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Dining for Women

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: International, Philanthropy, Private Grantmaking Foundations, Promotion of International Understanding

Mission: To empower women living in extreme poverty by funding worldwide programs fostering good health, education and economic self-sufficiency and to cultivate educational dinner circles inspiring individuals to make a profound difference through the power of collective giving.

Results: Since its founding in 2003, more than 390 chapters and 9,000 people have joined DFW, making a difference in the lives of hundreds of thousands of women and girls living in the most extreme poverty in more than 30 countries. To date, DFW has raised over $2.1 million, one potluck at a time!

Target demographics: Dining for Women empowers women living in extreme poverty by funding programs fostering good health, education, and economic self-sufficiency and cultivates educational dinner circles inspiring individuals to make a difference through the power of collective giving.

Direct beneficiaries per year: Each month, a different program is selected, and many hundreds of women and children benefit from the donations DFW is able to raise.

Geographic areas served: Developing countries world wide

Programs: Each month, a new non-profit NGO is selected to receive that month's donation. To see the list of all programs go to: http://www.diningforwomen.org/ProgramsPanelPage

Community Stories

27 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Dining for Women inspires me! Through our local monthly potlucks, I make new acquaintances who are both interesting themselves and interested in others. Food, fun, companionship, and learning about another culture all wrapped up in one lovely evening. It fills me in many ways. And it is a joy to know that my individual contribution, combined with thousands of others, makes one large impact on the lives of women and girls around the world. Come join us!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

In addition to the wonderful potluck dinners I share with like-minded women each month, I have had the opportunity to participate in DFW sponsored trips to Nepal and Kenya to visit the women and girls who have benefited from our generosity and desire to create a better world. It is amazing to see the difference our gifts have made!
DFW runs on a shoe string budget; every dollar is well-spent and accounted for, and much of the work of running the organization is done by volunteers. The programs are well-vetted. I trust how they handle money and how they disperse it.

2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

A friend and I started a DFW chapter about 7 years ago and it is still THRIVING! Every month we have a group of interesting and engaged women who gather to learn about conditions facing women and girls in the developing world and what we can do to help. It is so simple to host a monthly meeting since it is a potluck. Our members all agree it is the BEST meal we have all month. We share a delicious meal, visit with interesting women from around our city, and learn about an organization that is working to make the world a better place for women and girls in the poorest communities in the world. Then, we donate what we would have spent if we had dined out. Simple, yet profound. I have learned so much and am grateful to DFW for the opportunity to fund organizations that are making a difference for women and girls around the world.

Review from Guidestar

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

A potluck with a purpose!!! Each month we support a program that helps to empower women and girls in developing countries. Find a local chapter, meet like minded women and take you dining out dollars and donate them to change the lives of women throughout the world. We truly are making a difference, one dinner at a time!

Previous Stories
1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Diining for Women is an organization that funds grassroots programs throughout the world., benefitting and aiding women and children. Each month a different organization is feature which empowers women to better their lives and the lives of the children. Monthly potluck dinners are held where the members share a meal with friends while learning and becoming educated about a group of women half way around the world. You are asked to take your "dining out dollars" and donate thoses monies you would have spent to the the montly organization.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been involved with Dining for Women since January 2011. I also write one of the educational documents for each month's program--Food for Thought. The monthly meeting starts with great food and camaraderie, followed by a superb program led by a volunteer from the Chapter. We average about 40 participants each month. We have fun, but we learn so much from the charity we will be funding, its helping model, and its program. I find the whole concept of Dining for Women to be inspired. DFW finds wonderful, but little known, charities that make the lives of women and girls better. Some of the helping models are inspired. Because the programs we fund are limited in scope, it is easy to feel that you are making a significant contribution to the lives of real people. And because DFW has a rigorous vetting process, you know your money will be used as promised.

3

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Last night I hosted our new chapter's 2nd Dining for Women potluck. It has become the highlight of the month for me. Sharing a lovely, relaxed evening in the company of like minded, wonderful women, and accomplishing such tangible good at the same time is exhilarating. Realizing that at 9,000 members strong, Dining for Women, is making a difference in the programs it supports. I was able to show the beautiful scarves I purchased as holiday gifts from the Anchal Project. We all had the same reaction. Beyond the beauty of the scarves, tears came to our eyes and goosebumps on our arms, thinking about the women who made them and how DFW has helped them to escape from a life of prostitution to one of talented artisan. Can't say enough! Start a chapter today!!

4 Lisa60

Volunteer

Rating: 5

For years I had been looking for more purpose in my life. I tried a bunch of different things. But then I stumbled upon the Dining for Women website and my life was forever changed! I became a chapter leader and started the very first chapter in our city, and was very nervous! But DFW provided the best support! Our members have said time and time again how awesome DFW is, and how much they absolutely love it! We are Canadians so are not eligible for tax credits, but this does not matter to any of us as we are fully dedicated to Dining for Women and are continually blown away by the calibre of organizations we support and the educational resources we are provided for our meetings. Dining for women is the best way to make a HUGE difference to women and girls around the world. The charities we support are not huge mega-charities, they are truly hand selected grassroots organizations that we all resonate with and are proud to support! I can honestly say that Dining for Women is not only changing the lives of women and girls around the world, they are changing the live of women and girls in North America as well! My whole family has been greatly affected in every positive way by DFW, and even my 5 year old is becoming a change agent because of her exposure to this organization!

1 Sharon66

Volunteer

Rating: 5

It is hard to make a difference, as one person, in a world where so much suffering and poverty exists. I am grateful that Dining for Women finds organizations that provide direct help to women and children in need, and combines the donation of each member to truly make a significant contribution, one that will create or fund sustainable projects of value. I can't, or don't plan to, travel to Thailand to rescue young girls in the sex trade, or travel to Africa to teach women the skills that allow them to feed and educate their children, or travel to Indonesia to deliver goats to widows who can then support themselves and their families. But my donation each month, contributed in the company of other caring women and over delicious meals, can travel in my stead, after being combined with donations from others in DFW. I would love to see many more chapters grow over the years so we can be part of so much more support and aid in the world, to those less fortunate. I highly recommend joining - or starting - a Dining for Women chapter!

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I am a chapter leader in California. I was impressed enough with Dining For Women after visiting a chapter meeting in San Francisco to start my own chapter. This organization does SUCH an effective job of helping women organize in their own local "giving circles" to dine together while learning about a different important endeavor that changes the lives of women and girls each and every month. Our rolled-up small donations make a HUGE difference in the Third World for these organizations and for the women they serve. DFW is incredibly well-organized and transparent, and it has relatively little overhead cost due to an army of dedicated volunteers who work on everything from monthly program selection, to web site content to testing out recipes, and so much more.

Previous Stories
1

Volunteer

Rating: 4

As a chapter leader, I prepare the presentation on the organization of the month which is doing good for impoverished women in the 3rd world. Each month, DFW raises over $25,000 to benefit a worthy organization. So far this year, we have funded solar ovens for refugee camps in Darfur, maternity clinics in rural Peru, micro loans in India and Nepal. At the same time, we get to learn about conditions on the ground in these places and what women are up against. The education for us coupled with the benefit to these organizations is a Win-Win combination.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Hello, I am a co-leader for a chapter for DC and MD and it has been one of the most powerful experiences of my life. Not only because of what this organization does to transform women's lives around the world but what it has done to transform my own. I have attended Leadership summits and been embraced and welcomed - warts and all. They truly want you to bring all of you to the organization. I have expanded my knowledge about about poverty, women and the world in this process. But most importantly I know our money is creating a difference in women's lives that face horrific circumstances. Peace, Denise Woods

2 dmhansardlsw

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My experience with Dining For Women continues to be one of education, friendship and of course, good food! My chapter members and I are always impressed with the materials available, the informatione we learn about different cultures and about the amazing organizations that are assisting women and children living in extreme poverty. After more than 5 years, the Massill Ohio chapter continues to meet monthly and looks forward to what the next 5 years bring!

Previous Stories
2

Volunteer

Rating: 5

As a Social Worker and a Minister, I am often in a position to help others. Most people are not offered those opportunities on a daily basis. I have been a chapter leader for Dining For Women since February 2006. The women who attend our dinners are offered opportunities to help women, to learn about different cultures and traditions and share some of who they are in order to make a real difference. This is an escellant organization.

2 Anne C.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have been a Chapter Leader with DFW for almost 5 years! Our chapter has an average of 12-15 women attend each monthly meeting. Through the collective giving model of DFW, we feel we are making a real difference in women and children's lives all over the world. Each month through the educational materials that DFW provides, we learn about the country, culture and women's issues of the program we are funding that month. We see and hear the impact of the programs through the DVD that is provided to us each month. We are learning each month how this program targets one of the Millennium Development Goals that the United Nations have established and hope to reach by 2015. More and more women throughout the U.S. and world are finding out about the DFW movement and the strides we are making in assisting women and children in developing countries to reach their goals for education, improved health, and self-sustainable livelihoods. Our chapter members are promoting change, saving lives, and giving a voice to women who have been voiceless. We feel empowered that we know where our money is going, and what it will do. None of this would be possible without the excellent leadership, tenacity, compassion and humility of Marsha Wallace, Founder of DFW, the DFW Board of Directors and the many volunteers from DFW's chapter members that keep moving DFW forward. DFW members are getting the word out about this fabulous organization and it keeps growing! I believe that the knowledge that we have received since our membership with DFW is changing our own lives for the better. I feel that the support we give to other women all over the world can eventually impact everyone in our world and hopefully, in time, lead to more peace and stability throughout the world.

1

Volunteer

Rating: 2

The idea behind Dining for Women is a really great one - meet, learn, share a meal and give to help women and girls in the developing world. It is fun, and enriching. However, there does not seem to be much support for the chapter leaders once they have started meeting. While I continue to hope that something will materialize, all I see is more and more about money and extreme growth, and less about how to be a successful chapter leader, and that someone is noticing. I do not understand why an organization that seems to be growing at a very comfortable, manageable rate insists on pushing so hard. It seems that much of the focus on the programs and the education of members has been lost in the money shuffle, sadly. Most everything seems to be about raising more money and an unrealistic growth rate. So, in my estimation, Dining for Women is at risk of losing its soul and becoming like so many other non-profits - large, cold, impersonal and uncaring. A true shame and a lost opportunity.

13

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I started a local Dining For Women Chapter in April, 2006 after seeing it on a Good Morning America segment about charity giving circles in Dec., 2005. Our Chapter hasn't missed a monthly meeting in the over 4 years we've been together! We meet at members' homes for a potluck dinner, educate ourselves about the monthly charity/region we are supporting for that month (with materials provided by DFW), and then each make a pesonal donation to that charity. Friendship, fun, and food with a purpose...it's always an inspiring and energizing evening!

9

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I became interested in Dining for Women at a Peace Colloquy when I attended a workshop about sex trafficking and modern day slave trade and learned that families in poverty are vulnerable, I had also read in Greg Mortenson's book, Three Cups of Tea that he found if he built schools for girls, they would grow up and use their education to improve their family's and community's level of medical care and education. I wanted to advocate for women in a community based way, and Dining for Women fit my needs and goals. Dining for Women provides microloans to women in poverty so they can feed their families and better themselves economically. I visited a chapter in Colorado and the chapter leader there encouraged me to start my own chapter. When I returned home to Florida, I found there was not a chapter in my town so I started one with my friends. The national organization provides wonderful support to chapters and it is easy to start and keep our chapter going. We are all excited about supporting women in this way and we have doubled our membership in 2 meetings!

11

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Dining for Women has been a positive experience for our chapter which is almost three years old. Our members appreciate being able to make a difference in the lives of other women and children around the world. Our lives have been enriched as we have learned about others. Wonderful information is provided to chapters by the national office. It is very easy to start a chapter and maintain it.

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

In 2006 I was looking for a way to enrich my social life and make a difference in the world. An article about Dining for Women in my local paper struck a chord with me, and I sent in my chapter application. I was amazed at how easy it was to start a chapter and at the amount of support and education that was provided to me. The idea of getting together to eat with friends and pooling our resources to help our "sisters" around the world also resonated with my friends and we quickly formed a group that is still going strong four years later. Dining for Women has given all of us the opportunity to strengthen our friendships with each other and educate ourselves about our fellow women in developing countries. And most importantly, it allows us to help fund programs that give these women a chance to do the things that all women yearn to do - feed and educate themselves and their families, have good health care in their communities and live free from violence and oppression. The relatively small donation that each of us makes pooled collectively with donations from other chapters allows DFW to make a significant impact in the groups that it funds each month. I love this model. I love the time it allows me to be with my friends in a way that is deeper and more meaningful. I love the education we are all receiving through the easily accessible and thoughtfully researched educational materials that are provided. I love to see the growth of the organization that has happened in the four years since I joined. But most of all I love to see the impact that the DFW donations have made in the lives of our sister women and their families around the world.

7

Volunteer

Rating: 5

If I were going to design a NFP, it would be Dining For Women. Fortunately, for me, Marsha Wallace already did that and I just needed to sign up to help. It combines all of the things that are important to me, helping women, learning about new places and people, cooking, making new friends. Plus, I am an artist and my work focuses on women's issues. What a great connection for me with women all over the world. I started by forming a chapter. I didn't even know everyone at the first meeting but I knew it was going to be great. The room just buzzed as people quickly learned of so many things they had in common. Marsha has an amazing vision about what this organization can do but she could not do everything herself and she solicited the membership for help. I am a former marketing professional and I jumped at the chance and now serve on the national advisory council. I had been so impressed with how well run DFW is, the impact it has had on so many people and how much more it will be able to do as it continues to grow. Research has verified that empowered women have enormous impact in their countries and can change how a society functions as they are given the opportunity to sustain themselves and their families. And that is exactly what the DFW donations do. Its unique concept no only benefits the recipients of its donations but also how it brings women together each month with a common, very worthwhile goal.

4

Volunteer

Rating: 5

When I found DFW over a year ago I was amazed at the impact it was having. I'm fortunate to live in Greenville, SC where it originated and to get to know Marsha Wallace the founder. Her vision for the organization is SO inspiring and exciting. I have invited many of my friends to join as well. I am a woman of middle-income so participating and giving to DFW makes the small amount I am able to give join with others to create a large amount. I have learned so much about places in the world I never knew and about the many important organizations that are working first-hand to eradicate poverty. I am honored to be a member of DFW! Cindy Ballaro

10

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I lived abroad in developing countries for over 17 years, and had been looking for a way to both maintain a connection to the people and cultures of the world that I so highly valued, and also make a meaningful difference in their lives while living back in the U.S. A mutual friend shared the 'model' of giving around which Dining for Women bases its educational and philanthropic activities. Here's why its great: *It promotes the building of community here in the U.S. among women who share a desire to support other marginalized or underserved women around the globe. We enjoy coming together and talking about the countries, cultures, roles of women, as well as sharing our own experiences vis a vis that country... and feel connected to each other as well as the monthly country/organization. *It promotes a 'holistic' and 'mutually beneficial' model of philanthropy: This is not just about giving money; its about learning, having an impact, sharing stories, breaking bread together and growing ourselves from the lessons and stories the indigenous women share with us. We give to them in ways that we hope will make a difference. They give to us in ways they could never imagine make a difference to us --- by the strength of their commitment to their families, communities and ideals -- by their sheer will and hard work in unimaginable conditions -- by their support of one another so no one is successful unless they all are successful -- and their open sharing of emotion: the pain, joy and challenges of life. *The structure is exponentially successful. By creating a single, focused, approach, the founders have created a winning formula... to draw on the collective power of coming together in unified giving, so that there is a quality of investment in the women of a community, not just a quantity of dollars raised. Across the country, women in hundreds of communities are doing the same activities, and donating to the same organization, so the impact is significant and life-changing for the individuals and the community being served. So much more powerful and effective than taking collections and sending smaller amounts to a large number of organizations. This way, they work over time with valued and trusted organizations and liaisons to really create a powerful and lasting impact...not just a donation. *The central role that education plays in the organization is admirable. The website has lessons, resources, discussion questions, bibliographies about the country and organization chosen each month. The chapters are given videos and other media with first hand documentation of the organization that Dining for Women is supporting so that we each have a direct experience with the women of the organization. *Each of us is given a variety of ways to contribute: to the food we all share (based on the native country's cuisine); to the financial $$ donation we make (in the amount that we would have spent going out to eat with a girlfriend); to the role of leader in the educational section of the monthly program, etc. Its fun and keeps us all interested and invested. *I have met really inspirational, interesting, caring, smart women who want to make a difference. *Run completely by volunteers: incredible!! *I can't think of anything that would have me not give this organization a top rating. The sincerity, leadership, and commitment of the chapter founders is awesome. Thank you for giving me this opportunity to share my positive, glowing, and appreciative comments about this worthwhile and inspirational and effective organization. Every community or city in the world should have a Chapter of Dining for Women!! Karen Shimada *