Wake women – gifts given and received

By Liz Goodmon

I work for a nonprofit and do a tad bit of fundraising. Not enough to be dangerous, but enough to expose myself to the plethora of grant and giving opportunities in our state and beyond.

Because there are so many, rarely do I find myself connected to any particular one. However, I’m happy to announce that is no longer the case.

In October, I attended the inaugural Grants Celebration of the Women’s Network of Wake County. Now I must be honest, this was not a group I sought out on my own, but one my mother-in-law pointed out for me.

Being the philanthropic goddess she is, I dutifully signed up and showed up, not quite clear what it was I was doing. What a delicious surprise she had in store for me.

I quickly garnered from the variety of women in the room – some I knew, many others I did not – that I had stumbled upon what they were calling a “women’s giving network.”

Conceptually, it was foreign to me, but practically, it was just what I was looking for.

This particular network focuses on the critical needs of the community and addresses them through sizable grants that can truly make an impact.

Their ambition to maximize women’s leadership in philanthropy by engagement and education in conjunction with increased charitable contributions was refreshing and unique to me. It also spoke to me.This particular network focuses on the critical needs of the community and addresses them through sizable grants that can truly make an impact.

Settling into the comfort of the group, I later learned that the Women’s Network was established under the pretext of being “tired of too much talking and not nearly enough doing.”

What a wonderful and brave assertion to go with such a meaningful mission.

How many meetings do we attend where we chat, and plan and dream without ever actually accomplishing anything? If you’re me…many.

However at this function, I found myself surrounded by a room full of women who had said “enough” and joined a network to make a difference in the community that they could experience together and for years to come.

I was enthralled, impressed and inspired.

The awards reception itself included the presentation of gifts to two organizations voted upon by the membership of the network. The grants, both over $25,000, went to fund programs that will better the lives of women and their children.

It was incredibly satisfying for me to learn the impact these gifts would make on the organizations and their individual programs. The money allotted was enough to truly make a difference, which my experience has taught me is rare and remarkably special.

I also found out during the program that this concept is not especially unique.

There are women’s giving networks all over North Carolina and our nation. Women bound together by their passion and dedication for philanthropic goodness, creating change and momentum for success through grants and other gifts.

I am delighted to announce that there is now one here in Wake County and even happier to boast that I am part of it — thanks be to my mother-in-law, of course.

I am reminded daily of how short and precious life is. It is not rare that we encounter hardships that provoke thoughtful and thorough evaluations of who it is we are and what it is we are doing. As women, we seem to be wired for worries beyond this, related to our families, our children and our friends.

It is telling that we now are adding “our communities” to that list. We are consciously choosing to better ourselves and our lives by giving our time and our talents.

The Women’s Network has offered us the opportunity to give those along with our treasure. I’d like to thank the founders for that opportunity, as it is itself a gift.

Liz Goodmon, special projects manager at Be Active North Carolina, lives in Raleigh, as does her mother-in-law, Barbara Goodmon, president of the A.J. Fletcher Foundation, which publishes the Philanthropy Journal.

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