Collective action is the most enduring catalyst for making change on a large scale. Collective giving is the most positive iteration of that type of action.
The Women’s Fund in Topeka exemplifies how collective giving can be a powerful catalyst for significant change. Now in it’s 14th year, The Women’s Fund promotes women’s leadership in philanthropy, works to increase charitable contributions and strengthen their value through collective giving and encourages a new generation of philanthropists. To date, the group has granted over a half million dollars to area programs that improve the lives of women and children in our community.
“By giving as a group, we as donors are able to achieve a greater impact than we could alone,” said Jana Barry, president of The Women’s Fund board of directors. “Through our collective giving we have a higher level of engagement and can make significant contributions to a greater number of organizations.”
As a donor-advised fund with more than 350 contributing members housed under the Topeka Community Foundation, the group designates half of each dollar contributed for grants, while the other half is held in endowment, ensuring the fund will be sustained in perpetuity. A competitive grant application process is used to select grant recipients and all members of The Women’s Fund vote to determine which organizations will receive funds.
The group currently grants funds to programs that strengthen the economic well-being of women and children in Topeka and Shawnee County through financial literacy; integrate science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) in out-of-school programs aimed to improve academic performance; and to mental health programs/projects which serve children in Shawnee County. In 2018 The Women’s Fund awarded $45,000 to 11 organizations. The 2019 grant recipients will be announced at The Women’s Fund Annual Luncheon on April 24, 2019.
Encouraging a new generation of philanthropists, The Women’s Fund’s iGive U program is designed to help families who are capable of giving time, talent, or money to develop their own personal family charitable agenda by identifying their own areas of social concern and then developing a plan to utilize their abilities to help improve those parts of the community. iGive U sessions are free and focus on kids eight to 13 years, alongside their parents, to learn the value of charitable giving.
The Women’s Fund is committed to supporting groundbreaking solutions to complex problems facing women and children. All women interested in becoming philanthropists through the power of collective giving are invited to join. Learn more at www.womensfundtopeka.org.