Engaging Women in Philanthropy

Engaging Women in Philanthropy

March 16, 2011 by jga_admin

by Angela E. White

Having just returned from the Center on Philanthropy’s Symposium entitled “Women World Wide – Leading through Philanthropy”, I was struck by this proverb shared at the conference by Elaine Lyerly, National Co-Chair of the American Red Cross’ Tiffany Circle, a society of women leaders.

If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go farther, go together.

African proverb

In just 5 years, the Tiffany Circle has engaged more than 700 women making annual contributions of at least $10,000 per year, raising over $30 million for the mission of the Red Cross. The Tiffany Circle is now expanding the concept internationally.

At the Symposium, the transformational women philanthropists focused on changing the global philanthropic landscape. And, if there ever was a group of women who could change the global landscape, this was it!

We learned from an amazing group of speakers, including Maya Ajmera who founded the Global Fund for Children 16 years ago, at age 24. Maya spoke eloquently about her experience on the train platform in India 16 years ago when she encountered one woman teaching a circle of 50 children who were orphans living and begging at the train station platform. From this experience, Maya created an international organization that has supported innovative change for women and children across the globe.

This is just one example of many. Check the Symposium website in the coming weeks for recorded sessions of the speakers’ presentations to be posted. I encourage you to listen to these presentations and to reflect upon how you can go farther by engaging women in causes in which you are involved.

One more thought – there were more than 200 participants at the Symposium representing 13 different countries. Among this diverse group, there were only about 25 men in the audience.

If we are going to make global change through women’s philanthropy, we need a greater gender balance at these conversations. I challenge you to strive for balance in these conversations around your tables.