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Women's Giving Circle 2020 Annual Meeting Highlights

The Women’s Giving Circle of Bartholomew County, a program of Heritage Fund – the Community Foundation of Bartholomew County had their annual meeting today via Zoom. The meeting’s theme was Women in Leadership and consisted of announcing the $10,000 2020 High Impact Grant, presenting data on the state of women in leadership in Bartholomew County, and a Q&A with Nancy Ann (Brown) Poynter, Columbus’ first female Mayor.

A video of the event can be viewed at this link.

The Women’s Giving Circle (WGC) of Bartholomew County, annually raises funds to award grants benefiting women, children, and families throughout Bartholomew County. The 2020 $10,000 grant in unrestricted operating funds was awarded to Su Casa. Su Casa’s mission is to increase Latino self-sufficiency, economic independence and community building

through advocacy, educational attainment and greater access to community resources. Su Casa works to bring people together in ways that benefit both Latino and non-Latino residents.

Members of the Women’s Giving Circle members selected their top priority grant initiative for 2020 to be COVID-19 relief. Su Casa will use the funds for staff payroll which accounts for 85% of their expenses so that they can continue the important work of uplifting families through stability, better employment, financial literacy, wellness, and education.

The WGC received eight grant applications from area not-for-profits. Thank you to all organizations that applied.

In recent years, the WGC began to explore ways to positively impact the lives of women in Bartholomew County beyond the annual grant program. This led to undertaking multiple new initiatives including the idea of creating a women’s leadership pipeline in order to better understand and document how women are represented in leadership positions throughout our community. This summer, data was gathered from 144 broadly based community boards, commissions and committees, as well as elected and appointed government positions in Bartholomew County. Highlights from the findings presented at the annual meeting included:

  • Women hold 49% of board seats across local nonprofits, 37% of city government board seats and appointments, and 32% of county board seats and appointments.

  • When considering both gender and race, only 6 out of 94 nonprofit and government boards are representative of our community’s gender and racial demographics.

  • Women hold over half of seats on boards that focus on traditionally female issues such as children, basic needs and community appeal/preservation.

  • Women are least represented on boards that deal with professional development, city planning, health and environmental concerns.

  • The leadership within local boards is also predominantly male.

A complete white paper detailing the leadership study findings and planned solutions can be accessed on the Women’s Giving Circle page of the Heritage Fund website: https://www.heritagefundbc.org/giving-circle/

A Q&A with Nancy Ann (Brown) Poynter, Columbus’ first female Mayor concluded the meeting. Nancy Ann shared highlights of her leadership journey, gave advice to women looking to step into a leadership role, and talked about the role of mentorship in her leadership development.

In response to the leadership survey findings and membership interest, the Women’s Giving Circle will focus its 2021 initiatives on a $10,000 high impact grant, a women in crisis micro-loan program in partnership with Lincoln Central Neighborhood Family Center, a Women Rising Leadership grant program to invest in the leadership growth of women, and the completion of a Bartholomew County report card for women.

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