Power of Women Is Focus of New Philanthropy Group
"As I give, I get," said African-American educator Mary McLeod Bethune (1875-1955).
Though volunteerism among women is no new phenomenon, the role of women in charitable giving is receiving increased attention nationally.
"Women & Philanthropy" is a collaborative effort of UT's Office of Institutional Advancement and several area women, including Toledo businesswoman Marianne Ballas.
"Many major universities have similar programs that are very successful; however, there is no University-based women's philanthropy program in our region, and we really are excited about the possibility of being the first," said Mrs. Ballas. "We feel Toledo and The University of Toledo can create a model program that will bring esteem and recognition as a leader for women and women's career opportunities."
The group's mission is to assist the University community through "forging new relationships and building a community of thoughtful, effective philanthropists among women, diverse in age, interests and backgrounds."
Mrs. Ballas said the group is not yet focusing on specific programs or projects. However, some projects will likely center on women's educational opportunities. "We hope to raise the awareness of women in our community and mentor young women in the art of giving back," she said. "In addition, women may become more thoughtful and artful givers."
She noted that men traditionally have used giving as a way to cultivate relationships and business opportunities and at the same time, made great things happen. "It is proven that women give for more emotional reasons. Women need to start talking about giving and about money. Combining resources makes the pie larger and more powerful, and possibilities are endless," she explained. "We need to educate women by providing them with information and plans that may be helpful in estate planning as well."
Those involved are excited about the group's potential, noted Marilyn Sheperd, UT's assistant vice president for Institutional Advancement. "UT is fortunate to have, in its base of support, women who are smart, professionally successful in their own right, extraordinarily generous and devoted to this University," she said. "When these women come together in a room, the energy is phenomenal."