Women's Giving Circle celebrates supporters
In the past year, the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque’s Women’s Giving Circle has touched the lives of many struggling women and children in the region through work that leaders highlighted during the group’s annual social and brief meeting in September.
About 50 women representing multiple generations from Dubuque and beyond gathered to connect with one another, report on the group’s activities, and celebrate achievements, such as awarding more than $14,000 in 2018 to five organizations serving women and children in need.
“When I think about the Community Foundation of Greater Dubuque and the good that we do, I often think of Women’s Giving Circle. We are so proud to have you as a part of our organization,” Amy Manternach, vice president of finance and philanthropy, told the group.
The Women’s Giving Circle is focused on addressing the greatest needs of women and children in the community. As such, the group has established a field of interest fund, which provides the flexibility to meet immediate needs today as well as those that will emerge in the future.
At the gathering, Membership Committee Chair Whitney Sanger announced that the group gained 25 new supporters of its endowment and mission in 2018, and she also reflected on her own reasons for supporting the group.
“My journey started with my 92-year-old grandmother, who is very persistent, and my mother, who convinced me to come one day,” she said. “I’ve been hooked ever since — not only for the mission of Women’s Giving Circle, but also for the friendships.”
In its 12 years, Women’s Giving Circle has granted $98,000 to more than 40 projects.
“My hope would be that within the next few years the endowment would reach a half a million dollars and it would assist in meeting the growing needs of women and children in our community,” said Faye Finnegan, who serves as director of donor relations for the Community Foundation and works with Women’s Giving Circle on the Foundation’s behalf.
The Women’s Giving Circle gathers at various times throughout the year to learn about the needs of women and children in the community and participate in educational programming. The group also meets to review grant applications and award grants to area organizations that work with women and children. The year starts with a January planning lunch, followed by an educational program in the spring that in recent years has highlighted the impact of grant funding. Grant applications open in April, and funds are distributed in early June at the group’s most popular event, a dinner typically held at the Dubuque Arboretum.
Supporters may choose to participate in a variety of ways, and events are structured so that individuals can come and go as their schedules allow.
“You can be as involved as you want and your schedule permits,” said Finnegan. “Some people are able to attend most events; others support the endowment and are not able to attend events. Both are assisting in impacting the needs in our community.”
Positions on the Grantmaking, Education, and Membership committees allow deeper involvement with the group’s mission to share the joy of giving, build the ethic of living generously for future generations, and meet community needs as a group.
“The people who are involved with Women’s Giving Circle are busy women in this community,” Finnegan says. “They are in demanding positions; they are taking children to and from ballet, soccer and piano; yet they still want to be involved in an organization that is concerned with and working toward meeting the needs of the women and children who live in our community.”