By Lucia Denmeade, WGC Student Intern
This year, the Women’s Giving Circle of Howard County launched a year-long Feminine Hygiene Product Drive as part of our 20th anniversary. This drive is built upon the work of the Young Women’s Giving Circle in 2019 and 2020.
Information about the drive can be found here. In short, we are collecting products and money to distribute to women and girls in the community who need them through the Community Action Council/ Howard County Food Bank.
So far, we have collected $258.76 through our online donations. We are hoping to raise $2,000 by the end of the year. This money will go directly to the Community Action Council/Howard County Foodbank, and Columbia Community Care, to purchase items for women and girls in our community.
Click here to donate, and learn about other ways to contribute.
Additionally, we have collecting products at each of the six libraries in the Howard County Library System. A special thank you goes to the people who have been helping along the way to ensure our drive is as successful as possible. They are as follows:
We have been fortunate enough to receive lots of donations through the drop-off boxes, and are excited for the rest of the year. All donations were given directly to the Community Action Council/Howard County Food Bank.
Thank you to everyone who joined us on May 12 at Bra-La-La for a fun and festive happy hour toast! It was great to network, socialize, and be together in person, while supporting a woman-owned business and women and girls through the WGC!
Check our Events Calendar for our upcoming events - hope to see you soon!
Women's rights are human rights and human rights are women's rights.
And we are all entitled to human rights. These include the right to live free from violence and discrimination, to be educated, to own property, to vote, to earn an equal wage, and to enjoy the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health.
The leaked draft decision by the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade will be a direct assault on the rights, lives, dignity, and personal authority of women in our country. We may soon find ourselves in a time where women and girls actually have fewer rights than their mothers and grandmothers had, in a country with the highest maternal mortality rate, no paid maternity leave, no universal child care, no continued birth parent care, and the need for increased mental health care.
As highlighted in the WGC's State of Women and Girls in Howard County, many women and girls continue to face discrimination on the basis of sex and gender. Gender inequality underpins many problems which disproportionately affect women and girls, including lower pay, lack of access to education, inadequate healthcare, domestic and sexual violence, and reproductive health.
The Women’s Giving Circle of Howard County is building a community of philanthropists and creating a permanent legacy to address the needs of women and girls in Howard County. With a vision for women’s philanthropy to shape the future for women and girls through the power of collective giving, our goals are to:
We also believe that we are stronger together. Read our Statement of Unity here.
And, we believe women's rights are human rights and human rights are women's rights.
We must and will continue to support the fight for women's rights ... now, more than ever.
- The Women's Giving Circle of Howard County Advisory Board
H/T: Amnesty International, Hillary Clinton, Tocarra Mallard
The Women's Giving Circle of Howard County is proud to continue our support for Black Philanthropy Month (BPM) which is observed every August. The primary aims of BPM are informing, involving, inspiring and investing in Black philanthropic leadership to strengthen African-American and African-descent giving in all its forms, for the benefit of our planet, our communities, our organizations and our lives.
One way we are doing this is through WGC's "Our Giving, Our Stories!" Profile Series each August. On August 1 and each day in August thereafter, the WGC is sharing daily profiles on our website and social media in celebration of Black Philanthropy Month.
The Women's Giving Circle of Howard County is currently seeking nominees to share their stories in celebration of Black Philanthropy Month.
Since we started "Our Giving, Our Stories" in 2020, over 60 women have shared the stories of their philanthropic journeys with the WGC, and our community, and we invite you to help us elevate the voices of women who continue to give their time, talent and treasure for the benefit of our community.
To nominate a woman who enriches the quality of life in our community through her giving, please see the process below. All information submitted will be reviewed by the “Our Giving, Our Stories (OGOS)” Committee and nominees will be contacted directly for more information and to assure they wish to move forward with the nomination. All information supplied by the nominator and the nominee will be strictly confidential.
We hope you enjoy the inspirational stories of these Howard County philanthropists in celebration of Black Philanthropy Month 2021 and 2020. Double click on each image to read the full profile!
“Philanthropy is Deeper than Your Pocket.” - Valaida Fullwood, Architect, Black Philanthropy Month
On Friday, April 22 we had a terrific conversation on WGC's new State of Women and Girls in Howard County.
We heard from WGC 20th Anniversary Co-Chairs Jennifer Bodensiek and Candace Dodson-Reed, principal Researchers Sabina Taj and Shaista Keating, and original WGC founders and funders of The State of Women and Girls in Howard County Barbara Lawson and Jean Moon, who discussed the focus of this new baseline compilation of data, the research methodology, implications for WGC's grantmaking, and our goals for use by the broader community.
You can find a link to the full conversation here.
By Lucia Denmeade, WGC Student Intern
It is estimated that 500 million people who menstruate worldwide experience what is known as “period poverty.”
This is a lack of access to menstrual products and education and it is a growing problem globally and in the United States. According to a survey of low-income women in large cities, almost two-thirds of women in the U.S. have had to choose between buying food or menstrual products at some point in their life. Period-products are not covered by government assistance programs like SNAP, and are also taxed heavily, in some states at the highest tax rate.
Maryland has made many efforts to reduce period poverty, including the exemption of feminine hygiene products from sales tax requirements. At the Maryland General Assembly, a bill to provide free menstrual products in public schools was passed last spring (see HB0205).
There is still a real need in Maryland, despite the efforts that have been made, to ease period poverty in the state.
Menstrual health is more than just physical; it includes mental and social well-being. Women who have to find alternatives to safe menstrual products, and young girls who don’t have access to these products while in school do not have the positive environment to support their menstrual health, as defined by the Global Menstrual Collective.
The issue of a lack of period products weighs most heavily on school-age girls and working women, who may struggle at school and work during their period. A lack of feminine hygiene products available to women and girls in these situations means that time is taken away from their education and career and put towards running around trying to find adequate products. It creates shame and impacts both their physical and mental health.
Through our year-long feminine hygiene product drive, the Women’s Giving Circle of Howard County aims to ease the effects of period poverty in Howard County to help women and girls succeed without being set back by their period.
Learn more and donate here
Join us for a conversation on the WGC's new State of Women and Girls in Howard County. Learn about the focus of this new baseline compilation of data, the research methodology, implications for WGC's grantmaking, and our goals for use by the broader community.
Hear from WGC 20th Anniversary Co-Chairs Jennifer Bodensiek and Candace Dodson-Reed and Principal Researchers Sabina Taj and Shaista Keating.
Joining the conversation also will be original WGC founders and funders of The State of Women and Girls in Howard County Barbara Lawson and Jean Moon.
The WGC was honored to co-Sponsor "Reading Human Rights" with the Howard County Office of Human Rights and Equity at the Howard County Library System Central Branch on March 22.
It was a wonderful evening where WGC Advisory Board Members Lynne Schaefer and Jade McDuffie McClary joined others for the event and provided remarks about Women's History Month and the work of the Women's Giving Circle.
Here's what they said:
Good evening. We are Lynne Schaefer and Jade McDuffie McClary, Women’s Giving Circle of Howard County Advisory Board members.
We are proud to co-sponsor tonight’s event with the Howard County Office of Human Rights and Equity and the Howard County Library System.
We would like to give you some background on the Women’s Giving Circle of Howard County. The Giving Circle was created to build a community of philanthropists and to establish a permanent legacy to address the needs of women and girls in Howard County.
The Circle has been doing this since 2002 and we are excited to be celebrating 20 years of impact in Howard County this year! Here’s a few numbers to illustrate what the Circle has done in those 20 years:
These numbers are a powerful illustration of how 20 years later, we have lived up to the mission created by our founders.
In recent years, we have enhanced our core values to better meet our mission by implementing a diversity, equity and inclusion lens to all of our work through a measurable action agenda, with a goal to ensure all WGC activities reflect the organization’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion in practice, policy and governance. We encourage you to check out the many ways these actions are showing up in our work.
This year we will give $200,000 in grants in honor of our 20th Anniversary year. This is more than we have ever given in one year and we are able to do this by providing an inclusive engagement platform that has 4 distinct ways for women to give to the WGC.
We invite anyone interested to get involved with the Women’s Giving Circle - and you can find information about what we are doing on our website at www.womensgivingcircle.org and on social media.
To provide some context a Giving Circle is a form of philanthropy where individuals with common interests come together as a group to pool their philanthropic dollars to have a greater impact together. Donors give funds collectively to issues and organizations that align with their interests. There are well over 1,000 giving circles in the United States and women make up the majority of members in about 70% of them. Collectively, an estimated 150,000 donors have given over $1.20 billion through giving circles to date.
And as we celebrate Women’s History Month, you can see that one of the ways women are doing so is through their philanthropy. In fact, many believe that women’s philanthropy is one of the next phases of the women’s movement.
We know that history helps us learn who we are ... but when we don’t know our own history, our power and dreams are immediately diminished.
As we recognize women tonight, and continue to celebrate Women’s History Month in many forms here in Howard County, we are reminded that it is a time to reflect on the often-overlooked contributions of women to United States history. From Abigail Adams to Susan B. Anthony, Sojourner Truth to Rosa Parks, the timeline of women’s history milestones stretches back to the founding of the United States.
It's hard to picture that as recently as the 1970s, women’s history was virtually an unknown topic in the K-12 curriculum or in general public consciousness, but it’s true.
In 1987 after being petitioned by the National Women’s History Project, Congress designated the month of March 1987 as “Women’s History Month” and since 1995, presidents have issued a series of annual proclamations designating the month of March as “Women’s History Month.” These proclamations celebrate the contributions women have made to the United States and recognize the specific achievements women have made over the course of American history in a variety of fields.
Recognizing the achievements of women in all facets of life – science, community, government, literature, art, sports, medicine – has a huge impact on the development of self-respect and new opportunities for girls and young women.
And, that’s what we are here to do tonight! We are honored to join you, thank you for inviting us. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to either of us tonight, and to learn more about the Women’s Giving Circle at www.womensgivingcircle.org and on social media.
Reading Human Rights is a monthly book discussion hosted by the Howard County Office of Human Rights & Equity and Howard County Library System, where books that promote cultural awareness, diversity, equity are read and discussed.
It all began in the fall of 2000. Buffy Beaudoin-Schwartz organized a meeting on behalf of the Maryland Philanthropy Network (formerly Association of Baltimore Area Grantmakers) and asked Barbara Lawson, at that time the head of the organization that is now the Community Foundation of Howard County (CFHoCo) to invite local women to attend.
Yolanda Bruno, Jean Moon, and Linda Odum accepted that offer, and became fascinated by what they learned about the incredible power of collective giving inherent in the giving circle model.
Read the full story here
March 15 is Equal Pay Day
Equal Pay Day symbolizes how much into the year women must work to earn what men earned the year before.
The pay gap is larger when comparing the wages of women of color to men.
This is unacceptable.
It’s time to close the wage gap and demand equal pay for equal work.
WGC's March 8, 2022 Virtual Annual Celebration: Celebrating 20 Years of Impact
Wow - What a Night!
Thank you to all those who joined us tonight for the WGC's March 8, 2022 Virtual Annual Celebration on International Women's Day!
We celebrated our 20th Anniversary year with Keynote Speaker Jeannie Infante Sager, Director of the Women's Philanthropy Institute, who discussed "Gaps and Growth in Philanthropic Support for Women and Girls".
And then we followed with a conversation on our new State of Women and Girls in Howard County with Jennifer Bodensiek, Candace Dodson-Reed and Sabina Taj.
Finally, we provided highlights of our last 20 years, and discussed what we have planned ahead.
After announcing that we are giving $200,000 in grants this year, we were proud to make a surprise announcement that we are giving our 10 Emergency Response Network partners $20,000 in grants - $2,000 each in honor of our 20th Anniversary!
If you were unable to join us you can view our 20th Anniversary Tribute video here, view remarks from County Executive Calvin Ball here, and for fun, watch the video we made on our 10th Anniversary here.
If you are as inspired as we are to continue making a difference collectively, we hope you will get involved with all we have going on this 20th Anniversary year, including:
Thank you once again to our 60+ 20th Anniversary Year Sponsors - we appreciate your investment in the WGC, and thus women and girls in Howard County! We invite additional sponsors to join us now, and throughout the year - learn more here.
We truly believe that women’s philanthropy is shaping the future for women and girls through the power of collective giving.
Thank you all for being a part of it.
Barb Van Winkle, WGC Advisory Board Chair
Jennifer Bodensiek and Candace Dodson-Reed, WGC 20th Anniversary Co-Chairs
Buffy Beaudoin-Schwartz, WGC Executive Director
WGC 2022 Advisory Board
March 8 - The Women's Giving Circle of Howard County has released The State of Women and Girls in Howard County on Tuesday, March 8 - International Women's Day - as part of the organization's 20th Anniversary Year in 2022.
The WGC has embarked on a journey to further understand the challenges and needs of women and girls in Howard County to better inform the organization’s grantmaking for the future.
Under the direction of Women’s Giving Circle of Howard County Advisory Board Chair Barb Van Winkle, Vice Chair Jennifer Bodensiek, Grants Committee co-Chair Candace Dodson-Reed, and Executive Director Buffy Beaudoin-Schwartz, Sabina Taj and Shaista Keating were selected as the principal researchers for this project.
The State of Women and Girls in Howard County is a baseline compilation of data and a resource about women from statistics published by a range of federal, state, and county agencies as well as public, private, and nonprofit organizations. In particular, we are pleased to leverage and utilize information from the recently released Maryland Women: A Status Report by the Maryland Commission for Women.
The compilation of data highlights that, while women have been shattering glass ceilings, many disparities remain, including:
This baseline data is designed as a central resource that positions our community to effectively advocate on behalf of women and girls and positively impact legislation, policy, and countywide programming.
“Our hope is that The State of Women and Girls in Howard County is a catalyst for a more focused effort to identify and close gaps in gender data in Howard County,” said Barb Van Winkle, WGC Advisory Board Chair. “And, that other giving circles and counties in Maryland may see an opportunity to utilize the important statewide data from the 2021 Maryland Women: A Status Report and compile baseline information on the status of women and girls per county throughout the state.”
Further research is needed, especially with regard to how these disparities may have been exacerbated by the Covid-19 pandemic and the Women’s Giving Circle of Howard County plans to update this baseline data with new information as it becomes available.
The State of Women and Girls in Howard County can be found at: www.wgcstateofwomenandgirlsinhoco.org
The WGC extends its gratitude to our funders, collaborators, and partners.
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. 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 www.womensgivingcircle.org
2022 marks 20 years that the WGC has been working to make a difference in our community. We have so much to look forward to in 2022 as we celebrate the WGC's 20th Anniversary year and we hope you will join us along the way!
Read the full eNewsletter here
We will recognize this important year in two weeks at our upcoming WGC Virtual Annual Celebration on Tuesday, March 8, 2022 at 5:30 pm - International Women's Day, with Keynote Speaker Jeannie Infante Sager, Director of the Women's Philanthropy Institute, who will discuss "Gaps and Growth in Philanthropic Support for Women and Girls". And, we'll host a conversation on "The State of Women and Girls in Howard County" as well as provide highlights of our last 20 years, and discuss what we have planned ahead. Purchase your ticket here today.
You can learn more about our 20th Anniversary Year sponsorship opportunities here. All $500 or above sponsorships include support of our upcoming 2022 State of Women and Girls in Howard County. Many thanks to our sponsors to date!
We invite all of you - our leaders, donors, partners and the community - to help us celebrate by sending the WGC a birthday tribute via "Tribute" - it's fun, easy, and a great way to collectively celebrate 20 years of impact in the community - we would love to hear from YOU!
Be sure to connect with us on social media and read our blog to learn more about our efforts and how you can get involved in the coming months!
Looking forward to seeing you soon!
Barb Van Winkle
WGC Advisory Board Chair
give * engage * connect
The Women’s Giving Circle of Howard County is building a community of philanthropists and creating a permanent legacy to address the needs of women and girls in Howard County.
One of our stated goals is to increase the life skills of women and girls, which we are focused on through our grantmaking. We are also working to meet this goal by hosting an HCPSS Student Intern this year, recognizing that internships can provide a real-world learning experience that can help increase the life skills of young women, open doors, and shape future paths in college and beyond.
We recently welcomed our new Student Intern, Lucia Denmeade to the WGC. Lucia is a senior at Howard High School, and already has a good deal of communications, leadership, and marketing experience as the Vice President of the Howard High School Social Studies Honor Society, and through previous internship work with the Howard County Council, the District Court of Maryland, and the Maryland General Assembly.
One thing Lucia is supporting this year is our Feminine Hygiene Product Drive, where we are collecting donated products and money to distribute to the Community Action Council/Howard County Foodbank, and Columbia Community Care to distribute to women and girls in our community. We are excited to be able to help provide much-needed items to women and girls in our community.
We are thrilled to have Lucia supporting the WGC's Membership and Events Committee, and invited her to share some thoughts about interning with the WGC:
1. We are so excited you are working with the WGC this year! Why did you want to take time during your senior year to intern with the WGC?
“I have always been interested in law and this year I am researching reproductive rights as part of an independent research course. I thought I would take a step out of my comfort zone and learn more about the people that these broad legal issues are actually affecting. I reached out to the WGC in order to learn more about these issues, while also giving back to my community.”
2. Now that you've joined our Membership & Events Committee, what are you working on that interests you?
“So far, I have been working on our year-long Feminine Hygiene Product Drive. I have met with branch managers at each of the libraries in the county to set up containers for the drive, and will be working with them in the future to manage the drive year-round. This drive is very interesting to me because lack of feminine hygiene products is such an important issue for people in any community.”
3. What is the most interesting thing you've learned so far about women's philanthropy and giving to programs that benefit women and girls? What would you like us to know?
“The most interesting thing that I have been able to do so far is just to attend Events Committee meetings, as well as conversing with women throughout the community to get the drive put into motion. It has been so inspiring and the project has only just begun. The Women’s Giving Circle does so much to help the Howard County community, and I am very grateful to be a part of it.”
Thank you for your experience, ideas, and hard work Lucia … welcome!
By Liz Bobo
Former WGC Advisory Board Member 2003-2007
Coming in on the ground floor of the Women’s Giving Circle in Columbia, Howard County, Maryland was a great opportunity for me to take a look back at my life as an adult woman.
I majored in literature in college at the University of Maryland. A few years later I attended and graduated from law school as a young mom with two children. Living with my family adjacent to Columbia I developed an interest in how James Rouse went about building that new town, as he named it, “a garden for growing people“.
Now, at the age of 78, looking back on my life as a young woman, I see a quite shy person. In the late sixties, a friend told me about a women’s group that gathered on a weekly basis in Columbia’s first village centers-sometimes Wilde Lake and sometimes Harpers Choice. I can visualize myself so clearly sitting on a bench in the corner of the room with my knees drawn up and my arms around my legs. I would literally pray that no one would notice me much less call my name. Yes I was very shy.
I don’t know where that shyness went, but as the years passed I became involved as a community activist in Howard County. I led an organization of neighbors encouraging our county government to avoid environmentally degrading the many stream valleys along the Middle Patuxent River which ran through the new town.
In years following, I led the community action effort to build Howard County General Hospital and give it time to get on its feet before adding competing hospitals. This led me to develop working relationships with elected representatives and community activists from other communities between Baltimore and Washington.
As I became more recognized as a community leader, I eventually campaigned to become a member of the Howard County Council, and, after eight years serving on that body, two years as chairperson, I ran and won election to the position of Howard County Executive. I was the first female county executive in the state of Maryland. There was considerable talk about a woman not being able to handle the job. That talk ceased when during my term in office, Howard County became the first in the state of Maryland to receive a AAA bond rating.
After 20 years serving as a member of the Maryland House of Delegates representing West Columbia and parts of Ellicott City, I chose to end my time as an elected official. During my last year in office, my first grandchild, Zachary, succumbed to a brain tumor which had first been discovered years before, and following several years in remission, came back.
Zachary spent a good deal of time with me during his last years, having a profound impact on my spiritual life. I attended a weeklong silent retreat led by a Buddhist monk for five consecutive years. My meditation practice has led me to a deeper more pervasive way of thinking about life.
I am so grateful to have had the experience of attending the Women’s Center in the early days of Columbia and also of being a part of the Women’s Giving Circle in later years.
I offer a deep bow of gratitude to those women who are keeping it alive.