A single act of generosity, no matter how big or small, can be profoundly impactful, both to giver and receiver. A gathering of women in Eaton County — Women Giving Together — has found just how impactful their generosity can be when their small acts combine to make sizeable donations for local non-profit organizations.
In total, Women Giving Together has donated close to $50,000, spread across 13 different Eaton County non-profit organizations. When the group meets next Tuesday, May 21, members expect to surpass the $50,000 mark.
“$50,000 is a great milestone for Women Giving Together, but the sky is the limit,” said member Amy Smith. “We will never run out of groups that need funding and I hope we never run out of members willing to give.”
The group was formed in the fall of 2015 by members of Can Do!’s Generosity Pillar. The concept is simple, members meet quarterly to listen to three local non-profits tell about their organization’s needs. Once all have presented, the group votes as to which non-profit should receive that quarter’s donation. The non-profit receiving the most votes receives a $30 to $50 donation from each member.
Since the groups initial $2,500 donation to the Charlotte Generosity Fund in November of 2015, each selected non-profit has received a donation of at least $3,000.
“To be part of a group that has made such an impact to local non-profits in such a short amount of time is very exciting,” said Claudine Williams, a founding member of Women Giving Together. “Every time I look around the community and see something Women Giving Together has been part of, I feel a sense of pride and accomplishment. To think just because a few women join together four times per year for a couple hours can make such a difference in our community is amazing.”
The group’s donation of $3,125 in November of 2018 helped Focus on Love Foundation, which formed to provide social and emotional learning experiences to children and parents by learning the art and heart of photography, get its workshops started in the community.
“The grant allowed us to purchase cameras and printers for children to use during our workshops,” said Focus on Love founder, Denise Hummel. “Without the Women Giving Together award, we would not have been able to offer our workshops as quickly.”
Hummel was so inspired by the group, she became a member at the November meeting.
“I was inspired to join when learning how simple the giving process was and how much more awareness it created about the different charitable organizations within our community,” Hummel said. “With my financial commitment to Women Giving Together we are able to impact the community in a much more significant way than me as an individual.”
Focus on Love Foundation’s first workshops will be held June 8 and Aug. 3.
“It feels like we are filling a niche for funding projects that can’t get funding from other sources,” Smith said. “It makes me feel like we are doing our part to better the community. The most difficult part is voting on the winner because every group has worthy projects that need to be funded.”
Women Giving Together member, Jo Vanderstelt said she thinks learning about all of the different non-profits in Eaton County has been a great benefit of the organization’s quarterly meetings.
“I feel one of the biggest impacts that Women Giving Together has had on our community is the awareness for all of us of the many non-profits we have providing needed support for so many,” Vanderstelt said.
The three non-profits selected to present at the May 21 meeting are Camp Frances, Charlotte Community Band, and Guardian Angels Suitcases for Kids. The meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. at Windwalker Underground Gallery, located at 125 S. Cochran Avenue in downtown Charlotte. Anyone seeking a membership form can contact WomenGivingTogetherEaton@gmail.com.
“Where else can you go and have your $50 dollar donation turn into over $3,000 in one night and make such a tremendous impact in the community,” Williams said.
“Being a part of this group allows them to be a part of a special sisterhood that is helping to shape the future of Charlotte,” added Smith.