Washington Area Women's Foundation

I dare you to become a philanthropist…anyone can!

The recorded history of philanthropy can be traced back to the 1600’s. People have been finding ways to give of their time, talents and treasures for as long as we can remember.

So, what is the enigma called philanthropy, really?

Philanthropy is the act of donating money, goods, time, or effort to support a charitable cause, usually over an extended period of time toward a specific goal, or to achieve a specific aim.

In its most fundamental sense, philanthropy may encompass any altruistic activity intended to promote public good or improve the human quality of life. Such a simple and attainable concept really. Yet, somehow the definition of philanthropy has been increasingly narrowed and the term “philanthropist” has been a title reserved for the wealthy.

The truth is that philanthropy is not only a privilege for the Gateses, Buffets, Fords and Carnegies.  Anyone can be a philanthropist!

At The Women’s Foundation, we encourage people of all ages and incomes to think about how you can be a philanthropist right where you are today.  How can you harness your own philanthropic spirit to improve the human quality of life?

As you watch TV or read the paper, you are bombarded by reports of people facing difficult circumstances all over the country, and the world. But how often have you stopped to think about the people right in your own backyard that really need the assistance and support provided by our area nonprofits?

So, I ask you again…a little differently…how can you, through your own philanthropy, become a better steward of your community?

One great way is through The Women’s Foundation’s giving circles! Giving circles are a wonderful way to meet wonderful people, get involved, and transform a small contribution into funding with a big impact!

As we speak, the Rainmakers are poised and ready to make a total of $45,000 in grants to organizations in Northern Virginia and the District of Columbia that support programs to empower and encourage the healthy development of young women and girls.  (Proposals are due on April 28th.)

But the Rainmakers circle is already out of the gate you say?  How astute you are!  But you can be thinking about your participation for the next cycle to begin in 2009.

For the more eager among you, you are not without options!

The African American Women’s Giving Circle is in the process of recruiting new members right now!  To find out more, come to a gathering on April 30th.  If you interested in attending or becoming a member, contact me.

We are continuing to welcome new members to the 1K Club and the Washington 100.  And, let’s not forget, the Leadership Awards Program is looking for volunteers for the next award cycle!  If you are interested, please contact me.

So whether it is with one of these wonderful groups of women (and men), or with another organization that has been near and dear to your heart, take the leap!

Unleash the philanthropist within you.

I dare you!