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Profiles in Advocacy: Celebrating the power and legacy of women

As March comes to a close, I want to honor Women’s History Month by focusing locally on the San Diego Women’s Foundation (SDWF) and nationally on the National Women’s History Museum. Both of these institutions celebrate the power of women in shaping the landscape in which we live.

Founded in 2000 by a small group of volunteers that recognized the changing patterns of women’s giving, the SDWF began harnessing the collective philanthropy power of local women. Gone was the idea that giving was solely based on a patriarchal model led by a male “head of household.” Boasting the slogan “Women Can do More Than Woman,” SDWF members are committed to the idea that by partnering with others, women together will support the causes close to their hearts.

The SDWF wisely balances a grants process to address immediate needs while seeing to the sustainability of the foundation. Each of the over 200 members contribute $2,000 annually to the fund, 45 percent of which is allocated to a permanent endowment. As of June 2012, the collective has awarded over $2.3 million in grants to 63 community partners to initiate or improve programs that deal with health and human services, education, arts and culture, and the environment.

Looking at the organization’s impact reports on the SDWF website is inspiring, showing that the impact of their philanthropy is being felt all over San Diego County. Programs that support young artists and scientists provide environmental education, and at-risk populations, such as those who are homeless, the formerly incarcerated and refugees, continue to thrive after receiving the SDWF “stamp of approval.”

Read the full column in Gay San Diego, a SDGLN media partner, HERE.