The Women to Women Giving Circle held three lunchtime conversations designed to give members and prospective members a fun and meaningful interaction on topics important to the Giving Circle. The lunches were well-attended and the conversations were lively! Here’s a summary:
July 9 – Grants
Barb Meek, Chair of the Women to Women Grants Committee, gave a summary of the grants process from community forums highlighting issues of concern to Steering Committee focus on a theme or issue for a given grant cycle. The Giving Circle uses community-based studies to determine areas of possible service. These grants are designed to be enhancements or pilot projects, not ongoing sources of operational funds.
The 2019 grant cycle will begin with grants workshops at 9 a.m. Sept. 12 and 2 p.m. Sept. 20, both at Calvary United Methodist Church in Normal. Interested persons need only attend one session (both will be the same). Collaboration will continue to be an emphasis, participants are encouraged to bring their collaboration partner or meet someone at the session who might be willing to collaborate with them. The focus of the 2019 grants will continue on early childhood (0-5 years), with beneficiaries of the grants being those impacting the lives of young children and/or their support systems, such as parents, teachers or caregivers.
July 16 – Philanthropy
Attendees shared their personal philosophies of philanthropy. A retired professor said she asks, “What will help families?” A retired banker spoke about giving time as well as money, in projects ranging from helping at an adult daycare facility offering respite to those caring for loved ones with dementia to creating Bibles in braille which get shipped worldwide. A retired librarian discussed the book “The Soul of Money.” And a mom whose children are in the middle grades spoke about building philanthropy in the young by involving your kids in worthy projects.
The group agreed that a strength of the Women to Women Giving Circle is its local focus – and they would like to see more ways to learn about, or maybe get involved in, the organizations we assist!
July 23 – Growing the Circle
This topic attracted the largest group – 20 women pitched a whole variety of ideas, especially about using social media more effectively, sharing the goal of the fundraising more visibly and more often and interacting more with members and possible members. A common theme was that we could simply ask more people “Won’t you join us in this wonderful group of women supporting local causes that benefit women and children?”
Other ideas included working more with the Youth Engaged in Philanthropy (YEP) group of Illinois Prairie Community Foundation, considering multi-year grants, and developing liaison groups in Logan, DeWitt and Livingston counties. There were four women from Livingston County present on July 23, and a lunch is being set up in Pontiac for potential members. Mary Ann Webb and Pat Grogg will go as guest speakers and discussion leaders.