Barb Van Winkle, Chair
Candace Dodson-Reed and Alison Canning, WGC Grants Committee Co-Chairs
Buffy Beaudoin-Schwartz, Executive Director
November 23, 2021
By Candace Dodson-Reed and Buffy Beaudoin-Schwartz
There is ample data that makes the case for the value of diversity in corporate, education, private and public sector leadership. A quick internet search reveals that companies and organizations that embrace and value diversity in leadership outperform their peers. And the relationships that are formed and nurtured may even — someday — keep pace with the financial returns.
The data about representation in leadership positions, however, is discouraging.
In the U.S., underrepresented ethnic groups make up 40% of the population but only 12.5% of board directors. Black directors make up just 4% and Black women make up just 1.5% of the 20,000 plus directors. And according to a 2021, Fortune magazine article on women CEOs, in 2021, the number of women running businesses on the Fortune 500 hit an all-time record: 41. However, of the 41, only six are women of color and two identify as Black women.
And, if you look at the leadership of public institutions, nonprofit organizations and commissions, you’ll find that without an intentional focus, the issue is the same. Though we do not yet have this specific data in Maryland, and a bill put forth by Maryland House of Delegates Speaker Adrienne Jones may begin to address this issue, we can make a reasonable assumption that the data in our state is similar.
Introduced by Speaker Jones during the last legislative session, House Bill 1210 is intended to encourage organizations to address issues related to board and leadership diversity. Inspired by HB1210, the Women’s Giving Circle of Howard County has invested in helping to create a pipeline of women of color leaders through a new funding partnership with The 3rd and The Highland Project — this partnership is to implement a leadership development program for women of color in Howard County.
The Women’s Giving Circle is providing a $20,000 multi-year grant to The 3rd as an investment in the growth of the organization broadly, and specifically to help support increased representation for women of color in leadership positions in the county. This leadership development program will be introduced as part of the services offered at The 3rd and will provide information, training, resources and connections for increased representation on local committees, task forces, boards of directors and other leadership bodies in Howard County.
The 3rd is a nonprofit organization that is building a space that fosters dreams, creates community and provides mentorship, which enables women of color to turn their ideas into economic power and freedom. As a co-created community of entrepreneurs, The 3rd has been developed with the belief that women of color need a space to build, execute and thrive, and also need access to skill building, collaboration and accountability.
As part of this multi-year grant, the Women’s Giving Circle is also providing a $10,000 grant to The Highland Project, a national effort that is cultivating a coalition of Black women who are leading communities, institutions and systems in the creation of multi-generational wealth and change where they live and serve.
The Highland Project will provide strategic guidance and coaching to The 3rd during the developmental stage of this personalized leadership development program. This partnership will support the growth of The 3rd overall, and this new leadership development program in particular will be modeled on a version of the Highland Project, with the goal to help cultivate a pipeline of women of color in all sectors in Howard County.
The Women’s Giving Circle is building a community of philanthropists and creating a permanent legacy to address the needs of women and girls in Howard County.
In 2022, we will celebrate 20 years of impact, including giving over $1 million in grants to our nonprofit partners and building a $1.3 million endowment from over 1,600 donors to ensure there is funding for women and girls in perpetuity.
We bring women together to learn about issues impacting women and girls in our community, and pool our dollars to fund programs that address those issues so we can have a greater impact together than we might otherwise have alone.
The intent of this grant is woven into our mission, vision, goals, statement of unity, diversity, equity and inclusion focus, and our efforts to raise awareness of gender disparities, and we are proud to collectively invest in leadership opportunities for women of color in our community.
This is the power of a giving circle.
Giving circles bring many more — and more widely representative — everyday donors to the table to help create more equitable communities including women, people of color, LGBTQIA+ people, different giving capacities, youth, people in rural communities, religious minorities and more.
And the impact is growing.
There are currently over 2,000 giving circles in the U.S. that engage over 150,000 people, who have collectively given over $1.29B to communities across the country. Many are focused on democratizing and diversifying philanthropy, and those who participate often do so alongside other passionate, empowered, diverse individuals who are intentionally and collaboratively giving to create the world they want to see.
This is our focus.
We are proud to partner nationally with The Highland Project and invest locally in The 3rd to support their focus on gender and race equity, and specifically on leadership opportunities for women of color.
Dodson-Reed is a mom, community advocate and higher education professional. She is involved in a variety of professional, political and personal efforts that are often intertwined. She is a member of the Women’s Giving Circle Advisory Board and co-chair of their Grants Committee. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Beaudoin-Schwartz is a mom of four and philanthropic leader whose professional career, volunteer efforts and activism have been focused on women’s issues, human rights and social change through philanthropy. She is an original founder, past advisory board chair and now the first executive director of the Women’s Giving Circle of Howard County. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Women’s Giving Circle of Howard County is excited to announce a new Social Justice funding partnership with The 3rd and The Highland Project for the development and implementation of a Leadership Development program for Women of Color in Howard County, Maryland.
“Social Justice is the assertion of the ideal that all humans should have the same rights and opportunities; it is woven into the WGC’s mission, vision, goals and statement of unity, including our diversity, equity and inclusion focus and our efforts to raise awareness of gender disparities” said Barb Van Winkle, WGC Advisory Board Chair.
The Women’s Giving Circle is providing a $20,000 multi-year grant to The 3rd as an investment in the growth of the organization broadly, and specifically to provide support for increased representation for Women of Color in leadership positions throughout the county. This Leadership Development program will be developed as part of the services offered at The 3rd and will provide information, training, resources and connections for increased representation on local committees, task forces, boards of directors, and other leadership bodies in Howard County.
“The WGC is proud to partner nationally with The Highland Project and to invest locally in The 3rd” said Candace Dodson-Reed and Alison Canning, WGC Grants Committee Co-Chairs. “We are excited to provide support to a local organization that is focusing on gender and race equality, and now specifically on leadership opportunities for Women of Color.”
The 3rd is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization that is building a space that fosters dreams, creates community, and provides mentorship, which enables Women of Color to turn their ideas into economic power and freedom. As a co-created community of entrepreneurs, The 3rd has been developed with the belief that Women of Color need a space to build, execute, and thrive, and also need access to skill building, collaboration and accountability.
“This is what this new funding partnership brings to The 3rd and to Women of Color throughout our community” said Laura Bacon, Founder of The 3rd. “Our growth will be exponential with the local support from the Women’s Giving Circle and the national support from The Highland Project, and we are thrilled that both organizations understand and support the unique challenges we face, and the unique gifts we bring to the table.”
As part of this multi-year Social Justice Grant, the Women’s Giving Circle is also providing a $10,000 grant to The Highland Project, a national coalition that is cultivating a coalition of Black women who are leading communities, institutions, and systems in the creation of multi-generational wealth and change where they live and serve. The Highland Project will provide strategic guidance and coaching to The 3rd during the development stage of this personalized Leadership Development program.
“We are very excited to support the leadership of The 3rd and women of color pathblazers in Howard County” said Gabrielle Wyatt, founder of The Highland Project. “We believe our partnership can serve as a national model for working with local giving circles and nonprofits to support leadership development for Women of Color around the country.”
This partnership will support the growth of The 3rd overall, and this new leadership curriculum in particular that will be modeled on a version of the Highland Project, which we hope will cultivate a pipeline of Women of Color who are leading the way in all sectors in Howard County.
“We know that gender and race equality are closely linked and we are honored to have the WGC invest in both to support leadership development for Women of Color through this important funding partnership” said Buffy Beaudoin-Schwartz, WGC Executive Director.
Learn more at www.womensgivingcircle.org
Total of $60,000 awarded to big ideas for social change during social impact competition
The Women's Giving Circle of Howard County, Horizon Foundation, United Way of Central Maryland, and the Community Foundation of Howard County awarded a total of $60,000 at the 2021 Changemaker Challenge, an event focused on sparking innovation and fresh thinking to address some of Howard County’s most pressing issues.
Ten finalists presented their ideas for social change to a live virtual audience of over 700 community members and a panel of judges.
The winners of this year’s competition are:
“This event is always so inspiring and uplifting, and this year was no different,” said Nikki Highsmith Vernick, president and CEO of the Horizon Foundation. “Given the immense challenges we have faced as a community over the past year and a half, our goal for the Changemaker Challenge this year was to launch sustainable actions to help our residents recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and the inequities it exposed. We are so proud of all of our Changemakers for their creativity and commitment to help make our community a better place for everyone. We can’t wait to see these innovative ideas in action.”
Franklyn Baker, president and CEO of United Way of Central Maryland, said, “Together with the Horizon Foundation and other partners in Howard County, the Changemaker Challenge began in 2017 to spark new ideas for social change. This initiative finds and supports grassroots, boots-on-the-ground leaders, who are among the best equipped to drive real change within their communities. The Changemaker Challenge give more people a seat at the table and provides a compelling way to share their big ideas: ideas that will help close service and resource gaps, so that together, we can help even more people.”
We would like to thank all who joined us for this inspiring event, and to our opening guest speakers County Executive Dr. Calvin Ball, United Way of Central Maryland President and CEO Franklyn Baker and Nikki Highsmith Vernick. We would also like to thank our panel of judges: Cathy Hamel, Board Chair of the Horizon Foundation; Lisa Pearson, Vice Chair for the Horizon Foundation Board of Trustees; Barb Van Winkle, Chair on the Advisory Board for the Women's Giving Circle of Howard County; Teshia Davis, Chair of the Howard County RUN Board for United Way of Central Maryland, and; Ryan Brown, Board Member on the Howard County RUN Board for United Way of Central Maryland.
"We are honored to partner with United Way of Central Maryland, the Horizon Foundation, and the Community Foundation of Howard County to elevate and celebrate big ideas for social change in Howard County through the Changemaker Challenge - congratulations to all!" said Barb Van Winkle, WGC Chair.
We also thank all of our additional finalists for being part of the Changemaker Challenge and look forward to seeing their continued innovation and leadership in the future: 4Girls2STEM; Howard County Lynching Truth and Reconciliation, Inc.; HoCo Pirate Adventures, Inc.; Oakland Mills Online; Upcycled, Inc.; and Howard County Autism Society.
“The Changemaker Challenge is an incredible platform to recognize and showcase the tremendous grassroots efforts by so many to improve lives in Howard County,” stated Beverly White-Seals, president & CEO of the Community Foundation of Howard County. “The finalists were all so inspiring, and they represent Howard County so well. We salute all of the participants and wish them continued success as they grow their innovative ideas to lift up the community.”
The recording of the event is available here
Learn more about the Changemaker Challenge, including past winners and their big ideas, at changemakerchallengehc.org.
Hosted by the Horizon Foundation, United Way of Central Maryland, the Women's Giving Circle of Howard County and the Community Foundation of Howard County, the Changemaker Challenge is an event focused on sparking innovation and fresh thinking to address some of Howard County’s most pressing issues.
In honor of Veterans Day, the Women’s Giving Circle of Howard County is proud to recognize Wanda Riddle as part of the WGC's "Our Giving, Our Stories" profile series.
Wanda has dedicated her career to serving our country. She continues to contribute her time, talents and resources to veterans causes, including serving on the board of directors of The Howard County Veterans Foundation. Her extraordinary leadership and dedication to the mission of the Foundation have made her an indispensable part of that organization. Learn more:
What moves you to give your time, talent and financial resources? I was raised in a family where duty to country and service to others were fundamental in our mindset. My parents were part of the Greatest Generation having lived through the depression and having served in the U.S. Army during World War II. Growing up, we were taught to always be thankful for what we had, share what we could, and to be respectful, courteous and helpful to others. My mother in particular was a shining example of generosity and selflessness. Those early lessons continue to guide me today.
When did you start giving to issues that are important to you?
Throughout my thirty years of military service, I volunteered in some form or fashion with various civilian community groups and organizations. Each duty station provided new opportunities to be involved and to contribute. It ranged from tutoring inner city children to assisting with therapeutic equine riding programs. When I retired from active duty and moved to Maryland, I gravitated towards those organizations that support and advocate for military veterans and their families. One such nonprofit is The Howard County Veterans Foundation. The Foundation is currently working towards making a veterans and military families monument a reality for our community. I am also a member of the local American Legion Post where I enjoy the camaraderie of fellow members and advancing programs that assist other veterans. It was an honor to have served my country in uniform, and it is now my privilege to serve my community as a civilian.
What advice do you have for those interested in giving back?
Everyone has something to offer. Find your passion or at least identify your interests and get involved. There is a special satisfaction in knowing you are contributing to making life better for someone else and helping to improve your community. Just go for it!
We are fortunate that we have Wanda in our community working with us to elevate the voices of women and girls. Thank you for joining us in recognizing her and learning more about all of the amazing women who are part of WGC "Our Giving, Our Stories"!
Time is running out! Register for the 2021 Changemaker Challenge
Join us for the virtual live event Nov. 9 at 6 p.m.
The 2021 Changemaker Challenge is almost here! Join the Women's Giving Circle of Howard County Horizon Foundation, United Way of Central Maryland, and the Community Foundation of Howard County on November 9 to watch our 10 finalists compete for up to $35,000 to bring their big ideas for social change in Howard County to life. Register for FREE today!
A panel of judges will select three winners to receive grants totaling $60,000. All finalists will be eligible for a grant of either $25,000, $15,000, a $10,000 grant for an initiative that supports women and girls in Howard County and event attendees will select the winner of the audience choice award of an additional $10,000. Meet our finalists and learn about their big ideas to drive social change in Howard County.