(By guest blogger: Sara Mitchell)

At the Women’s Fund we are creating gender equality and influence through women’s philanthropy. This means our work is done by women, for women, and with the entire community.

Nationally, we know that 6% of philanthropic dollars are invested specifically in programs that support women and girls. Locally this statistic is 7%- not much of an improvement from the national scale. This is why in 2001 the Women’s Fund of Central Ohio was founded by 14 local women who recognized the need to raise awareness in our community around women’s philanthropy. With that, the Women’s Fund of Central Ohio was formed to transform the lives of women and girls by mobilizing the collective power and passion of all women working together.

When you empower women and girls, all of society benefits. We believe, and research shows, that empowering women and girls impacts entire families and uplifts entire communities. We empower and encourage women and girls to give their time, talent, WomensFund-Graphic-Brown-and-pink-boxand treasure. We celebrate every woman’s ability to invest in social change for women and girls at any moment of her life- whether that’s through volunteering, planned giving, or an in kind donation.

The Women’s Fund is committed to educating and raising awareness in our community so that we can amplify the voices of women and girls. As a whole we have the ability to influence central Ohio, transforming it into a thriving community where all can reach their fullest potential. We identify and respond to the needs in our community in order to build capacity, educate, and raise awareness of issues affecting women and girls. We do this through our programs and collaborative partnerships.
Through our research and our community collaborations we emphasize social change. We grow women’s philanthropy by making capacity building grants to programs that confront issues for women and girls in central Ohio.

There are over 800,000 women and girls throughout central Ohio, and at the Women’s Fund we strive to connect all of them. We do this by being a convener of critical conversations that engage the community. We provide a space for these types of dialogues to occur through our programs. Our research establishes us as a resource for the community. We use our research to highlight the needs and gaps that exist for women and girls and then address them.
We Build Capacity. When we fund grants we have a democratic, inclusive process that includes training, support, and feedback. Best of all, we invite real central Ohio women and girls to be Grant Readers, helping us select our grant partners.
Our focus areas are:

  • Lifeskills for Girls
  • Leadership for Women
  • Economic Self-Sufficiency for Women

At The Women’s Fund of Central Ohio we strive to make our grantmaking process all-inclusive. We bring a diverse group of women and girls to the table to review grant applications and apply the Quaker consensus model, a collaborative agreement seeking process, to help make thoughtful decisions. Grant readers experience our grants process up close and learn about the many organizations working to create social change in central Ohio. We make grants to local organizations in Delaware, Fairfield, Franklin, Licking, Madison, Pickaway and Union counties that enhance the economic independence, lifeskills, and leadership development of women and girls. Specifically, we support root-cause programs that create long-term solutions.
The Women’s Fund of Central Ohio sees advocacy as an essential tool for furthering its mission and leading social change in our community for women and girls to reach their full potential.

Our advocacy efforts focus on gender equality and opportunities to advance the causes of economic self-sufficiency, self-determination and influence for women and girls. We look at advocacy through the five shifts of social change, as follows:

  1. shift in definition or reframing the issues
  2. shift in individual or community behavior
  3. shift in critical mass or engagement
  4. shift in policy
  5. maintaining or holding the line

We are democratizing philanthropy- We encourage you to fully step into your role as a philanthropist and to view your money as a catalyst for change. No matter how big they are or how often you make them. We’ve received gifts ranging from $2 to $1 million, and together they’ve added up to extraordinary benefits. Leveraging all donor dollars for the collective greater good, to invest in the potential of women and girls.
We invite you to join us, and be a part of the movement to amplify every voice of women and girls in central Ohio. Together we can unlock potential and improve the world.

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