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 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
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
Barb Collins, co-founder of Dining for Woman, was elected as chair of the Board of Directors at its fall meeting in Newark, NJ. Barb takes over the chairmanship from acting chair Barbara Wagner. Details