Catherine Rielly, left, executive director of Rubia accepts a sustained fundiing check of $15,000 from DFW co-founder Marsha Wallace. The two were in Manchester, NH, for a Half The Sky screening in March 2013. Learn more about Rubia's programs.
2013 marks Dining for Women's 10th anniversary and we're celebrating with a national conference to be held in Greenville, SC, the weekend of June 21-23. . Find out more about the weekend activities as well as lodging arrangements at the hotel on our webpage or go straight to our online reservation page.
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton applauded the efforts of Dining for Women and its "deep and transformational" impact in a letter sent to the organization and released at an event in Manhchester, NH., on Tuesday March 26.
The Manchester chapter had invited Clinton to attend a special screening of the film "Half The Sky". While she was unable to attend, she sent a letter of acknowledgement and support of DFW's work.
More than 300 people attended the screening. DFW co-founder Marsha Wallace addressed the audience and presented the first of three checks for $15,000 to Rubia's Threads of Change program, which develops economic opportunities through craft heritage.
The full text of Clinton's letter: (View the letter)
It gives me great pleasure to extend my heartfelt greetings to all those gathered in Manchester for Dining for Women's special screening of Half The Sky. I was delighted to learn that this event is bringing together hundreds of American women and girls who are inspired and committed to helping women and girls across the globe overcome adversity and live safe, healthy and productive lives.
It was an honor and privilege serving our country as Secretary of State over the past four years; I am especially grateful for the opportunity I had to place women's issues at the forefront of our nation's foreign policy agenda. The evidence is clear; no country can succeed if half its population is left behind. When women and girls are treated equally, with dignity and respect, and afforded every opportunity to contribute to society, families, communities and whole nations thrive. The efforts that Dining for Women have undertaken in New Hampshire and all across the country over the past ten years provide a powerful example of how individual acts of giving, when aggregated, can make a deep and transformational impact. I am so heartened to know that the donations of Dining for Women participants have funded such remarkable grassroots groups as Somaly Mam in Cambodia, Afghan Friends Network in Afghanistan, and the Maasai Girls Education Fund in Kenya. I have seen firsthand the impact of these groups and countless others. Now more than ever, everyone can make a difference through acts large and small, and I congratulate you and thank you for your contribution toward ensuring that all women and girls have the opportunity to fulfill their God-given potential.
While I regret I am unable to join you at the beautiful Palace Theatre this evening, please know that I am there in spirit, and am sending you my warmest wishes for a wonderful event. I am proud to be your partner in progress.
With friendship and warm regards, I am
Dr. Alice Hirata, a member of the Board of Directors of Midwives for Haiti, joined the Ashland, VA., chapter meeting last month to talk about the program. Midwives for Haiti was our featured program in February.
How can you keep celebrating International Women's Day?
We've got some suggestions to help commemorate this important day all year long.
- Learn. The more you know, the more you can effect change. Whether you are a member or not, spend some time learning about the programs we support - that help women by giving them the tools they need to overcome their circumstances - education, access to health care and tools to raise their confidence and self-esteem.
- Join. If you aren't a member, consider joining us. We have 400+ chapters around the country, so there's a good chance there's one near you. And if not, you can meet virtually and share in all the great information, education and inspiration online. If you are a member but haven't been to a meeting in a while, join in! Reconnect with your chapter. We can't do this great work without you.
- Lead. We lead in many ways. But setting an example for others and talking about what we do. You may want to start a new chapter in your area or become a volunteer and work with us. Be the change you want to see in the world!
- Donate. If you missed a meeting, no worries, you can donate anyway. Remember, a lot of companies have a matching donation for employees' charitable giving. You can double your gift every time.
Whatever you do to celebrate remember that whether you live in the Maldives or Manhattan, we are all working to improve the lives and opportunities for women and girls in less developed countries.
DFW Program Director Jennifer Moyen-Logan, delivers a $49,337 grant check to Anchal’s co-founder, Devon Miller (left), in February. Devon was delighted to receive the check on behalf of Anchal co-founder and Director Colleen Clines, who is currently working in India. DFW’s funding will be used to provide one year of training and pay for 32 former commercial sex workers to become textile artisans.
Helen Belletti, DFW Program Selection Team Member, and member of two DFW chapters, Sheila Hanz, Herndon, VA Chapter Leader, and Lynn Broadbent, Fairfax Station Chapter member, present Linda Pfeiffer, Preseident and CEO of INMED Partnerships for Children with a check for $15,000, which will fund the purchase of a generator. among other things! Click HERE for more information about this wonderful program.
By Jan Collins
In the fall of 2002, Marsha Wallace, a former nurse in Greenville, South Carolina, read an article that intrigued her. The story was about a group of social workers who got together regularly for dinner. Instead of going to a restaurant, however, the women shared a potluck meal at one of their homes and put the money they would have spent dining out into a fund to help needy families.
Wallace couldn’t get the idea out of her head, and resolved to do something similar, albeit for women and girls. In January 2003, for her 43rd birthday, Wallace invited 25 friends to her house in Greenville for a potluck dinner. They raised about $ 700, and Dining for Women (DFW) was born.
Nancy Truluck with a Dining for Women group in a village in Nepal
Now preparing to celebrate its 10th birthday, Dining for Women has captured the nation’s – and the world’s – heart. Today there are more than 8,000 members and 375 chapters in the United States, Canada, Europe, Mexico, Puerto Rico, and South America. Dining for Women continues to expand, with its goal to “empower women and girls living in extreme poverty through funding programs that foster good health, education, and self-sufficiency…”.
“I want to see the playing field leveled for women and girls around the world,” Wallace told South Carolina ETV. “I want women and girls to be valued, get an education, and contribute to their communities and their families. And ultimately, that will impact peace in the world.”
Wallace believes that empowering women and girls is the “moral challenge” of our time. If you agree – and if you also believe, as I do, that women are the keys to changing the world – then Dining for Women is for you.
Susan Hendricks with Blessing in Uganda
I first heard about Dining for Women a couple of years ago while watching the NBC evening news. Then earlier this year, a friend invited me to accompany her to a potluck supper sponsored by one of the four active chapters in the Columbia area. ( There are 27 chapters throughout the state of South Carolina.) It was a wonderful evening. I was hooked.
Chapter members “dine in” together and learn about that month’s grass-roots, international program by watching a video and reading informational handouts. Everyone attending the potluck donates whatever she or he can, usually $20 or so. Donations are then combined from all 385 chapters to support that month’s program.
On average, between $ 50,000 and $ 75,000 is raised collectively each month. This is a significant amount of money in these developing countries.
Marsha Wallace, founder of Dining for Women
Each month’s carefully selected program must meet specific criteria and is “aimed at improving the living situations for women and their families by providing the tools they need to make changes.” Programs are funded for education, health care, vocational training, microcredit loans, or economic development.
Since DFW was created in 2003, it has raised more than $1.9 million, and here’s the best part: 85 cents of every dollar donated goes directly to the programs for women and girls around the world that have been chosen for funding. The 85 percent figure puts DFW in the “most efficient” category of charities.
Here are a few examples of what DFW members have accomplished with their collective investments. According to the Dining for Women website, members have:
- helped hundreds of girls escape sex trafficking and receive safe havens, counseling, and education in the Philippines, India, and Cambodia.
- supported a women’s crafts cooperative for Afghan women, who normally have few markets or opportunities to work.
- funded scholarships and education for Afghan girls, despite Taliban opposition.
- dramatically reduced maternal and infant deaths in remote Tibetan villages by providing sterile birth kits and trained obstetric workers.
- funded teachers, social workers, and students, and expanded a Kenyan girl-led school and its women’s empowerment programs.
- launched 60 female- led businesses, boosting the incomes and livelihoods of 300 women and about 1,500 children in drought-stricken Kenya.
- trained dozens of health care workers in El Salvador to detect and treat cervical cancer with an innovative, low-tech method. Cervical cancer is the # 1 cancer killer of women in Latin America, Africa, and Asia.
Susan Hendricks, a local social worker, is the co-head of one Columbia chapter. She has taken three DFW trips abroad – to Kenya, Uganda, and Nepal – with fellow members to evaluate how the collective donations have been spent and how successful the programs for these poorest of the poor have been. “ What we found,” says Hendricks, “is that the money we have donated is so appreciated. It determines whether women can get out of the house, start a business, get the respect of their husbands, earn an income, gain some power in their nuclear families.”
On the Nepal trip in November 2011, Hendricks “saw people going from living in dung huts with their animals to building their own cement-block houses with sanitation. It was remarkable.” Donating money for such programs to women is a smart thing to do, it turns out: studies show that women in poor countries spend 80 percent of their income on their families; men, perhaps 30 percent.
Hendricks is hooked on DFW, too. “ There’s a sense of doing some good with a very small amount of money. There are so many organizations that pull at your heartstrings, but you don’t know if they’re doing any good or not. With Dining for Women, you know where the money is going, you know how it’s being spent, and you know what happens after it’s spent.”
Marsha Wallace’s simple but elegant concept for a special type of dinner giving circle is changing the lives of women and girls worldwide. For these women and girls, Dining for Women leads to a Thanksgiving that can last for the rest of their lives.
For more information, please visit the DFW website at www.diningforwomen.org, or contact Susan Hendricks at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jan Collins is a Columbia- based freelance writer, editor, and journalist. She was a reporter at newspapers in South Carolina, North Carolina, and Michigan, and formerly coauthored two nationally syndicated columns. She is a special correspondent for The Economist, the weekly international news magazine based in London.
(Original article published on 11/16/12 in the Columbia Star.)
Dining for Women is featured in the December 2012 Quilting Arts Magazine on stands now! "The article is called: the Quilt Divas: Replenishing Your Creative Well. It's about the Quilt Divas of Ithaca, NY and the large quilted artwork they made several years ago called "Women Empowering Women." The quilt was used as a fundraiser for DFW and won by Judy Dugan in CA. Dining for Women itself, as well as programs featured by Dining for Women were the inspiration for the 9 panels that comprise the quilt. The article is found on pages 10-14." Way to go Ithaca!! Stunning pieces!
(Below is a brochure about the quilt that was created for the fundraiser.)
Kristen Jordan Shamus has touched a nerve with many readers in her recent article published in the Detroit Free Press. Interest in Dining for Women has surged all over the midwest! Read the article, see what the excitement is about, and pass it on to your friends and family.
Marsha Wallace (Founder and President of Dining for Women), Ursula Daniels (Dining for Women Chapter Leader and Program Selection Committee Member) and Barbara Shaw (President and Founder of the Maasai Girls Education Fund, a June 2012 grant recipient of Dining for Women) were interviewed by Nkenge Toure host of In Our Voices on November 2nd, 2012 on WPFW, 89.3 Public Radio. Listen to the entire show! Click here to download an mp3 recording and play it using iTunes or another mp3 application on your computer.
(Interview begins at around the 3:08 minute mark.)
DFW’s Program Selection Team is excited to announce our programs for January through June 2013! These new programs address some of the most challenging issues facing impoverished women and girls in our times: maternal healthcare accessibility and safe childbirth, access to vocational training, education, human rights and refugee assistance, food security and environmental sustainability as well as equality and empowerment for girls. These six Featured Programs span four continents and represent vibrant and multi-faceted cultures, a true learning experience for our membership:
- Heshima Kenya - Kenya
- Midwives for Haiti- Haiti
- Her Turn - Nepal
- CREATE! - Senegal
- MayaWorks - Guatemala
- Breaking Ground - Cameroon
Five previous grantees have also been selected to receive our Sustained Program Funding three-year grant of $15,000 per year totaling $45,000. DFW members have expressed their enthusiasm for these programs:
- The BOMA Project - Kenya
- Matrichaya - India
- Friendship Bridge - Guatemala
- Village Enterprise - Uganda
- PINCC: Prevention International, No Cervical Cancer - India
Print the program flyer and share it at your next DFW meeting and spread the word about DFW’s impact in the world.
(For more information about the Dining for Women funding model, click HERE.)
Help us celebrate Dining for Women's 10th Anniversary with the special, limited edition anniversary cookbook..
A Decade of Dining
We are looking for your recipes that consistently get rave reviews (take a look at Marsha's Guacamole salad... recipes do not need to be originals; just your favorites).
Click here for instructions and to enter recipes.
Please submit recipes on or before October 30, 2012.
Chapter Leaders will take Cookbook orders in December 2012, and they will submit bulk orders to Dining for Women Headquarters.
A DFW chapter in Greenville, South Carolina will be coordinating the order fulfillment and shipping the cookbooks out to chapter leaders in April 2013. Cookbooks must be ordered and paid in advance.
We can't wait to see your recipes and hope your chapter will order lots of cookbooks!
Click here for instructions and to enter recipes.
We anticipate that this project will raise $20,000 for Dining for Women!
WE did this! Jennifer Moyen-Logan, chair of Program Selection Committee and VP of DFW's Board of Directors, tells us how it feels to present our collective funding to the Afghan Friends Network. Thank you DFW members for helping us change the world one dinner at a time. So proud of what we do together!
I had the fantastic opportunity to meet up with John Bortner, President, Afghan Friends Network, and give him a grant check for half of their $72,638.90 grant-- the largest grant DFW has ever awarded! This is a 2 year grant supporting girls and women's education in two locations in Afghanistan! AFN is incredibly grateful to DFW members and John says: "Who would have thought that a conversation on public transportation would lead to a very generous grant that will support the education of almost 500 girls and women in Afghanistan! We are honored to be supported by the wonderful members of Dining for Women.” - Jennifer Moyen-Logan