WomenExplore Lecture and Discussion Forum

Rating: 5 stars   21 reviews

Issues: Human Services

Location: Cambridge MA 02138 USA

Mission:
Target demographics: WomenExplore is an open learning community of thoughtful women, who, each year, organize two series of lectures in Harvard Square, Cambridge, Massachusetts. The topics examined in the series arise from the issues that the participants encounter in their lives. Each week the day begins with a short lecture from one of participants on how the day's issue relates to her personal life. This is followed by an expert speaker and then discussion by members of the audience. WE began in the Harvard Divinity School as the Theological Opportunities Program. WomenExplore has no religious or other affiliations.
Direct beneficiaries per year: 150-200
Geographic areas served: Boston/Cambridge and surrounding towns
Programs: a "share and care" community support group. World-class speakers discuss important personal, professional, societal, and global issues. Participants also plan the lecture series from topics that arise from their own interests and/or daily lives.
2013 Top-Rated Nonprofit
Write a Review

More Info

EIN 20-0067510
617-285-7408
Invite people to share their experience with this nonprofit!

Promote This Nonprofit

GreatNonprofits badges allow you to raise awareness of your favorite nonprofits on your own web sites!

Review this charity on
GreatNonprofits

Community Reviews

Rating: 5 stars  

WomenExplore is more than JUST a lecture series! It has been providing the community with thought provoking lecture given by world class speakers for 40 years. It offers the women and men who attend the forum a platform to discuss what is of great importance to them in their personal or professional lives. It is centered in a caring community, and each week before the lectures individuals are encouraged to join for a "Sharing and Caring" circle which gives them an opportunity to share with others what is on their minds and receive support. The planning sessions that take place after the lectures are a chance for individuals to plan the series taking place next year.

It has truly changed my life, and the people that are a part of the organization have enriched my life in countless ways! I am honored to be a part of the community. I can not think of a better place to spend my Thursdays!!! I love this group and individuals who are a part of it. It truly is the people that make it such an incredible place to be.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of advisors?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

TOP is getting very exciting. We were so inspired by the young people who came to visit. Our conversations relate to women world wide and of all ages. I love this group!

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Role: General Member of the Public
Rating: 5 stars  

I make WE a priority in my plans and travel over an hour to reach this provocative collective each week. The Sharing and Caring starter hour never fails to remind me how our struggles are felt so similarly regardless of the circumstances. It is through listening deeply to others and their perspectives that I see new possibilities and gather strength to craft my life. Likewise the afternoon Planning Circle reminds me again of how we are touched individually and collectively by shared issues. The individual becomes global and the global returns to each individual. Throughout, I am moved by the willingness of each of us to engage authentically and trust the wisdom of the collective. We care so much to grasp the precise meaning of an issue for our lives and focus the lecture forum to explore this specific angle. I am regularly amazed that the lecture series itself attracts such notable experts who enthusiastically accept WE's invitations to engage with us in authentic dialogue. The women of WE are incredible. The whole experience informs and supports the various practices I integrate within my spiritual journey.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

like to find effective ways to enable a greater number and diversity of participants to enjoy the fruits of this life-changing collective.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I saw brochure over year ago and was attracted to notable speakers on timely societal topics close to my heart and life. Attending the sessions I found a large group of very well-informed women (some men) with strong voices on a wide range of current issues - social, political, personal, environment. Lectures and discussion are provocative eliciting many views and out-of-the box ideas for moving forward as well as personal anecdotes documenting the real lives and issues for women. My own perspectives have enlarged, and I deeply value the friendship within the group. It is very welcoming and supportive to all. The lecture planning process, open to all and by consensus, takes patience and can lag, and is extremely engaging. I travel more than an hour each way, as do many others, to participate year-round in this important, 35+ year old group, that has touched the lives of so many women.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

Life-changing

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

I've been a member for 30+ years. Women/Explore has been a vital help in reshaping how I see myself as a woman -- both through the lecture series we design ourselves based on our own issues, and through giving us a safe place to speak our own truths. We listen to each other and are listened to. What a gift, an organization to grow in!

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I cannot honestly think of any basic changes I would make.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

I discovered WomenExplore in the '70's (then called T.O.P.) and have been involved ever since. It is a place for women to explore issues central to our lives from a feminist perspective; it is a safe place for women to share their stories. We follow a unique democratic process in which the entire group designs the topics for lectures together and chooses the speakers; in addition to main speakers one of us gives a 15-minute "focus" talk on the subject from our own personal experience. Anyone who chooses to attend the planning sessions participates, it is not a closed group. On occasion we have designed very meaningful rituals for ourselves, one-time, one-of-a-kind ritual that speaks to our needs. I have experienced such growth over the years. My connections with women in the group go beyond the superficial because of our shared stories of our lives.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

I've been involved with WomenExplore for a few years now. I learned about it from a friend whoe said the WomenExplore group was outstanding in what they do with their two 10-lecture series each year. She was right! the lectures are highly professional & the lecturers come from many of the universities in the Cambridge area. And it's also possible to get to know the group of women as well because each formal lecture is preceded by a short intro lecture by one of the members of the group from the personal perspective of her own life. It's a terrific collection of smart, thoughtful & creative women. I love it & willingly contribute time, energy & money to this fine organization! -Elaine

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Just a tad more organization in terms of discussion style. Actually, I have few complaints at all.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

I've been coming to WomenExplore for about 5 years, drawn at first by the amazing lecture series the group offers. For an almost token price, $15 per lecture, one gets to hear dynamic, thoughtful speakers and to participate in lively Q&A and comment sessions after the talks. In the last couple of years I've become a more active member, participating in the unique open lecture planning process and now, as a board member, helping with the administrative efforts necessary to keep the organization running smoothly. W/E offers a unique opportunity to engage with a varied group of bright, interesting, and thinking women. I'm grateful to the friend that introduced me to WomenExplore.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

A lot

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

I have been attending the Women Explore lecture and discussion series for about 3 years. I was retired and looking for something that would provide an interesting and intellectually stimulating environment, partly just to keep my brain active, but also to be exposed to ideas and issues I never had much time for in a busy business career. In Women Explore I found all this and more. In addition to provocative topics, developed by the membership in an open and participatory process, and great speakers, experts in their field, there are the members themselves - bright, interesting, welcoming and supportive. Recently I joined the board feeling that I ought to contribute in some way to the ongoing success of this amazing organization.

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization beyond what is required of board members?

Likely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

A lot

Will you tell others about this organization?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

WomenExplore Lecture and Discussion Forum holds a distinctive place in the keeping and expanding of progressive ideas. It offers a provocative and stimulating lecture series in both the fall and spring each year. The series is born out of a collaborative, egalitarian, and decidedly feminist process of discernment. What makes WomenExplore so incredible is its core group of intellectual and welcoming feminists and its genuine openness to other interested, progressive, individuals. My life is enriched through the lecture series, planning, discussions, and community of WomenExplore.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

All interested folks are welcome at WomenExplore. I would love to see more people attend the (free) planning sessions.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Role: General Member of the Public
Rating: 5 stars  

This organization, first called the "Theological Opportunities Program" and now called "WomenExplore", has provided not only the most enjoyable but the most worthwhile and thoughtful moments of my last 20 years! It makes me feel alive, and heathy, and truly fortunate. I attended originally because a woman whom I had just met in Canterbury England at a Berkshire ChoralFestival rehearsal said I MUST! Just from talking to me for 5 minutes over breakfast, she knew I'd love it. And love it I have - I've never been sorry I followed her advice. She also became one of my best friends, and persuaded me that to be totally involved in all phases of the lecture/discussion series (including the planning and, eventually, giving some of the focus talks from personal experience, by way of introduction to the more professional speakers) was the only way to optimize the pleasure of belonging to this group. Now, it's just "what I do on Thursdays", fall and spring, even though I have a commute of at least 2hrs, since I live down in Marion next to Cape Cod.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

...urge more people to become involved. This is super way to make friends and become a more viable partner in the workings of the world, a better citizen. You will love the people you meet!

Will you volunteer or donate to this organization?

Definitely

How much of an impact do you think this organization has?

A lot

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

I've been coming to WomenExplore since 2004. From the start I engaged in lecture planning in the afternoons and over the years I've taken on more volunteer jobs. This is an enjoyable and productive way of making a difference in an organization that is very responsive to the needs of the women that it reaches. WomenExplore provides a loving, non-judgemental community for all the women who attend.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Encourage more people to come to the lectures, and come to the lecture planning where they can help determine the topics of the next lectures. WomenExplore has made a huge difference to many women in many ways.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful? 
1 previous review
Rating: 5 stars  

1 person found this review helpful

I came to WomenExplore as a newly arrived foreigner in a strange land. I came because my landlady told me about it and because the experts' lectures looked interesting. I found it was so much more than that! The stories of the women who ground the topic of the day in their own lives are very special, and the process of creating a series from the concerns of those who attend the lectures is unique. I was quickly hooked. I found a community of thoughtful, intelligent women who are seeking to find new perspectives on the world in which we all live. WomenExplore has enabled many women to find their voices and change their lives. It is a very welcoming, supportive and non-judgmental community open to all the women who turn up at the lectures. These women have become my friends and I now volunteer to help maintain this wonderful organization as it struggles to remain financially viable and seeks to empower even more women.

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

providing me with a women's view of life. Most of my working career has been with men.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Bring it to more women. This would ultimately require a new space to accommodate the larger number of participants.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2012

Did your volunteer experience have an effect on you? (teaching you a new skill, or introducing new friends, etc.)

Yes; I learned a lot about websites, even attending a design course and meeting with a group of design students who had volunteered to help with the design. More importantly I made many wonderful new friends.

How did this volunteer experience make you feel?

It makes me feel good to be of help to others.

Was this review helpful? 
Rating: 5 stars  

TOP/WomenExplore is on my calendar faithfully every spring and fall for the 10 week series........for several years............T.--thoughtful O. original P. provocative..........each week"s focus, lecture and discussion provides me with much to think about......often in very original ways.......and with very provocative questions and multi-dimensional explorings of culture, politics, global issues, spirituality, womens' lives and life challenges............attending women/explore has helped me to understand my own life with some deeper perspecitive......and within a broader historical/cultural context........i am so often inspired by the women who attend----their stories, their values, their political action, their seasoned thinking.......and their willingness to explore....any issue!

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

find a way for more women and men of all ages to know about it

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

Life-changing

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2013

Was this review helpful?