Women's Giving Network of Wake County hosts Annual Meeting

The members of the Women's Giving Network of Wake County recently hosted their annual meeting at the North Carolina Community Foundation headquarters in Raleigh. Network President Hayden Constance delivered remarks to the membership, that are available below:

Welcome to the annual meeting of the Women’s Giving Network. My name is Hayden Constance, and I am the current President of our organization

I’d like to begin by sharing with you a blog I read this weekend. It’s entitled:

Why Collective Giving Works For All Generations of Women
By Virginia Mills, Board Chair, Women’s Collective Giving Grantmakers Network

“Historically, women donors have supported organizations with small, individual donations. The collective giving model is different. It changes the paradigm on women’s giving. It pools individual dollars to make significantly larger grants allowing women of all levels of wealth to participate in big gifts. It engages women in philanthropy and as philanthropists. There is a difference between responding with an individual $100 donation and being part of a $25,000 or $100,000 grant to an organization. These larger grants can move the needle on issues. And women are creating these organizations in order to transform their communities.”

12 years ago four women did just that. Teena Anderson, Beth Briggs, Liz Fentress, and Noel Lichten created The Women’s Giving Network of Wake County to accomplish the following:

  • Insight: Help members learn about the pressing issues and needs facing women and children in Wake County
  • Impact: Have an “outsized impact” through collective giving efforts
  • Inspire: Connect and help women network with others who are making a difference through their leadership and philanthropy

And the network was designed to allow members to engage in any way that met their needs – give only, be part of a committee, chair a committee, or volunteer –a model which works for all generations of women.

Tonight we are here to report on the impact WGN has had in 2018, how we operate, and what our plans are for 2019. Let me take a minute to review our very simple giving model. Then we will dive into the details of our impact, process, and plans. Our model is simple.

  • How much we grant is determined by the number of dues paying members. Each member commits to giving $1200/year for 3 years, and the product dictates the size of the grant pool.
  • How we evaluate grants proposals is based on a rigorous grants review and evaluation process.
  • Finally our members individually rank our 5 finalists. The top 3 receive our money. One woman, one vote! Democracy at work!

I hope you will leave inspired by these three things:

  • WGN HAS had an outsized impact in Wake County.
  • WGN continues to make an impact every day in the lives of women and children.
  • WGN has the opportunity to make an even greater impact with your help.

This is the 12th year of our existence. In those years, you have granted $1.2 million dollars to 38 organizations which impact the lives of women and children in our community. These names include some of the most well-known organizations in Wake County. Several like Kidznotes and Green Chair were tiny start-ups when they first received our grant, and we helped launch them to where they are today.

We couldn’t fit all the grantees names on this slide. One of these is Guiding Lights – an organization we weren’t aware existed! Through them, WGN granted scholarships to 19 low income women to become Certified Nursing Assistants with a history of being hired by Transitions.19 women, their families, and generations to come will be impacted by these women’s new profession which pays a living wage.

And as we sit here, WGN continues to make an impact in our community.

  • In December, we hit our goal of 100 members- that’s a 42% increase from 2016, and will increase our Grant Pool for 2019.
  • We introduced our new Junior Membership program to connect younger women to the power of philanthropic leadership. I’d like to ask all the new and Jr members to stand up for a round of welcoming applause.
  • We increased our education and social events to give members and guests more feedback about the needs of women and children in Wake County.
  • We are impacting our community every day through this year’s Grantees.

You’ll hear more about our grantees from Donna Anderson, our Grant’s Chair, but I’d like to share a personal story. I was at a meeting at my church early this month. The Social Worker who oversees the Family Support Circles at Catholic Charities was also in attendance. This is one of the Grantee programs you funded this year. At the end of the meeting, Sharon walked over to me and gave me a huge hug. With tears in her eyes she told me that two weeks before Christmas two homeless families came to her seeking housing. She said that ONLY because of the grant from WGN, was she was able to provide both families housing the week before Christmas. Your commitment to WGN made that happen! And we’ll hear more stories like that this year as our 2018 and 2019 WGN Grantees continue to make an impact.

What does this number represent - $209,970?

This is the amount of funding the 5 Grantee finalist of 2018 requested from WGN. If we had a grant pool that large we could have:

  • Helped 110 4th graders improve school performance through an innovative arts program
  • Provided job, life-skills and financial training to 70 low income women
  • Helped 80 families move out of homelessness and extended the hours it takes to provide critical services to 550 still homeless women

Many of you may be aware of the book Built to Last by Jim Collins. He describes great, visionary companies as excelling because they set Big Hairy Audacious Goals – goals that spark imagination and inspire the soul.

So we are setting our own BHAG goal - to double our membership by 2020. When we achieve that goal we will be able to meet that need!!! More people means more grant money and more impact!

You will hear tonight about our Grant’s process, our schedule of educational and social events, our expanded communications goals, our Junior Members’ desire to coordinate volunteer events, efforts to increase membership, and the support we receive from the NCCF.

As you hear these presentations, Please keep in your mind the concept of You & 2! I hope you’ll be inspired to take on a personal goal of having two of your friends join WGN in the next two years.  Think of the friends you might introduce to WGN through events we host- bring two to any event you can attend. And think about how you can introduce WGN through your professional, social and personal networks. I know from experience, that when women learn about what we do, and hear our grantees’ stories, the majority want to be a part of it.

We appreciate you being here tonight! We know your time is valuable! Would all our members please stand? Thank you for:

  • Being a part of the amazing impact WGN has had the past 12 years
  • For the impact your membership commitment makes every day in Wake County
  • And for embracing our Big Hairy Audacious Goal to seize the opportunity to double the Impact WGN has on the lives of women and children in our community!

Thank you – this meeting is adjourned.