Cokie Roberts lauds Wake women

Cokie Roberts
Cokie Roberts

Ret Boney
CARY, N.C. – A group of Wake County women received words of praise and encouragement for their philanthropic efforts from journalist and author Cokie Roberts at a luncheon at the Umstead in Cary Oct. 26.

Roberts, an Emmy-award winning journalist and author of the book “We Are Our Mothers’ Daughters,” gave the keynote address at the awards luncheon of the Women’s Network of Wake County.

At the annual grants luncheon, the network announced a total of $125,000 in grants to four local nonprofits, bringing to almost $300,000 the total it has awarded since it’s inception in 2007.

Housed at the North Carolina Community Foundation, the network currently has more than 125 members, each of whom pledge $1,200 a year for five years to benefit women and children in Wake County.

“This is a wonderful example of how four women having lunch turned, in no time at all, into an organization that has given substantial sums of money that will do a tremendous amount of good in the long haul,” Roberts said of the network.

The group awarded $49,500 to Urban Ministries of Wake County to provide medical care for low-income women; $25,500 to Hospice of Wake County to create a support program for children of chronically ill parents; $25,000 to the Lucy Daniels Center for Early Childhood to provide mental-health services for low-income kids; and $25,000 to Wake Technical Community College Foundation to support children aging out of the foster-care system.

The Women’s Network joins more than 400 other women’s funds and giving circles across the U.S. that are devoting their collective giving power to bettering the lives of women.

“This network is now part of a movement going on around this country,” Roberts told the 260 attendees. “Women have always given, from the beginning of time, of their time and talents. Now we also give of our treasure.”

That’s a growing trend, Roberts said, quoting a study that says women began outpacing men in charitable giving in 2005, awarding a total of $21.7 billion, compared to men’s $16.8 billion.

And by next year, it is estimated that women will control 60 percent of the wealth in the U.S., she said, a change that could alter the face of philanthropy.

“We give differently,” she says of women. “We don’t care about our names carved in stone. And we don’t do it for a tax deduction. We give our money for efficacy. Where will our money do the most good?”

With women holding the purse strings, and demanding results from the nonprofits that receive funds, changes for the better are on the way, said Roberts, who serves on the board of Save the Children.

“They’ll get more money,” she says of charities. “And they’ll be held more highly accountable. They’ll hate it but it will be good for them in the long run.”

Women are “doers,” Roberts said, and now that they are “doing” philanthropy, women can affect meaningful change around the world.

“We always come together and make things happen,” she said of women. “We now know that if we can make women self-sufficient, that changes an entire society.”

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