Page 18 - Scene Magazine 4504 April 2020
P. 18

Local Interest
 Cultural anthropologist, Margaret Mead, once said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” In 2010, a small group of women took this quote to heart and established a Giving Circle as a way to collectively pool individual donations in order to help improve the life conditions of women, youth, children, and families in greater Battle Creek. The group’s first dona- tion went to A Home for Me to provide transitional living training and support for youth in Foster Care.
which encourages early reading skills so children enter school better prepared; Doris Klaussen Development Center
to help purchase items to furnish a “sensory room” used by students to take a break and calm themselves during
a stressful school day event; and the Community Breakfast Program of St. Thomas Church where free, substantial, and healthy breakfasts, are provided to those in need.
help provide backpacks and permanent belongings to children in the Foster Care system and collectively raised $6,051. Each quarterly meeting lasts for one hour, with a 30-minute social time preceding the meeting.
In 2012, the group re-branded itself as Women of Impact and changed
its grassroots philanthropic resource sharing effort after researching how other local and regional Giving Circles operated. Women of Impact (WOI) created a logo, website, Facebook page, and guidelines under the three princi- ples of “Committed,” “Connected,” and “Caring.” It is a growing group of di- verse women who pool their donations in an enjoyable social setting in order to engage in the decision-making about where their money goes and to have a greater impact in the community.
When women join WOI they sign a form committing to support quarterly meetings for one year. Any member
of WOI who has an area not-for-profit organization, charity or a cause they are interested in representing that aligns with the focus of WOI, upon arrival
WOI members state there is an amazing sense of power and excitement in the room at each meeting. Many women are, for the first time, entering the world of philanthropy through this model, and members are learning about the needs of their neighbors and the agencies and organizations that serve them. WOI gifts are given with no restrictions to recipient organizations other than to attend a future quarterly meeting to share how the funds were used and to send a donation receipt to individual members.
To date, 38 gift decisions have been made and a total of $121,151 given to 28 different organizations. Some of WOI’s recent gifts went to the Reach Out and Read program at Grace Health,
to $100, or more) to the organization with the most votes. All checks are then collected and delivered to the selected organization. In January, WOI members voted to support CityLinc to
Authored by Teresa Durham, WOI Steering Committee member, along with Kathy-Sue Vette, Sara Dunn, Nancy Durkee, Linnea Jaconette, Karen Reeves, Michelle Richardson, and Amber Straub.
Women Of Impact Keeps On Giving
at the meeting, puts her name and the name of the organization on a card, which is placed in a box. During the meeting, three cards are pulled from the box. The person selected has five minutes to plead her case for the orga- nization, charity, or cause followed by five minutes of questions from the large group. At the end of the presentations, the large group votes by secret ballot. The ballots are tallied and the members write their checks (typically for $50
The Giving Circle movement has grown exponentially throughout the world due to its simplistic yet profound concept of generosity and connection to others. If you are interested in being part of this movement and wish to connect with WOI, go to https://www. or https://www.
Check presentation from WOI to Father Brian Coleman of St. Thomas Episcopal Church at its April 2019 meeting in the Lincoln Room in downtown Battle Creek.

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