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Driscoll Alumni Center Rm 1002
2801 W Bancroft St MS 319
Toledo, Ohio 43606
Each day, philanthropic organizations around the world aid the sick or needy, transform communities and further countless causes. While the purpose and scope of each organization varies greatly, they are alike in one way: Each started with a small group of people sharing a single idea.
Such is the case with Women & Philanthropy at The University of Toledo, established in 2006.
“Women & Philanthropy was a grassroots initiative that started as a simple idea,” said Marianne Ballas, the group’s chair. “In only four years, we have made that idea a reality.”
The group’s mission is to promote the University through investments and grants and to build new relationships, creating a community of thoughtful, effective philanthropists among women diverse in age, interests and backgrounds.
Now numbering 35 members, Women & Philanthropy provided its first gift to UT in 2008. In just three grant cycles, Mrs. Ballas notes, the group’s support to the University has totaled more than $100,000.
This year’s grants include $16,000 to the Ritter Planetarium and Brooks Observatory, and $8,190 to the UT women’s basketball program.
The planetarium gift will create a new interactive display area in the lobby. Visitor-controlled displays, with large LCD monitors and stereo speakers, will focus on four themes: “Toledo and the Infrared Universe,” “The Secret Story of Starlight and Ritter Observatory,” “A Tour of Our Solar System” and “Backyard Astronomy and the Night Sky.”
The second grant will enhance the women’s basketball locker room, featuring academic-oriented electronic equipment and a graphic wall highlighting the Rockets’ achievements.
The group’s past grants include:
- $15,000 awarded to the Carlson Library, for a concourse sculpture by glass artist Thomas McGlauchlin, entitled “A University
- $50,000 pledged to the College of Business Administration, to name a Women & Philanthropy classroom in the new Savage & Associates Complex for Business Learning and Engagement.
- $10,644 in funding for the UT Outdoor Garden Classroom, a collaboration between the College of Arts and Sciences, the Eberly Center for Women and the department of women’s and gender studies. The new area provides an outdoor venue for gathering and studying, as well as educating the community about sustainable food production and agriculture.
The organization also sponsors programs for members and prospective members, most held on UT’s campus, Mrs. Ballas said. “This familiarizes our members with our beautiful campus and promotes an even greater sense of pride in this world-class University. In doing so, we create a feeling of belonging and deeper commitment to the cause.”
Boosting membership is a major goal. A larger membership will increase revenues, she explained, allowing gifts to have a greater impact on the University.
“I am involved in many things in our community,” said Mrs. Ballas, “but there is nothing I am more proud of than Women & Philanthropy. As Helen Keller once said, ‘Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.’”