borland will step into the co-leader’s role in the Southeast Region, replacing Alison Lively who is stepping down. Details
Certain keywords help define ourselves and our values. DFW has four that we think describe the essence of who we are, what we value and how we work toward achieving our goals. Tell us if you agree and how you see those words in action. Details
Mary Caroline Mitchell and Rachel Broughton flank Dr. Ha Ngo, who visited their DFW chapter meeting.
By Mary Caroline Mitchell
Springfield, IL-3, Chapter Leader
Dr. Ha Ngo, Ph.D., is the director of a women’s empowerment program in Vietnam. Visiting the US as part of a program sponsored by the Department of State’s International Visitor Leadership Program, we were fortunate to have her join us for our February chapter meeting. The State Department program fosters citizen diplomacy and brought Dr. Ngo, the deputy director, Center for Education, Promotion and Empowerment of Women located in Hanoi, Vietnam, to Springfield. Details
Our education team works hard each month to provide key information to enrich our members’ understanding of our featured program. But occasionally members or leaders have questions that aren’t addressed in our materials.
When that occurs, people may be contacting the program director or staff directly. Some of our funded programs report that they may be answering the same question from more than one DFW member or chapter. These can be time consuming calls for the program. But beyond that, if one program has a question, there’s a good chance others might as well.
There are some amazing things happening in dining rooms, kitchens, living rooms and great rooms across the country. Some of them are newsworthy – perhaps to a DFW audience or sometimes for a more general interest audience.
The most common content is photos – from anniversaries, fundraisers or meetings with special speakers. Social media gives us ways to share a lot of photos that don’t find a home on our website with a large audience every day. While photos tell a story, they do need a little help in the form of captions and descriptions. It’s important for us to know who’s in the photo, what they’re doing, where they are from and why it’s significant. Large group photos of your chapter do not need to identify each person; but photos of five or fewer should include IDs with first and last name, location, title and affiliation, from left to right.
With 8000 members spread out from Bangor to Santa Cruz, DFW uses email as the most efficient way to communicate. These messages include monthly newsletters, donation acknowledgements, tax receipts and other messages.
Dining for Women is very aware of the flood of emails all of us receive on a daily basis. To that end, in 2013 we significantly reduced our communications. Most months, the average member receives one email from us – The Dish; chapter leaders get two with the CL Newsletter. We have consolidated what used to be separate emails for new programs, trips or products into these monthly communications.
The Education Team has developed a slide show template we will use to offer each month’s program in a brief and consistent format, rather than requiring each grantee to develop a PowerPoint presentation. Beginning with our January Featured Program, presenters will have clearer options for sharing the month’s featured program in ways that work best for each chapter.
Debbie Britt, right, and Cindy Ariel, left, with the retreat facilitators.
By Laura Haight
Operational retreats are a fairly common practice among big business and this fall two DFW regions employed the practice to bring leaders together to discuss a variety of topics.
Chapter leaders in the Mid-Atlantic and West had regional retreats in October.
Debbie Britt and Cindy Ariel, co-leaders in the Mid-Atlantic, brought in two facilitators – both are professional leadership coaches as well as DFW members – to run the program, which included a discussion of what is working at the chapter level and what could be improved, an idea-sharing discussion that “harvested” ideas from each member. Details
Technology has put incredibly high-end photography features into the hands of everyone with a smartphone, but it hasn’t done a great job of educating this new class of photographer.
This becomes a problem for us when media calls and wants a “high-resolution” photo for print publication. This primer may help you understand some basics of managing digital photos – whether it’s personal or professional.
Editor’s Note: Jeanette is the daughter of DFW co-founder Barb Collins. We asked her to be our roving reporter during the 10th anniversary weekend and record her impressions, special moments and emotions from the event.
By Jeanette Collins
I was 13 when I first heard of Dining for Women.
Marsha Wallace and my mom, Barb Collins, have done an amazing thing: They took an idea and made it a reality. I feel honored to have grown up with what began as one small gathering and is now an international organization changing the lives of women and girls. Details
The Women Peace and Security agenda’s goal is to empower women – representing half the world’s population – as equal partners in preventing conflict and building peace in countries threatened by war and violence. Details
A group of journalists known as The Documentary Group were looking for ways to continue the work of a media icon – Peter Jennings – after his death in 2005. They wanted to do the work that he would have done – telling important stories that can effect change in the world.
Their focus became ending global poverty – a pervasive issue with many causes. But as they researched the topic, reaching out to experts in many different fields including international development, public health, peace and security, economic politics, one message came clear.
Cari Class started her DFW chapter in Santa Cruz, CA, nearly six years ago. “That same passion for what we’re doing as an organization, which just rocks my world and gives me a deep sense of purpose in my life, is no less vibrant today than the day I started,” says Class, whose energetic presentation drew cheers and applause from conference attendees. Details
If you talked to your child’s teacher, questioned your doctor or sent a letter to the editor of your paper, then you have acted as an advocate.
“We are each advocating for a host of important community and personal issues every single day,” noted Nancy Delaney, manager of community engagement for Oxfam America. “As members of the Dining for Women community, you’ve each become advocates for the women and girls whose lives and dreams you support.” Details